Loving you, loving me
To the Victims. May they become Survivors.
Apologies for the long wait. I was on `holiday', so it was difficult to finish this off. This is a somewhat `heavy' chapter to begin with, but the style it's written in and how it develops balances the mood out. I hope.
What follows is a work of fiction. The story revolves around teenage gay males and includes sexual and other contents that may be offensive to some. If you think this might be the case, or if you are under the legal age in the area where you live, please do not read any further. Any resemblances to persons, names, or places are unintentional and mere coincidence. Please respect my efforts in writing this, and do not copy or reproduce any part of the story without my permission.
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I feel a rough body pound on me, again and again. No, it can't be! Why is it happening? My eyes are closed, but my ears are open to the noise of the bed cricketing beneath me. I see only darkness, and feel such a sick sensation fill my entire body and brain.
Why does this happen to me? I dare not open my eyes. I dare not see the look in the other person's eyes... the look of satisfaction, of pleasure. There are no such things in life, not for me. Life is one of suffering, of swallowing pain and abuse. There are such evil and terrible nightmares in the world. I may be a boy, but I've seen them. They come to me and continue to haunt me.
The rhythmic panting sounds like a speeding engine. I feel his breath and moisture from his gaping mouth. Foul. Disgusting. Perverse. I still do not open my eyes. Seeing is just too painful.
I feel drops of cold and sticky liquid splatter on my stomach. My eyes are still closed. I feel his weight lift and hear the zipping of trousers. I lie there, on the roughened bed, stark naked and empty of all emotions and energy.
A flash of euphoria sinks in my chest. The worst is over.
At least for now.
-- -- -- -- -- --
The path was shrouded in a veil of dense fog. A mysterious mood hung in the morning air. I exhaled deeply, and a surge of white cloud vented out, dissipating into the surrounding air as soon as they escaped my nostrils. The temperature was the kind which made your nose and eyes water. The air was so thick with vapour that when you breathed in the insides of your lungs seemed to condense with water. Even the birds were unusually silent.
I dragged my feet and my eyes rested a few steps in front of me as I walked to school. Music played in my ears and for those moments that music continued playing I knew I could be high, I could hallucinate. Music was my drug, and I took steady doses of it regularly during the day and night. It drowned out the terrible images, the frightening thoughts that haunted me like ghosts. Though you can't see it, though you can't touch it, I was forever fascinated with the way it could touch you. But I knew when I music stopped those ghosts would reappear again. They always did.
I slowed down as the school building came into sight. It was a five storey block of concrete adorned with brownish-yellow brick stone, probably built in the sixties. I always thought when they built the hideous thing they must have somehow managed to smuggle in architects from the former Eastern Bloc to oversee the design. Other students simply referred it as `The Tombstone'. It was highly likely some unfortunate souls died from boredom inside.
Nervousness gripped my body and thoughts again as I looked around. It wasn't as if anyone would be there to greet me, but as usual I wanted to know if there was anyone around I knew or who knew me, if only by sight. I moved in and out of places like a silent shadow, unnoticed, and not wanting to be noticed.
As soon as I entered the building I headed straight to the basement where the lockers are located. Everyone received a key at the beginning of the term to one of the many little red lockers that lined the walls of the basement. The lockers themselves were rectangular and deep, so we could easily fit pretty much all our books and other belongings inside. Though once in a while the `authorities' would conduct random searches, to make sure that those `other belongings' didn't include weapons, drugs, porn or other `undesirables'.
I felt warm air smack against my cheeks as soon as I entered the basement. No matter what the season, it was always warm down there, and at times an odd smell would linger. The ceiling was not covered, so you could see all sorts of piping and wiring in a tangled pile of mess just above your head. Nobody knew exactly where all those pipes lead to, or what they carried. Though sometimes you could hear sounds of water flowing, and even flushing. Which may explain the odd smell. So whenever you felt dripping on your head, it could never be a good sign...
I opened my locker and got what I needed for the coming period. As I was about to close it, I noticed a piece of paper inside. Curiously I turned it over, and glanced at it.
Great, party in two weeks time! Another chance to get drunk and high and sleazy! I was never a fan of parties. The whole idea of a bunch of people crowded in a small room dancing and drinking away wasn't my idea of fun. Just thinking about the scene and imagining how self-conscious I would be if I found myself in such a situation made me feel uncomfortable, and I felt goosebumps grow on my arms. Besides, you had to bring a date. Chances of me taking a girl to the ball were slim--no, correction, less than slim. I shivered at the thought. Though sometimes I'd imagine what it would be like to bring a date, a boy-date. It was strangely comforting and funny to think of the reaction on people's faces and the shock in their eyes. Nobody had ever pulled something like that off in the history of the school, as far as I knew, and I was certainly not one capable of doing something like that. But a boy could dream, couldn't he?
As I walked toward my next class I crumbled the flyer into a ball, and chucked it into a bin, along with other rubbish.
-- -- -- -- -- --
It was a dark classroom, and even in the midst of winter the blinds were down. From the very first day she said to us that the windows are a distraction. We shouldn't be looking outside the window; we should be looking at her. The tables in her classroom were always lined up in columns of two like soldiers in a neat formation. I pitied those tables and chairs, and the way they had to present themselves in an orderly and disciplined fashion. Actually, anyone who has had the misfortune to enter her forgotten time-capsule deserved pity.
History. Mrs Scattybottom. Or as the students liked to call her when her sonar-like ears were out of range, `Mrs Scarybottom'. The very moment I first entered her room, I could feel the childhood years melt away. There was no room for fun, no place for jokes, no time for laughter. She liked to stand in front of the blackboard, and tap her right toe lightly as the students dragged their feet into the classroom slowly; always prepared to run away if they could, but never prepared for the grueling fifty-five minutes they were about to face. She was a little woman, with graying curls and a small pair of black-frame glasses. For as long as I've known her she looked stern, and her thin, colourless lips seemed to give the impression that a smile from her took much effort. Her eyes would dart from side to side as she lectured. They carried the gaze of an eagle on the lookout for an innocent prey. Once spotted, there never was any way out. She'd rip answers out of you with her sharp tongue, and if you didn't know the answer, she'd tear you apart with snide remarks that left you feeling like a complete idiot in front of everyone else. Whoever misbehaved or did poorly received a black cross behind his name in her private little black notebook. The `Doomsday Book', as the students referred to it.
"Come on, get a move on!" she crackled and stood like always just beside the door inspecting the students as they shuffled into the classroom. "Sit yourselves down," she continued, "And no talking!" That was her favourite phrase, and had become synonymous with her name. I liked to keep track how many times she says it each class.
I walked past her, stopped breathing as I did, and felt her piercing eyes scan my entire body. The atmosphere was tense, and accentuated by the numerous posters bearing scenes from the great wars that took place long ago. Conflicts, I clearly remembered her saying in that very first lesson, shape mankind by tearing people apart and bringing them together. I found a seat at the back of the room, with nobody at the desk next to mine, and sat myself down.
"Quickly now, quickly!" she snapped as she rushed the last person to come in by closing the door behind him. "Get your books out and get ready to start. We're already one minute behind schedule." Punctuality was everything to her. Punctuality, discipline, predictability and utmost precision in driving people to boredom.
The room quietened down as everyone obeyed her orders. On the blackboard in front of the room she had already meticulously drafted the `order of the day'. Time, place, and our mission were all listed there, with nothing left to doubt, nothing left to chance about the way her plans needed to be executed. She tapped the blackboard with her long nails and said: "You know what you should be doing today, so stop wasting time and get on with it. And no talking!" Two.
It was another revision class, again. And that usually meant we had to sit through the entire class with our faces buried in our books. She'd usually then have her face buried in her laptop, and incessantly click her mouse and sometimes let out little sighs or sounds of delight. Once I curiously `just happened to' walk past her and I saw her playing Solitaire.
"Hush! No talking!" she suddenly barked out. I looked up and wondered how she managed to detect anyone talking in the room, since it was deadly quiet, save for the sound of water flowing in the heater. I looked down again and started to read.
"With the advance of Napoleonic Wars the European continent was embroiled in years of social disorder and economic turmoil. But there--" At that moment the classroom door opened and the creaking noise tore through the room.
I looked up, and through the window that separated the room and corridor, saw Leo standing just outside the door. A girl with long blond hair stood next to him, reached out and ruffled his hair a little bit with her hands, and quickly walked away out of sight. Leo waved at the girl with his hands and smiled, while tracing after her steps with his eyes. He seemed to blush a little. A little sigh escaped through my lips as I closed my eyes slightly and felt jealousy rise. It was that girl...
"You! Why are you late?" Mrs Scattybottom shouted, and before anyone had time to respond continued: "Why are you still standing there? Get yourself sorted immediately. And no talking!" Four.
I immediately looked down again since Mrs Scattybottom would probably start barking at people for watching the commotion and not concentrating. And I didn't want that to happen, not this early in the day, so just continued reading. "--there were more positive aspects too."
"Can I sit here?" A hand reached out for
the chair next to mine.
That voice, and so close. I looked to my side and saw Leo standing there, a smile spread across his face, and those beautiful eyes looking down at me. "O--of co--course," I stammered, though inside I wondered he wanted to sit here. Perhaps there was nowhere else to sit, I told myself, as I reached over for the chair and helped him pull it out.
"What did I say before? Hush! No talking!" Five.
Leo raised his eyebrows at me and shook his head slightly, giving the impression that he found this as unbearable as everyone else in the room did. I smiled back at him timidly. To my right a girl was busy tapping into her phone under her desk, perhaps trying to sms SOS to someone who was fortunate enough to be outside of the confines of the room.
Leo sat down and got out his book, but all the while his eyes didn't seem to leave me. "So how're you today?" he whispered ever so softly. His scent started to drift all around us.
I didn't dare to let a sound escape my mouth, so simply mouthed `good' to him.
"I tried calling you the other day, but your phone was engaged--"
"Heh! You were late in the first place and now you're talking," she said as her eyes shot a stern look in Leo's direction. I leaned back a little, my heart pounding, to avoid being cut by the invisible laser that seemed to be projected in this direction from her eyes. "You've already lost seven and a half minutes. That's seven and a half minutes less of History. Get yourself organised and do what you're supposed to do. And no talking!" Six.
Leo looked down and flipped the pages in his book. As he did that I felt a little draught head in my direction as the pages brushed the air, carrying with it the fragrance that incapacitated my ability to think straight. And I wasn't straight.
I closed my eyes and tried to refocus again: "But there were more positive aspects too. Though Napoleon's Grand Army was greeted with fear wherever they-- " Again, temptation won me over. I couldn't but help look up and steal a glance at Leo. He had a light brown V-neck jumper on, the colour of which went well with the colour of his hair, that today just drooped over his forehead. His cheeks were the colour of natural rouge from the cold outside. He had a bored look on his face, and let out a sweet little yawn. When I realised I was staring, again, and would probably be so embarrassed if he caught me doing so, I turned away. In the far corner someone stretched his arms up and yawned, and as if he realised how much trouble he'd be in if Mrs Scattybottom saw that, he quickly lowered his arm and his head into the book in front of him. Just in front of me a person was whispering into the ears of the one he was sitting next to. There was a little muffled chuckle.
"Hush! Hush! No talking!" Seven.
concentrate, must concentrate, I told myself. "--wherever they went,
they also took with them ideas that would shape the face of the very countries
they pillaged and plundered. `
"Pssst." Leo hissed. I looked at him with a puzzled expression, and he cocked his head down in the direction of his desk. I glanced down and saw there was a little note on it. I looked at him again, and he gave me a wink, and silently slid the note across from his desk to mine. A little curious, but also feeling a little excited, I reached for the note. Our fingers brushed against one another. Strange sensations shot up my spine. I carefully turned the paper over, and curiously read what was on it:
"*Yawn* This is so boring Zzzzz..."
I looked at him, saw him looking back at me with this adorable grin and dimples on his cheeks. I smiled and felt my heart laugh too. His handwriting was... unique; joined up, just the right size, leaning slightly, and he had a way of dragging the tip of the pen from the end of one word to the beginning of the next that left faint little lines on the paper. A lot can be said about a person by the way he writes.
I quickly thought of something to write, and felt really naughty and excited as I jotted down:
"Fun fact for you: Napoleon's dick size of a pinky preserved after death."
I slid the piece of paper across to his side and nudged him on the elbow. It felt childish, passing notes around, but it was fun, and I couldn't remember the last time I felt fun in History.
Leo read the piece of paper and covered his mouth quickly with his hand the way you'd react when you realised you just chewed on something spicy. He let out a low chuckle, but disguised it with a loud cough which echoed in the silence of the classroom. Everyone turned in our direction, and I felt my cheeks go deep red, as I myself sealed my lips tightly to contain a laugh that trying to break my mouth open.
"What are you all looking at? Read! And no talking!" Eight. I swear she was addicted to that word and dropped it at the end of every sentence the same way some tended to drop `man' at the end of their sentences.
I looked down again and tried to find where in the midst of revolution I had lost myself: "`Liberty, Fraternity, Equality', the very principles that found life in the French Revolution, took root across the continent, challenging the--"
I felt a soft tap on my shoulder and quickly lost myself in Leo's gaze as I looked up. He continued with our primitive way of `instant messaging', and had a note resting between his long index and middle finger. His nails were so clean and smooth, unlike mine which were splintered and looked like they had been chewed by rats. He raised his eyebrows at me and grinned, a silent way of beckoning me to read it. I looked around to see if the `coast was clear', and gently removed the paper. Again our fingers brushed against one another ever so slightly, triggering an automated response of goosebumps that surfaced on my arms.
"Big people, small dicks. Think Scarybottom is looking at pics of Napoleon's dick? = )"
I rested my hand around my lips and looked down at the floor so as not to let the effects of the funny note grow. The little smiley at the end was so sweetly drawn. I wrote a reply and with my eyes focused on the book before me in an apparent pretence of undisturbed concentration extended my hand under the desk, where it found Leo's beckoning hand.
"Sorry must disappoint you, she's no Mr Peeherbert aka Pervert.
I bet you she's playing Solitaire..."
He read the note and grinned at me, making me feel so alive and light. We were doing something under the vigilant watch of Mrs Scattybottom, something naughty. I felt a strange but addictive rush at the thought we might get caught. The room smelt stuffy and old, like air trapped in a disused archive. But whenever I turned in Leo's direction the smell miraculously turned pleasant.
I lowered my head to again retrace the words that were on the page in front of me. But before I found them, Leo's fingers found my elbow and gave it a light little flick.
"Solitary people play Solitaire. Ms Scarybottom must be one = )"
I coked my head a little and bit on my pen while I thought a bit about something funny to continue this silly exchange of notes between us. In the end I scribbled:
"Mental note: delete Solitaire when home"
Again with my head staring blankly at the page open in front of me, I passed the note on. Leo's hand was open and waiting already when I silently passed it to him under the desk. The girl who had her mobile under her desk continued rapidly thumbing on the buttons. I guess we weren't the only ones playing pass-notes. Some guy on my right was busy chewing and had cookie crumbs caught on the corners of his mouth.
I felt a slight pinch on my jeans on my thigh and was a bit taken aback. Not that it hurt, just that it wasn't the most obvious way to get someone's attention. I turned to look at Leo and his look told me he was obvious enjoying himself. He looked down at the desk, and there was another piece of paper lying there, for my eyes only.
"You exception to rule = )"
I felt myself smile again, one that was accentuated with Leo's cute little smiley at the end. I felt this strange sensation inside of me, like my stomach was churning, or like there were things crawling on the insides of my chest. I had never felt this way before, never. With my hands slightly trembling, I answered simply:
Timidly I slid the paper across the surface of our desks, and wondered how he would reply to that. In my attempt to suppress the anticipation I lowered my head and again, for the n-th time that period, found where I had lost myself in the revolution:
"--took root across the continent, challenging the established order of the Ancien Régime, and changing the course of History forever."
I heard Leo tear the corner of a new piece of paper, and the ripping sound embarrassingly tore through the silence around us. I tightened my jaw and winced, hoping that nobody would be staring at us again. Softly Leo gave the piece of paper a little push, sending it hovering a little and landing softly in front of me.
"Sweet. You busy later on? We need to talk = )"
Talk? About what? I was confused by the message, and my mind raced wondering what he wanted to talk about. I glanced in his direction and he was looking down in our oversized History book, so didn't notice I was looking at him, or how nervous my face had turned. With the piece of paper still in my left hand, I reached for the pen that was lying on my desk. In my nervousness instead of grabbing it I nudged it and sent it rolling off of the edge. The pen fell and spun through the air, landing with a loud thud on the linoleum floor. Just as I thought the noise had stopped, the pen regained life of its own and started rolling, rolling, rolling, sending out a grinding sound with each roll that seemed to echo throughout the room. With embarrassment and red cheeks I greeted a couple of eyes and silent whispers of those who were staring in my direction. With a metallic clang the pen stopped dead at the foot of a chair.
"What is that awful racket?" Mrs Scattybottom's head mechanically appeared from behind the laptop, her eyes scanning the room as her shrill voice escaped her thin lips. "David, was that you? Pick it up and get back to work!" I sighed a soft relief inside and just as I was about to get up realised I that sigh had come out too soon. "What's that in your hand?"
I looked at my hand and it dawned on me that I was still clutching that note from Leo.
"Uh- uh, it's noth--nothing, madam." That didn't sound too convincing and I was well aware of that. I was never good at lying. Shivers started to build as I chewed on the inside of my cheeks and ground my teeth. All eyes were by now staring in my direction, staring at me.
"Well, if it's nothing," she said, with wickedness in her tone that sounded like she had captured the enemy and knew that the time for interrogation could now begin, "I'm sure you wouldn't mind sharing it with all of us then." With that she got up and marched over to my desk and tore the paper out of my shivering hands. Mrs Scattybottom always said History was the story of man, or as she liked to put it, `his-story'. But at that moment I just felt I was history.
"Well, well. A little love note from a secret admirer, I see," she said, sniggering, and continued the interrogation, "Who wrote this?"
Before I had time to open my mouth to answer, Leo's firm voice said: "I did." I turned to him and in return he gave me a reassuring look as if everything would be alright.
"Well, Leonardo. This is History class, so
I suggest you take this little love affair of yours elsewhere!" Love affair?! Oh, God, she was well trained in the very
tactics to break people down mentally and emotionally, and I was a nervous
wreck. Scenes from the dungeons of Bastille crossed my mind.
"Oh, Mrs Scattybottom, I'll do just that." What!? What did he just imply? I shot a surprised look at Leo, who still kept his calm and cool posture. I couldn't believe my ears, and wondered if he was simply trying to be--for lack of a better word--cocky. "But I was just asking him about this assignment we need to do together for English." So that was what had me all worried and worked up. I felt myself relax a little and relaxed my clenched jaw. It was brave of Leo to step in for me, and shelter me from further confrontation.
"It's certainly nothing to do with History! You two have nerves to do this in my class. Detention, both of you, Friday!" She was screaming, and her eyes bulged in their sockets, looking like they were about to leap out.
"Yes, madam," Leo and I said in unison.
"And why have you people started talking? Hush! No talking!" Nine.
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Still feeling a little deflated from the incident in the morning, I dragged myself to my locker and prepared to go home. It had been a long day, and a lot of time I couldn't concentrate. I didn't see Leo again, since we were in different classes. But I did see him whenever I closed my eyes, drifted away and daydreamed.
As I was about to close my locker, my eyes caught sight of a piece of paper lying there. Thinking it was perhaps another flyer for the party, I turned it over and glanced at it indifferently.
But this was something different.
"Don't worry, be happy!"
And at the end was a familiar trademark. Leo's little smiley.
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