Gone >From Darkness
Copyright © 2006 “Bwctwriter”
I’d appreciate any feedback you have on this new story. This is the first Fantasy I’ve ever written, so please feel free to send me any comments. You can direct them here: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you enjoy the show!
During one particular act of lovemaking when we were sixteen, Luke and I had a most unexpected encounter. I was at home alone on a rainy summer afternoon, happy to have a few hours to share with my boyfriend. Alone time was hard to find, amidst the countless days we were forced to hide our feelings for each other.
It was 8:30 in the morning. My mother left for work about fifteen minutes prior, and my father had left at 7am. We were certain to have the house all to ourselves until at least 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I couldn’t wait to take my time and give Luke the love I wished so eagerly to share.
I called him right after my mother left and told him the coast was clear, so he rushed through his morning routine and jogged the two block distance from my house to his. He walked up to my doorstep, rang the bell, and, no sooner had I opened the door than was he in the house and embraced in a loving hug.
We started kissing the moment I closed the door. We hugged each other close as our tongues caressed each other. I could feel Luke’s warm breath on my skin. The heat of his body aroused me so much as we grinded ourselves together that I felt I would climax too soon, so we slowly made our way to my bedroom on the second floor. We tossed articles of clothing off all along the way until we reached the door, where we stood for a moment, stark naked, hugging, kissing, and grinding our crotches into each other.
I pushed the door open and guided him to my bed, laying him on his back. I prepared myself for a most satisfying few hours of love making and jumped right in, taking him and myself to the heights of bliss several times that morning. We took a couple of breaks, but got right back into it when our young bodies recovered. It was a magical morning of sensual delight which I would remember for the rest of my life.
And then, the world ended.
By noon, we had pretty much spent all our sexual energy. We lay naked together, cuddling on my bed. We fell asleep within minutes after our long, sweaty, draining morning of mutual loving.
About forty-five minutes later, it became apparent that we had a spectator in our midst. In my groggy state, I vaguely heard a door opening and closing, a set of high-heel shoe steps, and an exasperated sigh from the first floor.
“Good gracious, Matt,” my mother called in the direction of my room, “can’t you pick up after yourself?” She gathered the trail of clothing starting at the door and worked her way up the stairs until she reached my room. I’m not quite sure why the fact that there were two individual sets of boys’ clothes on the stairway didn’t clue her in to my activities, but it didn’t matter.
She then opened the door and stormed in, proclaiming while looking at the unkempt room around her, “How can you be such a slob? Now you’re such a pig that your sty is spilling out into other rooms. I’m sick and tired of…”
That was the end of the normal, everyday, motherly nagging towards your average, garden variety teenage boy.
“Oh my god!” she exclaimed, “What are you two doing?” She looked upon us in horror, as if she witnessed a brutal murder.
I snapped back into reality at that moment, and tried to hide Luke and myself, but we were laying atop the sheets and blankets, thus all I could do was hang my head in shame avert my eyes from the flabbergasted woman standing in front of me; the woman who I had disappointed for life.
My mother immediately scowled, stared at a just-waking and mortally terrified Luke in the face, who was still trying to figure out what was going on, and screamed, “What have you done to my son?”
Luke stuttered and searched for words that would appease the woman. I myself tried to reason with her as she began her biblical nonsense condemning my lover as a sinner and a sodomite, who was doomed to burn in hell. I screamed for her to stop, but she did not care.
Though I was surprised that she didn’t even consider the possibility that I was the one who seduced him, I was sighing inwardly. If my mother thought I was just an innocent pawn in Luke’s scheme to deflower me, I could keep my secret hidden, leaving my parents none the wiser.
“That’s it, get out of my house!” she proclaimed. Within a second, she had grabbed my lover’s arm and forcefully yanked him out of my bed, pulled him towards the door, dragged him down the stairs, and pushed him out the door. I was right behind them, begging my mother to stop hurting him.
Luke was barely given time to grab his clothing from the floor, and was most certainly not granted the right to put it on before leaving the house. My mother had no problem dragging him outside completely naked and embarrassed. He ran behind a bush and frantically pulled on his pants and shoes, not bothering to waste time putting his shirt on. The last I saw of him was when he looked back at me as he made his hasty retreat, as I sat at my doorstep crying, my face red and tear streaked.
Once my mother was satisfied that he was far enough away, she looked back at me and commanded, “You are never to have that deviant in this house again. If he tries to molest you any more, you tell me and we’ll have him arrested! And if I hear of you being together anywhere else, its military school for you!”
All I could do was cry and meekly agree to my mother’s demands in order to appease her. I was terrified that she’d throw me out on the street, and I’d be homeless, unprotected, unloved. Terrified more was I that my “loving mother” would rat out my best friend and boyfriend, exposing his secret to the world. I couldn’t bear to see him in pain. He was the sweetest, most lovable boyfriend I could ever imagine, and there he was, scared out of his mind.
I was so hurt; I wanted to die right then. If I wasn’t brought up to know that suicide was a sin, and I’d go to hell if I did so, I would have ended my life that day. I was totally crushed, my spirit broken. I was sure, though, that my pain was nothing compared to what I imagined my lover was experiencing at that moment.
I awoke in a cold sweat in the early hours of the morning, scared and affected from the horrifyingly real flashback I had just relived. I couldn’t believe that my own mother would be so malicious to a boy whose only motive was to love her son. She made him look like a monster, a deviant, someone who just wanted to abuse me. She would never understand how it could be possible for one boy to love another. She didn’t know how wrong she was. She never knew, and she never would.
Sleep evaded me the rest of the night. I was unable to shake the sick feelings from my body. I couldn’t tell if Luke had any dreams that night, and I hoped, for his sake, he did not.
As we cleaned up and dressed in silence the following morning, I was lost in thought. I knew that I needed to see those memories, as they were a part of my life, but I did not enjoy living through them while they appeared to me. So far, they’d been more depressing than enjoyable, and I wished that I’d get to experience a good memory for a change.
Shortly after we finished with breakfast, there was a soft tapping on the door. While I continued putting on my socks and shoes, Luke got up and opened the door.
“Hi,” the young male voice on the other side of the door greeted. “I’m Eric. Peter, the man you met the other night, sent me to give you a tour of the Great City, as he had some more pressing business to attend to. Are you ready?”
“Just about,” I shouted as I finished tying my shoes, then walked over to join the two and we left the apartment, walking down the busy street towards the center of the city.
“This,” Eric stated, “is the temporary housing establishment for all of our visitors. Usually, no one stays here more than a week or two, except for those of us who work here.” Eric grinned broadly and spoke in a cute voice that was somewhere between that of a young boy and a pubescent teenager.
I watched Eric as we walked. He was very energetic, and very knowledgeable of the city. He told us about each building, each area with such visible enthusiasm that we couldn’t help but be captivated by his youthful exuberance.
I looked at Luke as we walked, and he smiled each time we connected eyes. I took his hand in mine to keep us together during the times when the crowd of people walking in either direction got to be too overwhelming for him. I understood, as I needed his touch just as much. I’d never been in such a crowded street before in my life.
“That,” our energetic tour guide pointed out along the way, “is the library. You’ll find answers to many questions there.”
As we walked further, Eric pointed to a beach where the ocean and the river that we followed to reach the city met.
I squinted in the direction of the beach and saw hundreds of bodies in various states of play, enjoying the nice, warm weather. Luke was fascinated with the sights as much as I was.
As we continued on through the city, I found my focus shifting away from the scene in front of me, my environment morphing into the scenery of yet another vision, this time taking place outside the high school we attended during the time of our relationship’s discovery.
I found myself with a group of friends, Luke being conspicuously absent. We were laughing and joking around on the other side of the street, across from the school, when along walked Luke. We locked eyes for a moment. He searched my eyes for compassion, and instead, what I gave him sickened me to my core.
“Hey, look,” I said to my superficial group of friends, “it’s the school faggot. Can you believe this kid actually tried to rape me the other day?”
“That’s disgusting, man!” one of my ‘friends’ commented. “You should kick his ass!”
“Yeah,” another said, “Make him pay for what he did to you.”
Luke looked at us in a fearful and deeply hurt expression, then quickly turned to leave, but my “sidekicks” responded with equal speed and grabbed my love by the shoulders, forcing him to face me.”
“You think you can get away with trying to molest my buddy?” one of my goons asked the frightened youth.
“Yeah man,” the other added, “what are you, some kind of freak?”
“Should have known you were a faggot,” the other broke in again. “So Matt, what are you gonna do to this faggot?”
“Let’s take him over there,” I ordered, “behind the gas station.”
My goons obeyed and dragged a helpless and terrified Luke over to the gas station at the edge of the strip mall we were in. Luke was so afraid that he didn’t scream, didn’t fight. He just submitted to our orders. I felt like scum.
Once I was sure we had a modicum of privacy, I got down to business. The fact was that I was terrified of being labeled a fag. I saw nothing but pain and loneliness along that path. I chose to hide my true nature that day. I chose to deny my lover. I chose to live a lie for the rest of my life, and would pay dearly in the years to come.
I focused on the present and grinned menacingly at my ex-boyfriend. He had his head down, eyes peering up at me, searching for one glimmer of goodness in my wayward soul that would stop this madness from escalating further. He found none. It lay buried deep inside, along with my true sexuality, and would never be seen through his eyes again.
I stared Luke down, giving him a look filled with as much malice as I could manufacture at the moment. His eyes pleaded with me to stop, to not make the choice that would surely destroy us both forever. I ignored his pleas for help and did what I had come to do.
“So, you think you can just take advantage of me without any consequences, do you? I can’t believe you tried to have sex with me. You’re a filthy, disgusting animal.” My stomach was ill as I balled up my fist, brought it back toward my body, and delivered a harsh blow to my lover’s stomach, causing him to double over in pain. My minions held him fast, egging me on, encouraging me to “give him what he deserves.” I might as well have been hitting myself. I felt every ounce of pain I inflicted upon Luke.
I punched him in the nose with a strong right cross, causing his head and neck to snap to my left. Blood began spurting from his nose. I punched him again in the gut, causing him to cough and sputter. With the encouragement of my so-called friends, I kneed Luke hard in the balls. My loathsome posse laughed as I did so, finally letting go of the limp boy, allowing his bloody body to drop to the ground.
They then took matters into their own hands, punching and kicking him repeatedly. All Luke could do was curl into a ball in complete defensive mode. He cried and waited for the beating to stop. It seemed to last forever, each groan and scream echoing in my soul as if the abuse was laid upon me.
I was inwardly afraid that they’d likely kill him if I didn’t stop them, so, I mustered up what little resolve I had left and sternly commanded, “That’s enough.”
My two cohorts stopped their assault and backed away, waiting for me to take my parting shots. I stood over Luke’s bloody, beaten body and commanded “Look at me!”
With what little strength he had left, Luke raised his head and locked eyes with me. His eyes pleaded with me to show him mercy. I read defeat in his eyes. He was a broken soul. He no longer cared whether he lived or died. In fact, he even pleaded almost as loudly with his eyes, the same eyes that had so captivated me for those past two years, for me to kill him right then.
I was terrified that I’d caused my lover to give up on life, though I knew no other way to avoid my own peril than to prove my masculinity upon the boy who could potentially expose me to everyone in my little world as a pariah, an outcast, a fag. I couldn’t let it happen. I wouldn’t.
In one last indignity, I looked down at the scared boy who lie in front of me and spat in his face. It looked as if I had cut him with a knife, he was so deeply hurt. I couldn’t believe I had done this to someone I loved so dearly. I was nothing, dirt, a despicable human being, if even that.
With that, I told my minions, “Let’s get out of here,” and we walked away, leaving Luke there to suffer alone.
That was the day my superficial life began.
“And this is the church,” Eric commented. “You two have an appointment with the Father tomorrow morning. Do you think you’ll remember how to get back here then? I can come back again to guide you in the morning if you would like.”
“Yes, that would be nice,” I answered. “This place is so new to me, it’s very confusing.”
“That’s understandable,” Eric replied. “Don’t worry. I’ll get you there on time.” He shrugged and continued. “Well, that concludes today’s tour. Feel free to check out the gift shop at the door.”
Luke and I both laughed to show respect for our host’s intentions. We knew he was just trying to make things enjoyable for us, but our minds were heavy with all this new history to look back upon.
“You know,” Eric proclaimed, “It’s getting warm. Why don’t I show you back to your place, and you can get some towels together and go for a swim? It’s much too warm today to do anything else.”
Luke and I agreed, and in no time at all, we were back at our apartment, scooping up our towels and heading out the door. I was surprised that, knowing what happened last time we went swimming, Luke didn’t automatically look for a swimsuit, but I was glad he’d grown less leery of nudity.
It was only a few minutes walk to the beach, where there were hordes of people of all ages, swimming and having fun with not a worry in the world.
We found a clear spot of sand to lay our towels and shoes, then tore our clothes off and dashed towards the sea. It was alive with waves of all sizes. Children, teens, adults, and seniors laughed and played as if they were all eleven years old, full of youthful exuberance.
Luke and I felt the water calling to us, so we quickly disrobed and headed towards the shore. The first wave’s impact brought with it a blast of euphoria that blocked out every negative thought in my mind, as I’m sure it did to Luke as well. All the pain melted away, all the doubt. All the things that kept us apart eroded from our consciousness, leaving only Luke and I and the wonderful moments we shared together.
I could feel myself drawing strength and contentment from the water around me. It was obvious to me that Luke was experiencing the same feeling, as his ill mood triggered by earlier flashbacks seemed to disappear as fast as it had come.
We had a great time swimming in the cool waters that day. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. It was a good thing, too. We needed the temporary escape from the growing torment of our painful memories.
Luke and I found a moment of connection amidst the chaos of the ocean, locking eyes while treading water. I wished that he could find it in his heart to love me again, like he did before. But it was just wishful thinking. There was no way he’d ever forgive me for the horrible things I’d done to him. I knew I would be forever cursed by those deplorable things I inflicted upon him.
My mood turned sour, and I headed towards shore and swam up to the beach. Luke followed closely and soon we were dried off, dressed, and headed back to our place for another night together.
My sleep was fitful that night. More memories plagued my mind. I wanted so badly to sleep, but was held captive by the tragedies that had befallen Luke and I.
As I laid silently, waiting for sleep to overtake me, more horrible visions appeared to me, holding such vivid reality that I knew I was no longer dreaming. My soul was truly reliving those moments, each and every one of them, as if I was back in my high school again.
. I saw the boy I denied and assaulted, picking himself off the ground, trudging his beaten, bloody body home to face his mother.
She immediately asked Luke what happened, showing the utmost concern for her only son, who looked as though he was an inch from death. He tried to answer between gasps, but his mother stopped him and rushed him into her car. She promptly took him to the Emergency Room, asking him if he was ok every thirty seconds during the ride.
There, the doctors worked diligently to make sure he had no internal bleeding, checked x-rays for broken bones, and performed every test under the sun to find out what had been done to him.
He was told that he had broken a bone in his wrist, three ribs, had a compound fracture in his lower leg, and had fractured a bone in his face. He spent several days in the hospital, needing surgery to embed pins into his arm and leg to reset the bones’ structure, a wrap over his ribs, and had to have his fractured eye socket closely monitored in case it were to cut off blood supply to his eye.
His mother urged him to tell her who had done such horrible things to him, but he refused to speak my name. She asked why, and again he remained silent. Though he was hurt beyond description at what I’d done to him, he couldn’t bear turn me in. He wouldn’t seek retaliation. He was too pure of heart to wish ill of me.
Upon returning to school, Luke was shunned. No one would talk to him. Those who used to call themselves his friends now ridiculed and assaulted him on a daily basis. First, it started small: vague threats, spitballs thrown at him, notes passed to him during class reading “fag.”
Gradually, the name calling and abuse escalated until Luke literally had to watch his back at all times. People wrote “FAG” on his locker, tripped him in the halls and knocked the books out of his hand. Some of my “crew” would make sure he didn’t go more than a day or two without getting a fresh bruise.
Luke ended up dropping out of school toward the end of his junior year. He feared his family would be disappointed with his “choice” to be gay, which many people believed, and he ran away, presumably looking for a more accepting community. I never saw him again.
I found a girlfriend to complete my “straight boy” façade, and had everyone going. No one suspected a thing. I portrayed the outward appearance of a typical Romeo. I had Jennifer hanging off my arm almost constantly, and even went so far as to suffer through a sexual encounter with her, to further solidify my reputation. I had everyone fooled, with the exception of two people: Luke and Myself.
As that particular flashback concluded, I was again greeted with the vision of me and my lifelong façade: the wife I married to hide what I felt was my shameful truth. I loved her, she was the same woman I’d dated in high school, but our love never reached a level even close to that which I experienced with Luke. Our love was one of a kind, something I knew I’d never top, nor would I ever experience again.
Our sons grew up fast, it seemed. One moment I was holding each of them in my arms, rocking them to sleep in the middle of the night, the next, I was proudly watching each of them walk up to the podium to receive their high school diplomas. Soon, they married and had children of their own. All the while, my secret was never exposed
I spent many years devoting me to helping those like Luke and I, counseling depressed youth who could find no more reason to live. I was a hypocrite, a fool to think that helping countless others through the same tough times I was too weak to face would somehow cancel out the evil I cast upon my one true love, my soul mate. I never forgave myself.
I grew older, my children had children of their own, and they grew up. Seventy years had passed since Luke and I had shared our love together. It was the most painful time of my life, but I never gave life to my real self. He’d died a long time ago, never to be seen again.
I saw myself lying on my deathbed, surrounded by all those that loved me in life. All those that mattered except, of course, the one that mattered most. One of my final thoughts before my body gave in to nature’s cycle of life and death was of Luke, how much I disappointed him, and how I’d give anything to do it all over again, to stand fast and proud in defense of the boy I was destined to be with, but too fearful to love. Even as my last breath left me, my secret was never exposed.
As if that wasn’t a painful enough memory, I was again cursed with another vision, one of the life that had befallen the boy I was supposed to love. I was not optimistic when the first images were laid upon my mind’s eye, but I willed myself to take them in. Whatever tragedies he suffered through, I was the responsible party. I set them in motion, and I feared where they would lead.
Visions of those horrible days of high school that my true love was forced to endure without his knight in shining armor beside him plagued me to the depths of my soul. I bore witness to the remainder of his life, as seen through his eyes. He dropped out of high school before finishing his junior year, and took off on foot for New York. He hitchhiked most of the way, sometimes bribing the drivers with money, sometimes with sex.
Luke got mixed up in the drug scene, got hooked on some pretty hard drugs, and took extreme measures to get his fixes. He resorted to prostitution to pay for his habit, selling his body, along with his dignity, just to get his next fix. When the money ran out, and his Johns tired of his performance, he hit rock bottom.
I’d heard of his troubles through friends and family, as they contacted me to ask if he’d come to me. I was surprised to hear that his life had gone so awry. They told me of all the things he’d done to his family while hooked on drugs: lying, stealing, and abusing those that loved him most.
I wondered how such a strong-willed young man could fall so far from the beaten path. Even without me, the man who used to be the love of his life, he was an incredibly strong-minded young man. I knew that he could do whatever he wished if he wanted to. But, it seemed the pains of his life were too much to bear, and he felt he had no other choice than to drown them in sex, drugs, and alcohol.
His family asked for my assistance in finding him, as I did know people in law enforcement who were very capable in tracking down street walkers. I gave them a few contacts that would be able to help them in their search, but told them I was unable to help find him myself. I blamed it on my hectic work schedule, as well as my family’s dependence on me, but I knew the truth deep down.
I wanted so much to help them find their wayward son, but was afraid that I’d betray my code of silence and my secret life would pour out into the open, destroying my career, marriage, and my family, and I was too terrified to allow that to happen. So, I did the polite thing and told them I’d keep my eye out, then quickly buried my torment along with my willingness to face that part of my life deep inside, and never addressed them again.
One day, sometime in his late twenties, he overdosed on cocaine and ended up in the hospital, an inch away from death. It took him a while to rehabilitate, but he found religion in his life and, with the help of some caring friends and a drug rehabilitation center, he fought through the painful process of getting clean and sober, and won the battle against his addictions.
He later went on to obtain his General Education Diploma, graduated college with a double major in Elementary education and Psychology, and became a middle school teacher and guidance counselor, where he was able to help troubled youth find a way out before it was too late.
He never married, though it would have been legal for him to do so in California, where he spent most of his adult life. He had a few passing boyfriends, but never gave his heart to anyone again. To me, it seemed that he just didn’t want to have his heart broken again, or maybe he just felt content to live alone, but I figured I’d never know why.
He adopted two children while he taught at the elementary school in Oakland where he and I met. I was surprised to find out that he’d go back there. If I were him, I surely wouldn’t. But, though it took him longer than some, he conquered his demons, vowed to make a better life for himself and others, and did just that.
I was surprisingly restful the following morning, despite the dream-filled night I’d had. I would have thought such vivid, disturbing dreams would have kept my mind from rest, but they didn’t. I’d never felt more rested than I did that morning.
Luke and I dressed and ate breakfast in silence. I still felt shameful of my past, even though Luke turned out alright in spite of it. I still despised myself for the horrible things I did to him just to keep my dirty little secret.
I had a somber, yet satisfying vision as I finished eating that morning. It was one I dreaded, but knew would rear its ugly head eventually.
Luke’s death was a peaceful one, as was my own. He was surrounded by his grown adopted-children and their families. He lived his life without regret, even for the bad choices he made from high school on. He knew that whatever happened was destined to happen the way it did, so that he would be prepared to become the man who changed so many lives in the short time he graced the earth with his existence. His unique personality was shaped just the way it needed to be in order to give him the power to save himself. And save himself, he did.
Though I feared the dream that came to me that day, I found myself strangely at ease with it upon its conclusion. Despite what I put him through when we were younger, he persevered. He rose above the pain of his past and went on to do what he felt he was destined to do: to love and be loved.
Eric showed up once again to escort us to the church, where we were due meet with the Father shortly. I was nervous and jittery the whole time we walked. I had no idea what was going to unfold that morning, although I feared it was time for my punishment to be handed down upon me. I had betrayed my soul mate, and for that I felt I should pay.
Luke was silent as well, and he gave me no indication of his current feelings toward me at that moment. Once again, I feared the worst. If our situations were reversed, I honestly don’t think I could have forgiven him for what he did, no matter what the eventual outcome was. All I knew was, I’d love Luke until the end of my existence, and would do whatever he wished of me, no matter what. I’d never again fall prey to my insecurities and irrational fears.
We arrived at the church on time, and our gracious guide led us into the Great Room, where all the townspeople gathered to learn all the answers that all the knowledge of man could not answer. It was empty that morning, though Eric assured us that it was packed some days, when truth seekers like us came to look for insight.
We approached the massive cathedral, the most magnificent church I had ever laid eyes on. The steeple soared above our heads. We were humbled by its massive presence. I immediately cast my head down, ashamed of myself. I was not worthy of the love that the god of my faith granted me. I was nothing.
I could tell from the look on his face and the distance that I found between us that Luke had experienced the same vision I had just endured, only he was on the receiving end of the abuse. I was so ashamed of the pain I’d caused him, I couldn’t even think of anything to say.
So, we said nothing as we entered that holy sanctuary, quietly following our young guide as he led us to the front pew of the church, urging us quietly to sit. We silently obliged, though we weren’t too happy sitting so close together.
“Wait here a moment,” Eric suggested. “He’ll be with you shortly.”
We made sure to leave space between each other on the pew, so as not to provoke a reaction. I fidgeted with my fingers during our uncomfortable silence, while Luke stared at his feet, pushing his shoes into the carpet as if he was digging holes in the sand with his feet.
At that moment, everything in my past finally made sense. I was the boy who denied my true love, humiliated and assaulted him, and tossed him away like he meant nothing at all. I was the one who hid my sexuality behind a more acceptable façade. I was the one who lied to my wife and children, taking my secret along with me in death.
I was the one who did nothing when Luke’s family needed me to help their beloved son. I should have been there to share every moment of our life together. Worst of all, I was the one who wasn’t holding his hand when life left him.
That moment was truly the lowest point of my existence. There I sat, looking over the choices I made, the lies I told, and the people I hurt. What was it for? To protect my social standing? To please my parents? To be “normal?” There was no excuse. I was a coward and a traitor to myself and to Luke.
I could have stood tall and faced the music alongside the boy whose heart I had, but I cast him aside like yesterday’s news, like he was nothing to me.
I didn’t deserve any of the good times I had with him.
“Gentlemen,” the Father greeted us.
I was startled by his strong, commanding voice, as I had been lost in my own thoughts. Both Luke and I instinctively stood up to show him proper respect.
He was a tall man, who looked very strong and capable. He wore a pure white robe, with not one speck of dirt or dust on it. He had a very powerful presence which told us that everything he said and did was absolute. There were no hidden meanings; there was no confusion of what he meant. He had only spoken one word and I already knew that this man held the fate of my existence in his hands.
“Sit, please,” he encouraged. We obliged. “Well well…. You two have led quite a life. You each overcame a multitude of obstacles to achieve much success in your life.
I cringed inwardly, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
“You also had a considerable number of failures which were completely avoidable, and a betrayal to yourselves and those who loved you.”
My heart fell as I heard those words. I had no doubt he was about to pass down a most harsh judgment upon me, one that I very much deserved. This was it, my day of reckoning had arrived, and I was wholly terrified beyond description.
“Matthew,” he began, “you denied your soul mate and yourself the love which so clearly consumed both of you. You lived most of your life under the protection of a lie that kept you from connecting fully with anyone in your path, even your family. You broke your lover’s spirit, cast him aside as though he meant nothing at all, and refused to look back. For that, I can’t forgive you.”
My body was trembling in fear of just those words, and was too shocked to respond, so I just continued to listen as the man spoke.
The Father turned his attention to Luke, staring him in the eye, just as he’d done me, and began. “Lucas, you abused the body and mind that I gave to you. You hurt your friends and family by stealing from them, lying to them, and causing them worry while you wasted my gifts to you and traveled off the path you knew was chosen for you. You denied your purpose for many years.”
I was surprised He was passing such harsh judgment upon Luke, who I felt deserved none of the blame for any of the events following what I did to him. It was my foolish choices that led him astray, not his own.
Though I was still confused over the Father’s judgment, I sat stoically and waited for him to continue.
“The pair of you perpetrated acts upon yourselves and others that are deplorable. Those acts are unforgivable, and for knowingly doing what you did, I should cast both of you out of this paradise, to wander in darkness forever.”
Though I was unsure whether there was anything I could do, I had to at least fight for my true love, if not for myself.
“Please, sir,” I begged, “let him stay. He only did those things because of me. I’m responsible for all of it.” I cried freely while I reasoned with my Judge. I was truly sorry for everything I did to Luke, and was finally willing to give myself up to save him. I owed him that much.
“No,” Luke commanded. “You should save him. If you do so, I’ll leave freely. I’ve seen the torment of his mind. All I want is for him to have peace. Please, cast me away and allow him to stay.”
Luke and I were both sobbing in front of our judge. I couldn’t bear causing Luke such agonizing pain anymore. “No, Luke. I won’t let you do this. I’m leaving and that’s final.”
The Father simply observed as our pleas were exchanged, gauging the level of love we held for each other. When he’d heard enough he raised his hand and we both fell silent.
“Give me your hand, each of you,” He requested.
We obliged. As our hands made contact, the cloud of my emotions immediately left me. I was now completely connected to the being who sat before us. I could feel him throughout my mind and body, and was sure Luke felt the same.
“Turn and look at each other,” He again commanded.
Luke and I meekly connected eyes, both ashamed for our own reasons.
The Father continued. “Though I was fully ready to cast you away from here on the merits of your misdeeds, I did not. There is one more vision you must both see.”
Immediately, the reality of the vision surrounded us, blinding us from all else. We were completely enveloped in the vision, much like we’d been before, but far more connected.
There we stood, facing two beds with dying men lying in them. They were us. We were each surrounded by our families, who were saying goodbye, as they knew our time had come.
In the most incredible of ironies, we died in the same room that day, within hours of each other, neither of us knowing the other was there.
We faced our deathbeds. Suddenly, our final thoughts were thrust into our minds, thoughts that echoed throughout every fiber of my being.
In our dying breaths, we said to our Maker, “Forgive him, I beg you.”
I was profoundly affected by seeing myself and my only true love die in front of my eyes, and fell to my knees in front of my Maker.
He allowed the vision to fade just as quickly as it came. There we were, back in the cathedral again, facing each other, Him standing to our side.
“The two of you possess a powerful gift,” He began. “This gift is something that comes only from the soul. It can not be taken, it can only be given.”
Luke and I met eyes and held our stare showing our passion for the gift we gave to the other upon the hour of our death.
“I can not forgive either one of you for what you did to yourselves and each other,” He continued, “I cannot do so, because you have already done it for yourselves.”
I was speechless, as was my lover. At last, I got to be that strong-willed boy who stood against certain peril in defense of his lover. I cast aside my fears and did what was right for Luke. He’d done the same for me. All that time, I realized, he never gave his heart away, because it had always belonged to me.
The love we held for each other set us free.
He smiled upon us and said, “You’ve learned what you’ve come to learn. Now it is time to go and rediscover the love you lost so long ago.”
We smiled at him and grasped our lover’s hand, walking away from the One who gave us the chance to discover that which we never gave the opportunity to grow in life: our love.
Once we were outside the cathedral, and our quiet moment inside the church was gone, I surprised my lover by grabbing him, spinning him around so he was facing me, giving him the most loving expression as I knew how, and kissing him, right there, in front of everyone.
At last, I’d done what I wished I could have done when we were young: loved him unashamedly. There I was, standing amidst a crowd of people, and all I could think about was giving myself to Luke. I was loving without fear.
I noticed several townspeople giving us understanding smiles as they passed by. I looked at Luke in the eyes and nodded my head in their direction.
He was overcome with the awesome feeling that could only come from being loved and accepted. At last, we were together in a place where who you loved didn’t matter, only that you were loved.
We broke our embrace and walked towards the Great City’s gates, and were soon back in our new home.
As it had done before, the air around us began to cool as night approached. We’d just gotten back to the cabin, and already, we were starting to shiver a bit.
“I’m cold,” Luke whined, but in the most unbelievably adorable way, that I couldn’t help but smile.
I took Luke’s hands in mine, brought them to my mouth and blew my warm breath over them.
I wasn’t sure if he was blushing because of my gesture, or because it was getting chilly out, but my lover had quite a red face when we let go of each other’s hands.
“We should make a fire tonight,” I suggested.
“That sounds good,” Luke replied. “You get the wood; I’ll heat up some cocoa.”
Just as Luke turned toward the cabin, I stopped him. “Wait.”
Luke looked back at me questioningly, and I wrapped my arms around him, causing his cheeks to glow with happiness. We smiled at each other, and I leaned toward him and kissed my lover and soul mate. His lips were as sweet as ever.
“What was that for?” Luke asked looking curious.
I shrugged. “Just ‘cause.”
Luke smiled and leaned in again, and we kissed once more, this time more passionately, and held the kiss much longer.
“Just ‘cause,” he repeated when our lips parted with an audible smack. “Good enough reason for me.”
With that, we separated, each of us going off to do our assigned task for the evening. While I started lugging in wood, Luke busied himself heating some milk for the hot cocoa.
In no time, I had a rip-roaring fire going in the den, its flames shooting up the chimney. The warm, radiating heat quickly disbursed throughout the room.
As I stood back to admire my handiwork, Luke appeared from the kitchen, holding two steaming cups of cocoa. I grabbed a blanket from the basket in the corner of the room, and we sat down Indian style on the floor, in front of the fireplace. I draped the blanket over our shoulders for extra comfort, and we immersed ourselves in the moment.
As we slowly sipped our cocoa, and were warmed by the energy of the fire, we took in the events of the last few days, from the moment of our awakening until the beginning of our new life together.
It was a dream come true, being with Luke again. I never thought I’d see the day, after what I did to him. I still didn’t understand how Luke was so easily able to forgive me. He was truly an angel incarnate in life, and nothing less in the afterlife.
I looked at my lover and said, “I love you forever, Luke.”
He smiled and replied, “I’ll love you longer.”
We made love on the rug in front of the raging fire that night. It was Heaven. There is no other way to describe the level of intimacy we achieved that night. From then on, we were forever one.
Luke and I spent the rest of eternity together, in that grand cabin set in the middle of our beautiful paradise, sharing our love for each other; never apart, and forever gone from darkness.
I’d like to thank all of my beta readers for giving me early feedback, which helped me to know I was going in the right direction. To my editor, TalonRider, of the Talon House, you were an invaluable resource. This story was so incredibly awesome to write and experience, I doubt any writing project I ever even conceive will ever top it. (Though that doesn’t mean I won’t try :-p )
I hope that my story has inspired in you all the same emotions it did to me in writing it. Thank you all for reading.
Once again, send any and all comments to email@example.com
Don’t forget to check out my website, The Authors' Keep, a Gay authors’ literature collaborative in development!