The Curtain Ripp'd

By Vic James

Copyright 2016 by vicjames2@hotmail.com

 

 

 

This story is copyrighted October 2016 by Vic James. All rights reserved.

 

If you enjoy this story or any other stories on Nifty, please make a donation at http://donate.nifty.org/donate.html. Nifty needs your continued support to continue hosting stories like this one.

 

This story is fiction. None of the characters are based on real people.

You can see a list of my stories at the Nifty Prolific Authors page by my name.

 

 

One

I sat at the dinner table with my father, mother, and younger sister Katy. The parents were fighting, as usual. I sighed. It was Sunday evening. I'd hoped to come out to the parents over the weekend, but there hadn't been a good time. 'Coming Out Postponed Due to Championship Bout' was the mental headline in my mind. I needed to give up on those. I wasn't a journalism major anymore. Whenever my mother and father were in the same room, the fighting resumed. I was thoroughly sick of it and past ready to return to college.

I was completely ignoring the argument and the parents until I heard my name.

"I asked when we are going to meet this girl?" my father asked. "You've been dating her for a whole year!"

There was no girlfriend. It was a lie I told my parents. There was no boyfriend, either. That I regretted.

"I don't have a girlfriend. I'm gay. I don't have a boyfriend, either. I doubt I will ever have one. I've been on one date in my entire life and I had a seizure during it. When I came to, on the floor in a restaurant, my date was gone. I don't plan to ever date. So whether I'm celibate gay man or celibate straight man makes no difference. I'm not going to take a chance on having a seizure during sex. And I'm not going to ever have children. They could inherit my epilepsy."

"Oh, Jack," Katy said.

I reluctantly looked at my parents. They were in shock. My father's mouth hung open and my mother had her hand over her mouth. It was probably open, too. They had so much in common.

"Are you serious?" the father figure asked.

"It's all true," Katy said. "We've talked about it."

"Maybe someone in a support group..." my mother said.

"Why did you tell us you had a girlfriend?" my father asked.

"Because he thought that was what you wanted to hear. He was right, wasn't he?" Katy said.

"I don't know what to say. I'm not going to lecture you about homosexuality. You have hardships enough to bear," my father said to me.

"I just want you to promise me one thing," I said to my family.

"What?" my mother asked.

"I don't ever want to be referred to as Jack the virgin."

Katy laughed. Then my mother did.

"It's a secret!" I said.

I looked at my father. He looked sad. Sadder than me!

My cellphone rang.

"Hey, Jack. It's Jim." Jim was a handsome guy from college who lived in the same town as us. He was a star on the football team. His girlfriend Jessica was a friend of mine. Jim had given me a ride home from college. This was the second time that semester. I usually rode the bus. Because I had epilepsy and frequent seizures, I couldn't get a driver's license. "I need to head back to school tonight. I know it's short notice and if you can't make it, I want to pay your bus fare back to school."

"That's OK. I can leave. What time will you get here?"

I'd dropped a bombshell on the house. I didn't want to sit around and talk about it all night.

"Is thirty minutes OK?"

"That's fine. See you then."

I hung up.

"That was Jim about my ride. Something came up and he has to head back to school tonight," I told the family.

"Oh, that's a shame," my father said.

I got up and packed quickly. I didn't have that much. I sat on my bed. I could hear my parents arguing. Was I the reason for the argument? The angry voices changed texture. I smelled garlic and burning wires. No! Not again, I thought. Not when Jim is coming! The voices became shrill and...painful. I tried to get up. Part of me knew my body wouldn't respond, but for an instant, I thought I forced myself up. The sound changed into an altogether different sensation. It became sharp jabs on my skin. Suddenly my vision went dark and I felt the beginnings of panic. I had never been aware during a seizure before, but what else could it be. The sound that felt like needle-like piercings of my skin made me struggle to get up, to get away. I no longer had any sensation that I was in my bedroom. I couldn't feel the bed under me and I couldn't hear my parents. I was in pain in a dark place. If this was a seizure, it was different than any others. Or maybe they were all like this, but I wasn't aware during all the others. I put my hands done to feel the bed, but it wasn't there. I stomped a foot. The ground felt like soft rubber. My foot bounced back. I reached out and felt in front of me. One hand felt what seemed to be a large piece of ice. It was cold and slippery, anyway. I pushed and my hand penetrated the cold surface. There was no pain in the part of my hand that passed though the ice. I had to get away from the pain. I pushed my whole body against the surface and passed through it. Suddenly there was light and the pricking pain was gone, but replaced by intense cold. I stared dumbstruck at the sight in front of me. I seemed to be standing on a sheet of ice that extended in all directions. Above it was a ceiling of stars. It was night and the sky was clear. I stared in awe at the sky. I had never seen so many stars. There were so many, I could see clearly, just from starlight. I looked down at the ice and saw reflections of the stars. I began shivering. Since I'd arrived wherever I was, I'd gotten progressively colder. I looked down at myself and saw I was naked. That was very odd. I looked around. The only things I could see besides the icy ground and the stars were small, white clouds. These hung in the air about a meter above the ground. That was certainly strange, but so was everything else. One cloud seemed to be moving in my direction. I leaned against something warmer than the rest of my surroundings. It felt rubbery, like the ground in the dark place. I turned around, but saw nothing behind me but the plain of ice, the stars, and the clouds. However, my hands felt a warmer surface. It just seemed to be invisible. I couldn't remember how I'd gotten where I was. Was I asleep? Was I dreaming? Dreaming sounded right. I'd had dozens of seizures. None of them had been anything like this. Either I was awake and they passed quickly, or I lost consciousness. My teeth began chattering. I didn't recall ever having painful dreams before, and the cold was painful, as were the needles in the dark place. I pushed against the invisible surface or...thing, and my hands passed through something. They felt warmer, instantly. I walked forward and passed through. I was back in the dark place. The pain was back, too. It felt like a hundred people were giving me flu shots. I stood there a moment, trying to decide what to do. But the pain began to be too great. I started walking slowly, with my arms stretched out in front of me. The pain lessened as I walked. It was as if some of the people trying to give him flu shots couldn't keep up with me. I found that the faster I walked, the less painful it was. I began to run, and smiled as I ran. There was no pain at all. I ran into the same sort of barrier as before, but this time, my momentum caused me to pass through before I could stop.

I stood next to a highway. In the distance, I could see buildings. But they looked odd. One of the closest ones looked almost exactly like a metal popsicle, with a tall, narrow base under a larger, silver top, indented in the middle. Another one looked like a candy sucker with a large sphere on top of a tall, extremely narrow base. The sphere was red. None of the buildings looked like anything I'd seen before. I was too far away to be certain, but they had an air of abandonment to them. A vehicle passed me. It was a car, but not a model I'd seen before. It passed by too quickly for me to see the passenger. I looked down at the ground. Everything was dead. There were bits of dead grass and a few pieces of broken glass, but mostly bare earth. In fact, looking around, I didn't see any sign of life. There were trees in the distance. They seemed as dead as the grass under my feet. Had it stopped raining? Had climate change destroyed everything? But there were vehicles, so obviously the people still lived. Maybe the rain had stopped and there was only enough water for people. I decided to walk towards the buildings. I heard another vehicle approach. I turned around and watched it as it passed me. I saw the passenger, but decided I had to be wrong. It looked an awful lot like a mummified person. I walked for about thirty minutes.

Ahead, on my right, there was a residential section. The houses were more fanciful than any homes I'd seen. Some had turrets, with tattered, faded flags waving in the breeze, while others looked like little castles. I liked all of them. There were children's toys on some of the lawns. I saw no people, but I did watch some sort of automated lawn mower begin working on a lawn a few houses down. There was no grass to mow, but that didn't stop it. I stopped by a vehicle in a driveway. It was empty. The dashboard looked very strange. There was only a single round display, which was black. The steering wheel was very small, too. It was less than a foot in diameter. I continued walking. Things looked odd, the toys, a bicycle. I approached a house with two odd looking lumps in the lawn. When I got close enough, I stopped. They were corpses. Human corpses. But they looked extremely odd. The skin looked like tanned leather. There were pieces of leathery skin on the ground, but some was still attached to their bodies. Why had they been left on the dead lawn? I was afraid he knew the answer. I saw a car driving slowly towards me. I moved out into the street and waved my hand. The car slowed and tried to very slowly move around me. I got a good look at the passengers. They were dead, a mother driving, and two children in the back seat. Their bodies looked mummified. I stepped out of the way, and the car just kept driving. I got a chill. It was horrible. They must have died suddenly. They were slumped, but in their seats. But why did the cars keep running? Obviously, they were self-driving, but no one was telling them a destination. I watched the car that had just passed me speed up as it got onto the highway. I was surrounded by death. Death of everything. There were lawns with no grass, flowerbeds with no flowers and no weeds. And finally, bodies that didn't rot. Bacteria and fungi caused rot. If they were dead, too, there could be no rot. I was incredibly depressed. But it was a dream. It could only be a dream.

Suddenly, I was in the dark, painful place. I ran. I was happy, despite the pain. Happy to be away from that place of death. It hit something and fell backwards. I got up. I felt a wall in front of me. I heard voices. "He's here," a feminine voice said.

"I'm over here!" I said.

The jabs on my skin became more numerous. I ran in another direction. I passed through another rubbery barrier and I found myself falling. This is a hell of a dream, I thought. Or...it was a seizure, wasn't it? Or had I dreamt it started with a seizure. I remembered Jim as I fell. I needed to get back home. Jim was waiting for me. I looked down in panic, and hit water. I hit and swam back up to the surface. The water was cold. I dog-paddled as I looked up. There was nothing to see but sky. Whatever I'd passed through to get to where he was, was above the water, but only seven or eight feet above it. I couldn't walk back through, into the dark place. But then I never tried to get in the dark place. It found me. This was a hell of a dream! I looked around. I was in a small pond, about twenty feet from the nearest shore. Some sort of animal swam very close to me. I started to panic before I realized it was only a beaver. I swam to shore.

I was in a wilderness area. I saw several different kinds of trees, but the majority of them seemed to be oaks. Some of them were enormous. As I looked around, I saw a creek at one end of the pond. Of course. I was in a beaver pond. It was a wonder my feet hadn't hit the ground when I fell into the pond. The water couldn't be very deep. I must have fallen into the deepest part of the pond. I stopped trying to swim and walked to the shore. The water came up to my waist and then lowered quickly. The whole area was hilly.

I heard voices shouting. A group of very strange looking men ran and stood directly in front of me. Their teeth were bizarre. Two men waded into the water and grabbed my arms. They dragged me out of the water. Two more men took hold of my arms, two men holding each arm. I wasn't scared. It was a dream. The men held my arms tightly, but they didn't pull on them.

"Wizard. You are our prisoner," a man said. Another man took black rocks out of a pouch hanging at his waist. He put a circle of the black rocks around my feet. A different man handed the one who'd placed the rocks another pouch. Then a second circle of rocks was placed around the first circle. The man who placed the rocks began chanting something I didn't understand. I laughed. It was so bizarre. My arms were freed.

I looked at the man who'd spoken and frowned. He looked familiar. Then I realized why. The man looked like Jim, my ride back to school. Seeing him in the dream made perfect sense. Hunky Jim Robertson was the boyfriend of a friend of mine named Jessica. Jim was one of the stars of the college football team. He'd been interviewed on TV before and after one of the televised games. My father was impressed that Jim was a friend of mine. I shared two classes with Jim. That was where I met him. Later I found out he was Jessica's long-time boyfriend. He was smart, handsome, a great athlete, and nice. He offered to drive me home when he was going there. I would never have asked. I jacked off frequently fantasizing about him. But Jim was straight and he was monogamous. He was madly in love with his high school sweetheart, Jessica, and they planned to marry. I had come to know Jessica well, too. She was very pretty and she was nice, too. She was rich—or her parents were. She believed she had an obligation to help the poor and she worked hard at it. I thought she was pretty wonderful. She was in a sorority and she told me once she regretted joining. That the girls were all snobs. She had organized two charitable events and I had helped with them. She'd been present once when I had a seizure. I didn't like seeing the pity in her eyes, but I definitely liked her. I told her then that I was gay and about my one and only date. Of the two, I knew Jessica better, despite the long car drives with Jim. Jessica talked about her feelings and asked me about mine. Jim mostly talked about football and basketball and school. He did ask me about my life, but when he talked about his own life, the conversations were always about Jessica. It's strange, but I learned more about Jim from Jessica than I did from him. After I came out to Jessica, she told me Jim had a gay cousin and that Jim and his cousin were pretty close. On the next car ride home, Jim told me he wanted me to meet his cousin Dan. At first, I was excited. Then I thought about having a seizure in front of him and never hearing from him, again. That was worse than never meeting him. I didn't understand why a nobody like me had two very popular people as friends, especially since I didn't have any other friends—or close friends, anyway. My roommate Ben didn't understand, either.

This Jim had a beard and much longer hair. And, like all the men, had two very strange looking teeth. That was why I didn't recognize him immediately. His upper canines were a few centimeters long and curved upwards. All the men in the group had the same weird teeth, but they all pointed in different directions. None of their mouths closed completely. Eating had to be difficult. Their clothing was weird, too. The fabric was coarse and seams were uneven and visible. Even with the weird teeth, Jim was still a handsome guy, and the shirt he was wearing was open enough to give a good view of his hairy chest. I wanted to run my fingers through all that hair.

Jim looked at Jack's crotch. Jack looked down and was mortified. He was naked and Jim had given him an erection. Jack put his hands over his crotch and tried to act normal.

"What's wrong with your teeth?" I asked.

The men looked angry. I had no idea why. I changed the subject.

"How is Jessica?" I asked him.

A look of fear crossed Dream-Jim's face.

"You! You killed her!"

I was shocked.

"She's dead?" I was upset, even though I realized it was a dream. "I liked and admired Jessica. I would never harm her," I told him.

"Maybe it was just an accident, Jim," another man said to Jim. "Jessica had no enemies. Even a wizard admired her. And what wizard ever admired anyone but himself?"

After a moment, Jim seemed to be resigned and nodded his head.

"Why am I a prisoner?"

Jim frowned.

"You're a wizard! We need you to remove this curse on us. We will pay you."

"I'd like to help, but I'm not a wizard," I said.

"He's no wizard," another man said to Jim. "You saw his erection and wizards can't be sexual."

I frowned.

"Well? Are you a virgin?" Jim asked him.

I blushed.

"Are all virgins wizards?" I asked.

They ignored me.

"He's a wizard," Jim said. "Just getting an erection is not necessarily sexual. I woke up this morning with one."

A man laughed.

"What's so funny?" Jim asked him.

"When don't you have an erection?" the man asked Jim.

Jim ignored the man.

"You saw him appear out of thin air. Who else could do that?"

Fortunately, the very strange conversation made my erection disappear. I wished I was wearing something. Suddenly, I was dressed in white clothes, white shirt, white pants, and white shoes.

"I'm so sorry about Jessica. I thought she was a very special person," I said. "Beautiful inside and out."

A tear ran down Jim's cheek.

"I'm sorry, Jim. Truly."

Jim looked at me, in shock.

"You know my name, too?"

"Of course I know your name. Jessica introduced me to you. The three of us went out to dinner together once. Don't you remember?"

Jim looked confused.

If I was supposed to be a wizard in the dream, could I not only fix their teeth, but also bring Jessica back to life? Would she be a zombie?

"How long ago did she die?" I asked Jim.

"Yesterday."

I wanted to see if I had any magical powers in this dream.

Fireball! I thought, flinging my hand. I grinned as a ball of flame shot out and hit the ground about twenty meters away. Cool!

Two men grabbed him and each took one of his arms.

"I was just testing," I said, annoyed.

"He obviously means us no harm," Jim said. "He could have aimed that at one or all of us."

The men let go of his arms, but the stayed next to him.

"How did you know Jessica?" Jim asked.

"I helped her raise money for the Thanksgiving food drive, for one thing."

Jim looked confused.

"Drive? Food?"

"Food for the poor," I added.

"Oh. That's my Jessie. She never mentioned knowing a wizard. She would have told me that," Jim said.

"She...didn't know I was a wizard," I said.

"You said you aren't a wizard," one of the men said.

"I didn't know I was until I shot the fireball. If I can do magic, I guess I am a wizard."

I looked at Jim's crotch. A man said he always had an erection. Wouldn't you know that the one time he didn't have one was when I was there and wanted to see it! Maybe if I fixed their teeth, Jim would let me suck him as a reward! Of course, he'd have to fuck me if I managed to bring Jessica back to life. That was bound to be harder!

"This is crap," one of the men said. "You don't wake up one morning a wizard. He's obviously lying."

"Hey!" I said.

I opened my eyes. The parents and Katy were looking down at me. I was on the floor in my bedroom.

"Are you OK?" my mother asked. "You had a seizure."

I sat up. My father helped me stand up.

"It was very different," I said.

My mother nodded.

"The new drug. You just seemed to be sleeping this time."

I nodded. I was trying yet another epilepsy drug.

"I even dreamed."

My mother smiled.

"Well, that certainly is a great improvement!"

I nodded my head, slowly. I looked at the clock on the wall. The seizure couldn't have lasted more than a couple of minutes. It was a strange dream. I sure wished it had lasted longer.

We heard a car horn. Katy looked out the window.

"He's here."

I kissed my mother goodbye, said goodbye to Dad and Katy, and carried my things out to Jim's car.

"Did you tell them you're gay?" Jim asked him, once they were on the highway.

"Yeah. I finally got it over with."

"Did your parents get mad?" Jim asked.

"No. I had a seizure not long after I told them. We didn't even discuss it."

Jim turned to me. "Is that one seizure you're glad you had?"

I chuckled.

"I guess it was."

Jim wasn't wearing very much. He had an athletic t-shirt on and a pair of shorts. He smelled really good. Jim was hairy and I love hairy men.

I looked at the crotch of Jim's shorts. It was fairly dark. There were only occasional lights on the highway. But there was a big lump in his shorts. I tried not to stare, but it soon became obvious that Jim had an erection. Suddenly Jim put his hand over it.

"Sorry!" I said. I meant for looking at his crotch.

"For what?" Jim asked.

"Oh." I felt like an idiot. Jim hadn't put his hand there because I was watching. I watched Jim squeeze his erection. I could tell he was trying to hide what he was doing.

Thinking fast, I lied. "I farted. If you didn't notice, I should have kept my mouth closed."

Jim laughed. "Or your ass closed."

"It stays closed."

Jim laughed.

"Closed for repairs?" he asked me.

"From disuse."

Jim feigned shock. "I don't think I've ever heard you speak about sex so openly, Jack."

"I decided if I'm not going to have it, I should at least talk about it."

Jim laughed.

"You know, you aren't the only virgin, Jack."

"Yes. There was Mary, Jesus' mother."

Jim laughed.

"Believe it or not, that's not who I had in mind," Jim said.

Jim was silent.

I knew I wasn't the only virgin. But guys at the dorm either talked about sports or who they were fucking. A lot of them had naked pictures of their girlfriends that they would show. I had nothing to say on either subject. I tried to play sports in high school, soccer. But after having a seizure during my first soccer game, I gave it up. Of course, if I did have sex, I couldn't exactly brag in the hallway that some guy had fucked me. I smiled. Unless it was Jim who fucked me. In that case, I could brag, not that I would.

"You know, I'm crazy about Jessica," Jim said, finally. "If you tell anyone, I will beat the shit out of you."

"OK. But I think it's public knowledge, Jim."

"No. No. I don't mean that. I mean what I'm about to tell you. How do you feel about pre-marital sex?"

I laughed.

"Hmm. I would love to experience it before I'm fifty."

Jim sighed.

"Your family is religious, right?"

"We go to church, but we aren't fanatics."

"The thing is, Jessica doesn't believe in pre-marital sex."

I stared at Jim open-mouthed.

"You two haven't had sex?"

"Nope."

"You've been dating since you were sophomores in high school!"

"Yes. And she's been saying no for almost six years."

"Oh, Jim. Have you dated other girls?"

"Never."

"Are you trying to tell me..."

Jim sighed.

"I let a guy named Josh suck me a few times last year. He's on the football team. It stopped when he asked me if I was going to split up with Jessica."

"Oh. Wow!" I said, before muttering, "Why didn't you let me?"

"What was that?" Jim asked.

"If he hadn't asked that, would you have stopped?"

"No," Jim said.

I was afraid to get my hopes up.

"I don't want you to split up with Jessica."

"No?"

I watched Jim openly squeeze his erection. He knew I was looking.

"I'll suck you, if you ever want me to."

"I'm not going to fall in love with you, Jack."

"I don't expect you to. I don't want you to. I really like Jessica. Wanting to wait for marriage isn't really a character flaw."

"It just seems that way," Jim said.

I smiled.

"What are you going to do if you marry her and then find out she has no interest in sex?" I asked him. Jim continued to squeeze his dick and I watched him.

"I asked her father. It took me a long time to work up the nerve. He was actually surprised we hadn't had sex already. But he said he had to wait for Jessica's mother and he didn't regret it for one minute. He told me not to confuse waiting for marriage with disinterest."

"I hope he's right," I said.

"You hope? Think how I feel! Anyway, maybe it's silly, but getting sucked by a guy feels less like cheating to me."

"I can understand that. If you were bisexual, it would feel more like cheating."

"That's it. And I'll be blunt. If I tell her I was with you, she won't get suspicious. She likes you, too. She wants to introduce you to my cousin, Dan. Dan is dating someone right now, but the guy is a real jerk."

I thought about what it seemed I was being offered. It was incredible.

"I don't know why you even talk to me," I said to Jim. "No one else on the football team knows I'm alive. And yet, here you are driving me around."

"Well, I was going the same way."

Jim was silent for a minute.

"I'll tell you why. Jessica told me you needed a friend. She told me about your health and the soccer game and your horrible first date, and the guy in high school who pretended to have seizures to mock you, and how with all you've had to deal with, you have a great attitude. So I got to know you and found out something. She was right. You and my cousin Dan are the only people I can have this conversation with, and Dan isn't available. When I'm with other guys, they want to know if I've bagged Jessica, yet. If I told them she's waiting for marriage, they would tell me to dump her."

I nodded. I didn't doubt that.

"I've talked to Jessica about this," Jim said. "She told me I should explain to them how much more meaningful sex is if you wait for marriage."

I started laughing.

"Oh, lord!" I said. "Please don't!"

"See? You get it! If I told them that..."

"You'd have to change your name and transfer out of state!" I said.

"Exactly. And when I hear about their conquests, I feel worse," Jim added. "And guys even show me pictures of them getting blown or fucking their girlfriends. Last week, a couple of guys said to me, 'If you don't want to show us pictures of Jessica naked, give her a facial and show us pictures!'"

"Damn!"

"I mean I would love to, but... I guess, in a way, I'm avoiding them by being with you. Not that I don't like you."

I nodded.

"But this conversation is something else I can't discuss with my other friends."

"That's all guys talk about at my dorm and I've been shown videos," I said. "Of course, the parts I want to see are deemphasized."

Jim laughed for a while.

"They don't heckle me about my non-existent sex life, because my roommate told someone about that date, it spread, and they all feel sorry for me. But that wouldn't help you. Besides, I can't recommend pity as a social interaction."

Jim laughed again.

"No. So did you mean it about sucking me? Can we keep our friendship if you do?" he asked me.

"Yes. If I start to think my feelings are changing, I'll tell you and we'll stop. OK?"

Jim turned and grinned at Jack.

"OK!"

"Do you lie about sex with Jessica to your friends?"

"I have. I feel bad about it, but yeah. But those kind of lies lead to more lies. They want to know how she is in bed, does she give head, where's the weirdest place we ever had sex. Things like that."

I nodded.

"Lies and more lies," I said.

"So. You are really sure you want to do this?" Jim asked.

"Positive. But when and how often?"

"When is in two miles. We'll pull over at a picnic stop. It should be dead since it's dark. How often is up to you."

"Every day?"

"Oh man!" Jim groaned. He groped himself again. "I'm horny all the time. I usually jack off a couple of times a day."

"How do you manage that in a dorm?" I asked him.

"I don't have a roommate."

"Lucky!"

Jim chuckled.

"Do you want to do it that often?" Jim asked.

"Sure! I'd love that!"

"Damn! If it's OK, we'll start hanging out together. Jessica will like that. If we're spending a lot of time together, it will be easy."

My heart started pounding in my chest. I was going to be having regular sex with Jim Robertson, Stud.

"What are the rules?" I asked. "If we're alone, and I want it..."

Jim grinned.

"Just pull it out and start sucking, Jack."

I groaned.

"But!" Jim shook his finger at me. I almost laughed. "We will not be lovers, boyfriends, or dating. We will just be friends having fun together."

"A hell of a lot of fun," I added.

Jim grinned.

"You've got a roommate, but I don't. We'll probably be doing it in my room most of the time. We can relax and take our time."

I shook my head. I couldn't believe it.

"Are you going to look for other guys to suck you?" I asked.

Jim looked like I'd lost my mind.

"That would be the perfect way for Jessica to find out, if I'm out looking for men to suck me all the time! No. As long as you're taking care of me, it will just be you. Did you think I'd be shopping around for the best blowjob?"

I laughed. "I don't know! This is new to me!"

There was another sign that said 'Picnic Area ˝ Mile.

"You know, we don't have to pull over. There's very little traffic," I said. "Wouldn't there be less of a chance of getting caught if we don't stop?"

"Yeah, but I'm afraid of getting cum in the car. Jessica might spot it," Jim said.

"Uh. You don't have to worry about that. I plan to swallow it."

"Oh, fuck!" Jim said. "All the time?"

"Yes."

"Fuck! Josh wouldn't swallow it."

He let go of the steering wheel, pulled a leg of his shorts back and pulled out his cock before grabbing the steering wheel, again. I looked at it. It was a little bigger than mine. I am just over six and a half inches, and I guessed Jim was almost seven inches long. He was circumcised, and his cock curved upwards, but in the dim light of the car, it was hard to tell any more than that. Not long before, in the dream, I'd been wishing I could see Jim's dick. But in real life I was going to be able to suck it! I unfastened my seatbelt, leaned over, and grabbed Jim's cock. I held it up and swallowed it.

"Fuck!" Jim said.

I couldn't believe how wonderful it felt to have a stiff cock in my mouth. And not just any cock. It belonged to Jim Robertson, sports celebrity! My father had been very impressed that the Jim Robertson was driving me around, and I was sucking Jim's cock! And an hour before, I had been convinced I would never have sex. It was weird.

Jim rested his hand on the back of my neck. It felt wonderfully possessive. Of course, it would only screw things up if I thought that way. Jim belonged to Jessica. But I was his only sex partner and it sounded like we would be having a lot of sex. His dick was mine until he married Jessica.

"Damn, that feels good," Jim said to me.

I didn't have any trouble sucking. I decided Jim's cock was the perfect size.

"Oh, man! That feels great! You've done this before."

I pulled off.

"I haven't," I said, as I stroked Jim's cock with my hand. "But I love doing it and you taste great."

"Do you like it? My dick?"

I looked at it. It seemed absolutely perfect to me.

"I love it. Him. Is it OK to be in love with him, just him?" I asked him.

Jim sighed.

"That's absolutely fucking perfect."

I licked the head a few times, making Jim shudder. I swallowed him, again. After a few more minutes, Jim said, "I'm close." A minute later, Jim cursed and hot fluid began shooting into my mouth. I gulped the first spurt while the second and third shot into my mouth. I had tasted my own cum and I was unprepared for how terrific Jim's tasted. As I swallowed it, warmth filled my mouth before traveling down my throat to my stomach. From there it spread throughout my entire body. I drank brandy a couple of times and it reminded me of how it felt going down, but this was much better. I knew that wasn't normal, but I was too caught up in the act to think about it. After five or six spurts, the flow coming from him decreased. I continued sucking until I was certain there was no more. I pulled off him and squeezed the shaft to get the last few drops. I licked them up. When I was sure I couldn't get any more cum out of him, I sat up. Jim put his dick away.

Jim stared straight ahead. There was an uncomfortable silence in the car. I wondered if he felt guilty.

"I loved doing that! Your cum tastes great!"

"It does?"

"Oh, yeah! I've only tasted mine, but yours is much, much better."

Jack saw a small smile on Jim's face.

"No one else has ever tasted it."

I was a little worried that he didn't seem enthusiastic about it. Had I done it wrong?

"Is everything OK?" I asked him.

Jim sighed.

"No. I lied to you, Jack. Shit! The reason I wanted to be your friend is because you are gay and I wanted someone to suck my cock regularly. Someone to replace Josh. I've noticed how you look at me. I figured it would be easy. I guess I could say I picked you to service me, but not to love me. Which is horrible, I know."

That made more sense. We were unlikely friends.

"So you picked me out of everyone else at school to have sex with," I said.

"Yeah."

"Am I supposed to be mad?"

Jim looked at me.

"Well, yeah. I've been kind of using you."

"Do you dislike me?"

"No. I like you just fine. If I hadn't, we wouldn't have gotten this far."

"I've been using you for car rides, but I like you."

"Do you really see it that way?"

"I do like you. Actually, I think you are pretty terrific because of how you treat Jessica. If you like me, we're friends, right? It just depends on how you really feel about me."

"I want us to be friends."

"Good!"

I thought about it some more.

"Would you have kept giving me rides if I hadn't wanted to suck you?"

Jim thought about it.

"I think so. I think I would have kept trying to convince you."

I laughed. "If I was stupid enough to refuse, I am glad you wouldn't give up."

I thought about it some more.

"A guy might see a girl he wants to have sex with. Because he wants to fuck her, he might introduce himself only because he wants to fuck her."

"I see what you are saying. If he likes her, he wants more than sex."

"Right. And the next date, he wants more sex, of course, but he might actually pay a little attention to what she is saying."

Jim laughed. "Might!"

"So if you want me to suck you and be friends, I'm happy. It's exactly what I want. We're friends with benefits."

"You gave me what I needed, but I haven't given you anything, besides the ride and that's not much."

"That's completely untrue. I just had a fabulous time. You've given me friendship and a lot of fun. I'm very happy, and it isn't because I think you're my boyfriend. And if you never let me suck you, again, I'll remember it fondly for the rest of my life. That's how much I enjoyed it."

Jim chuckled.

"OK!"

"Does it bother you at all that I lust after you?"

"No. No. I'm dressed like this because I thought it would excite you. If you hadn't sucked me, I was going to try to arrange things so you could see me naked with a hardon. And if that didn't work, I was going to ask you to jack me off and hope things progressed."

"So you want me to lust after you."

"Yeah. Why would you suck me, otherwise?"

"Can I see him, again?"

"Oh, sorry."

Jim pulled his cock back out. It was half-hard.

"You really like that big dick, don't you?"

"I love him." I grinned. "He's my sweetheart."

Jim didn't laugh, he groaned.

"I want to make slow, sweet love to him every day."

"Oh, fuck! That's what I fucking want, too! The more you want it, the happier I'll be. I mean it. Tuesday Jessica will be at a sorority thing. Do you want to spend the evening in my room, with your sweetheart?"

"Oh, yeah! Will you be naked?"

"However you want me, Jack."

"I can't wait!"

"OK."

Jim looked over at me. Suddenly the car swerved at high speed. I looked up but saw nothing else on the road. There were no car lights anywhere close to them. The nearest seemed to be at least a mile away. I panicked as I realized I didn't have my seatbelt on. Jim slammed on the brakes. Before I had a chance to put on the seat belt, the car flipped. I was sure I was going to die. But the car flipped completely over, end-over-end and landed on its wheels. There was a squealing sound that ended when the car stopped. It was just a few feet past the place where it had flipped.

We were both panting. Neither of us spoke for a moment.

"What happened?" I asked.

Jim sat with his hands clinched tightly around the steering wheel, staring straight ahead. He turned his head.

"I don't know. I...your skin was glowing! Slamming the breaks was stupid, but I freaked out."

I looked at my arm. It looked normal to me.

"Glowing? It must have been a reflection," I said.

"The light was yellow. There's nothing in the car or outside the car that is yellow," Jim said.

"Are you sure about what you saw?"

"Hell, no, I'm not sure! I had to have been hallucinating! Did you see what the car did?" Jim asked.

"You mean flying through the air and flipping? Yes, I did notice that. It was kind of hard to miss," Jack said, laughing nervously.

"Did it feel like it landed hard to you?" Jim asked.

"I...No, not really."

Jim nodded.

"You aren't wearing a seat belt."

"No. That's really weird."

I don't have a driver's license. Is that what you're supposed to do when your passenger glows yellow? Slam on your brakes? I mean, the light wasn't red, was it?"

Jim laughed.

"No. It was yellow."

"For yellow, you usually speed up. I've seen you!" I said, laughing.

"Yes. That way you're running a light at high speed!" Jim said.

We laughed until we laughed ourselves out. Jim let his head fall back against the headrest.

"I wonder if the suspension is ruined," I said.

"Unless I imagined it, we didn't land hard."

"I don't even remember hitting the ground. But maybe it was shock. Maybe we were too scared to notice it."

I nodded. "That's possible."

Jim pulled over to the side of the highway. He turned the car off and opened his door. I got out, too. Jim walked to the front of the car over the driver's side front wheel. He pushed down hard. The car bounced back up a little. He repeated it on the other wheels.

"They all feel the same. I think that means either they're all shot or they're all fine."

"If they were broken, would there be a noise when they bounced back?" I asked.

"I think so. I don't think they would bounce back if one or more were broken."

I looked down at my arm. I didn't see glowing. Jim seemed to think he imagined the glow. But I was participating in a clinical trial for a new epilepsy drug. I wondered if it might be a really weird side-effect. I told Jim about the drug and the clinical trial.

"I don't know. I don't see it anymore. Maybe I imagined it."

"I don't think this drug has been tested in combination with your semen," I said.

Jim burst out laughing.

"I suppose it's possible I may not have ejaculated in some of the people in the trial."

We both laughed.

"Can you get me a list of names? I'll try to remember whether any of them have blown me recently."

I laughed. "I'll do that."

We got back in the car. Jim started it up. He drove slowly on the shoulder of the highway."

"It seems OK."

He sped up and got back on the highway.

"It didn't have any effect at all, as far as I can tell," Jim said.

We stopped for gas. Jim looked so hot. He saw me looking at his crotch. After checking to see if anyone was watching, he groped himself while he grinned at me.

A few minutes after we got back on the road, I asked Jim if I could play with his cock. He pulled it out for me. I stroked it.

"Damn, that's nice!"

I unbuckled my seatbelt to suck him.

"Put it back on, please. I'm still freaked out about losing control of the car. I'm going to make sure you have lots and lots of opportunities to suck me, but not on the highway."

I stroked him for a while.

"Have you ever been rimmed?" I asked him.

Jim gasped.

"Are you joking? No!"

"Would you let me do it to you?"

"Damn, Jack. You really want to do it?"

"Yeah. I've seen it done in porn. I read that after a guy has come a couple of times, it can make him hard, again."

Jim groaned.

"And after you've made me come twice, you'll want more?"

"Yeah."

Jim sighed.

"I think I'd like to spend most of my free time with you. That is, when I'm not with Jessica. Are you interested?"

"Well, yeah."

"When you want your, uh, sweetheart, you can pull him out. If we're in public, eating dinner, or something, we'll find a restroom. Your sweetheart will always be close by, right between my legs."

"You're nasty!" I said, laughing.

"We both are! Isn't it great?" Jim said. We both laughed.

"As much as I hate to say this, you better stop. I'm close to shooting and I'm going to save this load for tomorrow."

"Save it like in a sperm bank?"

Jim burst out laughing.

"Well, not exactly."

"It will be perfectly safe in my stomach, Jim."

"Yeah? Is that where you want me to deposit it?"

"Yes. I don't understand why you don't come tonight AND tomorrow."

He chuckled.

"The car flipped over the last time you sucked me. I'm still freaked out about it. But you can suck me when we get to your dorm."

"Good."

We were both quiet for a few minutes.

"I can't believe a guy made fun of you for having seizures," Jim said. "Why didn't he get in trouble?"

He meant Bill Thompson, asshole. I didn't want to tell Jim, it was because Bill was good at football. That was why he got away with a lot of things. Jim was important to the college because of football. But I didn't know how else to explain it.

"He was on the football team."

"That's the only reason?"

"As far as I know. Maybe he was blackmailing the principal. All I know is he never got in trouble, and the teachers witnessed some of it."

"Did anyone stand up to him?"

"I tried. It was incredibly humiliating."

"Oh. What happened?"

"I was going to try to beat him up. I knew I couldn't, but I wanted to try. Instead, I had another seizure. Stress can trigger them."

"Oh, Jack. I'm sorry. He'll get his, though. Karma is a bitch. That's what my father says, anyway."

We got back to campus around 11 PM. Jim pulled over on a quiet side street. As soon as the car stopped, I unbuckled and leaned over. I pulled his cock out and began sucking.

"I'm going to take you to dinner Tuesday."

I pulled off him.

"You want to?"

"I do. I don't want to reciprocate sexually, but that doesn't mean I can't do other things for you."

"I'd love that. Will I just be eating in a stall?"

"What? Oh."

Jim burst out laughing.

"I'll buy dinner. My jizz will be your dessert!"

"OK!"

Jim ran his hand over my back while I sucked. It felt wonderful. I heard a small gasp from him as his cock began shooting his hot sperm into my mouth. The taste was just as wonderful. I felt the same warmth spreading through my system.

He chuckled as I squeezed the last drops out of his erection.

"When is your last class out tomorrow?"

"Four, but I usually finish early."

"I'm done at three. Do you want to get together?" he asked.

"Sure!"

"I'll come by around four-fifteen. You can spend the night if you want. I've got a spare bed."

"Are you sure?"

Jim didn't answer.

"What's wrong?"

Jim sighed.

"I asked because I want you there to suck me when I want it. If you spend the night, you can suck me off in the morning. Shit! I don't want to treat you like a sex toy!"

"I think you are worrying too much. You said you're going to take me to dinner. That's not treating me like a sex toy. And I would enjoy sucking you off in the morning."

He sighed. "OK."

He started the car up. We drove to my dorm. I got out and gathered my things from the backseat. They were all over the place, probably from the car flip.

"I'll call you tomorrow morning," he said.

"Thanks, Jim."

"Thank you!"

"I'll see you tomorrow."

I closed the car door and he drove slowly away.

As I lay in bed, I thought about what had happened that evening. It was unbelievable. I had come out to my parents and no one had even raised their voice. I had sex with Jim Robertson! How unbelievable was that? And we would be having more! He told me I could have as much sex with him as I wanted, but he wouldn't break up with Jessica. That was exactly what I wanted. How often did that happen to me? I had seldom gotten anything I wanted. Then there was the yellow glow Jim saw. He said I was glowing yellow. How weird was that? And the car flipped, but we were fine, and I wasn't wearing a seatbelt. I hadn't even slid in my seat, as far as I could remember. Could the whole thing be a dream or a hallucination? Then I started to worry about him taking me to dinner. That was going to feel like a date. How could it help feeling like one? Afterwards, we would probably have sex, again. I was crazy about him. I couldn't wait to see him, again. Was I in love? Shit! Despite those worries, I fell asleep.

The following morning, I stood at a sink as I brushed my teeth. I had just showered. It was early Monday morning.

"Did you hear what happened?" a guy whose name I didn't remember asked me.

"No."

"Jessica Davis and Jim Robertson were in an auto accident this morning. Jessica died at the scene. They took Jim to the hospital, but they don't think he'll make it."

"I heard they both died," another guy said.

I felt completely disoriented. The next thing I knew, I was on the floor, with three guys looking down at me. I began coughing up toothpaste. Then I got the dry heaves. I rolled over and felt myself throwing up, although all that came out was some yellow fluid mixed with toothpaste.

I began crying and tried to stand up. Two guys helped me up. I spit toothpaste into the sink and turned around.

"Jim gave me a ride back to school last night home. We...he talked about his plans and...Jessica..." I cried for a little while. Quite a crowd had gathered around me, and toothpaste was running down my chin. It was just one more embarrassing event in my life. Then I was ashamed of thinking of myself.

"Did you just have a seizure?" a guy I didn't know asked me.

I washed my mouth out and rushed back to my room without answering. I sat on my bed and cried.

Ben rushed into the room.

"Oh. You've heard.

I nodded.

"You just saw him, didn't you?"

I nodded. "Last night."

"Man, it sucks!"

That was an understatement if I ever heard one.

"I'm sorry, Jack. I gotta get back to class."

Ben left.

My mother called and asked me if it was true. I began crying before I could answer her, but I'm sure she understood my answer. I hung up my phone, not realizing she didn't know the conversation was over. But I didn't call her back.

I skipped my classes. I would just start crying in public and maybe have another seizure, too. I didn't want to stay in my room alone, either. I decided to go to the library.

While I walked, I remembered the dream I'd had the night before at my parents' house, the one where I was a wizard. Jessica was dead in the dream. Why hadn't Jim been dead in the dream? They both died. Then it occurred to me that I wasn't making a bit of sense. It was ridiculous to wonder why my dream hadn't predicted the future accurately.

I got dizzy, half-way to the library. I tripped on something and the light seemed to change. I heard thunder. I looked up and saw it was about to rain. It had been sunny a minute before. Or at least I thought I had. But in my mental condition, I wasn't sure. I didn't see anyone else on my way into the library and the library seemed to be empty. That was a relief. I didn't want to hear people talking about...what happened.

I sat down at a table and thought about my dream. I knew that some people thought they had prophetic dreams. Was that called clairvoyance? It was strange, but I could remember the dream in complete detail. I could remember what the Jim in the dream was wearing and how his beard merged into the hair on his chest. And the black rocks. I could picture them and realized they weren't rock at all. They were pieces of charcoal. I thought about how wonderful it would be if Wizard Jack had been able to bring Jessica back to life. If I recalled correctly, magic to bring the dead back to life was called necromancy. I was helpless to do anything about her death in the dream, or for real. At least I could fantasize about bringing her back. I thought about researching the subject online, but decided to look to see if the library had any books on magic, first. Online, I would have no idea whether what I was reading was made up by a nine-year-old girl. Books had more authority. As I walked to the supernatural section of the library, I didn't expect to find any books about bringing dead people back to life. After all, it was the university's library and magic wasn't on the curriculum. To my surprise, there were a lot of books on the subject. Some of the books had normal bindings, but others were...strange. Some were loose pages held together by bits of twine. One was a collection of rough, irregularly-shaped sheets of different sizes. The pages were tied together with rawhide. It looked extremely old. I wondered what it was doing out in the open. There were other very old books. I soon realized it was the old books I wanted. They had spells. The newer ones were mostly about the psychology of the belief in magic. I took the books to a table.

Why was Jim alive in the dream? I shook my head. I needed to remember it was just a dream. Otherwise, I would need to read those books about magic and psychology. And I was sure those would be a lot less interesting than the ones I'd picked out.

To my amazement, I found three of the old books had spells meant to raise the dead. The spells weren't identical, but they were very similar. I thought for a while about the differences between the spells. Then I read warnings about bringing the dead to life. I needed to ensure it was Jessica's soul that entered the dead body and not a demon or a malevolent lost soul. Two of the books warned that life force had to be taken from one person to restore life to another. One of the books even suggested using the life force of an enemy. I spent the entire day reading books and learning spells. And not just spells to raise the dead. There were some really fascinating ones. Some were only a single word. I was surprised when a chime sounded and the lights dimmed. It was ten PM. I was surprised. Time had passed quickly. Suddenly, I was famished. I hadn't eaten all day. I left the library. Stupidly, I tripped over something and fell on my face. When I got up, I realized it was in the same place where I'd tripped before I went into the library. I told myself I wouldn't be doing that, again. On the way back to the dorm, I decided that the way I'd spent the day was my reaction to Jessica's and Jim's deaths. I was helpless to do anything about it. But reading about how to undo it, while useless, was at least a little comforting.

Ben asked me where I'd been. He told me several people had been looking for me. I didn't want to admit what I'd been doing.

"I started walking and didn't stop."

"So you walked all day?" Ben asked me.

"And thought."

"Did it help?"

"A little."

I microwaved some ramen noodles and ate them. Then I ate a protein bar and went to sleep.

I found himself in the dark place, with needles piercing my skin. That was not where I wanted to be. I felt around with my hands and found a wall or barrier. I pushed my head through the barrier and saw Jim and the same group of men as before. I was overjoyed to see Jim. I pushed my way through the barrier and was immediately back where I'd been before. I was in exactly the same spot I'd been in when I left. The same two men stood at his side, ready to grab my arms. I thought that was very interesting. The men didn't seem to be aware that I'd left.

"What are you suddenly so happy about?" Jim asked, looking at me, suspiciously.

"You'll think this is stupid or unbelievable, but I think of you as a dear friend. Maybe someday, you'll feel the same way."

Jim looked very surprised.

"You're a wizard and you want to be my friend."

I shrugged and nodded.

"I guess I'm not your typical wizard. Would you like me to try and bring Jessica back from the dead?"

Jim looked hopeful and scared at the same time.

"You are a necromancer?"

"Well, I've never done it, but I know how. It's just a shame I don't have any enemies..." the men laughed hysterically at that. I continued. "I need to take a life to ensure Jessica reenters the body and not a demon."

"No...enemies..." one man gasped, though his laughter.

"Listen," Jim said to the man who was laughing. "If he brings Jessica back, I owe him at the very least my friendship. If he really wants it."

The man got serious and nodded.

"Are there any convicted murderers in your city?" I asked.

Jim laughed. "City? No. If there were, we would have killed them. Just how are you the one wizard with no enemies?" Jim asked me.

"I'm a nice guy. No one knows me. Take your pick," I said, shrugging.

"Except Jessica," Jim said, obviously disbelieving. "And she knew your name. Who told her your name, then?"

I was silent for a moment. I tried to understand the implications of all I'd read and been told by these people. Wizards weren't popular, because they were rotten through and through. And yet Jim wanted to capture one. He needed a wizard and I suddenly knew why. He wanted Jessica back. I absent-mindedly kicked one of the black rocks they'd placed in a circle around me. It landed about a meter away. I kicked another one and hurt my toe. I saw a dandelion blooming. I remembered one of the single-word spells I'd read. I pointed at it and said a Latin word. I grinned as the plant grew enormous, as big as a bush. The single, yellow flower was bigger than a basketball. I laughed. I saw a wild carrot and tried the same thing. It grew enormous.

"I just made the world's biggest carrot!" I said.

The men were all staring at him with open-mouths.

"I think those are edible," I said. "Somebody can have a really big salad."

"You're a white wizard!" Jim said.

I didn't know what that meant. But white witches were good, right? White wizards must be, too.

I found myself looking at Jim's crotch. I didn't think it was my imagination when I saw the suggestion of an erection in his loose pants. My mouth watered. I wanted to suck it.

I was naked and I got hard, again. That was aggravating. I wanted clothes. Suddenly, I was dressed—in white pants and a white shirt, with white shoes. I felt the top of my head. There was no hat, unlike most of the men. That was just fine with me.

"There's no such thing as a white necromancer!" a man said.

"And you know this how?" Jim asked him. "Just how many necromancers do you know?"

The other men snickered.

"You shouldn't be standing here in the open," Jim said to me. "Will you come with us?"

"Sure!"

Soon I was walking next to Jim. The other men surrounded the two of us.

"Is that natural? The teeth, I mean?" I asked Jim.

"No. A wizard cursed our village. I don't suppose...I mean you wouldn't...would you?"

"Do you want me to fix it?"

I had no idea if I could, but it wouldn't hurt to try. It was just a dream. Yes. But what was dream and what was reality? So many strange things had happened. Had I really sucked Jim? Had Jim's car really flipped over? The car wasn't harmed and neither was I, despite not having a seatbelt on at the time. How likely was that? And Jim told me I was glowing yellow. Jim wasn't drunk. What was real? I was pretty damned sure the magic world wasn't, but was I dreaming before? Was it one, long, continuous dream?

"If you undo the curse, are you strong enough to fight the wizard who cast it?" Jim asked me. "He won't be pleased, of course."

It's my dream, I thought. I'm the strongest person in it!

"Sure."

Jim looked a little scared.

"You're very confident."

I didn't know what to say to that.

The group entered forest. They seemed to relax, then, and the men began speaking to each other. I looked at Jim. He smelled bad. All the men did. But I was pretty sure it wasn't because they forgot to wear deodorant. If they had to make their own clothes, and by the look of it, loom their own fabric, they didn't have a choice.

"You seem...interested in me. Why is that?" Jim asked me. "And what is it you want to do?"

"Do you like to get sucked?" I whispered in his ear.

Jim let out a long groan.

"I would like to spend an hour or two every day sucking you."

"Oh, my god!"

"Does the idea appeal to you?"

"Like nothing else! But can you suck me and retain your power?" Jim asked him. "Is it procreative sex that drains power? Or is it different with white wizards?"

"I have no idea. I guess I'll find out after I finish sucking you."

Jim whispered, "You'd risk your power for a suck?"

I thought about saying 'easy come, easy go'. He wouldn't understand. I shrugged.

"Will you bring Jessica back, first?"

"I'm not sure I can, but I'll do my best."

To my surprise, Jim put his arm around my shoulders. The other men looked shocked, but Jim left his arm there. I smiled at him.

"I like your beard," I said.

To my surprise, Jim removed his arm from around my shoulders and groped me. I was hard.

"Yes, you do," he said.

I think I blushed. Jim laughed.

We came upon three children playing in the woods, two boys and a girl. They had the same teeth as the men. Who would curse little children? I thought it was disgusting.

I slapped my arm. I lifted my hand and saw a dead mosquito.

One of the men in the group picked up the girl. She laughed. He put her up on his shoulders and she laughed some more.

We entered what had to be their village. The buildings had thatched roofs and the ground was packed dirt. I saw animals on the street, but no machines of any sort.

Suddenly, I was in the dark place. No! No! No! I want Jim!

I heard a noise and opened my eyes. I was in my dorm room and the alarm had gone off. Shit! Shit! Shit! I wanted Jim. Tears formed when I thought I would never see him again. I realized something, then. I was in love with Jim. I only sucked him once and fell in love. I was stupid for me to think that I could have sex with Jim and not fall in love, but in my defense, it was my first time. What he'd wanted—me to suck him all the time, but just be friends—would never have worked. I would have fallen deeper in love every time we had sex and Jim would end it. I sighed and sat up in bed. Ben was already up and dressed.

"Morning."

"Morning," Ben said. "There's a memorial service at Adams Funeral Home today for Jim and Jessica. It's at two o'clock. The funerals will be Sunday in Bestin. I don't know the time."

I blinked. I tried to absorb all that when mentally, I was still in the other world. The dream world. The world with Jim. The only world with Jim. My tears started to drip.

"Maybe you should go see a grief counselor," Ben suggested.

"Uh, yeah."

In addition to my grief, I was confused. It seemed wrong. It was too soon to have a memorial service. They died the day before. And why wait a week for the funeral?

Everything in the room wavered. I blinked my eyes twice. Please, not a seizure, I prayed.

"The funeral is Sunday?" I asked.

"No. I told you. The funeral is Friday at ten o'clock," Ben said. "The memorial service is Wednesday at two."

He looked at me strangely.

"See you later." He left.

I walked over to the mirror and looked at myself.

I felt out of place, like I didn't belong there. But not only that. Everything felt wrong. Was it a side effect of the drug? I wasn't sure what was real. I realized I was scratching my arm. I looked at it. There was a welt on it, right where I dreamed a mosquito bit me. Or had a mosquito bit me and then I dreamed about it? Why did the dorm room seemed no more real than the village I'd just entered with Jim? Was I still dreaming? My gut told me no. But I no longer cared about what was happening in the real world. I wanted to be with Jim. That was possible in the dream world. I called it the dream world, but I had been surrounded by men in need of a bath. Who dreams of BO? Not me. I put my face in my hands. Maybe Ben was right about seeing a counselor. Was I becoming schizophrenic? I was trying to escape from reality. That would be pointless, because I wasn't sure what was real. There were too many things going on. Epilepsy, the new drug, my feelings for Jim, his and Jessica's deaths, and probably more. I remembered dreaming at my parents' house. In the dream, I met Jim in the primitive world. He told me Jessica had died. That was before Jim picked me up to take me back to school. How could that be? On that ride to school, Jim thought I glowed yellow in the car. And the car spun through the air and landed softly. All that happened in what I thought was reality, but those things sounded unreal. Then I remembered the sun was shining one minute and the sky was completely cloudy the next. The school library had ancient, very fragile books on its shelves, without even a sign saying, 'Handle Carefully'. Those handwritten pages would fade and crumble, sitting on those shelves. Did no one who worked at the library care? Why did I keep dreaming about the painful dark place? I shook my head. Was I insane? Or was I having a reaction to the experimental drug I was taking? That sounded more likely than sudden insanity. And it would explain why everything I saw seemed real and unreal at the same time. What should I do about it? My seizures were not violent on the drug. If I had been on the drug on my first date, my date would have thought I fainted from low blood sugar, or something. He probably wouldn't have run away. If I stopped the drug, I might not see Jim again. That was not a good reason not to stop taking the drug. But it was important to me. That really decided it. I could stop later. I wanted to resurrect Jessica, real or not. And I wanted to see Jim. And Dan. I kept hearing about him. I wanted to meet him.

Suddenly, I got dizzy. I sat down on my bed. I closed my eyes for a moment. When I opened them, I was back on the village street with Jim.

The sound of hammering began. It was metal-on-metal. Down at the end of the street, I could see an arm swinging. That must be a blacksmith, I thought.

"My cousin Dan is the blacksmith," Jim said. "I want you to meet him."

I looked at Jim and smiled.

"Is he gay?"

Jim frowned.

"No. But he might be if the two of you become close."

A small smile appeared on Jim's face. He whispered, "Dan needs someone to suck him for an hour or two every day. I'm sure he will want to fuck you, too." Jim leaned closer, until his lips pressed against my ear. "Will you let me fuck you?"

I looked at him and nodded.

He grinned. "Dan and I can share your ass and your mouth," he whispered.

"It depends on whether I can bring Jessica back. She's my friend, too. I don't want to hurt her."

"I wasn't planning to tell her. I've never been faithful to her. I told her before I married her that if she didn't want to have frequent sex, I would be having sex with others. If she was willing to spend an hour a day sucking me, like you've sworn to do to me on your solemn oath---"

My mouth dropped open. He grinned at me.

"Will you swear on your solemn oath?" he asked, grinning.

"Maybe I should wait and see if my jaw can take it," I said.

"We can work up to it!"

I laughed.

"It does sound like the kind of work that appeals to me."

Jim laughed. Fortunately, we had fallen behind the others and they didn't seem to be listening to us.

"I want to show the wizard something," Jim said. Several men started laughing.

Jim pulled me aside and led me to the side of a cottage.

"Why were they laughing?"

"Because they think I'm going to show you my cock."

"Is that sort of thing allowed here?" I asked him.

"That sort of thing? What do you mean?"

"Men having sex with men."

Jim looked surprised.

"Where are you from? The Regent A.L Porfirio married the captain of his guards over one hundred years ago!"

To my surprise, Jim kissed me. The teeth got in the way. I said a spell to remove deformities and our mouths fully connected. We both moaned as he wrapped his arms around me. I felt his tongue on my lips and opened my mouth. It was my first kiss. Jim's mouth tasted a little sour, but I absolutely loved it. This Jim was definitely different from my Jim. I realized it didn't made sense to call the other one 'my Jim', when it was this Jim who wanted to kiss me. The other Jim smelled better, but I wanted this one more and he wanted me more. Also, he wasn't going to pretend he was faithful when he wasn't. He pulled away from the kiss. He felt his mouth, grinned at me, and took my hand.

We rejoined the other men. They all gasped when they looked at Jim. His teeth were normal, again.

"Can you do that to all of us?" a man asked.

"I'm going to try."

The men cheered.

"How did Jessica die?" I asked.

"Her soul was snatched," a man replied.

I frowned.

Another man rolled his eyes. "A tree branch fell and hit her while she was chopping wood. No snatching was involved."

"The tree was healthy!" the first one said.

Another one said, "You're the wizard. You're supposed to know everything."

"Well, I don't. I guess I'm not a wizard," I said. "Now that you mention it, I know I'm not."

"Don't be absurd Will," Jim said. "Look at my mouth. If he claims to not know everything, that is just one more reason to trust him. Or would you prefer he pretend he does know everything when he doesn't?"

"Don't trust wizards. He may claim to be white, but I see dark gray."

"That's just dirt," I told him.

All the men began laughing. Even Will joined in, after a minute. Jim squeezed my shoulder. Then his hand slid down my back to rest on my butt. He squeezed my butt. I was shocked. We were in the middle of the street, and this village looked like something out of the fifteenth century. How did the people feel about sex between men?

I don't want to go back, I told myself.

"But he just said he wasn't a wizard," Will added.

"Maybe he doesn't want every black wizard after him," Jim said.

Will looked abashed.

"I'm going to tell you what I know. I come from another place. It is a lot like this place, but there a hell of a lot more people. In that world, I am friends with Jim and Jessica. I have no powers in that world, but as soon as I arrived in your world, I found I do have power. So I think I'm a wizard here, but not at home."

The men all looked at me. I could tell they had no idea what I was talking about. But what could I do. It was the truth.

People began to walk out into the street. Within a couple of minutes, we were surrounded by men, women, kids, and barking dogs. All of them had deformed teeth. I closed my eyes and said the same spell I'd used on Jim. Spells were supposed to be more powerful, the more the invoker concentrated. I could see the words in my mind, and I spoke them. Before I opened my eyes, I heard gasps and screams. I panicked. Had I made it worse? I opened his eyes and looked. Everyone looked normal! It worked! I was surprised and happy.

"Any doubts left, Will?" Jim asked.

"No. Thank you, wizard," Will said to me.

I nodded. The others all began thanking me. I noticed none of them got very close to me except for Jim, who had his arm around my shoulders.

"I sincerely hope you win when the wizard who cursed us finds out you removed his curse," Jim said.

I pretended I was confident. I had one more thing to do: resurrect Jessica, I was pretty sure I would soon wake up or suddenly find myself in the other world. I wanted to resurrect Jessica, first.

I had Jim take me to her. We entered a small, one-room house.

"This is my house."

We walked down stairs and into a cellar that was the same size as the house above it. Jessica lay on a long wooden table surrounded by flowers. This Jessica looked exactly like the real one, only this one was tanned and her neck was crooked. I guessed the tree branch broke it. The cellar was dark at the ends. But we were next to the hole in the floor that led to the cellar and the light was fairly good there. It was quite cool in the cellar and she didn't seem to be corrupting. However, in the confined space, I could smell Jim strongly. I remembered a simple one-word spell to clean something. I decided to try it after I tried to resurrect Jessica. I thought about the resurrection spells I had memorized. A simple resurrection spell just brought the body back to life. Without a soul, a spirit would enter it. It could be a dead person's spirit or it could be a demon. You didn't know. From what I'd read, demons very much wanted bodies in our world. 'Our' wasn't right. I should have said, 'in the wizard world'. And demons were never nice. So that was a real danger. I didn't want that to happen to Jessica. To ensure it was Jessica who returned to her body, I needed an enemy for his life force. That would allow Jessica's soul to return. In my entire life, I'd only had one enemy. That was Bill Thompson, professional asshole. The guy who spent three years publicly humiliating me in high school, going as far as imitating me having a seizure for the amusement of his brain-dead friends. It was possible to take the life force from animals, but you had to know each animal's true name. I had no idea how to get their names. Well, it was just a dream. Bill Thompson wouldn't really die. He wasn't even in the dream. I smiled. When I stopped worrying, it occurred to me that this was almost certainly a dream, but it was a terrific dream! I had Jim and magical powers!

I stood next to Jessica. I thought about the spells. There were two. One to reanimate the body, and another to bring Bill to us. I remembered both spells clearly, so I was ready; terrified but ready. We weren't prepared for the worst and I didn't even know what the worst was!

"Shall I start?" I asked him.

"Wait a minute," Jim said.

"OK."

"Oh what?"

"Uh. OK means I agree. Actually I guess it means all right."

Jim took my hand. We climbed back up the stairs.

"Can anything go wrong with this?" he asked.

I laughed.

"Oh, boy! Yeah. I'm worried about that.

Jim untied a rope that was holding his pants up. They fell around his ankles. He lifted his shirt up and showed me his cock. I watched it grow erect. This Jim was uncircumcised, which surprised me. But the rest of it looked the same as the cock I...loved.

"Will you suck me?"

I stared at him in surprise. It was hardly the time for it.

"Right now?"

"After she comes back, we may not have a chance for a while," he said. "We might be dead! That's possible, isn't it?"

I hadn't thought about that, but it was. Bill could kill us. I nodded. Then I wondered why I was overreacting to a dream. Why not have sex? I might wake up and regret not doing it.

Jim began slowly stroking himself. I couldn't take my eyes off his cock.

"Do you like it?"

"Yeah," I said, with a dry mouth.

"A little?"

"No. A lot. I like it a lot."

"Yeah. I can see you like it. I want to feel your lips and tongue on me."

"You will. I want to lick you all over," I said.

Jim grinned. "You do?"

I nodded.

"I would love to lie on my back, letting you do just that, while I watch Dan fuck you."

I closed my eyes.

"Oh, Jim! I want that!"

"We'll do it! We'll do everything."

"What else do you want?" I asked.

"I want what I've always wanted—a lover who will have sex with me whenever I want it. I want sex to be casual and frequent, not an event, as it is with Jessie. I would love to be able to pull you aside, whatever we are doing for some quick sex. I would love it if you just walked over to me and pulled my cock out, because you want it. Why wait for sex? It seems that is what everyone else wants to do."

I groaned.

"You look so innocent," he said. "But when you look at me, your eyes burn with lust.

"And unless you stop me, I will be fucking you. I love fucking and you are much more attractive than the last man I fucked."

"So you like men and women?" I asked.

Jim nodded.

"In my experience, sex with men is better. They are more enthusiastic and they are much better cock suckers. But a beautiful woman like my Jessica excites me more than any man. With the possible exception of you. You excite me a great deal. You're handsome, eager, and powerful enough to have any man, and you've picked me."

"I want to be your only man. Is that possible?"

Jim laughed.

"Just how many times a day do you think I can come?"

"With magical help or without?"

Jim reached out and pulled my mouth to his. Suddenly, his tongue was in my mouth and we were kissing. I had absolutely no doubt I was in love with him. He wrapped his arms around me and held me tightly as we kissed. When we finally pulled apart, I rested my cheek against him. He tilted my head up.

"That's the first time I kissed a man."

"That was my first kiss," I told him.

Jim grinned.

"Did you like it?" I asked.

"Couldn't you tell?"

I shrugged. Jim nodded.

"You are in love with me, aren't you?" he asked. He had a slight smile on his face.

I sighed. "I think so. But you have Jessica."

"And I have you, too."

"Jessica won't want to share you."

"Why wouldn't she? I've never been faithful to any woman, including my wife. She hasn't ever been happy about it, but I told her how it would be before we were married."

The other Jim should have done the same, I decided.

It suddenly occurred to me that I knew very little about the other Jim. I didn't know anything about his family or his plans after graduation. I knew he was horny and he wasn't having sex with Jessica. I knew even less about this Jim. How could I be in love with either one of them? Had I just fallen for the first man who paid any attention to me? Those thoughts made me very sad. I looked down at Jim's erection. This Jim's cock looked just like the other, imaginary Jim's, except he was uncircumcised.

"What are you thinking about so seriously?" Jim asked. "Are you worried about me?"

"No. I was thinking about the other Jim."

"The other Jim?"

"Never mind. It's depressing."

He tilted my head up and looked into my eyes.

"You are worried about being in love with me, aren't you?"

I was very surprised he figured that out. But then it was a dream. What was the point of being surprised by what a character in a dream said?

Do it before you wake up, I told myself. I fell to my knees in front of him. I pulled the foreskin back on his cock. The head was clean. I looked up at him.

"What if I lose my powers and can't bring Jessica back?"

Jim sighed.

"I can't believe you want me so much you are willing to risk losing your powers."

Jim shook his head. He was silent for a moment.

"Are you sure you can bring her back?"

"Hell, no! I have no idea!"

"I believe in you," he said.

I fell deeper in love with him.

Jim took his cock in his hand and rubbed the head over my lips. I swallowed him and got a taste of him. I groaned. He tasted wonderful. I began sucking. Jim moaned and groaned as I sucked him. I thought about rimming him. But this was a world without modern plumbing. Or probably even toilet paper! That was a disgusting thought. And as real as this dream seemed, I'm sure it would stink. But I could clean him magically. I decided I was definitely going to rim him. I wanted to do it to the other Jim.

Jim grabbed my head and began fucking my mouth. His balls began slapping against my chin. I loved it!

Jim pulled out of my mouth.

"No! No!" I said.

Jim laughed for a long time. His cock bounced up and down and precum flew off it. Some hit my face and wiped it into my mouth.

"Damnation! Where have you been all my life?"

He didn't wait for an answer. He pulled me up and kissed me, again. I wrapped my fingers around his cock. After a minute or so, I began stroking him. I slipped my other hand under his shirt and felt his hairy chest. I pulled away from the kiss to look at him. But Jim didn't want that. He pulled my mouth back and continued kissing me. I let go of his cock and began running my fingers through the longish, curly hair on his head. Jim moaned as kissed me harder. The other Jim kept his hair very short. I liked the feel of this one's hair and he seemed to enjoy what I was doing.

He pulled away.

"Damn, boy! You've got me burning up! Now. Kneel and make me come," Jim said in my ear.

I fell to my knees and sucked. It took about five minutes for Jim to come. When he did, he shot a huge load. I moaned. It tasted at least as good as the other Jim's. I felt the warm tingle move down my throat as his spunk slid into my stomach. But the warmth changed to uncomfortable heat for a few seconds. And then...And then I felt incredible! I felt like I could lift a mountain. And all my senses seemed to improve. I tried to use magic to give him another orgasm.

He cried out as his cock began pumping more spunk into my mouth. He grabbed my head and slowly fucked my mouth while he shot. It tasted just as delicious as the first load. Jim's body shook and he cried out several times. Sadly, the flow diminished, and then stopped.

Jim pulled me to my feet. He was panting. I saw what happened before he said anything. My skin was glowing. But it didn't seem to be yellow. The glow seemed white.

"Oh, shit! What does that mean? Are you ill?" Jim asked.

"No. I feel wonderful!"

I held my hand out in front of me with my fingers splayed. The glow was obvious.

"Does this happen to you often?" Jim asked.

"No, Jim. Your cum did this."

Jim grimaced. "What did you do to me?" he asked.

"Oh, no! I hurt you!"

"I wouldn't call it hurt. It was the most intense orgasm I ever had." He grunted , then continued. "The most intense pleasure I ever experienced and I've had a lot of sex."

Jim took me in his arms and held me. He looked intensely at me, before kissing me, again. While we kissed, one of his hands slid inside my pants, in the back. His fingers found my ass and he pushed a finger inside me.

I pulled away as he began fucking me with his finger. I loved it. "No! I can't be in love with you!"

"Too late!" he said, grinning.

I let my head rest on his shoulder.

"It is too late. I love you, Jim."

"I know. I could see it all along. I wasn't sure, since you are a wizard and I don't know anything about wizards."

"I think I'm in love with you, too. You healed me during a passionate kiss. You must have used magic to give me so much pleasure. You look so beautiful right now. Otherworldly, and somehow, I did it to you." Jim grinned. "And oh, what you did to me!"

I looked at my arm. It was beautiful.

"I've heard that semen is potent," Jim said. "It makes sense that mine would be potent enough to make a wizard glow."

I stared at him in surprised. He laughed.

I heard someone pounding.

"It's someone at the door," Jim said. He pulled his pants up.

"Damn!" I said.

Jim chuckled as he walked to the door we'd come in and opened it. A very big man was in the doorway.

"Dan."

"I heard about the wizard. I want to meet him."

Jim moved away from the door and Dan walked in. He was only a little taller than Jim, but he was much wider. His muscles were enormous. He didn't have a beard, but he looked like he hadn't shaved in a few days. I thought he was the hottest man I ever saw. I didn't know how Jim would feel about being demoted. But he was hoping Dan and I would hit it off. Dan took off his hat, which looked like it was made of felt and held it.

"Why is he lit up like that?" Dan whispered, loudly enough for me to hear him.

"Because the wizard just sucked me," Jim said.

"What?" Dan looked surprised.

"He sucked my cock. Have you forgotten what sucking is?" Jim asked.

"Wizards don't have sex!" Dan said.

Jim laughed. "Don't tell him that! He might not suck me, again."

"I can't believe it!" Dan said.

"He started glowing after I pumped my cream into him."

Dan shook his head in disbelief.

"I can tell the wizard likes you," Jim said to Dan.

"How?"

"His mouth doesn't usually hang slack like that."

I shut my mouth with a click and Jim laughed.

"I've been telling the wizard about you," Jim said.

Dan looked surprised, and a little scared.

"Why?"

"I think Jim is trying to fix us up," I said.

"Fix us?" Dan asked.

"Like a matchmaker," I said.

Dan's eyes widened and he looked horrified. I sighed. So much for Dan.

Jim just unfastened the rope around his waist and his pants fell to the floor. He winked at me. I walked over to him, knelt, and took his cock into my mouth. It stiffened immediately.

Dan groaned.

"Now do you believe?" Jim asked. I wrapped a hand around Jim's balls. Jim pulled out of my mouth and pulled me to my feet. He kissed me. I wrapped my arms around him. A moment later, he pulled away from the kiss.

"Will you let me fuck you?" he asked me.

"Oh, yeah, Jim. You know that."

"Will you let Dan fuck you?"

"He doesn't seem interested," I whispered.

"We'll let him watch me fuck you. That will get him interested."

"The wizard told me he wants to spend an hour or two a day sucking me," Jim said to Dan.

Dan groaned.

"Let's see. What else did he want? Oh. He wants to lick me all over while you fuck him," Jim said.

This time, Dan's mouth hung slack.

"Kiss him, Dan. He wants you to."

"Do you?"

"Not if you don't want to."

"I do."

Dan moved next to Jim. I stepped in front of him.

It was a very special kiss. I lost myself for a while. I was barely aware that my pants were being pulled down. I felt something wet, and then a finger slid into me. I moaned into the kiss as Jim fucked me with his finger. Dan pulled away. He looked happy. His arms were wrapped around me.

"Do you like to get fucked?" he asked me.

"I'm a virgin. But I want to do it."

Dan groaned.

"I gave him his first kiss," Jim said.

I nodded.

"I thought the wizard could live with you. He's going to bring Jessie back for me."

Dan was back to looking scared.

"You're a necromancer?"

"I've never done it, but I know a spell. What Jim should have said is we hope I can bring her back."

Dan shook his head.

"Do you want me to live with you?" I asked him.

"As what?"

"Lover, I guess. If you want."

Dan chuckled.

"This has to be a dream."

I groaned.

"Please don't say that. I'm confused enough!"

What did it mean when the people in my dream thought they were dreaming? Maybe it's real, a voice in the back of my head said.

Dan looked surprised.

"Yes. I want you to live with me."

I smiled and sighed. I had two handsome men! I sure wanted to think of it as real.

"Should we try with Jessica?" I asked.

"I'd like to," Jim said.

The three of us walked back down to the cellar. I was glowing brightly enough to see a shelf against one wall covered with potatoes.

"She still looks beautiful," Dan said.

"Did you like her?" I asked Dan.

"Yes. Very much. Not in a sexual way."

"Dan only likes men," Jim said.

"I'm like that, too," I said.

Dan smiled.

I looked at Jessica. It was time to see if I could do it.

I began by picturing Bill. Bill was actually an attractive guy. If he had been nice to me, I probably would have developed a crush on him. As one of the books instructed, I called his name three times, out loud. Distantly, I heard voices moaning and screaming. I said the words and intended Bill's life force to regenerate Jessica. I imagined pulling the life force to her. I spoke the spell slowly and clearly. Then I repeated it. I said the rest of the spell to bring Bill. There was a clap and a man appeared in the shadows against the wall behind the stairs. Jim and Dan both cried out in surprise and moved away from the man. I grinned when I saw it was Bill. Interestingly, Bill was wearing a black robe and a gray floppy hat on his head. Bill raised his arms and tried to speak, but as he walked towards me, I watched him start to shrivel. He stopped moving, and the shrinking continued until he looked like a skeleton covered only with skin. Even his eye balls shriveled. It looked very familiar. It tried remember what about it was familiar. It looked like something you'd see in a movie, but I wasn't sure that was it. Oddly, Bill remained standing, mid-step.

Jessica began moaning. I turned around and moved next to the table. I saw her bent neck and spoke a healing spell. Her neck straightened as the bones moved back into place. It occurred to me that I had no clue what to do if a demon took her over. We had no weapons! It was a little late to worry about that.

She opened her eyes. She didn't seem to be in any distress.

"Jess?" Jim said, looking down at her.

"Jim?"

She tried to sit up. Jim helped her.

Well, that was easy, I thought to myself. Resurrection was supposed to be difficult and required a lot of magic. It seemed effortless to me...just as though it was a dream; a very, very long dream. I sighed. I hoped someday I would understand what was going on.

I looked at Dan. He looked back at me and looked scared. I moved next to him and took his hand.

"What happened to you?" she asked Jim.

"Me?" Jim asked, laughing. "You on the other hand..."

"Is that a fake beard? And you smell!" Jessica said. "Damn, Jim! You reek!" Jim looked shocked.

Jessica looked at me. "Hi, Jack."

"Hi, Jessica. Let me help you down," I said.

She climbed off the table, knocking some of the flowers onto the ground.

She looked at Dan. "Good grief, Dan! I hope you didn't use steroids to beef up like that!"

I shook my head. It never occurred to me that this could happen. I got the wrong Jessica, the one from my world.

"What are stairies?" Dan asked me.

"It's a drug that makes your muscles bigger."

"He looks like this because he's a blacksmith, Jessica."

"No, he isn't."

She turned to Jim.

"Where are we and what happened to...why are you wearing that? Jim? What's going on? And please take off that beard."

I looked at Jim. He looked like he was in shock. His mouth hung open, loosely.

"I got the wrong Jessica," I told him. "This is the one from my world."

OK, I told myself. This is a dream. You can't bring someone back from the dead. The dead were in heaven, hell, or purgatory. God wasn't going to let them return because of something I said!

"You stopped glowing," Dan said to me. I looked at my arm. He was right. That was fine. I didn't particularly want to glow. Suddenly I remembered the other Jim said I'd glowed yellow in his car. I didn't want to think about it what that implied. It sure wouldn't help make things less confusing.

I turned to Jessica.

"You're in my dream. This is another Jim in a different world. He's not your Jim," I said to her. "Or I guess he is yours and...Oh, I don't know. It's a dream."

"I'll buy that, but that makes it my dream," Jessica said.

"But a lot happened before you woke up, or, uh, arrived. It can't be your dream," I said to her.

"OK, then! What's my little sister's name?" Jessica asked me.

"I don't know," Jack said.

"Well, I do. It's Lisa. That makes it my dream," Jessica said. "If you don't believe me, ask me when I wake up."

I laughed.

"If it's your dream, how could I know to ask? It's mine. My subconscious made up that name," I told her.

She pursed her lips and looked annoyed."

"You're crazy. I'm me. And I'm a psychology major. You're what? Botany? I know what your subconscious is doing better than you do. I trust you on the subject of photosynthesis. Leave the psychology to me."

I was speechless. Temporarily.

"What is that smell? It can't be all Jim!" Jessica said. She sniffed her underarm. "Gaaaa. It's me!"

"You were dead!" Jim said. "How can you smell good?"

"Jess? What's wrong with you?" Jim asked her.

What I told him hadn't sunk in. I shouldn't have expected it to.

"Jim, this is the Jessica from my world..."

"My world," Jessica said.

"In my world, there are machines, but no magic," I said. "That Jessica died, too. Maybe even at the same time as yours. They both died in accidents."

Jim looked surprised.

"There's a Jim in my world and a Jessica. They are different, but very similar. She and I went to the same school. Her Jim goes to the school, too. He also died. I'm not sure why you didn't, but please don't."

"What is all this about magic?" Jessica asked.

"If it was your dream, you'd know what we are talking about," I said.

Jessica frowned.

"I'll whoop my subconscious later. Now. This is my dream. Don't have conversations that exclude me," Jessica said.

Jim looked annoyed.

"It sounds like her."

"Oh, shit!" I said. "It just occurred to me that there is another me here. There are two Jims, two Jessicas. There have to be two Jacks."

"Look. I make the rules. This is my dream," Jessica said to me. "I absolve you of the need for a double."

Jessica obviously thought this was funny. Of course, she hadn't been in the dream until now.

"My dreams are never anything like this," she said.

I was about to say, 'that's because it's my dream'. But my dreams were nothing like it, either.

"What is the last thing you remember?" I asked her.

Jessica frowned.

"Let's see. Thanksgiving and then...I drove back yesterday morning. Jim got back late last night. Um...he called me. Then, uh, let's see...we had a very early breakfast at IHOP. He had a football-something-or-other at seven. I don't remember what he said it was. I was worried about what I was going to do. I told him what I'd decided at IHOP. Oh, shit."

"What?" I asked.

"He freaked, completely. I knew he would be upset, but shit! I was afraid he was going to kill me. He actually grabbed a knife. The waitress told him that if he didn't calm down she was going to call the police."

"What news?" I asked. "Are you pregnant?"

Jessica burst out laughing.

"Why would he kill me because I was pregnant? Oh. If it wasn't his, I guess he would, considering. But, no, Jack. I'm not pregnant." She sighed. "I broke up with him."

My mouth fell open.

"I've been thinking about it for a long time. I love him, but I wasn't happy. He didn't take the news well." She laughed, nervously. "That's a massive understatement. He exploded and he cried. He begged and he cursed. Then there was anger. He grabbed a knife and pointed it at me. I didn't recognize him." She sighed. "Part of me thought he would be glad. I was releasing him to date other women, women who would have sex with him. And Jim wanted sex. Boy, did he want sex! He's so handsome, it would take about thirty seconds to find a new girlfriend." She sighed. "I really didn't expect him to lose it. Anyway, I'm glad this is just a dream, because he got on the highway. Before he lost it, the waitress was flirting with him. We got in his car and he floored it. We were going sixty-five miles an hour on a residential street. I was terrified. Then he got on the highway and it was worse. I begged him to slow down, or stop and let me out. I don't know how fast we were going, but the other cars looked like they were standing still as we passed them. He swerved around a car and I guess he lost control. The last thing I remember, the car was in the air, flipping and..." She frowned. "I don't remember anything after that." She was silent for a bit. "I guess we both died. But it was just a dream. I'm sure of that." Jessica bit her bottom lip. "Maybe I should rethink the breakup, now that I have an idea how he will react."

"Do waitresses act like that one did, in your dreams?" I asked her.

Jessica was silent.

"Jessica, you did die," I said. "It's too late to rethink anything."

Why was I trying to convince her it was real? I didn't have magical powers. I would have noticed before then, I'm sure! But I was as confused as she was.

I started laughing.

"What's funny?" Jessica asked. "I could use a laugh."

"I started an experimental drug for epilepsy about six weeks ago. I wonder if it gave me magical powers."

"Was that one of the side-effects they warned you about?" she asked.

We both laughed.

But then I thought about Jim and how happy he'd been when we drove back to school. He waited six years and she dumped him. And he loved her. I was absolutely sure of that. Suddenly, I didn't like Jessica as much as I thought I did. I guess she could tell.

"Poor Jim. He did nothing to deserve what happened."

"He kept after me about sex, Jack. Every date. Sometimes even the phone conversations. Can we have sex? When can we have sex? Will you at least jack me off...I shouldn't say that, but you get the idea. Sex is all he thought about. I swear, sixty percent of our conversations were about sex! And they always ended badly. The answer was always no. I didn't understand why he kept asking when he knew what the answer would be."

"He's a man and he loves you, Jessica. Loved you. He was willing to wait until marriage, but that doesn't mean it was easy for him. He didn't want to cheat on you, but he needed sex."

Jessica looked annoyed. "When did you become the expert? You barely know Jim." She paused. Oh. I guess that's what you two talked about on those long car trips."

"The thing is, he wasn't sure you would want sex after you married. What if he waited and found out you don't like it? He told me that Dan and I were the only people he could talk to about it," I said.

"That doesn't make any sense!"

"It was because he lied to his friends and said you were having sex," I told her.

"Well, why did he do that?"

"Because they would all have told him to dump you for someone who would have sex."

She frowned.

"I doubt that."

"It's true. The freshmen in my dorm are all having sex! They show me videos! You two were the only couple I know who weren't. Even your father thought you were having sex."

"What?" she almost screamed.

"Send her back," Jim whispered in my ear.

I ignored him.

"Jim asked him about waiting until marriage for sex. He was surprised you two weren't having sex."

"What a...I don't know...hypocrite! He and mother kept insisting I wait!"

"I guess they figured you wouldn't. For what it's worth, I would imagine your parents are proud of you, or were," I said.

She sighed.

"Maybe you're right. I've lied about it a couple of times to my friends. After I saw how he reacted, I figured I'd made a mistake. But we fought! I thought he was so unhappy, he would be relieved!"

"Send her back," Jim whispered in my ear.

I got mad. Mad at this Jim and made at Jessica.

"Well, you were wrong. He killed both of you."

She rolled her eyes.

"Jack, it really is none of your business. You and I aren't that close."

"Jim is my business. I loved him."

Jessica looked shocked.

"But he was so in love with you," I said. "I thought you were pretty wonderful and I was glad he had you. He was so happy in the car."

"Send her back!" Jim whispered again.

I turned around. "I can't, Jim. I don't know how. Besides, don't you mean kill her? I won't let you hurt her."

"I don't want to hurt her. My Jessica isn't a cold bitch. I want my Jessica."

"I'm not cold! Shit," she said. "I'm glad this is just a dream."

"There's a memorial service for you and Jim at Adams Funeral Home today. Or maybe yesterday. I lose track of time over here."

"Why would there be a memorial service so soon? Or is it soon. When did we supposedly die?"

Yesterday? I really wasn't sure. But it seemed too soon. Or did it? What did I know?

"I don't know when you died. Yesterday, but possibly the day before yesterday."

Or the day before that. How many times had I woken in bed? But were those real days? One of them, I woke up in bed, after only being up a short time. Or had time passed with me noticing. I felt sick. I didn't know if something horrible had happened, or if I was dreaming. I had no idea what day it was. I thought she and Jim died, but I wasn't sure the world where I'd heard about their deaths was real, either. Everything since Jim picked me up in his car Sunday evening was suspect. I glowed yellow and Jim's car flipped over and landed softly. I felt the landing, but I didn't hear a thump. There were ties between that world and this one. I glowed after swallowing both Jims' jizz. Jim's car flipped over when I was with him and again when Jessica was with him. Jim and I were unhurt and Jim and Jessica died.

"I'm so confused! There's two of everything now and I was confused when there was only one. I need a beer! Or twelve."

"I need something stronger," Jim said.

"Bring me a couple of beers," Jessica said to me.

"You don't drink," Jim told her.

"I do, too. Although I only like light beer."

I looked at Jim.

"We need to talk," he said to me. "Let's go upstairs."

The four of us climbed the stairs. Jessica was last. She saw the corpse of Bill Thompson for the first time. She screamed.

"What the hell is that?"

"That is Bill Thompson. I sucked the life out of him to bring you back to life," I said.

"That is not a bit funny!" She shook her head. "Never mind. This is my dream and I can't blame you for the things my mind makes you do."

She pushed past us and ran up the stairs, probably to get away from Bill's corpse.

I laughed. It was so ridiculous! "I appreciate not getting blamed for it, but I did it before you got here. Do horrible things happen in your dreams when you aren't dreaming?"

Jessica frowned. "Well, yes. Every dream doesn't occur in a brand new world. After I went to a funeral, I dreamt I was at my sister's funeral. She obviously would have died before the dream started. That was something horrible."

"That was the wizard who cursed us," Jim said to Jack. "I thought that was why you called his name."

"It figures. He was an asshole in high school. Here, he's an asshole wizard."

"This is so bizarre," she said. "I want to wake up."

I looked at Dan. He was more confused than any of us.

"I've been going through the same thing as you since I got here. I don't know what is dream and what is reality. Look around. This is too complicated for a dream."

I pointed at the floor in the house.

"Look at the grain in the wood. Do you have dreams with smell and color and where everyone but me smells bad?"

Jessica didn't say anything.

"How come you don't smell bad?"

"I still have deodorant on."

She shook her head.

"And I don't. Maybe we're both dead," she said. "Maybe I died in the car accident and a seizure killed you. Maybe Jim didn't die."

"This is not heaven," I said. "And that doesn't explain why there are two Dans, two Jims, and two Jessicas."

"I don't know," she said, sighing.

Jessica looked down at her clothes. Then at her hands.

"I have calluses. And I guess they are the other Jessica's. But it's also not hell. I still think it's a dream."

I was about to argue, and then I wondered why. I thought it had to be a dream, too.

"Everything is too real to be a dream and too unreal to not be," I said. "I'm a frigging wizard! I sucked the life out of a high school bully. I brought you back to life."

Jessica and I both sighed at the same time. I laughed.

"Jessica, if you knew how upset Jim was, would you have broken up with him?" I asked her.

"No. But I kept asking him to stop pushing on the sex. I don't know how many times I asked him if we could not talk about sex. I promised him that after we got married, we would have sex. I want a family!"

"Jim was just very, very horny," I said. Jim nodded his head.

"We're married," Jim said to Jessica.

She twisted the ring on her finger. "I saw the ring."

"Do you want to be this Jim's wife?"

She looked at Jim. "I don't know. It's...it's...I don't know you. And you definitely don't know me."

Jim nodded his head.

"What do you want, Jim," I asked him.

"I want to have a lot of sex with you," he said to me. "In fact, I want to get you in bed, soon. Dan can fuck you after I do."

He squeezed my butt. I embarrassed myself by giggling.

"What? Jim!" Jessica asked, seemingly outraged.

I was about to say he was not her Jim. To my shock, Jim kissed me. He pulled away just as I started to respond.

I laughed at the expression on Jessica's face.

"Since this Jessica seems even less interested in sex than my Jessica, she has no reason to complain."

He turned to her.

"If you want to raise a family with me, I would like that. I want a family. But you will not control my sex life," Jim said to Jessica. "If you have your way, I won't have one."

Jessica looked irritated. I could tell she was thinking about it.

"I don't like the idea, but I don't know you, and I am tired of arguing about sex. Besides, it's my mind that came up with the solution to our problems." She put her hand on her head. "I don't know if the real Jim is at all interested in Jack, though. Or if Jack is interested in Jim. That seems more likely. Jack is gay and lonely and Jim is very handsome."

I looked at Jim. He liked being called very handsome.

Not being sure what was real, I couldn't say I knew the real Jim was interested in me. I wasn't sure I'd seen the real Jim Sunday. And the times I'd seen him before then, we were just casual friends.

"I would rather not watch the two of you having sex," Jessica said.

"Jack is going to live with Dan. We can have sex at his house," Jim said.

Jessica looked around. She didn't look happy.

"This is a primitive world compared to ours," I said.

"I can tell that by looking around this house. No bathroom. No sink. No faucets. And the furniture looks hand-made."

"It was," Jim said. "I made it."

"Why didn't you and Jim just get married?" I asked her. "Then you wouldn't have argued."

Jessica sighed.

"I wanted to get my degree before I got pregnant. You're Catholic, you understand. I won't be using birth control. I figured we would have a lot of kids. He knew I wanted kids, I just wasn't ready."

I shook my head. I didn't know any Catholic women who didn't take birth control, including my mother. How many people can afford even four kids?

"You don't need to be judging me! You think I'm not judging myself? I had no idea Jim would take it the way he did. We argued constantly! I thought he was as unhappy as I was."

She began crying. "Oh, Jim! Jim! If this is real, it's my fault he's dead." She closed her eyes. "It's my fault I'm dead. Please don't let this be real! Please don't let this be real!"

I felt like crying for Jim, too. And yet, another Jim was standing next to me. He put his arm around my shoulders. I leaned against him.

"I like her better, now," he whispered.

I nodded. I did, too.

"I wonder if I should try to bring back Jim. The other Jim."

"You need a body and you need to kill someone, don't you?" Jim asked.

I sighed.

"I used up my one enemy and I'm still hoping all this isn't real. Otherwise, I'm a murderer."

"You are a white wizard. If you hadn't killed that wizard, he would have attacked you for removing his curse. You might have died."

"I definitely would have died. I don't know how to defend myself."

"You need to learn that quickly. I don't want to lose you."

The only place I could do that was the library in the other world. But how did I get there?

I opened my eyes and was completely disoriented. I was somewhere else. I was looking at a ceiling, and it wasn't the one in Jim's house. I had never seen it before. I tried to turn my head, but couldn't. I heard something. At first, I couldn't tell what it was. Then I realized it was the sound of some sort of cart being pushed. A few seconds later, I heard a voice say, "Where's the chart?" Suddenly, I was in my dorm room, in bed. I looked at the clock. It was six twenty-two AM. I stared at the clock. Had I just woken up? I looked around. Ben wasn't in the room. So it was a dream. Don't start that, I told myself. This could be a dream. I got up and got dressed. I didn't see a soul in the dorm. I walked to the library and didn't see a single person. It was early, but there should be plenty of people around campus. I looked around. There was something strange besides the lack of people. It took me a minute to learn what it was. About two blocks away was a fairly busy street. There were cars in the road, but they weren't moving. There was no parking on that street. So they weren't parked, they just weren't moving. I looked at the nearest car. I didn't see anyone in the driver's seat. It was too eerie. I didn't want to know any more. I ran into the library. A clock inside also said it was six twenty-two.

I went to the supernatural section, again. I saw a large, ancient-looking book. It wasn't there the last time I looked. The name of the book was The Curtain Ripp'd. I picked it up off the shelf and part of a page crumbled and fell to the floor. Why would a book like it be in the college library? I wasn't sure the pages were paper. They had an odd texture. Maybe it was home-made paper. If the book was as old and fragile as it looked, it should be in a museum, not on the shelf in the library with the other books. I took the book and sat down to read it.

I read and reread the first few pages. The book had an explanation that might account for some of what was happening to him. Assuming I was an individual with 'aura', when I had 'fits', which was a rude name for epileptic seizures, an opening between worlds was sometimes created. The 'curtain' from the book's title was what separated the worlds and the openings were rips. It said how many worlds there were, but instead of a number, it had a symbol. Some worlds were almost identical. If the rip occurred in the curtain between two nearly identical worlds, it might never be noticed. But some of the worlds were very different from each other. Some worlds were populated by demons. A rip could allow demons to enter the world and do mischief. There were worlds with animals like unicorns and dragons, and worlds with strange folk, like fairies and goblins. The rip worked both ways. Not only could those creatures enter the world, but humans could disappear, trapped in other worlds. The book was written by two Monks. They recommended killing these animals and people, which I thought was not very monk-like. But after reading an account of what a group of demons set loose in the world had once done, I understood. Fortunately, rips weren't permanent. They closed fairly quickly on their own, if they weren't used. Using them kept them open and the more people who used a rip, the bigger and longer-lasting it got. Rips were dangerous for another reason. Illnesses could spread from world to world through rips. The monks claimed at least two plagues arrived through that way. The illnesses spread out from a central point and at the center was a person who had fits. I thought about the world with the self-driving cars carrying dead people. Had an illness killed all life? Would it travel to other worlds, maybe carried by me? Fortunately, I only used the rip to that world once, so it should close soon. But would it be too late? I became very depressed. This was all so much bigger than me—plagues, demons, mass death. Like Jessica, I sincerely hoped it was all a dream, despite the fact that I tried to convince her it wasn't. I rested my head on the table. But could I treat it like a dream? Was it safe? Did I need to play along in case it was real? I thought I had to.

I continued reading. I learned aura meant magic or magical ability. I came across a reference to a world that sounded a lot like the wizard world I'd just left. It mentioned the fact that a person or animal with a duplicate in a world could not travel through a rip to that world. Something prevented it. That was why demons and dragons and fairies could cross into the real world. They didn't have duplicates in the real world. In other words, it was usually people and things that didn't belong that crossed between worlds. Evil people could cross into a world of good people. But the inverse was true, too. Since I could travel to the wizard world, it meant I didn't have a duplicate there. And it meant there couldn't be two Jims in that world. I was very sad about that, although I had already decided I couldn't kill anyone else to bring Jim back to life. I cheered up, though when I saw that magic could be used to close the rip. The book even included the spell.

I closed the book and thought for a long while. If I had closed the rip before I resurrected Jessica, I would have resurrected the right Jessica. I couldn't be sorry about that, though. At least one Jessica returned to life. And if I was going to be trapped in that world, it would be good to be able to talk to the Jessica I had so much in common with.

I needed magic to close the rip and magic didn't work in my world. I would be trapped there, once I closed the rip. Unless I had a seizure over there. I wondered if I could use magic to heal my epilepsy. I had read several spells for curing illnesses. I read until I finished the book. I still hadn't seen anyone else in the library. I looked up at the clock and it said it was six twenty-two. I got goosebumps. I looked at my phone and the battery was dead. I didn't suppose I needed it anymore.

It absolutely had to close the rip. And if I was going to close the rip, I wouldn't be returning to the library. I went back to the shelves to see if I'd missed any books. I noticed a small book called 'Wizardry'. I opened it and read. It should have been named 'Everything You Want to Know about Wizards'. And unbelievably, in a way I was coming to expect, it answered almost all of my questions. I was in grave danger from wizards, along with everyone in the village. Wizards didn't need an excuse to kill other wizards. It was simple to absorb their magic while you killed one. And every wizard wanted to be more powerful. Stealing magic from another wizard was the easiest way to become more powerful. The reason wizards didn't have sex was because each ejaculation drained power. All sperm contained magic, and wizard sperm contained a great deal. Loss of that magic would eventually lead to the wizard's death because he would not have enough magic to defend himself. Both Jims had ejaculated in me. Both times, I began to glow and the glow was aura, which was magic. Apparently, I could become more powerful by having men ejaculate inside me. The book didn't say that. It only said wizards avoided sex at all costs. But the glow was power. I had to avoid coming, myself. The loss of my cum would make me vulnerable. I wondered if it would be safe to ejaculate if Jim and Dan came inside me. But that wouldn't work. Wizard semen was much more powerful. I would need a lot of men to shoot inside me before it would be safe for me to ejaculate. I wondered how much magic I would take in if I sucked all the men in the village? That thought made my dick very hard. When had I become so nasty? I continued reading. I learned it was fortunate I killed Bill Thompson. He would have loved to kill me. I had no stomach for killing, though. I hoped that when other wizards found out I killed Bill, they would consider me dangerous. Maybe they would go after easier targets, first. If I began having sex with more men, I would have plenty of magic to defend myself and the village. If the men of the village wanted to be safer, they needed to have more orgasms, and have them inside me. That was so very weird.

I got up and began pacing. Sex. The other wizards avoided it. I had access to a source of power they couldn't or wouldn't use. That gave me a real advantage, until they found out about it. But how to keep it secret? Jim already knew.

I missed Jim. I was glad this Jim was open about having sex with me. Jessica seemed to accept it, but I didn't plan to stop if she changed her mind. Jim was right. If Jessica had her way, Jim wouldn't have a sex life.

I looked through the books on the shelf. I wanted defensive spells. I opened a few books and learned some new spells before I found a section in one book on defense. It seemed I could use the life force of plants for defense. The life force could be converted into magic, which would make defensive spells stronger. The plants recovered on their own. I could also use the life force of animals and humans, but they did not recover. Removal of life force aged them. Being a Botany major, using plants appealed to me. I read the entire section in the book. When I finished, I was ready to leave.

I decided to try something. Using magic, I cast a spell to reveal truth. Suddenly, I was in my bedroom at home. I was putting things in a bag. That would be Sunday evening. I watched myself collapse. That would be the seizure that my mother said looked like sleep. But it didn't. It was violent. My eyes were open and I stared straight ahead. It was about the only part of my body that wasn't moving. Suddenly one eye turned red. It had to be blood. I stopped moving. I stared in shock. I looked dead.

"I don't feel a pulse," my father said.

"Katy!"

"I'm calling 911, Dad."

Suddenly, I was back in the library.

Everything since then was a dream. Or was the magical world the afterlife, as Jessica thought.

I needed to see my parents. Using magic, I intended I be at home—my parents' house. I appeared in front of my parents, but we weren't at home. I was in a hospital room with both parents, Katy, and my older sister Pat and her husband, Jeff.

"Here's the chart, Doctor," I heard someone say.

I looked at the patient in the bed. It was me. I was unconscious. I stared numbly at myself. I wasn't dead, but I didn't look good. I wasn't in the afterlife, yet. I looked at my parents. They were holding hands. I thought that was so sweet. I saw a digital clock. It said six twenty. Two minutes earlier than the other clocks. I looked at my parents, again. They seemed to be frozen. So did my sisters. Katy's mouth was open like she was talking. That was just one more strange thing. I seemed to be floating. I looked down and saw that I was mostly transparent.

"Well, if it isn't the stupid cocksucker," a voice behind me said. I immediately thought of Bill Thompson. Was he still around?

I turned around and gasped. I saw myself dressed in black. The other me was also semi-transparent.

"Your body is pitiful, but this is the only way I could escape," he said.

"You're the other me?"

The other me smirked.

"Or one could say you are a spineless, sickly reflection of me. You make me want to smash the mirror."

That me wasn't a nice person.

"What did you escape from?" I asked.

He looked annoyed.

"I obtained my power by killing. Wizards don't need sex. The pleasure of a death is greater than an orgasm. Power and pleasure delivered simultaneously! Once I'd killed everything within easy reach, I killed an entire world! Despite my power, forces from all directions, even demons, managed to capture me before I absorbed the magic from all those deaths. It hadn't occurred to me how easy it was to find the only living person on a dead world. My enemies intend to imprison me on a demon world forever, for eternal torment. They may hold my body, but my spirit escaped from it. I came here and destroyed enough of your brain to keep your body alive, but unconscious. I've hidden inside it. There was no reason for them to think I'm in your dying body."

I was horrified. Had the other me killed the people on the world with the self-driving cars? The ones I saw did look like Bill after I killed him. What kind of person could do that? 'What kind of person are you?' a voice in my head asked.

"I can see the moral shackles on you. The moral outrage. And yet you sucked the cock in a man who was simply using you and admitted to you that he was using you. And you were grateful! It was like watching myself be debased. I'm sorry he didn't die along with the girl, but once all this is over, I may return and kill him. You really are a disgusting, perverted little worm."

I felt very overwhelmed by what he was saying, but still, I though, he's a mass murderer and I'm disgusting for giving a blowjob? Then I realized he was talking about the ride back to school with Jim. But that wasn't real. I was unconscious at the time, and he was in my body. I didn't like what that implied. Was I in his body? Was that why I glowed in Jim's car, because the wizard's body had power?

Then something else he said sunk in. Jim didn't die! That was terrific news.

"Were you the one who provided the books with spells?"

"Yes."

"Why are you trying to help me?"

The other me laughed, mirthlessly. "That's very funny. I brought you here to kill you. The body you wear is important. That is what I needed to protect. I provided spells to ensure that. Spells so simple even you could perform them. I spent years creating the body you occupy. For one, it cannot be sensed by my enemies. As soon as your body dies, I will take possession of that body and kill you. And then I will be invincible. No enemy will ever be able to find me, again."

Oh, lord! There were three bodies? Then I figured that his enemies had possession of his original body.

He just exuded hate and evilness. I had never heard of anyone so evil. How could he be the other me?

Some sort of ominous alarm sounded. My mother screamed, "My baby! Not my baby!" I stared numbly at her. I wanted to do something, but I couldn't move or even think. A female nurse or doctor ran into the room. I looked at my father. He began sobbing. I forgot about everything but them.

"Mom! I'm here! I'm here! Katy!"

Motion caught my eye. I turned and saw what I guessed was the ghost of the other Jack rise out of my body. I missed seeing him enter it. This time he was wearing a hospital gown, not a black robe. Spirits appeared, surrounding him. Not all seemed to be human. The humans were not smiling. They each looked very grim. This had to be the coalition he'd mentioned. Some of them grabbed his ghost and held on to it. I could see his mouth moving, but I couldn't hear sound. Some of the spirits looked at me. They looked curious, not angry. "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! He's so..." I couldn't think of words bad enough to describe him. "Utterly evil. Please don't let him escape, again! Please!"

Something huge and hideous moved in front of me. It looked like a giant insect, with at least five eyes. I had to look away. I could feel I was being watched, but it seemed something else was going on. Suddenly, I pictured the corpse of Bill Thompson in my mind. I killed him and I felt very uncomfortable. Then I remembered the kids with the deformed teeth. What else had Bill done? What would he do in the future? But I knew I shouldn't be deciding who lived and who died. The scrutiny was over. I suspected I had just been judged. It made sense. The blackest wizard was my other self. How much like him was I? I hoped I was nothing like him and never would be. A voice spoke. "He will not escape. Go," it said to me. I fled, although there was no sense of motion.

I shivered uncontrollably. There was too much. My death, my family's grief, and that horrible, horrible man, who looked exactly like me. I supposed his name was Jack, too, but I would never think of him with that name. All the grief was like a weight, threating to crush me. And by far the heaviest was knowing about the dead world. When I'd been to that world, I thought it was a dream. But in fact, the people, and I guess all other living things, were killed by my double. Was my face (on my duplicate) the last thing any of them saw? I was emotionally devastated to the point that I wondered whether I wanted to live with these memories. Then it suddenly stopped; the grief, the horror, and the pain. I still knew what had caused those feelings, but the knowledge felt distant, like tragedies I'd heard about in history class. If there is such a thing as emotional anesthesia, then that is what I experienced. I had a strong feeling that the hideous thing I'd seen in the hospital room had given me the 'anesthetic'. But it might be I felt that just because he was so unique and this sensation was just as unique. Whoever and however it was done, I was grateful. I wanted to do something to help the people on the dead world. But how do you help dead people? If I couldn't help the people, I could at least plant some grass and flowers. Then the world wouldn't be completely dead. I appeared in Jim's house. Jim, Jessica, and Dan seemed frozen in place. I heard a voice in my head, "You will not be allowed to leave this world. You will not be allowed to create rips. You will not be allowed to kill."

Despite the restrictions, I was relieved. Someone was in charge. I didn't know if it was God or something else, but they were handling it. I was relieved to know I couldn't kill. I might be tempted to restore a child to life using the life force of an evil person. But that wasn't allowed and I would never have to make that kind of decision. I still felt bad about killing Bill Thompson. I thought at the time, or maybe just hoped, that it was part of a dream. The fact that I deliberately killed him without knowing a single thing about him would haunt me for a long time. I only found out after I killed him that he had cursed the people of the village.

"Where did you go?"

"Back home, for the last time."

"My god, Jack. You looked terrified!" Jessica.

"I met the other me. He is a black wizard. Unbelievably evil." I shook my head. " He switched bodies. I just watched my body die in the hospital, surrounded by my family. He thought no one would look for him in a dying body. He planned to kill me and take this body as soon as he thought it was safe."

"What happened?" Jessica asked.

"Once my body died, his spirit rose out of it and was captured by other spirits. One of them told me he would not escape. I was told I can never leave this world, again. But I don't mind that. It would be hard to give up magic. Maybe that's why I shouldn't leave."

"How bad was he?" Jessica asked.

I looked at her.

"Do you really want to know?"

She grimaced. "Maybe not."

"Horrible. Monstrous. We'll leave it at that."

"I think this is the afterlife, Jack. You know there is supposed to be resurrection of the body."

"It doesn't matter what we call it. We are stuck here. But do you really believe we live primitively and have to use outhouses in the afterlife?" I asked her, rhetorically.

She laughed.

"I didn't say it was heaven!"

"Believe what you want. I do have good news. Other me said Jim didn't die in the car crash."

Jessica broke down in tears. She knelt, closed her eyes, and said 'thank you' five or six times.

"I hope someday Jim forgives me and I hope he doesn't blame himself for my death," she said.

I hadn't thought of that, but he probably would. I wondered if I could do anything about it. But I couldn't travel back there. I wasn't about to break the rules. The consequences could be awful.

I looked at Jim. This Jim. I finally knew the answer to one question. The sex I had in the other Jim's car was not a dream. The evil version of me was outraged by it. He was in my dying body before I got in Jim's car. As soon as he moved in, I would have left. Two of us could not exist in the same world. So I was kicked out of my own world into another world. I assumed I went into his created body at that point. I didn't know what happened to the 'me' in that world—two of us couldn't be there, but since I was in a created body, maybe that rule didn't apply. A thought occurred to me. I didn't have epilepsy any more. The other me created the body I was in for himself. He would never create a body with epilepsy. A seizure would leave him vulnerable, and that would be intolerable to him.

This Jim moved next to me and put his arm around my waist. I smiled at him. Then Dan moved to my other side. He took my hand.

What if the wizards of this world thought I was the other Jack? But they wouldn't be able to find me! Other Me said the body he created couldn't be found by enemies, and I was wearing it. I shook my head. I guessed I would start thinking of bodies as something you wear, a type of clothing. I said a defensive spell, just in case. It was best if no one else knew my name. I said a forgetfulness spell about my name. Jim shouldn't know semen increased my magical power. If he told even one person, it could spread. It needed to be a complete secret. I said another forgetfulness spell.

 

 

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