25 May 2005
Good morning all,
I hope you're enjoying the story so far. This is the second of
three parts. Part three will be out next week, so let me wish you
a happy and safe Memorial Day now. If there are any Servicemen
and women reading this, I'd like to thank you for what you're doing for
the country and wish you a quick and safe return. Keep your heads
down and your eyes open and always listen for and to that little voice
inside that tells you when something is not as it should be...it may
save your life sometime.
As always, any helpful comments are welcome. I generally try to
reply as time permits.
This story is a work of fiction. 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.
Short Story by Michael Garrison
Greg shared his assortment of fruit with Bryan.
They spent the better part of the morning eating, sitting and
talking. They traded stories about Eric,
about their jobs, Bryan
couldn’t say much for security reasons, about the tense state of
the world. Unbeknownst to each other
until now, the small cavern was a place they shared, a place where they
get away for a while.
clowned for him while he took a few snapshots and Greg told him about
loved to come here just to do nothing and write in his journal and be
with his thoughts. To him, it was a
fortress that kept out the increasing insanity of everyday life.
He listened attentively while Bryan
talked about coming here on leave,
which wasn’t frequently these days, and just stare at the world
going by the
oculus, meditating and decompressing from the pressures of life. Greg smiled as he talked, at his words, at
him. He felt comfortable with Bryan, more so
anyone he’d ever known and he wasn’t eager for this time to
A cloud passed across the oculus. The
storm was catching up with them.
glanced at his watch.
“I should get going,” Bryan
said. “I don’t want to mess up
quiet time,” he continued, “…and I should probably
be reporting back.”
Greg knew that he had to take a chance, one that he’d always
been afraid to do before. He had always
been terrified of rejection, afraid of making a mistake and outing
the wrong person. If he guessed wrong, Bryan might tear
apart, he was taller and more muscular and Greg was sure he could do
it; but he
knew if he didn’t do something right now, he knew he would lose
Swallowing the rising knot in his throat, Greg slipped his hand
thigh as he started to rise from their rock ledge.
He looked surprised; knowing, but unsure. Greg
loved the puppy-dog look on his face as
he stared at his hand, a look that told him, gorgeous as he was, Bryan had little
experience of such things. That
quizzical, innocent look enthralled him and he wanted badly to run his
through the blond hair matted to his head, and he felt his own
within him, pressing against him.
stopped and settled on his knees. The
fabric of his diveskin brushed against Greg’s, making a slight
that thrilled him all the more. He saw Bryan swallow,
hanging slightly open, not knowing quite what to say.
“You don't have to leave,” Greg said, rubbing his thigh
gently. “There’s plenty of
“But…I thought you…,” Bryan
stammered, trying to let his waving hands do his talking.
“Shhhhhhhhhhh,” Greg said, pulling himself up to meet him,
kneeling together. “We can
share,” he whispered,
letting his hand drop to Bryan’s, pushing the mask from his hand
as he stared
up into soft eyes that reminded him of a baby blue comforter he had as
free hand moved, in slow fits and starts.
Greg knew Bryan
was unsure and guided his hand around his waist and moved a little
him as he stared back into his own glistening dark eyes.
He felt the flood of emotions coming from the
eyes, fear, anxiety, curious hunger, need.
If, as he’d heard all his life, the eyes were windows into
then he was sure he was looking into one of the purest God had ever
seen fit to put on Earth. He felt more
comfortable with him, he felt at peace, a peace like he hadn’t
felt in a long
was trembling. Greg placed a steadying
hand on his shoulder, tight muscle beneath the sheer fabric, and he
stirrings again. He looked back up into
worried eyes and smiled, silently letting him know that everything was
right. He smiled back, faintly,
nervously. He followed with his other
hand and Bryan
took him in; pulling him quickly into a hug with the eager, ready
youth and he heard him sigh as their chests pressed together, as their
ran over one another with a desperation of the sort born of the thought
their paths might never again cross. He
kissed the side of Bryan’s
neck and, with a free hand, turned his head towards him.
As if in a hypnotic spell, Bryan
turned his face lazily, and their open
mouths found each other. They moaned
with the pleasure of their joining, each enjoying the moist feel, the
the other, the sound of their breathing filling the small cavern as
continued their ballet.
Greg reached up and began to unzip Bryan’s diveskin.
He felt it and pulled away.
“Whoa, wait a minute!
What’re we doing here?” he
his lower lip trembling; he wasn’t sure if from fear or the cold.
“I’m sorry,” Greg said, startled by his surprise. “I shouldn’t have been
so…” he trailed off, sheepish
about his actions. He knew Bryan would be
furious. “I just wanted
to…,” he started again, having
trouble collecting his thoughts through the fog of his passions. “… I’m sorry,” he
apologized again in
frustration, “I don’t even know what I’m trying to
felt bad about pulling away so quickly, about taking such an accusatory
with him. He looked down at Greg as he
turned away from him and seated himself at the ledge overlooking the
water, wrapping his arms around his knees; and he heard a sigh echo
“I always seem to be apologizing to you,” Greg
whispered. “I’m really sorry
if I…I just
thought you might be…,” he heard Greg’s whisper
trail off. Quiet as it was, it felt to him
as though it
was coming from all around him, like an other-worldly voice imparting a
a desire to him and him alone. He felt
ashamed for being so callous.
For what seemed like an eternity, he stared at Greg, sitting
motionless at the edge of the water, listening to him sniffle now and
thinking how insensitive he’d been. He
looked at the beautiful, dark hair that shimmered like a raven’s
wing in the
light coming through the oculus, at his sleek form curled into a ball
thought to himself, deciding that he could no longer deny himself.
Mustering his courage, Bryan
unzipped his diveskin and pulled his arms free.
Pushing it down around his waist, he slowly padded over to Greg
himself into a ball behind him. He
rested his hands gently on his shoulders, afraid that too sudden of a
would ruin the moment, and massaged his tight neck.
“No!” he jumped. “I
interrupted. “It’s all my
Greg felt Bryan
slowly threading his arms under his, pulling him back to his chest. He
relaxed and sighed again, his hands clutching Bryan’s, never wanting them to
The world grew more insane every day. Lives
had been made a wreck by the war, by
the economy. Nothing made sense anymore
and they felt it on the street every day.
There was a perpetual tension that had come upon the world drip
like an itch that couldn’t be reached and slowly drove people
mad. There was an intolerance for
everything in the
air that was impalpable. But one constant, one refuge, even if it was
diminishing supply, was love.
It was like an oasis in the desert, rare but refreshing and
invigorating to one’s spirit, to one’s senses if it could
be found. The light of such love
imparting a glow that almost lighted their small cavern, their hideaway
the insanity of the world outside.
They knelt on the impromptu bed they’d fashioned from their
diveskins, not staring but gazing deeply into each others eyes, and
they slowly caressed each other’s naked bodies; genuine smiles,
for the first
time in as long as either could remember.
caressed Greg’s chest with the back of his hands and
felt Greg’s hands
glide down his sides. They unleashed
brilliant smiles and laughed like school kids, for no other reason than
of being together with nothing to disturb them.
They had only just met, entirely by accident, barely a couple of
ago, but it was like two halves of the same amulet finally finding one
after many years, as if they’d know each other before. There was no sense between them that they had
to get to know each other, they already did, somehow, and they both
He no longer sensed Bryan’s fears as he pulled his tight
body close to Greg’s and took his mouth as if driven by hunger,
tongues play together, slowly, sensuously.
Greg felt strong hands massage his back, his small buttocks. He murmured his approval and let himself fall
backwards onto their bedding in slow motion, pulling Bryan along.
pulled away slightly, drawing breath.
“There’s something I have to tell you,” he said, his
darting between Greg’s eyes and mouth.
“What, babe?” Greg asked, fearing the worst.
“I…,” Bryan stammered.
Greg beamed at him, his smiling eyes glistened. His
voice choked in his throat, but he
“You’ll be fine, baby,” he whispered.
Greg craned his neck forward and drew their mouths together
again. He pulled Bryan on top of him, like a living
and stroked the side of his face with the back of his fingers. He stared up into his soft eyes and felt him
buck slightly as he tenderly gripped him and wrapped his legs around
Greg waited, looking into Bryan,
asking an unspoken question. Bryan
stared back at him, unblinking. A drop
of perspiration hit Greg’s nose as he nodded, as Greg guided him
wrapped his arms around his back and Greg winced at his passage. He felt a quick tremor go through his body
and he half sighed, half gasped a staccato pronouncement of his new
pleasure at their joining. Greg sighed
deeply, gripping broad shoulders tightly as he felt Bryan slide
feeling the tightness of his body pressing against his from the inside
as from out, and he felt his body shake from deep within at his
held himself still for a moment and Greg massaged the back of his
thighs with his
heels. They were as one person now and
nothing else mattered. He tensed his
muscles and gripped Bryan tightly, holding him inside, then relaxing as
him stir, as he felt the muscles in his buttocks begin to flex, as he
move inside of him, and move him.
He gasped as Bryan moved,
slowly, driving him insane and Bryan
felt fingers dig at his back. He almost
melted as Greg sighed his name.
There was no world; there was only the two of them.
Becoming love. All the tensions
and aggravations of the outside didn’t exist for them, at least
not for now,
not so long as they were together. So
long as they were joined, they were their own fortress against the
gripped everything else. They drifted
together on an ethereal sea of their own making that stretched from
horizon on which the sun now dawned and which neither wanted to end.
Greg felt it first; the stirrings deep within him, slowly at
first, the electrical tingling as Bryan
continued his rhythmic pounding. He knew
close, he felt his grip tighten around him, almost crushing him like a
against the hard tightness of his frame.
He felt the almost unbearably wonderful surge of energy wash
and cried out as he came, gripping his shoulders hard and locking his
waist. It was enough for Bryan. He felt Greg tighten around him, the warmth
of his body pressing tightly against him, sealing him in, holding him
he gasped as he felt his body pulsing, sharing the essence of himself. Incomparable warmth flooded over them both,
filling them with a heady giddiness, a sense of completion, the feeling
belonging to one another in a way no other two people could experience
They rested. Greg
listened to the wonderful labored sound of Bryan’s breathing as
he nestled his
head next to his, as he massaged the back of his thighs again. He lifted himself to his elbows and they
smiled at one another. Sweat from his
face dripped into his and he reached up to brush the hair from his
“Thank you,” Bryan
“Thank you,” Greg beamed back at him.
“You were wonderful.”
smiled broadly and took his into his arms, their mouths joining deeply
bodies entwined in their glow.
Greg rubbed his eyes with the butt of his palms and
stretched. He yawned and smiled,
squinting up at the fading daylight from the oculus above.
He had fallen asleep with Bryan spooning behind him. They must have slept longer than they thought
and he glanced at his dive watch. It was
late in the afternoon and he thought they’d better get going
while they still
He didn’t want to move, though, and rested his head on his
extended arm. Greg felt more relaxed,
more at peace after being with Bryan
than ever before. Then it dawned on him
that he didn’t feel Bryan’s
warmth anymore, the touch of his body and turned over quickly, pushing
up on his arms.
His diveskin was gone, his gear was gone, all that was left
was his faint scent, the memory of him, of them together.
Greg called out.
He called again as he searched around the cavern in the fading light.
There was no place for him to hide, he could see that.
He looked down at the water. There
wasn’t so much as a ripple on the
surface; he knew he couldn’t have just missed him.
He’d been asleep, badly needed sleep, for hours, but the
least he could have done was woken him long enough to say goodbye, he
as his anger welled. He suddenly felt
used and betrayed, like some rag Bryan
wiped his hands on, only to be thrown away after he was done.
As much as he disagreed with his mother, he now conceded
that she was right about men. After what
he and Bryan had shared, he could have at least said goodbye, anything. Instead, he stood in his private, empty
cavern, his naked body shivering, alone with only his memory.
balled into trembling fists and he sat down on the ledge and fumed.
A cloud passed across the sun high overhead and darkened the
cavern, reminding him that he should get going before he lost the light. Greg wiped his wet eyes with his arm and
himself up, reaching for his diveskin, and he froze.
In his anger, he hadn’t seen that his journal, so carefully
triple-packed in waterproof bags, was lying next to his air tank, his
marking a page.
He felt his heart skip, thinking that, maybe, Bryan had left him a
message, and he rushed for it, opening the book to where the pen lay. There was only a scrawled address: 14150
Ala Leie Street.
“That’s it?” he thought, snapping his journal shut. “You want me to chase YOU?!”
Greg was infuriated and snatched on his diveskin and gear
and repacked his journal, securing it in his dive bag along with the
eaten fruit that he’d shared with Bryan, his rescuer. He sniffed at the idea now.
“Gee, Greg,” he mimicked scornfully under his breath,
hate to fuck and run, but, you know how it is.”
He tested his airflow and switched on his light.
“Yeah, sure! Hey, I know how it is, no problem!” he
to himself. “You better hope your
are impact resistant, you bastard!”
Greg dove into the darkening water and headed back to the
The day was clear and perfect for a drive, even if it did
eat into his fuel allotment.
Greg had given himself the evening and another day to try to
cool down. There had to be some other
reason, he kept telling himself, for Bryan
just leaving like that.
He wasn’t having much luck convincing himself of that,
Again he imagined the sound of his fist jarring loose every
filling in Bryan’s
head as he guided his Audi off of Ala Napunani onto Ala Leie, slowing
to get a
bearing on the house numbers.
It was a quiet neighborhood, beautiful and well-kept, not
far from the Honolulu Country Club. Greg’s
eyes narrowed to slits as he seethed.
Some young rich boy who’d had his fun, satisfied his
curiosity and just
wanted to play games.
He smiled again, imagining Bryan
falling to the floor, gripping his
manhood in agony…probably dressed in some cute little tennis
outfit with a
sweater tied around his neck. He’d
leave him writhing there as he stormed off, cackling at his torment.
There it was. 14150.
It was a beautiful home.
A single story with a red-tiled roof set amidst an abundance of
and carefully pruned bushes and trees. He
pulled to a stop and turned off the car.
All bullshit and daydreaming aside, Greg really didn’t know
what he’d say when, if, he opened the door.
His heart beat faster and he felt a lump rising in his throat.
He noticed the ‘For Sale’ sign next to the entry path and
was confused. Was he even here? Why would he leave this address if he’s
not here? A hundred other questions
flashed through his
mind, none of them with answers.
Mustering his courage, Greg got out and walked to the front
door; carefully, as if he was an intruder, almost not wanting to be
noticed. He loved the fragrant smell of
the flora but it did little to settle the clawing feeling in his
stomach as he
rang the bell.
“May I help you?” a middle-aged man asked as he opened the
door. Greg guessed he was around fifty
He took a half step back, almost deciding to turn and
run. The man had to be Bryan’s father.
Same hair, though thinner. Same
build, though broader through the middle. Same
It took him a second to find his voice as he swallowed the lump. He was sure the man thought he was not right
in the head.
“Uh, hi…sir,” Greg stumbled, trying to find the
words. “My name is Greg. I was wondering if Bryan was around?”
The man looked at his with an eye that was used to studying
people, sizing them up. His face
betrayed little except for the faintest rise of an eyebrow. Greg felt like he should definitely just run
while he still had the chance.
“Are you a friend of Bryan’s?”
“Uh, yes sir,” he said.
“We were kind of close and he left me this address to look
The man’s steely façade seemed to slump slightly. He hesitated as if, Greg thought, he did not
know what to say.
“Why don’t you come in?” he asked, stepping aside. “I can’t afford to cool down the
island,” he said, letting a faint smile crack through his veneer.
Greg followed him inside, past an array of packing boxes.
It was a beautiful home with a fine little
atrium. He imagined it was a good place
“I hope you’ll excuse the clutter. My
wife and I are moving back to be near
family on the mainland. Have a
said offering a place on a sofa that wasn’t taken by books and
assorted memories of a lifetime. “Can
get you something to drink?”
“Oh, no thank you, sir; I’m good,” Greg said. He had started to sit down when he spied a
picture sitting alone on a bookshelf that drew him.
It was portrait of Bryan,
dressed in the uniform of a Navy Ensign, his handsome face smiling back
from underneath his peaked cap.
“I couldn’t bring myself to pack that just yet,” Greg
Mr. Gobell say behind him. He noted the
trace of melancholy in his otherwise steady voice.
“What do you mean?”
father looked at his quizzically.
“You haven’t seen Bryan
in a while, have you?” he asked.
Greg’s hands began to shake.
He sensed something was coming that he didn’t really want
to hear and
kept his answer intentionally vague, “No, sir; it feels like
ages. Is something wrong?”
He drew in a breath, trying to steady himself.
“Well, there’s no easy way to say this, but Bryan was killed
in action about three months
ago,” he said, his voice cracking. He
tried subtly wiping a tear from the corner of his eye.
Greg’s knees felt as if they were turning to rubber and hobbled
for the edge of the sofa before they did.
He couldn’t speak. He
mouth and eyes wide with astonishment as Bryan’s
father tried to continue.
“He was with a SEAL team,” he began, trying to drag the
words out of his own mouth. “The official
telegram said it was an underwater demolition training
why they said there was nothing to bury,” he continued, choking
sob. “But I know goddamn well he was
mixed up in that mess in Taiwan!
Pardon my French.”
Greg’s head turned up at his choice of apologies but he stayed
listened intently, not realizing that he was stroking the side of Bryan’s
portrait as his
father spoke. He watched as the man
pawed at his nose.
“After the memorial service, my wife and I decided to go
home; without Bryan,
there’s nothing left for us here, so I sold my business and said
to hell with
“Mr. Gobell,” Greg began, almost on the verge of tears
as he watched this man struggle to maintain his bearing.
“Would you believe they wouldn’t even fire a salute at his
service? Afraid people’d think it
terrorist act or something!”
Greg was speechless.
For a fleeting moment, he thought that maybe, just maybe he’d
dreamt it all. But he couldn’t
It was Bryan who’d rescued him when he’d panicked in that
cloud of silt in the passage, he was sure of it.
It was Bryan
he’d shared his fruit with as they chit-chatted in their private
It was Bryan with whom he’d made love.
He stared at his portrait as his father continued his
laments, pouring out his thoughts. He
didn’t hear him anymore. He only
into the bright eyes looking out from the photograph and tried to hold
Greg felt the man’s touch on his shoulder. How
like his son’s it was. He
couldn’t have dreamed it.
“I’m sorry you had to find out this way,” he said,
soothe his as much as himself. “Bryan never
you. I have to apologize,” he
Greg fought back sniffles as he tried to get his voice back,
“We didn’t know each other for very long, but he helped me
out when….” He couldn’t
finish his sentence. He looked up at his
father, seeing him,
hoping he’d understand what he meant.
He smiled back.
“Look,” he began, “I can get another copy made; if
like, why don’t you keep that photo?”
“Oh, thank you, but I…”
“I insist. It’d be
one less thing I have to worry about packing,” he said. It was a poor attempt at humor, he knew how
“Thank you,” Greg whispered, extending his hand in thanks. “I should get out of your way,” he
father walked him to the door. “We’re
only going to be around for another week while we finish things up, but
you’re a friend of Bryan’s,
please let me know if you need anything.
I don’t know what I could do, but you never know.”
“Thank you,” he said, choking back his voice.
They wished each other good luck and Greg went back to his
car. For a long time he sat and just
stared at Bryan’s
portrait, wiping tears from his eyes, wondering just what had happened
cavern the day before. He had never been
given to believing in ghosts, his schooling allowed no room for it, but
To Be Continued