This is the second chapter of `Bear Hunter'. A new chapter will come out every week. Any comments or questions can be directed to the author at nothlit(at)hotmail(dot)com

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real people or events is entirely coincidental.

Bear Hunter
Chapter 2

    It was much colder when I walked out into the streets again. The wind had picked up, and I stuffed my hands inside my jacket pockets for warmth, head hung low against the cold bite of the sea-borne gale. Not a night for many people to be out where I came from, but here nobody seemed to mind the cold. A few of them went about their business as usual, even though it was already late. My watch read 11:15 p.m. Most shops were now closed, but there was light behind many of the windows I passed. A couple of cars drove by, in the opposite direction I was walking in. Nobody paid any attention to me. Even a couple of cops that were hanging out next to their car, drinking hot coffee, barely spared me a second glance.
    I quickened my pace to get to the bar sooner. I passed rows of houses and short buildings that became more spaced apart as I approached the seaside streets, where only a few lonely structures stood. I walked past those streets and right up to a narrow path that bordered the coast, along the place where the docks stretched out into the sea. The night was dark, and I could not make out the shape of the docks too well. I had seen a few boats there when I had arrived yesterday, but in the darkness I could only hear the sound of the waves lapping against the rocks that bordered the coast, and an occasional creak of wood. The air smelled of the sea, but the wind had a wet quality to it that told me rain would begin to fall soon. I couldn't see the moon overhead; the sky was cloudy and overcast. From somewhere far away, I heard the low rumble of thunder.
    The bar stood all by itself, in the bad part of town. I'd chosen it because of its location, and because in here it would be more likely to find the kind of man I wanted. A tacky neon sign above the main door proclaimed the bar as `Roger's Place'. The building was mostly wood; a single story, and built low like a warehouse, which it probably had been at some point. The paint on the outer walls had long since peeled away, any bits of metal long ago corroded by the salt of the sea. A couple cars were parked along the far side of the building and I saw a guy leaning against a post near the front door, smoking. I walked quickly up the dirt path that led to the bar from the sea-facing side and went right in.
    The warmth engulfed me as soon as I was past the doors. It was almost uncomfortably hot in the crowded bar, in complete contrast to the chilly night outside. I took off my jacket and waded through the people sitting at tables or standing in random places talking. I headed straight for the bar and found an empty stool, on which I sat. The bartender came soon enough, and I ordered a beer. When it came, I paid for it, and turned around to watch the people gathered there with the cold beer in my hand.
    There was an improvised dance area near an old-fashioned jukebox that was actually playing country tunes. Not many people were dancing there; it was still too early for most people to be drunk enough to attempt it. I only saw about six men and women over there, with a few onlookers cheering them on.
    Near the front was where most of the people were, sitting around low tables, chatting with drinks and snacks set on the tables. Most of them seemed to know one another, and every time someone new came in, he or she was greeted by at least one of the groups gathered around the tables. Their conversations were animated, and I could feel a sense of community that reminded me of my own rural town, where everybody knew everybody else.
    At the back of the bar were the fishermen. I could tell by their clothes and the way they kept apart from everyone else. Occasionally one of them would come up to the bar and ask for another round of drinks, but they mostly kept to themselves. That group was promising; it was mostly men there, some obviously not from around here judging by their accents. I couldn't hear much of their conversations from where I was sitting over the loud music, but I heard enough to know most of them were relieved to be ashore now that a storm was reported to be coming.
    I scanned the group of a dozen or so fishermen, looking for a likely candidate. Most of the men were older than me, or not my type at all. I caught the eye of a couple of the more likely ones after looking long enough, but none appeared to be interested. That left me fewer options to choose from, and I began to think I might not find anyone tonight after all.
    "Hey, stranger."
    I turned. A woman had sat next to me, and was smiling. She looked to be around thirty, a couple years older than me. Dark, long hair, a skirt that was too short and a blouse that left little to the imagination. She gave me what she must have thought was a seductive look and introduced herself.
    "I'm Tiffany."
    "Sven," I said.
    "Haven't seen you around here before, Sven."
    I paused. "Just passing through."
    "I see... hey, it's kind of hot in here, don't you think? What are you drinking?"
    I caught the hint and ordered her a beer, more amused than annoyed at her interruption. She was greatly encouraged by the gesture, and edged closer to me on her stool.
    "Where are you staying?" she asked me.
    But I'd been scanning the room all the while, looking, and at that moment I saw a likely guy. He was standing near the jukebox, a drink in his hand, looking at the dancing couples but not participating in the dance at all. He looked young, about my age. He was on the thin, weak-looking side, which was a slight disappointment. His face was attractive enough, though, and his dirty-blond hair framed his angular features nicely. He was wearing a checkered shirt and a pair of faded jeans that were too tight for him. Had a nice package, too, from what I could see.
    "Sven?" Tiffany said. She had probably asked me something.
    I followed the guy's look and saw he was following the dancers with his eyes, but he was only focusing on the men as they awkwardly stomped and jumped around to the tune of the country music blaring from the jukebox.
    I grinned. I'd found what I was looking for.
    I absently left some money on the bar to pay for the drink I'd ordered and left, making a beeline for the guy. When I was halfway there, he saw me coming. I nodded at him, and was gratified to see him give me the once-over and smile uncertainly back. I crossed the crowded room in a few more steps and stopped right next to him, beer in hand.
    "Hey," I said, my deep voice carrying over the sound of the music and the laughter from the fishermen's table not far from there.
    The guy looked around, as if he expected me to be talking to someone else. Hmmm. Not very confident.
    "Hi," he answered uncertainly.
    I would have probably left right then if I had been in any other place, but there were not a lot of options in this town and I was horny. This guy would have to do.
    I stuck out my hand. "Sven."
    "I'm Gordon," he said, shaking my hand. Firm grip, but he winced when I squeezed a bit harder.
    I leaned back on the wall and watched the dancers for a bit, waiting to see what Gordon would do. He obviously had no idea what came next, and the silence made him uncomfortable. I didn't offer any help. If he was as interested as I was, he'd have to show me.
    "Um..." he began, "are you new here?"
    The same tired line. Valid, though. "Yeah."
    I took a long drink from my glass until it was empty, and then wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. I looked at Gordon with a steady, calculated look that clearly made him nervous. Then I glanced significantly at his crotch and adjusted the fly of my jeans with an exaggerated motion.
    Gordon gulped. "Listen," he said, as if surprised to hear himself speak out loud. "You want to go... you know... someplace?"
    I grinned. Not bad. The guy was showing some initiative at least.
    "Follow me," I said.
    I stopped by the bar to put my empty glass down, and passed by a very surprised Tiffany on the way out. I put on my jacket before pushing the door open, and then I stepped into the cold night, Gordon close behind.
    I turned and walked down the western side of the bar, where a nearby shed made a kind of small alley that shielded us from view. There I stopped and turned around. Gordon nearly collided against me.
    I unzipped my fly and said, "Kneel."
    Gordon looked at me fleetingly, hesitating for a split second, but then did as he was told.
    I took out my dick, and Gordon gasped when he saw it.
    "What is it?" I said, voice low.
    "It's... big," Gordon answered.
    I shoved my dick in his face. "Wait till you get it hard. Come on, boy. Get to work."
    I grabbed a handful of his hair and yanked his face up. He opened his mouth willingly and took my cock when I gave it to him. Then he began to suck me off.
    "Yeah, that's it," I said, getting hard inside his mouth.
    Gordon grunted something, but he couldn't really speak. He was really going at it, though. The guy was enjoying himself. I was a bit disappointed he'd submitted so willingly, but hey. A blowjob is a blowjob.
    He grabbed the base of my dick with one hand and began to work his mouth up and down the length of my shaft. His mouth was warm, and I plunged my dick inside it every chance I got, feeling how he used his tongue to caress the sensitive head of my dick with deft, hungry motions. I closed my eyes and let him service my cock, thrusting into his throat slowly, then backing out as he sucked me with increasing intensity.
    I saw he'd taken his own dick out the next time I looked, and was busy jacking off while he took my meat into this throat. The sight made me hornier and I began to shove my dick inside his mouth with more force, driving as deep as I could go and holding his head in place for a couple seconds before pulling out. He gasped for air, spit dribbling from his lower lip as he swallowed once, hurriedly, then nodded and opened his mouth again, taking me in as far as he could.
    He used his lips and tongue to get my dick all slick and hard, and he licked every inch of my big, raging boner. He worked up a rhythm with his head, going up and down, making soft slurping noises every time he backed off to take a breath. I let him get worked up, grunting to encourage him. He responded right away, and redoubled his efforts to please my cock every way he knew how. The guy was good at sucking dick; I had to give him that. His hand was flying over his own cock, his eyes shut tight as he took me in his mouth every time I thrust with short, hard motions. Soon he began to breathe a bit faster; I could tell he was close to coming, and he must have thought I was, too, sucking me off on his knees like he was.
    That was when I stopped him.
    He looked up, puzzled.
    "Come on," I said, stuffing my hard cock back inside my jeans. Not an easy task since it barely fit, but I didn't want to come yet. If this guy was game for it, then we could have fun all night.
    Gordon stood up uncertainly, looking at me. I turned away. I headed back for downtown with quick, long strides, not even once looking back to see if he was following. After a while I heard his steps behind me, though. I allowed myself a satisfied grin. I'd known he'd follow.
    He tried to start a conversation once or twice as we walked, but I didn't answer him and he soon gave up. The cold had gotten worse, and having stood out in the open while he was sucking me off hadn't improved it one bit. The brisk walk warmed me up, though, and before long we'd arrived at the hotel. The woman in the counter looked up briefly, sleepy-eyed, and seemed to recognize Gordon. Seemed to be an awkward moment, too, because Gordon hurried after me up the rickety wooden stairs.
    I ducked so I wouldn't knock my head on the ceiling beam and unlocked the door to my room. I went in and let Gordon through. It was much warmer here, and I took off my jacket right away. Then I locked the door behind us so we wouldn't be disturbed.
    "Want a beer?" I asked him. I didn't turn on the lights, and the only illumination came from a streetlamp outside. The room was divided into strips of orange light and pure darkness, just enough to see by but not enough to make out too many details.
    "Um..." Gordon stammered. He took off his jacket slowly. "No, thanks..."
    I could tell the darkness made him nervous, but I didn't do anything to correct it. Instead I took off my shirt, pulling it over my head. I stepped closer to the light and Gordon followed.
    I could feel his eyes on my body, and didn't stop him when he reached out tentatively to touch my hard pecs and run his palm over the hair that covered them. He was still disappointingly shy, though, so I had to make the next move. I pulled him to me sharply, holding his narrow waist in a tight embrace. Gordon gasped but didn't resist. He didn't protest at all when I all but tore his shirt open and ran my hands over his smooth, warm skin.
    I led him to the bed and pushed him back onto it. He bounced a bit on the mattress, eyes locked onto mine. I fumbled with my belt for a second and unbuckled it. Gordon was doing the same. I took off my jeans along with my underwear quickly, throwing the clothes off to the side. Gordon pulled off his own pants too, eager and as horny as I was.
    When I was standing fully naked in front of him, with my hard dick swollen to its full size, Gordon sat up on the bed and reached for it hungrily. He grabbed it and put it in his mouth right away. I let him work on my dick for a while, enjoying the sensation, but before long I was ready to try something else. I took my dick out of Gordon's mouth and motioned for him to lie back on the bed.
    Our eyes had gotten used to the semi-darkness by then, and I saw the horny, eager look in his eyes as he did as he was told. His own cock was stiff and throbbing between his legs; shorter than mine, but still a good-sized piece of meat. I briefly jacked Gordon off with one of my hands and he moaned with pleasure, squirming under my touch.  Then he spread his legs wide, his intentions pretty clear. He wanted me to fuck him.
    I'd expected him to make me work for it, to offer some resistance at least, even try to top me. No such luck. Feeling a bit less eager, but still horny enough to want to fuck his brains out, I climbed onto the bed too, running my hands over Gordon's smooth ass. I touched his round, firm cheeks, squeezing a bit a couple times. Then I moved my hand over Gordon's balls and grabbed them, hard. Gordon yelped and shook his head, motioning that he wasn't into that. Too bad.
    I let go and moved over to his ass. Gordon moaned as soon as I began to caress the area around his hole. When I found it and pushed over it lightly with a finger, he moaned again.
    I looked around for a tie or something that could serve to tie Gordon's hands, but the only thing I found was his shirt. I picked it up from the floor and entwined it into a makeshift rope.
    "Put your hands up," I said, holding the shirt in my hands.
    Gordon hesitated again.
    "I don't..."
    "Come on," I said. "You'll like it."
    Slowly, he nodded. He put his hands over his head as he lay on the bed. I leaned over him, my hard cock and balls brushing his chest as I reached over his head to tie both his hands together. I made a knot quickly and yanked on it until it was firm. Then I tightened it some more.
    "Is it too tight?" I asked Gordon.
    "No." He tried to free his hands, couldn't. "It's strong, though."
    "That's the idea," I said, grinning.
    I knelt back in my original position, between Gordon's wide-open legs. I licked my right index finger thoroughly and brought it down, right over his hole.
    I pushed.
    Gordon cried out, more in surprise than in pain. He let my finger slide all the way inside his asshole, though, and as I worked my finger in and out of it he began to loosen up.
    "You like that, boy?" I asked him.
    "You want more?"
    I gave him what he asked for. I finger-fucked him deep and fast, making him moan in pleasure, twisting my finger inside him and pushing up when I was fully in, massaging his prostate with expert, practiced motions. Gordon surrendered to my touch, grinding his hole against my hand, begging for more, enjoying the way it felt to be fingered every way I wanted. It didn't take long to convince me he was ready for some real fucking. My cock was throbbing between my legs, dripping precum onto the sheets. After a final finger-thrust, I stood up and went for the condoms and lube I had in the drawers by the wall. I took out one condom and the small bottle of lube and went right back to the bed.
    Gordon followed me with his eyes as I knelt back between his legs. I ripped open the condom pack carefully and slid it over my big, hard dick. The latex stretched over my meat, outlining it perfectly. Then I took the lube and squeezed some into the palm of my hand. I slid my hand up and down my cock, making it nice and slick. Then I used some more lube over Gordon's hole pressing briefly inside him with a finger.
    I put the lube away then, and leaned forward until my dick was right over Gordon's asshole.
    "You want this cock?" I asked him.
    "Yes," he answered. He struggled a bit against the restraint that tied his hands together.
    "Yes... what?"
    "Yes, sir."
    "Good. Tell me what you want me to do."
    Gordon swallowed, helpless and tied up.
    "Fuck me," he said. "Fuck me, sir."
    "Okay, boy. You asked for it."
    I put my dick right over his hole, and shoved it inside him.
    Gordon cried out.
    "Don't... it's too big!"
    "Easy," I said, going deeper, fighting the resistance of his tight ass. "Relax. Let it in."
    Gordon shut his eyes, breathing fast, trying to get used to having me inside him.
    "Ah!" he said, and tried to reach down to push me away—then he realized his hands were tied.
    I grabbed the shirt that bound his hands and pushed them back over his head. He couldn't do anything now, his hands useless, his legs spread wide and my dick halfway inside his ass.
    I could see it was hurting him, though, so I decided to back down.
    "I'm coming out," I said, my voice soothing. Slowly, I slid out of him. When my dick was fully out, Gordon gasped. I saw he was sweating.
    It took him a few moments to recover. Then he said, "Okay. I'm ready. Sir."
    "Ready for what?"
    "Ready for you to fuck my hole, sir."
    "Very well. Get ready, boy."
    I pushed my dick inside his hole again. This time Gordon grunted, but he didn't cry out.
    "Good boy," I said, as my dick slid all the way into his tight, willing asshole. "You like that? You like having a big man dick up your hole?"
    Gordon nodded, his hands still pinned over his head by my hand. "Yes, sir. It feels so good..."
    I grinned. My patience had run out. Time to fuck this guy senseless.
    I slammed my dick into his asshole, deep and hard. Gordon moaned and tried to squirm away half-heartedly, but I wasn't about to let him, not anymore. I began to fuck him with a vengeance, thrusting with fast, powerful motions that let him feel the full force of my desire. The sight of him lying helpless as I fucked him turned me on big time, and I plowed his hole again and again, feeling his tight ass loosen up every so slightly as my dick worked it, pushing in, sliding out, each time a bit harder, testing the limits of what this guy could take.
    Gordon was loving it. He moaned and sighed and whipped his head from side to side as I fucked him, his hard dick showing me just how much he liked what I was doing to him. He began to ask me for more, to go deeper, and faster, and I let him have it, all too willingly to comply. It felt great to slide my cock into that tight ass, and as I increased the tempo of my thrusts, making the bed creak sharply every time I pushed forward, I began to get closer and closer to coming.
    I decided to switch positions. I stopped fucking Gordon and laid down on the bed lengthwise beside him slowly, never taking my cock out of his ass. Then I grabbed him by the waist and pulled him gently to the side, so he'd be on top of me, facing up at the ceiling. Gordon caught on right away and placed one leg on either side of me, my hands supporting his back since his hands were still tied. It took a bit of coordination, but soon the guy was straddling my dick, legs spread wide, and using them to prop himself up on top of me. I was lying fully on my back, staring at the back of his head and supporting most of his weight with my hands so he wouldn't fall over.
    "Come on, boy," I whispered in his ear. "Sit on my cock. Fuck yourself with that hard dick."
    Gordon nodded, eagerly, and began to do right as he had been told. He sat down on my cock until it was all the way inside him, grunting and moaning. Then he sat up, slowly, his tied hands resting over his stomach. My cock slid out of him as he went higher, until it was almost completely out. Then Gordon went back down, bending his knees, and his warm ass swallowed my throbbing dick once more, as if he couldn't have enough of it. He went a bit faster then, working up his own rhythm, impaling himself on my cock. He loved every second of it, and before long he was bouncing up and down on the bed, his ass frantically taking it, letting me go deep inside him, and I sighed with pleasure, enjoying the feeling of his tight hole sliding over the entire length of my shaft.
    I stopped him after a while and told him to brace himself. He obeyed, his hips hovering a few inches away from mine, and then it was my turn to fuck him. I thrust upward with hard, urgent motions, and Gordon's grunts of pleasure at the sudden intensity of the assault got me going ever harder. I slammed my dick up into his asshole and back out, fast, hard, seeing how Gordon arched his back and submitted completely to my violent burst of desire. This time when I felt myself coming closer and closer to the edge I didn't stop. I went at it even harder. Gordon began to moan loudly, yelling his throat raw, and I felt the surge of fiery pleasure at the base of my dick that came right before an explosive orgasm and I all but skewered Gordon with my cock one last time, then pushed him off me and hastily yanked off my condom to shoot my load all over his back. As I spurted my hot man juice all over him, I heard Gordon moan in a different note, his body tensing up with pleasure, and felt more than saw that he, too, was coming, working his dick with his tied-up hands. I shuddered, emptying the last of my load on his smooth skin, and a few seconds later Gordon relaxed, too, his own load spent.
    I wiped some sweat from my brow and sat up on the bed. For an instant, I felt relaxed and almost content. But the instant didn't last.
    "Here. Let me take that off," I said gruffly, reaching for the makeshift rope around Gordon's hands.
    He sat up awkwardly using his elbows for support and offered his hands to me. I untied them quickly and handed his shirt back to him. Then I stood up and walked over to look out the window, down at the street. It had been fun, but it was not what I was looking for. It had been too easy. Gordon hadn't once resisted my advances. In a way, that pleased me, but I was also tired of it. It always went more or less the same with any tricks I picked up. I wanted something else, something more. I realized with sudden, sinking certainty that one-night stands just weren't cutting it for me anymore. Probably never had.
    "I'd better get going now," Gordon said behind me. I heard the sounds of keys jingling as he got dressed.
    I didn't answer him, but it was just as well. He was as eager to leave as I was to see him go. He didn't say good-bye or anything, just went out the door once he figured out how to unlock it. The last I heard of him was the slam of the door as it was shut.
    When I saw Gordon turn a corner out in the street from my vantage point by the window, I turned back to face the dark room. There was an emptiness inside me, a thirst that wouldn't be quenched. I felt uneasy, and it wasn't just the every-present worry in the back of my mind that they'd catch up to me. It was something more persistent, and it wasn't a pleasant feeling.
    I went to the bathroom and turned on the hot water in the shower. It came out hot after a minute or so, and I stepped into the stream of steaming water, glad for the sting of the drops as they fell on my skin, almost too hot to bear. I scrubbed myself thoroughly, as if to wash out the memory of the night, spending some time washing my dick and balls, my chest, and then my beard, which I was not used to having and wasn't even sure how to properly wash. When I was clean, I stood in the hot shower for a little while longer, just letting the sensation wash over me, eyes closed, swaying slightly with relaxation and even yawning once. I was tired; running away took a lot out of a man, and not only physically. The perpetual mental state of hyper-awareness was hard to maintain for as long as I had. Hopefully, though, they wouldn't find me here, at the edge of the world. There was no reason for them to come this far.
    I turned off the shower and dried my wet skin with a towel that hung from the rack. I tied it around my waist and stepped back into the main room, barefoot. I walked over to the cooler by the door and took another beer. I clicked the can open and sat back down on the only chair in the room, taking a long, slow drink. Tiny droplets of water trickled down from my beard and onto my chest, marking the passage of time. My eyes were on the window, but my mind was far away.
    My jacket was nearby, and after a while I reached for it. I picked it up slowly. On the inner left pocket was the gun I carried, which I took out with care, setting my beer aside.
    I'd had a holster for the gun back at the farm, a fine custom-made leather one to replace the original. My grandfather had given me this gun a couple of years before the incident. It was a Colt Woodsman model, .22 caliber, 4.5-inch barrel, old but in excellent condition. They didn't make these anymore, and hadn't for many years. What I had was a collector's item—but a deadly one. And beautiful. The handle finish was partially smooth, polished wood, the metal on the barrel gleaming and spotless. My grandfather had hunted with this gun from time to time. He'd told me once it was a handy weapon to have in case something unexpected happened, like finding out your rifle was out of ammo just as you spotted that buck you'd been trailing for a full day. It was a powerful weapon, and one I'd been glad to have with me when the men had come.
    Even after nearly three months since the incident, I still hadn't been able to figure out why they'd come to the farm that night. My grandfather had no big debts that I knew of, and no enemies at all in town. He'd liked to gamble from time to time, sure, and at first I thought that's why they'd come, but it just didn't add up. If the men had come for my grandfather's money, why hadn't they taken it? Why had they killed him instead?
    My grip around the Colt tightened until it was painful. I gritted my teeth in powerless anger, remembering. My thoughts always came back to those few minutes that had changed my life. There wasn't a night when I didn't remember.
    There had been three of them. I'd been in the barn, cleaning out some hay, when I heard a car come up the road. That was odd enough, since it was late, but I kept on working just the same. Ever since my mother had died, my grandfather had been increasingly prone to staying all day in the house, neglecting his chores, relying on me to take on most of the responsibilities of the farm. I didn't mind, but it worried me to see him so dejected. It had been almost three years since she passed away, but he couldn't get over it, and probably never would. That's why I didn't go out right away to see who it was coming so late at night, assuming a visit would be good for him. I've never stopped berating me for that mistake.
    I heard the shot clearly, like a thunderclap in the stillness of the night. I dropped the pitchfork I'd been hefting and I ran to the house, stupidly thinking that my grandfather must have shot one of the guests by accident. I barged through the back door as fast as I could, crossed the living room and took the steps up to the second floor two at a time, my weight making the old, wooden staircase creak loudly as I thumped my way up. I remember shouting my grandfather's name, and then the sound of hushed whisperings. Then I came up to the landing in the second floor—and I saw them. I saw him.
    My grandfather was on the floor, his blood soaking through the wood like a thick wine stain. I stared uncomprehendingly, shocked, and I caught my grandfather's eyes in the instant before they became unfocused as he died. I saw fear in his eyes in that instant. Fear for me.
    I saw the men then, even as a white-hot fury took hold of me, tearing away any possibility of rational thought. Two younger ones, about my age. And the leader, a man wearing a suit. He was the one who carried the gun. He was the one who'd killed my grandfather.
    I barreled straight at them with a wordless shout, hands clenched into fists, and caught the first young man squarely on the chin with a punch that had my entire weight behind it. I heard something crack in my hand when my fist collided with his jaw, but I didn't feel anything. The man went down like a sack of rocks.
    The second young man was upon me by then, and jumped on my back, trying to drag me down. I saw the older one take aim with his gun, and it was only blind instinct that made me turn around so the guy clinging to my back would act as a shield. There was a deafening blast of noise as the older man fired in the small hallway, and the pressure of the young man's arms about my neck slackened instantly. I dropped him down in a heap and barely had to duck behind a corner before the man fired again. I looked around, searching for a weapon, and saw the door to my room wide open. I rushed inside, my ears ringing with a third shot that sprayed sharp wooden splinters everywhere. One of the splinters caught me in the face, but the pain was only an afterthought. I needed to get to my gun.
    I tripped over my bed and fell clear on the other side, banging my right knee badly against the corner of the nightstand where I kept the gun. I yanked the drawer open and pulled the gun out, wheeled around and saw the older man standing in the doorway, his figure framed against the light of the hallway. I always kept my gun loaded. Before he had a chance to react, I fired.
    The man let out a wheezing groan, managing to stay on his feet for a heartbeat after the shot. Then he dropped to the floor as if someone had cut his strings. I stayed where I was for a few seconds, dazed, sweating as though I'd run a mile in a minute, with my heart in my throat and my ears ringing with the echoes of the shots. There was a foul smell in the air, and I saw my hands were shaking. Slowly, I stood up and walked over the fallen man to get out of the room.
    The one remaining young man was gone when I stepped back into the hallway. I heard hurried steps going downstairs, and then the crash of the front door being thrown open. As I rushed to kneel by my grandfather, hoping to help him, I heard the screech of tires on the dirt road, and a car rushing away, back into the night.
    I remember cradling my grandfather's head in my hands for a while. My work overalls were bloodstained in more places than I could count. I still had the gun in my hand, and I couldn't let it go. I didn't cry, not then. I was too shocked for any of that. I stayed by my grandfather's side for a minute or so, until it was obvious that he really was dead. Then I let go of him, slowly, and stood up.
    I looked around the room, seeing the two other men that lay on the same floor where I'd first learned to walk. The older man had dropped something as he'd fallen, and my eyes singled it out right away. It looked like a badge. An official badge.
    That was when I panicked. I had killed a man. My grandfather was dead. Everything just piled up in my mind, smothering me with conflicting emotions, with the shock and confusion of the nightmare that had just occurred until I was certain of only one thing: I needed to get out of there. And fast. I would not go to jail for avenging my grandfather's death. They'd have to catch me first.
    I didn't even check to see whether either of the men was really dead. I wasn't thinking. I simply ran downstairs like the other man had done before me, gun in hand, with nothing but the clothes on my back. Right before I bolted out the door something clicked in my brain and I ran to the kitchen to get the hidden stash of cash my grandfather had always kept there since he hadn't trusted the banks with his money. Then I half-stumbled, half-ran to the truck and started it up.
    After that, everything was a blur. I remember snatches of wild driving down the dark road. I remember leaving the truck when I was close enough to town to walk there. I have a fleeting memory of seeing all the blood on my clothes when the sun first came out. After that, it was just running. Blind running.
    And three months later, I was here.
    I started, brought back to my dark hotel room suddenly by the sight of red and blue flashing lights outside my window. I sat up immediately, my heart working itself up into an urgent beat. I went to the window with quick steps and peered out. A police car had stopped here.
    They had come.
    I threw the towel off and dressed in a mad dash, putting on my jeans, my shirt, fumbling with my belt as I hurried. I stashed my gun under my belt, covered it with the jacket and made sure I left nothing that would give them any information, nothing incriminating. A second later I was out the door, going down the steps as quietly as I could.
    I heard the cop's voice when I was on the second floor. I stopped. No way to get past the main counter without him seeing me. Frantically, I looked around, briefly considering barging into one of the second-floor rooms and trying the windows there. The doors were locked, though, and it would be loud. They'd hear it and come for me.
    That's when I saw the window on the very landing I was standing on, offering a view of the dark street beyond. I tried the latch: it was unlocked. The window was small, and it was jammed, but I gave it a hard shove and it gave outward with a sharp screech. I heard the cop below ask something, and the woman at the counter answer him. Then I heard steps coming up.
    No time to think. I squeezed my big body through the small window, barely fitting my shoulders through the opening. The window led into a back alley, mostly unlit. Good. I climbed out fast, hanging onto the window sill with my hands, and when my legs were through I let myself drop two stories onto the hard ground below.
    The fall wasn't big, and I managed to make little noise when I hit, falling over on my back and sort of rolling to compensate for the speed of the fall. Then I sprang back up onto my feet and looked around. One end of the alley led to the main street where the cops were, to my right. The other led to a side street in the direction of the docks. Good enough. I ran.
    I felt as if they were right behind me with every step. All those months and months of hiding had finally taken their toll and I seriously thought I heard hurried steps following me, or the faint sound of a silent car rushing ahead to cut me off. I had nowhere to go. It was too late to go into any other hotels, too cold to stay out and hide out of town, and the damn town itself was too small for other people not to notice me come morning, and for the cops to be all over me in an instant. I gritted my teeth as I ran for the docks, cursing my luck. I'd thought Alaska would be a safe bet. It was as far away from the farm as I could get, and still, they'd come!
    I honestly didn't know what to do. I was the only man running through the empty town streets at that hour of the night. Overhead, another low roll of thunder boomed from out at sea. The cold wind blew right in my face, and when I saw the lonely lights by the edge of the docks, I suddenly had an idea.
    The boats. I needed to steal a boat.
    I sprinted the last few blocks until I was running by the dark edge of the coastline, heading right for the docks and their faintly creaking, swaying boats. I had no idea how to start a boat, or where to go once I did, but if I could just get close enough to one I'd know what to—
    Something rose suddenly right in my path. A shadow. I tried to stop but it was too fast; come out of nowhere, and I plowed right into it, hitting hard.
    "Hey!" the shadow yelled. A man. Then his cry was cut short as we both went sprawling down on the cold, rocky ground. I landed on my left arm and the impact sent a stab of pain through my forearm.
    I scrambled back onto my feet right as the man did the same. For a second I thought he was a cop, but when he stood up and the light hit his face, I saw he clearly wasn't.
    I also saw he was breathtaking.
    He had strong, handsome features. An angular jaw, a heavy brow. Eyes that bore into me, suspicious and intelligent. Short, dark hair, probably black, and spiky. He was about my age, and nearly as big as I was. He wore a heavy jacket against the cold, and didn't seem the least bit scared at having collided with a big stranger in the middle of the night.
    Too bad. That meant I had the jump on him.
    I took out my gun so he could see it.
    "What the hell?" he said, backing up a step.
    "You got a boat?" I demanded, my voice almost a growl. I didn't have much time. The cops could be here any minute.
    "That's none of your fucking business," the man said.
    I hefted my gun in my hand. "This says it is. I'll ask again. You got a boat?"
    Maybe it was the shadow of the same determination that had made me shoot a man once before which he saw in my eyes, because he grudgingly raised his hands, palms up, and nodded out into the dark sea.
    "That one."
    "Good. Then you're taking me out of here."
    "That's the plan."
    The long barrel of my gun was pointing right at his heart. I saw him look from it to me, maybe calculating what his chances of jumping me were before I could shoot.
    I shook my head.
    "Don't even think about it," I threatened him. "I will shoot you if I have to. Trust me."
    "There's a storm coming," the man said. "We'll die if we sail out now, in the dark."
    "Then why are you out here?"
    He paused for a bit, sizing me up. Then he said, "I was about to leave in the morning. Have to get back before the storm hits. The sea will be impassable for days afterward."
    A flash of lightning punctuated his words, and the thunder followed soon. Very soon, in fact. The storm was getting closer.
    "You'll take me with you, then," I told him. "Wherever it is you're going. I need a place to lie low. Come on. Do it, and I won't shoot you."
    "Fuck you."
    I shot the ground right between his feet. Gravel sprayed up everywhere, and the sound was deafening. The man jumped back, obviously shocked I'd actually fired.
    "I'm a pretty good shot with this," I said. "And now the cops must have heard the shot, and they're really coming this way. Your choice. You take me with you, or you die."
    He locked eyes with me, defiant, angry. His hands were balled into fists. Another flash of lightning lit up his face in sharp black and white. He was handsome, all right. And being angry just made him more attractive.
    "Fine," he said. "This way."
    "After you," I said, keeping the gun trained on his back at all times.
    He walked to the dock, stepping confidently on the creaking wooden planks. It was completely dark out, and I could barely make out the shapes of the boats nearby by the light of the streetlamps along the coast. The man seemed to have to trouble finding his boat, though, and soon we reached the edge of the dock and he undid a knot tying the boat to the dock with a heavy rope.
    "Hurry up," I said, glancing back out towards the town. This time I did see blue-and-red lights coming closer, for real. The cops were coming.
    He jumped onto the boat with an expert, smooth motion. I followed more slowly, keeping my gun ready. The boat swayed under my weight as I landed in it, and I saw the man make a move for me—but I was ready. I pointed the barrel right at his face.
    "Don't try that again," I growled.
    He frowned, raw anger in his eyes. Another flash of lightning showed me the entire dock for a second, and the small, rocking boat on which I stood. I sat down on a seat near the front, facing back. The man started the motor right away.
    As we began to move, I began to question the wisdom of what I'd just done. It was midnight, and I was sailing out on a tiny boat on a frigid sea, trying to outrun a storm. The man sailing with me would probably try to throw me overboard first chance he got.
    Then I heard the sirens coming closer, and I knew I really had no choice.
    We fled. The man veered the boat expertly out into open sea.
    "Hey," I asked the man, as the light of the docks faded away and we were swallowed by near-perfect darkness. "You haven't told me your name."
    "Fuck you."
    I grinned. "I'm Sven. You'll be spending some time with me, so you'd better tell me yours. Might make your time easier. Maybe I won't shoot you before I leave."
    He was silent for so long that I thought he wouldn't answer. I heard nothing but the roar of the motor, feeling the cold sea breeze heavy on my back as we sailed forward into the darkness. The sea was lit up by intermittent flashes of white light from the sky.
    "I'm Matt," he said suddenly. "And you'd better be as good with that gun as you say you are. Or you might find out that it's me trying to decide whether to shoot you or not."
    "We'll see," I answered. I liked this guy's attitude. He had a gun pointed at his face and I'd basically kidnapped him, but he still had fight left in him. Not bad. "We'll see, Matt."

The next chapter will come out next Tuesday!
If you like this story, make sure to check out my other Nifty story, `Learning with a Man' at: