3 December 2004
Good morning, everyone,
I hope that those of you who celebrate it had a good
Thanksgiving. It was great having some time off but, karmic
balance being what it is, this past week was an absolute bear!
>From the looks of my schedule, I'm going to have to do my holiday
shopping online and forgo the sedate atmosphere of the shopping malls
(now there's a laugh).
I want to thank you for your kind letters; they're much
appreciated. I should have the next chapter up on or about the
17th. Please forgive me; I'm backed up on a lot of personal
and work related things and the holidays aren't helping. Hang in
there and thank you in advance for your patience.
Have an excellent weekend.
When last we left our heroes, Brad and Jon were bound back to back in
the burning cabin as a test fired, off-course ICBM streaked towards
their........oh, wait a minute....that's the next
book.....sorry...;-) (You can tell I'm a little punchy this
morning) Ah; here it is:
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
Have you ever been alone somewhere, it doesn’t matter where,
just anywhere, and even though your brain was telling you that you were
something really deep inside of you said, ‘Nah-uh…there’s something
babe’? You could be pulling an
all-nighter in the library working on a paper, you could be walking
home from a
party with no one around but you and the sound of your footsteps, you
even be in your own home up early getting coffee, and even though you
were alone, you also knew you weren’t.
That’s called a contradiction, guys, a paradox, and it’s a big
Contradictions and paradoxes like these can be really
spooky, because what happens is, and please pardon me while I jump on
box here, the left side of your brain, the part that ‘civilized’
only its five senses has succeeded in programming, is saying “There
nothin’ here; what the fuck’re you talkin’ about?”
Then you’ve got the right side of your brain,
the part that ‘civilized’ society told to shut up and sit down, saying,
fine. Go ahead on, then, but don’t blame
me when you get jumped…..asshole!” The
left side of your brain isn’t man enough to admit when he’s wrong and
side is tuning up with an I-told-you-so.
So basically there’s a bitch-slapping contest going on inside
at times like that. Times like where I
And I should’ve known better, been more receptive.
Hell, I’d been through enough by now that I
shouldn’t even question a feeling like that, but it was still creeping
big-time. Maybe it’s just something you
never really get used to, being watched and knowing you’re being
without being able to see who’s watching you, and THAT’S really
spooky. Any guy who’s
ever seen front-line service is probably nodding his head right now,
something under his breath like, “Fuckin’-A”.
It tends to get the adrenalin pumping.
The flow switch on my
adrenalin was about half open as I looked around the front parlor.
Alicia looked, too. I
could feel the cool evaporation from the
beads of sweat on my scalp.
“You, okay?” Alicia asked.
“Yeah, I’m all right,” I said.
“You don’t look all right,” she half whispered.
“I’m okay,” I stressed.
Stressed. Now there’s
a word for you. I felt like a block of
ice and I didn’t need a mirror, if you could still find one around here
Jon’d gotten through, to know that I must be as white as a sheet.
The feeling of being watched was eerie. The
memory of Corbin leering at me in my
dream was still fresh in my mind and was very unsettling, and that
feeling of sadness I was getting was…no; not just sadness, and it
much envy anymore like I’d felt before.
It was more like frustration.
Impatience. Like when your dad
calls you on the carpet for something and waits silently for your
But my fucking response to what? GOD!
hated that feeling! What was worse was
that I had no idea of what to do with it and it was making me
frustrated, too. Alicia must’ve felt this
and took my hand
again. She squeezed it lightly a couple
of times, like a mother does with a child, letting me know she was
me, that I wasn’t alone in this.
“It’s okay, Brad.
Now, I want you to just relax your mind,” she said, taking deep
again. I followed along with her
rhythm. “That’s it, deeeeeeep
breaths. In through the nose; out
through the mouth; c’mon, follow along with me.”
I did as she instructed for a couple of minutes and my
sympathetic frustration started to fade.
My heart slowed down, it almost felt lower than at my normal
state. Very odd, I thought, but I went
with it anyway.
Then I heard her voice behind me.
“Now, close your eyes and open up that big third eye of
yours. I want you to look around the
room and tell me what you see.”
I felt so very relaxed, “I’m liable to fall over if I don’t
sit down,” I said. A part of me was
worried about drifting off and losing my balance.
“I’ve got you, hon; don’t worry,” she whispered.
Alicia might be a lot smaller than I was but I had the
feeling that she’d locked up stronger guys than me and wouldn’t have
trouble catching me if need be. I
trusted her. I nodded and did as she
At first there was nothing.
I only saw black, the darkness of the inside of my eyelids.
I felt Alicia’s hand on my lower back, gently
rubbing back and forth.
“I’m not getting anything.”
“It’ll come,” she whispered, “you just need to relax.”
I knew she wasn’t telling me everything. “You
see something already, don’t you?”
“Yes,” she whispered.
“But I’m not here to tell you what I see, I’m here to show you how
“I think I already know that.”
“Yeah, but you need to learn to do it for yourself, not get
sucked into it like you usually do,” she said.
“You’ve got to control, not be controlled.”
“Yes, Master Yoda,” I sighed, bowing slightly.
“Stop it,” she growled, playfully smacking my butt.
I couldn’t help but laugh a little. “Get
serious, now,” she said. “Let’s try again.”
“Yes, ma’am,” I said.
I shrugged my shoulders and shook my arms a few times, loosening
I would before a swim. I repeated my
breathing exercises and got back to where I was, relaxed, perhaps even
tipsy from almost hyperventilating.
“I’ve got you; don’t worry,” Alicia reassured me. “Don’t
think about anything…just relax and
let it come to you…don’t want it to be anything,” she continued
like my coach used to do during practice, repeating advice like a
hoping it would take root and keep me focused.
“…let it be what it is, don’t impose your own ego on it.”
Her voice trailed off as I felt it, that wave of electrical
warmth starting at my feet, washing over me and touching every part of
every part of my mind. The darkness of
my eyelids disappeared like a haze evaporating in a breeze and I began
the parlor in my mind’s eye. It wasn’t
the parlor we were standing in, though, it was the parlor from an
when the house was new. All of Jon’s
uncle’s furniture was gone. The leather
club chairs were replaced by heavy sofas and seats covered in a fabric
reminded me of my grandmothers’ house except that this was new, not
threadbare like hers.
“You see it now, don’t you?” I heard Alicia whisper.
She sounded far away. I nodded,
managing a weak “Yes” in reply.
“Turn around, Brad,” she said. “Can you
I did as she asked, turning inch by inch towards her, afraid
that if I moved too suddenly I would lose the image.
I nodded again, “I see you, but it’s like
you’re there but not there,” I said. It
was so strange, she looked almost transparent, but when I reached out
her she felt solid enough.
“Good,” Alicia continued, “Now, I want you to slowly open
your eyes but still try to keep the image in your mind.
I opened my eyes and saw Alicia standing a foot in front of
me, studying me. She said nothing but
seeing her with my eyes distracted me and the image in my mind began to
“Focus, Brad,” she said again, running her hands down my
I took another breath and the image returned, dimly at
first, then stronger. It was totally
but still very weird; with my own two eyes, I was seeing the room as I
club chairs, coffee table, leather sofa, white plaster walls and
Alicia standing there watching for any sign of God-only-knew what.
But in that ‘big third eye’ of mine, I was
seeing the room as it was, chintz covered chairs, heavy window
Victorian style wallpaper that was so busy I almost fainted from
dizziness. I also saw the wall that was
no longer there, with the door leading to the wood paneled office that
longer existed. And then there were those feelings creeping back again.
“He’s watching us, isn’t he?” I whispered.
The feeling of the ‘air’ became heavier again. There
was the sadness, always the
sadness. It was depressing and I felt a
wave of anxiety churning in the pit of my stomach.
There was also that odd feeling of impatience
again, like I could almost see someone, Corbin, sitting behind that
behind that desk, strumming his fingers, nails clicking on that heavy
desk, waiting for something. But waiting
for what? Dumb question.
I knew what he was waiting for. He
was waiting for me.
I could feel myself starting to shake. Alicia
must’ve felt it and seen it; she took
a firm grip on my bicep, bracing me.
“Don’t get caught up in the emotions, Brad,” Alicia
said. “Take note of them, but don’t ride
them. C’mon, you’re doing great.”
“Then why do I feel scared shitless?” I asked.
“Because what you’re feeling doesn’t make sense on the
surface of it,” she said.
I should have felt sorry for this Corbin. I
never could stand to see someone in pain or
torment. In the past, I always tried to
help people who couldn’t help themselves, trying to make things right
but this felt very different somehow. My
paternalistic instincts just weren’t kicking in as wave after wave of
sadness hit me. It was like someone
crying over a lost child, but why did I get this feeling of impatience?
It made no sense to me, but it did make me
afraid. Sadness and impatience did not
mix in my mind. I should’ve wanted to
help, but I just couldn’t; I was frozen.
“There’s something more here than what we’re seeing,” I
“And feeling,” she added.
I watched as Alicia looked around the room for a few moments
as if trying to follow a scent. Then I
heard it, Dawn over Water’s soothing voice in the middle of my head, as
as if she was standing right in front of me.
“Remember Grandfather’s words, Three Eagles. Do
not let the you of you be turned against
you.” I felt a soft touch glide across
my shoulder, trailing away down my arm before vanishing.
Her voice caught me off guard and I wasn’t sure I heard it
correctly, “What? What do you mean?” I
“I didn’t say anything,” Alicia said.
She studied me for a second, probably with that same
practiced look she reserved for suspects.
Force of habit, I suppose; I knew she didn’t mean anything by it.
“Did you hear something?” she asked.
“No, I..,” I stammered.
“It’s okay, Brad,” she said.
“Of all people, you know I won’t laugh at you.”
I don’t know why, but I still fidgeted like a little kid
trying to get out the words. “I…I think
it was one of my guides,” I finally said.
“What did he say, if it’s not too personal for me to ask?”
“She…Dawn over Water,” I corrected. “I
don’t know, I’m not sure I heard it
right,” I said. Alicia waited
patiently. “It was something like ‘don’t
let the you of you be used against you’ or something like that.”
“Hmm,” Alicia pondered.
“What does it mean?”
“Well, speaking purely as a cop,” Alicia began, “I think it
means she’s afraid you’re being played.”
“Played? What do you
“I don’t know for sure, but I think it means she’s afraid
your natural, sympathetic reaction to strong emotions, this sadness for
example, is being used to suck you in.”
“To what?” I asked.
“Ah, well that’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it?” she said,
returning to her mental survey of the parlor.
“I’ll tell you this, though; and again, this is me speaking as a
she paused as she seemed to key on something in the air.
“From what I’m feeling now, if this Corbin
was a suspect of mine and I was getting the vibes I’m getting now, I’d
definitely look for some probable cause for a trip downtown; know what
“Oh…please; quit trying to make me feel all good inside,” I
“Hey, hon; you asked.
I’m just giving you my opinion.”
None of this was making me feel better. I
wanted to just find Jon, dive under some
sheets and curl up with him. THAT would
definitely make me feel better. That
wasn’t in the cards, though. At least
Somewhere in the conversation, my mental picture of the room
had faded. I was getting tired; my
familiar ‘energy’ headache was starting to let me know it was there,
wanted to continue.
“C’mon, Brad,” she prodded.
“Just a little more and we can stop for awhile.”
“Yeah, all right,” I said.
My enthusiasm was at a low ebb.
We started our breathing again, Alicia setting the pace for
me like a metronome. I closed my eyes
and, gradually, the picture returned, the house as it was, those
feelings. I shuddered a little and when
Alicia asked, I
opened my eyes.
“You seeing again?” she asked.
“Yes,” I whispered.
“Can you see through that door?” she asked quietly, nodding
towards the door into the office.
“I dunno; can you?”
“No,” she said. “The
harder I try, the more something seems to push back.”
“Is that normal?”
“For your average, run-of-the-mill haunting? No;
not at all,” she whispered.
“You’re not giving me a warm and fuzzy here, Alicia.”
“I’m not a sweater, hon.
Go ahead, give it a try,” she deadpanned, nodding at the door
“Why don’t we just go open it and see?”
“Because we can’t; at least not like this. Right
now we’re kind of peeking through a
spiritual window. The door’s there but
it’s not there. To open it, you’d need
to be in a full meditative state, in the scene if you will, but I don’t
get there just yet.”
“Why not? Isn’t that
what I excel at?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah; you’re a champ at that, but you might want to do
a little recon before jumping right in.
Try it,” she prompted, nodding again at the door.
I sighed and shook some warmth into my arms again, clearing
my throat as I focused my attention on the door. At
first nothing happened.
“What do you see?” Alicia asked. She had
the expectant feeling of a child who
couldn’t wait to get the wrapping off some present.
“A door; do you mind?” I asked. I was a
bit curt with her but my nerves were
a little on edge and Alicia took a half step back.
“Sorry,” I whispered.
“No, my fault, hon; I’ll shut up. You just
tell me what you see when you’re
I took another breath and focused on the door again.
It stood there, solid, hard as a rock; its
large brass lockset gleamed at me as if daring me to get past it.
I’d done it before, I’d do it again.
I felt like the best way to get past the lock
was to not acknowledge that it even existed, make it disappear.
Slowly, the familiar warmth crept up over me again.
The painted wood of the door began to ripple before
my eyes. Every edge of the molding,
every turn of the inlaid wood panels began to distort as if it was a
which I’d dropped a pebble, until there was only a flat whiteness.
I focused more, turning my attention more
fully to it and the whiteness dissipated like a fog, allowing me to see
it bit by bit.
I couldn’t see details at first, only the bulk of the desk,
the major lines of the window beyond and the stiles and rails of the
paneling on the walls. After a few
seconds, these came into focus and I was able to pick out more detail.
I saw that the room was empty.
By that I mean that he wasn’t there.
hear the sound of a clock ticking on the mantle.
I described all of this to Alicia in short, clipped phrases
as I saw it happen, as things came into focus.
I was afraid I’d lose the image if I spoke too much so I kept it
short. She murmured her acknowledgment
of my descriptions and I felt her hand on my arm, bolstering and
me, but it was like she was far away. It
was like I was only half in my body and it was strangely euphoric.
My fears were gone. I
was just an observer now and it hit me how
it is to be free of the limitations of my body as a part of me saw through that door. I
don’t know why it never occurred to me
before. I should have been afraid, but I
The mist of the vision dissipated and I could see the room
clearly. I looked at the desk, with twin
phones and twin, green-shaded lamps and there, in the middle of the
blotter, was the book. The book that had
haunted my dreams nearly as much as Corbin himself.
Leather bound, gilt edged.
It had the appearance of a family Bible but smaller.
It was set neatly, precisely in the center of
the blotter as if waiting for its reader.
I wanted to reach out and touch but couldn’t.
Alicia was right. From our vantage
point, we were peeking
through a window. We could window-shop
but we couldn’t touch the merchandise.
Frankly, I was tired of just window shopping and wanted to
browse. Somehow, I knew this book was
the key to it all. It had my answers and
I was determined to read it. I had to
take this ‘big third eye’ of mine out for a spin and really open her up
what it could do.
Faintly, I hoped that Alicia would truly be able to catch me
if I fell over. I don’t know how I knew
to do it but I deepened my focus, letting go of the mental tether back
body and I lost all feeling of it. I lost
the vision of the room as I knew it. Slowly, the room as it was
me. Oh, God; I cannot begin to describe
the odd euphoria I felt. That flood of
warmth surging through me, almost empowering me. I
was almost there.
In the distance, I thought I heard the pounding of feet, the
slamming of a door and a mixture of muttered voices.
They grew in intensity even as I moved
farther away and I felt hands on me, shaking me. I
couldn’t feel them at first but I knew they
were there and I felt a pulling at my brain, hands on my arms, on my
pulling me back to my body. I could see
it in the distance as if suspended in a white ether, staring, unmoving,
waiting. And I heard…
“Brad, wake up!...Snap out of it!...Brad, you there?...Man,
you okay?!...Brad!.. Brad! BRAD!” a gaggle of voices called and I woke
meditation with an almost screaming gasp.
My head ached, my knees felt weak and I crouched down and
sat curled up on the floor, afraid I might faint and fall over.
I could feel my heart pounding again; I felt
the sweat cooling my scalp as I held my face in my hands. The room was
and I knew I was being watched; not by Corbin, but by my friends.
After a moment, I felt a hand on my shoulder
as someone knelt next to me.
“Brad?” Alicia whispered.
“I’m okay,” I snapped, waving her off. A
part of me was not okay. Part of me wanted
that feeling back and all
of me wanted to get to that damned book.
My breathing returned to normal. I lifted
my head and looked around at
them. Alicia looked at me like I was her
little boy, oozing soothing concern but somehow proud.
Ron and Hunter just stared at me as if I’d
landed from Mars and demanded to see their leader.
“Why the hell did you stop me?” I demanded. I
was brusque, but maybe I shouldn’t have
been. Hunter and Ron had no way of
knowing what they’d yanked me back from, that feeling of floating free,
feeling of being without limits. Alicia
should have known better, though, and I was more than a little pissed.
“You weren’t prepared, Brad,” Alicia whispered.
“Man, you were like…gone,” Hunter said. Ron
could only nod; I’m not sure he could
speak right at that moment. “Where were
“I almost had that fucking book in my hands and y’all haul
“You were going too
far, too fast, Brad,” Alicia said.
“There’s a proper way to do these things; you were taking a
“Book? What book?”
“It’s something he keeps seeing in his dreams,” Ron said,
finally finding his voice.
I pushed myself off the floor. “But if I
can do it, why not?”
“Because there’s a proper way to do things,” Alicia repeated
slowly, fixing me sternly in the eyes. I
felt like a child being reprimanded by my mother. “And
don’t give me that look; you know what
I’m talking about,” she said.
Yeah, I knew she was right and I smirked at my own
ignorance. I could see how that euphoria
I felt was like a drug, intoxicating, mesmerizing.
I’d wanted more, as much as I could get. I
didn’t want to go back to my body and I
knew that’s what Alicia was concerned about, why she and the guys had
“Hey, look,” Ron said, interrupting our brief moment of
silent tension, “We got some subs. Why
don’t we eat and chill for a while?”
“Sounds like a plan.
I’m starved,” said Hunter.
“Good idea,” Alicia agreed.
“Let’s talk about this and pick it up again after lunch.”
I nodded. I hadn’t
realized how hungry I was, too. The
smell of the onions and peppers coming from the bag Ron held made my
rumble. I looked around.
“Hey, where’s Jon?” I asked.
“He should’ve been done cleaning the pool by now.”
“Didn’t see him back there,” Hunter said.
“He’s gotta be around somewhere,” I said. “Not
like him to miss me making a fool out of
I took the lead and headed towards the kitchen. I
didn’t see him and looked out back. The
hose for Jon’s ‘sniffer-snoofer’ was
still snaking its way around the pool and the long handled net he used
cleaning stray odds and ends lay in the grass but there was no Jon.
I opened the French doors and looked
“Hey, Jon!” I shouted, cupping my hands around my mouth.
“WHAT!” I turned, hearing his voice behind me. “Quit
shouting already, will ya?!”
We hadn’t seen him lying on the couch, hidden from
view. He sat up, looking like he did
first thing in the morning.
“Man, you scared the shit outta me,” I said. “What’s
wrong with you?”
“Oh, I was cleaning the pool and this headache just wouldn’t
go away so I came in to take a nap,” he said, annoyed at being woken up.
I relaxed. I think
the house and everything about it was setting my teeth on edge.
“Probably still from last night,” Ron said.
“Never had one like this,” Jon sighed. “Like
someone’s trying to kick my head in.”
“C’mon, you’ll feel better after you eat something,” I
said. “The guys brought lunch.”
We started to go out on the patio and I noticed that Alicia
kept staring at Jon. He noticed, too.