19 November 2004
Well, I'm back and feeling better, if somewhat lethargic after this
cold and cough thing. I want to thank those who wrote with all of
their various remedies...tea with a splash of bourbon seemed to help
things, or at least make them a bit more bearable. <wink> I
hope things are going well for all of you and that you enjoy the newest
addition to the story. If you have any comments, know that I try
to get to all of them as time permits.
Since next week is Thanksgiving, I will be taking some badly needed
time off to do the turkey thing with out-of-town family, so the next
installment will be the following week. Frankly, I'd rather be
writing...the pumpkin soup they serve at this place we always go is so
tasteless it hurts my feelings. Oh, well; what can one do?
Take care and have a great Thanksgiving,
Please turn off your cell phones and pagers and remove all screaming
babies to the lobby.................
This story is a work of
Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or
dead, is entirely coincidental. This
story also deals with love and consensual sexual activities between men.
If you are not of legal age, reside in an
area where viewing such material is illegal, or are offended by such
not read further and leave this site now.
The author retains all
rights to this story. Reproductions or
links to other sites are
not allowed without the permission of the author.
Lives – Two Loves
Jon had a fresh pot of coffee made already. Alicia
added some sugar and sighed as the
caffeine hit her system.
“Oh, God, that’s good.
Can I make this my regular breakfast place,” she smiled.
“Sure; why not.
Everyone else is these days,” Jon said, flashing his grin.
“The menu’s a little limited but I highly recommend the
chef,” I winked, putting my arm around Jon’s waist.
He smiled up at me and followed my lead. It
was really our first public display of
affection in front of Alicia. She
smiled, happy that we were becoming comfortable with her.
“Okay, lovebirds; we’ve danced around long enough,” she
said. “Talk to me.”
I sighed and began slowly, telling Alicia about the night
before. Not everything, of course.
She was going to have to fill in the details
with Ron and Hunter on her own. I told
her about dinner and about the Ouija board.
“Oh, Sweet Jesus,” she exclaimed, her coffee spilling as her
hand dropped to the counter. “Tell me
you really didn’t fool around with one of those things!”
“Wait, it gets better,” I said, raising my hands for her to
“Better?! You must be
I went on to tell her about my vision, my visit with
Grandfather and Fishing Bear and Dawn over Water. I
watched their mouths drop as I told them
about our conversation, about Grandfather’s warning.
“And he’s right, too!” Alicia said.
“Dude, just when were you planning on telling me about
that part of it?” Jon asked, a
little put out that I hadn’t confided in him.
Jon was right. I
should have told him before now. “Sorry,
babe; my bad. Thought you’d think I was
nuts after the little display I put on.”
“What display?” Alicia asked.
I sighed and told her how I’d woken up, jumped up and ripped
the board to shreds and thrown it away.
“Good. Go on.”
Then I told her about our little ghost hunt, about the
telegraph noises, about the door opening and slamming.
She and Jon hardly blinked as they stared at
me. Then I told her about Grandfather’s
second visit while I was in the bathroom.
About Corbin. Jon slumped in
exasperation and held out his hands plaintively.
“Brad, why didn’t you tell me about this?” he asked.
“What would you have done?” I asked, looking him dead in the
eye. I don’t know, maybe I was still
afraid Jon would think I was going insane, maybe I thought I was trying
protect him. I don’t know exactly why I
didn’t tell him. The best I could manage
was, “I didn’t want you to worry about me; that’s all,” I said.
How lame could I get?
“Pfffft…dude, I; you know…” Jon sputtered, he was getting
exasperated with me, his sentences, if that’s what you want to call
weren’t making sense, but they were completely clear to me.
He stopped when Alicia rested her hand on his
“Hon,” she whispered.
“Don’t get put out with him. He’s
just being a typical Scorpio; it’s what they do,” she explained.
My head snapped to her, my eyebrows furrowed. “How’d
you know I’m a Scorpio?” Jon looked back
and forth at us, puzzled.
“Oh, you’re textbook,” she said. “The eyes
were my first clue. You stare right into
people; you don’t blink
when you do.”
“I’ll vouch for that,” Jon said.
“And you’ve felt it, haven’t you,” Alicia winked to Jon.
“Among other things,” he grinned.
“Yeah, well; we won’t look down that street,” she smiled
“And?” I asked now that she had my curiosity aroused.
“You love exploring mysteries, despite what you think or
say, and get upset when people poke into your
business too much.”
“Got that right,”
“Oh, don’t you have something to dust?” I groused at
him. He winked, knowing he’d gotten to
“See?” she said.
“What about me?” Jon
asked, the small wide-eyed child in him peeking out.
Alicia studied him for a quick second, “Cancer. Birthday
Jon’s mouth fell open, “That’s right,” he whispered.
She nodded. “You’re
the healer, the caregiver. You’ll look
out for Brad even when he doesn’t want to be looked out for.
You two are made for each other.
He’ll look out for you, too, but in different
ways than yours. You already know that,
“Yeah,” Jon whispered, looking up at me again, not quite
making full eye contact.
Personally, I didn’t know what to say. It
was like she knew us better than we knew
ourselves, painting us as we were but would never admit to.
Don’t ask me why; maybe it’s just a guy
“Anyway,” she began, breaking the brief silence. “Fun
time’s over. Let’s get down to business.”
“So where do you want to start?”
“First thing, I want to tell you boys, and I wish the other
two numbskulls were here to hear this, that you don’t fool around with
“But Ron said…,” Jon began.
“Hon, don’t,” Alicia cut him off, waving at him. “Just…don’t,
okay? I’ll talk with him, too, but what
Grandfather said,” she turned back to me, “was absolutely true.
And he may be right about your resident
spirit. When I first walked around this
house, I thought, well, maybe this is just some lost soul Brad has to
help. Then today, I walk through the
front door and it’s like,” she paused, struggling to find the word, “…a
that wasn’t there before.”
“So now?” I prompted.
“So now…I’m not so sure about my initial feelings and I want
to have another look around. You’re
coming with me,” she said to me, taking another sip of coffee.
“And yesterday at lunch, I was getting some
weird vibes from you, hon.”
“Me?” Jon asked.
“The phone calls,” Alicia nodded. “Up
until then, Brad was pretty much the
center of attention.” Jon nodded as he
listened, uneasy about where this might be leading.
“So I have to wonder if your friend…Corbin?”
“Corbin,” I confirmed.
“…isn’t getting impatient to have someone listen to
him. But that doesn’t feel quite right
and I can’t put my finger on it.”
“Sounds to me like he’s getting more than impatient,” Jon
I nodded, “Yeah, I mean, it feels to me like there’s
something else going on here, but I can’t get my arms around it.”
“I agree, and I’m glad to see you using your feelings,”
Alicia said. “That’s why we need to walk
around and figure out what’s changed.”
“You need me for this?” Jon asked. I think
he was getting a bit nervous about
the whole thing. I let my fingers trail
up and down his arm, letting him know it was okay.
“No, hon; we’ll call you if we need you.”
“Cool,” he said. “I’m
going to tend to the pool; shout if you need anything.”
“If we shout, you’d better start running,” I grinned,
walking my fingers up his neck like a creeping spider.
He jumped from the sensation and I couldn’t
help but laugh.
“Cut it out!” he shouted, his smirk changing to a grin.
“Both of you cut it out,” Alicia admonished. “This
isn’t as funny as you think!” We were both
taken aback by her sudden
attitude. I had the feeling she sensed
more than what she was telling. “Now
let’s get on with it,” she said, putting down her cup and heading for
entry. She turned and looked at me.
“Well c’mon,” she commanded when I didn’t
follow right away.
“Now what?” I asked as we stood in the entry.
“First, let’s just take a minute and clear our heads.
Start by taking some deep breaths. Slow.
Deep,” she intoned. “I want you
to relax and open yourself up.”
I did as she instructed, closing my eyes and letting the air
fill my lungs, holding it for a second as she did and then letting it
gradually. Once. Twice.
We both went on like that for a minute or so.
“You’re feeling more relaxed,” she said.
I nodded, saying nothing.
Slowly, I began to feel a change in the air around me.
No, not the air, exactly.
It was more like a change in the, I don’t
know, the atmosphere of the house, if
that makes any sense. It was heavier
than I’d remembered ever experiencing, like the stale air in that room
upstairs, but it penetrated every pore of my body, pushing down on me.
The sensations increased.
It was passing heavy on its way to being
oppressive. I moaned and tried to shake
it off. My eyes shot open and I grabbed
“Oh, my God! What IS
that?!” I exclaimed. I listened as my
voice carried away from me
and then seemed to return, reverberating through the hall but
especially in my
“That’s the house,” Alicia said quietly. “Well,
maybe not the house so much as the
spirit, this Corbin.”
The feeling of oppressiveness lingered and I tried again to
shake it out of my head.
“Why is it so heavy?”
“Tell me what you’re feeling; and try to be as exact as
possible,” she said; her voice was calm and professional.
I stammered a bit at first.
“It was a bunch of stuff. All
kinds of things, all at once, and none of them felt very good,” I said
took my hand. I calmed down, my voice
steadied. “It was very
surreal, like, anxiety and remorse, almost like the house was,
I don’t know, sobbing, but…,” I paused, the words catching in my throat.
“Go on; say it,” she said, her steady voice bracing and
“There was like, I don’t know, this…it was like this heavy
feeling of…” I stopped for a second; I didn’t want to say it.
“No, this is too weird; you won’t believe
“I’m not going to laugh at you, Brad,” Alicia soothed in
motherly tones. “Just say what you
I smirked a little. I
felt like a dumb kid afraid to give the wrong answer in class, but I
to. “I don’t know; it felt like…” I
struggled with how unreal, how insane the concept felt and finally
“…envy?” I whispered. Alicia nodded and
“And I think that’s partly what you boys let out,” she said.
“You mean with the board?” I asked. Alicia
nodded again, her smile became
wan. “How do you let out a feeling?”
You didn’t let out a feeling, Brad; you, and I don’t mean
just you, I mean all of you
knuckleheads fooling around with that thing; you let out the entity
“Huh? Is that even
“You felt it yourself,” she said. “But
what I’m concerned about, and what you
should be concerned about, too, is the intent behind those feelings,”
“I say again…Huh?”
Alicia smirked but was patient.
This was happening a bit fast for me to take all in.
“Intent, hon. If the
intention behind these feelings is driven by, say, genuine regret or
should be able to help this poor soul get to where he needs to be.”
“And if it’s not? I
mean, that sure didn’t feel like some ‘poor soul’ staring at me in the
“Then we may have a problem; there’s no easy way to say it,
but that’s what we’re here to find out.”
“Great,” I muttered.
“So what do I, I mean we, do
“We start over.”
I wasn’t too hot on that idea. “I don’t
know if I…”
“Brad, you’ve got to,” she said taking my hand in hers
“Alicia, those feelings are too…,” I trailed off. “It
was almost like I couldn’t breathe.”
“Hon, you were… oh, God, how can I explain this? You
were having a sympathetic reaction to an
empathic vision,” she said. “You have to
put yourself outside of that. You have
to learn to be an observer or you won’t last at this.
You’ve done it before in your dreams with no
“Don’t know if I can, or even want to,” I said.
“Too late for that,” she said. “You
Yeah, I had. I
couldn’t help but feel like I was being dragged kicking and screaming
this, but I had agreed. There was no
getting around it. Oh, sure; I could’ve
just ended it all right there, like some schoolboy who couldn’t hack it
just walks away. If I did that, though,
I’d never be able to hold my head up around Jon ever again,
some of the stuff that I’d laid on him recently. I
had to do this. I had to, but it was
difficult finding the
It was like the first time I climbed up on a three-meter
diving board when I was a kid. The water
looked like it was a hundred miles down and I was scared to death.
I knew if I landed wrong, it’d be like
landing on concrete pavement, but my mom and dad kept yelling
from the side. In my mind’s eye, I could
almost see Grandfather and Fishing Bear and Dawn over Water, and a
others I didn’t recognize, doing the same thing, encouraging me,
confidence to do this. It was time for
me to break through the water like it had years before.
I had to.
“There’s no walking away from this,” I finally said.
“No there isn’t,” Alicia said.
“It wasn’t a question,” I said.
“I know…,” I heard a
voice trailing off. I wasn’t sure whose,
We gathered our strength again. Well, I
gathered mine; Alicia was more
practiced at it and guided me along.
Helping me relax, slowing my breathing, getting me in the proper
of mind again. Those feelings returned.
If you’ve ever held a distraught friend in your arms as they
sobbed on your shoulder, then you have the barest inkling of what I was
experiencing. I was having a hard time
pushing past it. Alicia lightly rubbed
my back, calming me as I fought past whatever it was, trying to take
them without being sucked down by them.
I was feeling drained by them already but I had to muscle
it. At least I thought I could muscle
The emotions I was feeling weren’t like a door I needed to
pass through on the way to something else; they were the pool I had to
without getting wet. They were like a
compass, a map, a direction finder and a barometer all in one.
When Alicia felt I was ready, we began our
walk through the house, touring it slowly, like I’d never done before.
We began upstairs.
There was nothing becoming visible, no ghosts, no mists, no
balls of light. At first, there were only those feelings, those heavy
of intense sadness and that very odd, underlying feeling of envy.
How do you even begin to describe envy? I
can’t, and I was experiencing it; but envy
of what? Me? Jon?
Someone else? Envy of this house?
Was it even envy at all? I
don’t know for sure. And how can something
be envious and sad at
the same time? It didn’t make sense, but
it was starting to give me a headache.
They intensified when we entered the bedroom.
Jon’s and my bedroom.
“Oh, God, it…” I said, unconsciously backing out of the door
like some horrible smell had hit my nose.
I caught myself on the door jamb and Alicia took my arm,
“You feel it too, don’t you?” she asked. I
could only nod. The feeling was especially
heavy here and I
suddenly felt nauseous. “Say, that’s a
solid bicep you got there, stud. Ever
consider a career in law enforcement?” she said, smiling and winking as
squeezed my arm a couple of times.
“What? What do you…”
I frowned, confused by her action until I noticed that the nausea had
passed. She winked again.
Her little trick had worked.
“Just diverting your mind a little. You
were getting pulled pretty strong; I
could tell,” she said. “And don’t worry,
hon; I wasn’t coming on to you,” she laughed.
“Of course, well…” she trailed off, smiling.
I returned her smile now that I understood that she was just
keeping me from getting pulled in faster than what I could take, and
thought flashed across my mind.
“No, Alicia; I don’t have any brothers,” I laughed.
She slapped my arm.
“Bad manners, young man,” she said. “No peeking without an
“I’ll keep my eyes open, though; there’s gotta be some
straight boys around town somewhere,” I winked.
“Yeah, very funny,” she chided. “C’mon;
playtime’s over. Back to work.”
My thoughts turned serious again, almost like a switch being
“Alicia, why now? Why
haven’t I ever felt this in here before?”
“Because it wasn’t fully here until you let it out and you
weren’t really open to it until just now.”
“Alicia, I’m just not getting something,” I said. “You
keep saying we let it out, let him out,
let Corbin out, whatever; but I’ve been having these experiences from
the first day I set foot in this house.
What’s different now?”
She paused for a second, taking a slow breath “That depends
entirely on the intent of the spirit,” she said. “I
know it’s not what you wanted to hear, but
there’s no way for me to wrap it into a tidy little package.”
“I mean, can you give me a hint or something?”
She thought for another second or two. “Think
of before like a wall, actually, more
like a safety valve, between you and the spirit. You
could both peek around the wall, you
could even reach around the wall and, from time to time, you could step
the wall, you’ve done it before. The
spirit was limited in what it could do.”
“Well, to use some classic movie examples, it could make
noises, move things around a little, prompt visitations, rattle chains,
will; Jon’s phone calls are a perfect example. And it was always pretty
limited to that.”
“Why do I sense a ‘but’ coming?”
“But,” Alicia smiled, “…you removed the safety valve.
Now it, Corbin, can act directly on things,
drawing directly on power from both worlds, so his scope is much
“But nothing’s happened,” I said, and I knew it was dumb the
moment I said it. Alicia looked at me
like I’d just grown a second head.
“Oh? What do you call
what happened last night, young man?”
“Yeah, well,” I sputtered, “I mean, nothing bad’s happened.”
“Day ain’t over, yet,” she said. “You can
feel that the house has
changed. It’s a lot heavier than when I
was first here, maybe you can’t see the difference as much because you
with it day to day, but I think you know better.”
“You’re right,” I said grudgingly. I knew
something had changed. I didn’t know what,
exactly, but, for some
reason, I just didn’t want to admit it to myself. It
must be another one of those guy
things. I mean, guys just don’t readily
admit to some things. An arm could be
falling off and we’d still act like nothing was wrong, no need for a
just walk it off, you know? But Alicia
was right. The house had definitely
“The real question goes back to the intent of the spirit
here, and I’m just not getting a warm and fuzzy yet.
It’s like I’m not being allowed to see
“So what do you want to do?”
“Let’s go back downstairs.
I want to try the front parlor.”
I was all for getting away from the bedroom. I
knew one thing for sure, something was
going to have to give because I knew I was going to have a hard time
love with Jon with that feeling in the room. It
was tons worse than just seeing the image
of the man in the mirror. This didn’t
feel like someone just staring at you.
This had the feel of something being part of you, and I didn’t
We went back down the steps to the entry and into the front
parlor. One thing I noted was that the
energy was different in different parts of the house.
The feelings were still there, but their
intensity varied. I felt colder when we
turned the corner into the parlor. I
shivered, gasping a bit as I wrapped my arms around me.
“You feel it, too, huh?”
“Feel it? How could
you miss it?” I asked.
Alicia went behind me and rubbed my arms, trying to get some
warmth back into them. It wasn’t
working. I might as well have been naked
in the snow; a little arm rubbing wasn’t going to help.
Then, as quickly as it’d come over me, the
feeling passed and I was warm again. The
feelings were all still there, though; the connection had not been
“Hmm, that was interesting,” Alicia muttered.
“Interesting?” I said.
“Interesting good or interesting bad?”
I was not really in the mood for vagaries.
“Let me just say ‘interesting-maybe-not-so-good’,” she said,
“Oh, you’re a big help,” I smirked. Alicia
didn’t respond right away. I was expecting
her to backhand me for my
semi-wiseass remark but she just kept looking around the room.
“Stop talking for a sec and open up, hon,” she whispered.
I did as she instructed, taking a few deep breaths again and
letting my mind go.
“Oh, God,” I muttered.
“You feel it now, don’t you?” she asked.
“OH, yeah,” I said, nodding my head as I stared at nothing
in particular, turning my face towards different points in the room.
“We’re being watched.”