This is a fictional story dealing with love and consensual sexual
activities between males. If you are not of legal age, reside in an
area where viewing such material is illegal, or are offended by
homosexuality and/or homosexual themes, leave this site now.
The author retains all rights to this story. No reproductions or links
to other sites are allowed without the permission of the author.
Note: I owe a special thanks to Robb for doing the final
proofreading and catching all those silly little errors that I missed.
THUNDER IN THE NIGHT
When I headed out of the office that Friday, I had no idea how many
changes would soon come into the nice quiet life I'd worked so hard to
build. I'm Paul Nichols, 33-year-old owner of a computer software
company based in San Diego. As far as physical description, I'm 5' 11"
with medium dark brown hair that I keep cut fairly short (but not
buzzed) because it's easier to take care of that way. I've got hazel
eyes, weigh in at 175 lbs, and try to keep myself in some sort of shape
by swimming and hitting the gym at least a couple times a week. And
since you all know where this story is posted, I'm gay and don't
remember a time in my life when I didn't know that fact. To complete
the physical description, I've got a moderate amount of hair on my
chest and legs but not much on my rear end. I'm circumcised and hang
about 4" soft and 8" when hard (not that there had been many reasons in
the past couple of years to display it hard to any one other than
I grew up in a small town in Ohio and attended Ohio State University
for a couple of years before deciding that I wasn't getting much out of
school and heading out to California to get my head together. Looking
back at it I realize that I was also trying to get away from my first
really serious love affair that turned very sour toward the end of my
When I got out to San Diego, I got a job with a computer repair outfit
and discovered I had a natural talent for all that cyber stuff. I
became the classic geek who ate and slept in the computer lab, but it
sure paid off financially. By the time I was 30, I had developed and
sold two businesses and held the
copyrights on a couple of neat security programs used by some big
institutions in the West. My third start up venture involved imaging
and software, and we were doing very well. I wasn't Bill Gates by a
shot, but I had money in the bank, a condo in a good section of San
and a small rancho out in Santa Teresa County about 45 minutes east of
Diego on I-8.
It was early evening, and I was driving out to the rancho for a long
weekend of R&R. I'd been working on a new imaging enhancement
program, and I was stuck. I'd found in the past that the quiet of the
country sometimes cleared the fuzz out of my head and let me see the
solution to whatever problem I'd been working on.
As I tooled along I-8 in my Chevy Tahoe, I punched the number for Alton
Stout into the cell phone. Alton was my neighbor in Santa Teresa
County. He and his wife, Juanita, live in modest house on the edge of
city of Santa Teresa. It was hard to tell their ages. I thought Alton
probably in his early to mid 60's, but Juanita looked several years
than that. In return for letting him keep his old horse in my barn and
Alton looked after the house and took care of my horse, a gelding named
Blaze, while I was away in San Diego.
Alton answered on the second ring. "'Lo?"
"Alton, this is Paul. I'm coming up to the ranch for a few days, so
I'll take care of the horses tomorrow."
"Thanks, Paul. I think me and Juanita will head out for the day. She's
been wantin' to do some things over in El Centro."
"How's everything going?"
"Well, the horses are doin' fine. Blaze needs to be ridden some to get
some exercise. Other'n that things is okay." He paused for a second
continuing. "Oh, Paul, the county paper said that some folks were
trouble with illegals movin' through their land. The Sheriff's warned
to be sure to lock their doors...'specially at night."
I wasn't surprised by the news about illegal aliens in the county.
Santa Teresa County was right along the Mexican border although usually
the illegals tried to cross the border in the lower elevations east and
west of Santa Teresa
County rather than climb up to our plateau. The INS and Border Patrol
started a crack down on illegals in the easier border crossing areas,
it looked like the action had moved to our area of the state.
"Thanks, Alton. I'll be sure to do that. You and Juanita have a good
in El Centro, and I'll see you on Sunday."
I hit the "end" button on the cell phone. I wasn't particularly worried
about having illegal aliens crossing my property. I figured they were
trying to get into the U.S. for the same reasons that my ancestors had
come over. Namely, to make a better life for themselves and their
I stopped at a supermarket at the edge of Santa Teresa City to pick up
supplies...milk, beer, meat, eggs, and fresh vegetables. I loaded the
supplies in the back of the Tahoe and drove the eight miles out to the
As I got closer to the ranch I could feel the tension from the office
melting away. Somehow Rancho del Abuelo always soothed me. The ranch
was somewhat isolated, and I liked that.
The ranch house was set up on a small hill a good three quarters of a
mile off a secondary road. The house itself was a single story U-shaped
adobe structure that had been built in the late 1940's. There was a
wide porch that went all around the outside of the house. The open
living/dining area took up two thirds of the front of the house with
the master bedroom and bath
in the other corner. The bedroom leg of the house had two other smaller
with a shared bath in between them. The other wing of the house had the
kitchen and another bedroom that originally had been a cook's bedroom
I had converted into a computer room and office. The house was only one
room deep all around so each room opened out to the outside porch and
an inner open hallway/courtyard. There was a small kitchen garden in
courtyard and a pool spanning the open arms of the U. There always
seemed to be a breeze that kept the house cool and liveable even in the
middle of summer. The barn where the horses were kept was about twenty
yards away from
the kitchen wing of the house.
The ranch had become my sanctuary, especially after the nasty break up
of my second major romantic involvement. Although the break with
Richard had happened almost two years earlier, some of the wounds were
raw. It had been one of those classic break up scenes. I'd come home
unexpectedly and caught Richard and some damn twink going at it like
minks right there on the living room carpet. I just turned around,
climbed into my SUV and headed out to the ranch. I called Richard that
night and told him he had one week to move his things out of the condo,
and I hadn't seen him since.
Everything looked normal when I pulled up to the house. I unloaded the
Tahoe, put the groceries away, and then took one of the beers out to
porch. I sat in one of the several rocking chairs spaced along the
and listened to the sounds of the night while I slowly sipped the beer.
The day had been a hot one, even for mid summer, and the heat
flashed on the horizon. I just let my mind wander. Sometimes when I did
that the solution to the problem that had been eluding me would pop
my head, but it didn't happen that time.
About eleven, I wandered back into the house to get ready for bed.
Remembering Alton Stout's warning, I locked the kitchen and front doors
before turning off the lights, relieving my bladder, brushing my teeth,
and finally dropping my clothes in a jumbled heap on the floor of the
bedroom and climbing into bed.
Some time in the middle of the night I was awakened by the sound of
thunder. But, at the same time it wasn't like thunder...more like a
string of fire crackers in the distance. I rolled over and went back to
The next morning I dressed, quickly ate some toast and had a cup of
coffee before heading out to the barn to take care of the horses. I
wanted to take Blaze for a ride to give him a little exercise before
the day heated up too much.
Blaze and Boots, Alton's horse, greeted me with whinnies and snickers.
I turned Boots loose into the corral before saddling up Blaze. I
a canteen and my cell phone into the saddle bags and headed out for the
ride. It felt great to be out at the rancho again. Blaze seemed as
happy as I was.
The morning was clear and quiet. I rode around the perimeter of the
ranch property. My objective was a small bluff which afforded a great
view of the countryside looking south toward the Mexican border.
I was still one row of hills away from the bluff when I noticed several
buzzards circling overhead. There were about a dozen of the big birds
doing their lazy loops in the sky. What caught my attention was that
these birds appeared to be descending instead of climbing which would
be more normal for that time
of the day. That could only mean that something, and something pretty
had died, and the buzzards were moving in for brunch. I decided to
thinking that someone's cow or steer might have wandered off and died.
least I could do was to find the carcass, identify the brand, and call
owner to let them know that their herd was diminished by one animal. I
Blaze toward the circling carrion feeders.
Nothing could have prepared me for the sight beyond the ridge. There
were bodies down in the draw, but they weren't cattle...they were
I kicked Blaze in the flanks urging him down to the carnage. As soon as
Blaze got me to the scene, I swung out of the saddle and quickly
of the bodies for any signs of life. There were ten hispanic men...all
dead. Each one appeared to have been shot. Some bore several bullet
I realized it had been gunshots, not thunder, that had awakened me in
the night. In the same moment I realized that who ever had murdered the
still be around. I ran back to Blaze and rode to the top of the ridge.
I looked all around and couldn't see any sign of another person. Still
heavily, I pulled out the cell phone and dialed 911.
"911. Please state your name and the nature of the emergency."
"This is Paul Nichols out at Rancho del Abuelo, and I've just come
across ten dead bodies."
"I said this is Paul Nichols, and I've just found ten dead men out on
"Okay. Where are you located?
"I'm about a mile off County Road 25 between Rancho del Abuelo and
"Do you need an ambulance?
"No! They're all dead. I checked. I need the Sheriff."
"I'm dispatching a deputy. Can you be seen from the road?
"No. I'm on horseback. I'll ride to the cattle gate on road 25 between
Rancho del Abuelo and Rancho Seco. I can meet the deputy there and lead
"How long before you can get there?"
"It'll take me about ten minutes."
"Okay, the deputy is on his way now. He should be at the cattle gate by
the time you get there. Start now."
"I'm on my way."
I cut off the phone and put it back in the saddle bags, but I didn't
leave right away to meet the deputy. Instead, I got off the horse,
stumbled a couple
of steps away, leaned over, and vomited the contents of my stomach onto
(to be continued)