PTC – Chapter 2.4

Chapter 4 – The Broker

The phone call on Monday had been cryptic:

“Brokerage,” a rather deep voice had said on the other end of the line, after Barry dialed the number he’d been given.

“Yes, hello. My name is Barry Gersholm. I was given a card with this number to contact a Mr. Ian Miller.”

There was a bit of silence. “Who gave you the number?”

“A fellow named Hugh.”

“Are you buying or selling?”

“Excuse me?”

“Buying or selling?”

“I guess…I’m not sure? I was told that I…uh…had some assets that might be valuable. Selling, I guess?”

A little more silence than before. The man asked him for his name again, gave Barry an address to write down, didn’t repeat it, and then hung up.

It was not the sort of business contact Barry was used to dealing with, but then, nothing about Hugh, or Depot, had been anything like he’d expected. The more he thought about it, though, the less likely it seemed like something he ought to do. He had no idea who this person was. If he told Dennis where he was going, he would have a conniption–taking a drug dealer up on a possible job offer with a third party, without knowing anything about what they did? Was he an idiot? Maybe he was, he thought, but at the same time, it was exciting. He couldn’t really remember the last time he’d taken a risk–an actual risk, barebacking while on PrEP didn’t really count, not that Dennis could know about that either. That evening, he thought about telling him, but didn’t. Tuesday morning, at the office, he spent all day trying to figure out how to get out early. He had never been good at believable excuses. Richard checked in with him again, and his smarmy fucking demeanor made him want to be there even less.

“Hey Richard, I’m gonna take off early, get a little work down at home this evening,” he said, “I got a doctor’s appointment, hope you don’t mind.”

“Of course not, any meetings you might miss?”

“Nothing on the schedule.”

“Then no problem. Oh, but in exchange, you have to promise to come out with the rest of the team on Friday. I want us to have a little party, you know, to celebrate our near completion of the project.”

More likely, it was to celebrate his own promotion, but Barry agreed to go. If nothing else, it would be beer he didn’t have to buy on a Friday night. Around three-thirty, he packed up his stuff and left the building, and about ten to four, he arrived at the address that had been given to him. It was a rather dilapidated house, looking like it had survived a few rezonings in its time–on one side was a liquor store, and on the other, a little string of businesses being run out of repurposed buildings like this one, until they ran up against a sizable apartment building that took up the rest of the block. Unlike those other little shops, this one didn’t seem to have a sign anywhere around it, but the address was right. He walked up the steps, gave a knock on the door, and after a moment, it opened up, revealing a rather tall fellow in business casual, maybe a bit younger than Barry was. “Barry, right?” he asked. It was the same voice from over the phone, but in person, he was putting off a little more charm.

“Yeah, you must be Ian,” Barry said, and the man nodded as they shook hands. 

“Come on in, let’s have a chat.”

Barry followed him into the living room, which still felt more like a living room than the meeting room it might be used as. There, sitting in a sagging armchair, was Hugh. Ian sat in a second armchair, leaving Barry the couch in front of them both. He gave a little nod to Hugh, but he wasn’t quite sure what to make of this. If he’d been suspicious that they were selling drugs before, he was almost certain of it now, and he wasn’t sure this was the sort of move he wanted to make. Best to go through the motions, though. He pulled his resume out and handed it to Ian, who set it aside without looking at it. “Hugh and I have been talking about his impression of you on Friday, and I asked him to join me for our chat today, if you don’t mind.”

“I don’t,” Barry said, “I suppose I just feel a bit in the dark about all of this. What exactly is it you do here?”

“The growth in this part of the city over the last year has opened up a number of possibilities that would have been unimaginable before,” Ian said, putting on a tone not unlike half the tech startup gurus who were rotated through his office for various seminars each year, “I have found myself in a rather fortuitous position, to be able to offer folks the ability to take part in a commodities trade unlike anything that has been in existence before this.”

Barry nodded along, and then decided he didn’t quite feel like nodding. He was being sold a line of bullshit already. “That all sounds very fascinating, but it doesn’t tell me anything–I’ve been in sales long enough to know a pitch when I hear one. Just be straight with me.”

Ian looked over at Hugh, and gave him a look that could have meant a number of things, part shrug, part curiosity, perhaps.

“I’m a broker, as it says on my card. But what I buy and sell isn’t anything…physical, exactly. I’m in the business of buying and selling emotions, experiences, pasts and futures. Livelihoods.”

“Sounds like drugs.”

Ian gave another one of his little shrugs. “You sound like that’s what you were expecting, but no. I know Hugh has many hustles, but this isn’t drugs, not exactly. Like I said, I’m merely a broker, trying to help men find their way to happiness. Everyone has things they don’t like about their life, of course. But to someone walking down the street, perhaps that life you have is exactly what might make them happy. You in turn, might desire aspects of another. My services and skills help men like this connect, and make one another happy. To give each other the assets that they no longer appreciate.”

“That…what does that even mean?”

“Here, let me show you something,” Ian said, picked up a remote control, and turned on the TV hanging on the wall.

Barry recognized the location–it was the couch where he was currently sitting, but instead, a rather slender, twinky fellow was sitting there. “I’ve tried to gain weight all my life, I guess. I’ve always just had this strange desire to be…fatter. I can’t really explain it. I know I should be happy with how I look, but I’m not,” the young man said, “Can…you really help me?”

The video cut to the young man lying on a table in a sterile looking room. It looked like hyperlapse, what came next, but it was too smooth. The man’s body began to swell, packing on weight while he laid there, seemingly in a matter of moments. He went from a lean 170 to well over 300 pounds, and after the strange transformation, the video cut back to the couch, where the…new man was sitting, grinning with delight.

“How are you feeling? Adjusting well?” Ian’s voice said from off screen.

“Fuck, I’ve never felt better man, I finally…feel like I have the body I was supposed to have. I know that sounds a bit sick, but I can’t thank you enough.”

Ian paused the video, and waited a moment while Barry digested what he’d just witnessed. “That’s just one of many, many testimonials I could show you. Some changes are physical, like this young man. Others want a different persona. Others want a different line of work, a different past, a different family. Anything that you want to sell, I can try and find a buyer to connect you with, or if not, I’m also happy to take unwanted aspects in exchange for payment.”

“I…that’s unbelievable.”

They watched a few more videos, and either Ian should have been in Hollywood doing special effects, or he was telling the truth. Hugh slipped in then, and made a pitch. “I could see that you wanted another chance there at the club. A younger body, carefree, able to dance the night away, resilience and vigor and all of those wonderful things. You, in turn, have a respectable career, a husband who you seem at odds with. But those things could be an asset to someone else, and you, in turn, could have what you wanted on Friday night.”

Ian had gotten up for a moment, went to a glass display case on the wall, pulled a little jar from it, and returned to where they were sitting. He tapped a small bit of the powder out from inside the jar, and made a small line on the coffee table. “Here, this isn’t the real thing, but I’ve managed to…synthesize, some of what I do downstairs for folks. If you want a little taste of what I can offer you, try this.”

“So it is drugs.”

“It’s an emerging product line, still in development. I merely want to help you fully understand what I can offer you. I assure you they’re completely safe. The effect only will last a few minutes.”

A bit suspicious, and thinking it would probably be just a little bit of coke, since all of this had to be a very complex ruse, or scam, or…something. He took the hit anyway, because he felt like he deserved a little coke for listening to this bullshit, but what happened when it hit him was unlike any drug he’d experienced before.

He wasn’t…in the house anymore. He was in a club. What club didn’t matter, what did matter was the pounding of the music, the throbbing energy in his body, and when Barry looked down at himself, it wasn’t…his body he was looking at. He was slender, and young, and vibrant, with a…sizable bulge in the front of the skimpy underwear he was wearing with nothing else. But he wasn’t there to look at himself, he was there to dance, and vibe, and it felt like he could do this forever. The euphoria that washed over him wasn’t from a drug, it was the sheer thrill of that moment, and just as he grasped it and held it, believed it, it was gone–and he was sitting on the couch again, eyes tearing up slightly, while Hugh and Ian watched.

“Now do you understand? That could be you. For real.”

“I think…I think I need to go,” Barry said, wiping his eyes. That had been….too exquisite. Too tempting. He needed some distance to think about this.

“No worries, my offers are always open ended. You take the time you need to come to the decision that would make you happy. You wouldn’t be the first to walk away from it–sometimes, knowing what you could have is enough to make you appreciate what you already possess. I’m merely offering you the possibility of something else, alright?”

Barry retreated back to his car, and just sat in the silence for a while. He could feel it, the pulse of the music in his bones again…but was that really what he wanted? It would be pleasurable, sure. Fleeting, maybe. But what was really missing from his life didn’t seem like something that could be bought and sold. But then, what if it could be?

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Flash Commission: A Twin of His Own

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“And you’re sure it’ll work?”

“Well, no. I’ve never done anything like this before. Hypothetically, yeah. You’ll have to talk him through it though, push him in the right direction.”

Sheriff Clark Easton had his eyes closed, listening to the men talk. The last thing he could recall well was packing up in his office late at night, getting ready to go home, but he hadn’t made it to his car. Someone had snuck up behind him, shoved a rag over his nose and mouth, and now he was here. Though where ‘here’ was, he didn’t know. Just two men talking in the room with him–they were more likely to spill something while they thought he was still out. The first voice was rather gruff, the second a little younger and softer, but he couldn’t say more than that.

“So what, like…my past?”

“Yeah, the more you feed him, the more likely you’ll get the result you want from it. Just like the pig–the gun and ink does some of the work, but the more you talk him into accepting it, the stronger the result will be.”

There was a grunt from the gruffer voice, the sound of some boots coming closer to the sheriff, and then a hand slapped him across the face–harder than necessary if all he’d wanted was to wake him up. Clark gave a little shout, looked up, and saw he was staring at Timothy ‘Bruiser’ McGee. Bruiser was the leader of a particularly nasty biker gang that had been moving in on the county for the last few months. Running drugs, extortion, rape–nothing was below them, and the sheriff had been struggling to pin down their hideout and get them arrested. Now, it appeared that they may have overplayed their hand. “How exactly do you think this is going to end for you, Timothy?” the sheriff asked.

The older biker sneered at him. Bruiser was easily six and a half feet tall, and heavily muscled, with a sizable gut. The only thing the sheriff had ever seen him wear on the top half of his body was a filthy leather vest, showing off the riot of tattoos the biker had all over, even running up his neck and face. “I imagine, bud, we’re gonna walk out of here together and have a good laugh about it all,” he said, grinning and showing off his crooked teeth, a few replaced with gold caps.

The other fellow was smaller and younger, setting up what looked like a little workstation beside the chair where Clark was tied down. He looked over the equipment, and recognized the tattoo gun–what the hell were they going to do with that? “I’m ready to go,” he said. He took the gun, brought it to Clark’s arm, and while he tried to flinch away–as soon as the needle slid into him, something else happened. There was just a cascade of sensations–sights, sounds, smells. None of them were familiar to him, and yet as soon as he experienced them, he knew, somehow, they were his. Nostalgic, and yet alien. Before he could try and make any sense of them, there was another wave, another bunch of sensation, all of it baffling him, swarming his mind. He didn’t quite know how long it had lasted, but it finally ebbed away, leaving him panting and sweating in the chair. It felt like it had lasted a few moments, but the artist had managed to cover both of his arms with full sleeves, and from the one window in the room, he could tell that a significant amount of time had passed.

“Alright, that should be a good start–talk to him for a bit, I want to see if it’s taking like I thought it would,” the young man said.

“What should I talk about?” Bruiser said.

“Yourself. Usually the older stuff comes in first. Ask him about your parents.”

Brusier laughed, “Fuck, my old man, you mean. My mom dumped me on him when I was a just a fucking kid–I don’t blame her, I tried to set the house on fire when she wouldn’t let me keep watching TV one night.”

“Fuck, I…I remember that…” Clark muttered. It wasn’t his memory. He’d been a good kid, always listened to his parents, they’d been married his whole life. But he could recall, somehow, piling up a bunch of sticks under the curtains in a dingy living room, setting them off with a lighter he’d stolen from his mom’s purse, cackling while she panicked, getting a pot of water to put it out. “Why do I remember that?”

“Fuck, it’s working!” Bruiser said. “Bet you remember dad too then, don’t ya?”

“Mean fucker, beat the shit out of me,” Clark muttered. “I mean, that’s…not my dad. I…I ran away. He had some friends who were bikers, they…I ran off with them when I was a teenager, but…”

“Yeah, fuck, real sexy fuckers too, right?”

“No! I went to school, I…I went to fucking college! What the fuck are you doing to me?”

Bruiser grinned at the young man, who nodded back. “You’ll see, Mr. Sheriff. Is he ready for some more now?”

“I think so,” the young man said, brought the needle to his chest, and again, Clark was overwhelmed with the sensation. He realized, now, what he must be feeling, and he realized where he’d recognized the tattoos on his arms from. They were perfect copies of Bruiser’s own ink. The young man was copying the biker’s tattoos onto him, and in doing so, he was somehow transferring over his memories–no, more than memories, his whole personality, his history, his identity. He could feel it. Before, the onslaught had felt chaotic, but now, it felt like a force, a corruption spreading through his mind. Everywhere it went, his old self was being overtaken, erased, and replaced by this new self. 

The sensation retreated again, and when Clark’s vision could focus again on the room around him, he looked down at himself and let out a whimper. The uniform he’d been wearing had been cut off entirely, leaving him naked. He’d always figured that Bruiser had more of his body tattooed under those ratty jeans he wore, but he hadn’t imagined that he’d gone this far–his whole cock and balls were tattooed now, and halfway down his thighs. More than that though–his cock was…bigger. Much bigger. The sheriff had never been well endowed, but his newly tattooed cock was close to eight inches–soft. The rest of his body was shifting as well, growing more muscular–but shouldn’t it be? He’d been working out all the time since he dropped out of school and fell in with the gang, beating and fucking his way to the top…right? He shook his head–those weren’t his memories! He had to hold on…hold on to…to what? He struggled, but couldn’t find everything he’d lost, just bits and pieces.

“Fuck, that’s real fucking hot,” Bruiser said, stepping around the chair, while the young man prepped his gun again. 

“Bruiser, get me the fuck out of this god damn chair, ya piece a shit!” Clark said, and only after the words were out, did he realize that his voice had changed, his accent–he sounded so much like Bruiser…but he was, Bruiser, right? “Fuck, what the fuck is wrong with me?”

“Hold on bud, you’re just confused is all,” Bruiser said, “Like that time we wrecked out on the interstate, had a concussion for days.”

“Fuck, I still get headaches from that,” Clark said, “But I…I thought…there’s someone else in my head, man, what’s going on?”

“We’re fixing you up, don’t worry about it.”

“I’m scared, I…I don’t know if I can trust you, he’s…scared.”

“Here, this’ll help. You know how we get when we don’t get a smoke in a while,” Bruiser said, and pushed the cigar he had lit into the sheriff’s mouth. He took a draw on it, and while Clark had never been a smoker, he instinctively sucked the thick smoke right down into his lungs, held it for a second, then pushed it out of his nose in a couple of thick jets. “Fuck, that’s better.”

“See, we know what we need, don’t we?” Bruiser said, and groped the sheriff’s new cock, and he moaned around the cigar, feeling it stiffen in Bruiser’s hand. “We’ll sort you right out–we just have to do the back of you–you’ll feel better soon.”

Bruiser and the young man undid the rope holding Clark to the chair, and while a small voice told him to run…that wasn’t his voice. He laid down on the table they’d set up, the young man got his gun ready, and started on his back, and Clark struggled for a moment, before the sensation overwhelmed him again, and he rode the sensations. This time was different. He felt himself siding with the corruption, the strength flooding into him, rooting out and destroying all of that weakness in him. The good, the lawful, the obedient. Fuck that! He knew what he wanted, he knew what he was. The memories were coming clearer now, more and more recent. The sensation fell away again, and he blinked, pushed himself up from the table, and gave a little flex.

“How’s it feel?” Bruiser asked, as his twin sat up on the table. He was now the spitting image of himself, right down to the long hair, the thick ratted beard. Stepping close, they even smelled the same. The only difference was, the Bruiser sitting on the table had the number two on his neck, where Bruiser had the number one. They needed to keep track of pecking order one way or another.

“Fuck–I…did we get the sheriff? I can’t really remember, my head’s all fucking fuzzy.” Number two asked.

“Fuck yeah we got him–you were him!”

“Wait, what? Seriously? Fucking hell, so it all fucking worked?”

Bruiser stepped up and gave his twin a smoky kiss, which number two happily returned. He helped his twin up from the table and over to the mirror so he could see them both together, and the sight of it got them both so fucking hard, they reached down and started stroking each other off.

“Hold on, got us a celebration planned first,” number one said.

“You don’t have to tell me, I remember,” number two replied.

Downstairs was the gang’s new pig, a college student travelling through the county that the gang had kidnapped a week before, who the sheriff had been trying to track down. He’d been a test for the young man’s tattooing abilities, and the magic tattoo gun they’d gotten their hands on. The young man had been covered with raunchy images and words, his whole identity replaced with a cum and cock hungry filth pig, who at the sight of not only one, but two of his bosses, crawled over, grunting and squealing, before turning around and presenting it’s hole for them both. One took the mouth, Two took the ass, and they fucked the pig from both ends, sharing smokey kisses over his back–thinking about all the trouble they’ll be causing now that there’s two of them, and that troublesome sheriff was out of the picture for good.

TPC – Chapter 2.3

Chapter 3 – Getting The Runaround

As soon as Dennis stepped into the lobby at Precinct 27 on Tuesday around noon, he gave a little grimace. This was not the well kept, shiny sort of police station they had out in the suburbs (or at least, it wasn’t the idea of a well kept, shiny police station that he had in mind, since he had never stepped foot in one aside for a tour with the boy scouts when he was a teenager). The room was dimly lit, the tiles were dingy and didn’t look like they’d seen a mop in quite some time. There was one cop at a desk behind a plexiglass partition, but it didn’t look like he was doing any work–just reading a magazine or something, leaning back, and…no, he couldn’t be doing that, that would be so unprofessional!

Dennis cleared his throat as he stepped up towards the glass, and the officer sighed, put down the magazine under the counter, and scooted forward. If he had been engaging in something unpleasant down there, he made no effort to zip back up. Dennis hoped he’d been wrong in his assumption. “Hi, I’d like to file a report,” he said when he got to the glass.

“What about?”

“A club in the area. Depot. I was there on Friday, and I witnessed more code violations than I’d have liked to see. Underage drinking, indoor smoking, drug dealing, public sex, all sorts of stuff.”

He’d expected a little bit of concern from the officer, but he just looked somewhere between bored and annoyed that Dennis was standing in front of him at all. “That sounds like a job for the liquor control board and the health department, bud,” he said.

“I already called both of those places, and they said that, for whatever reason, Precinct 27 handles that stuff around here, so here I am.”

“Ah, I see. Alright, well, we’ll look into it then.”

Dennis stood there in the silence, and he realized that the officer was just expecting him to leave, after that. “Aren’t you going to take my name or number? File a report? I’m a witness.”

With a heavy sigh, the officer pulled out a pad of paper–not even anything official looking, and a pen. “Name?”

“I’d like to speak to your supervisor,” Dennis said.

“He’s out.”


“Yeah, he’s out. It’s lunchtime. You can wait if you want, but you look like a real busy fellow. Or how about this, you can give me your name.”

Dennis sighed, gave the officer his name, phone number and address, then watched as he tossed the pad back in the drawer beside him and closed it. “I’ll make sure to inform an investigator, don’t you worry.”

The condescension was almost enough for Dennis to take the man up on his offer and wait there for his supervisor to come back, but likely that would just waste more time, and he still had appointments that afternoon at the hospital. So he left. No wonder Depot was flouting the law so brazenly, if this is the sort of enforcement this part of town was dealing with. He was busy coming up with a list of folks even higher up to email that evening–police commissioners, city council members, the mayor even–when he saw a couple of guys on the other side of the street, and his jaw dropped.

It was Kyle again. Kyle, and…and was that the same fucking bear from the club that he’d pulled him away from? They were walking down the sidewalk, chatting, Kyle holding a bag of takeout, likely from one of the hole-in-the-walls around there, before going into a shop front for Marshall’s Cigar and Briar. Dennis jaywalked across the street and followed them inside, as they were doling out the contents of the bag between them.

“Hey bud, come back in a bit, it’s lunchtime,” the older bear said without looking up. Kyle though, recognized Dennis, and his face went pale. Twice in less than a week–was Dennis following him or something?

“Hey, Mr. Case…”

“Kyle, what are you doing here?” Dennis asked, “And isn’t that the guy from the fucking club?”

Marshall finally looked up, recognized Dennis, and gave a little huff. “Oh, it’s you. I hate how this place does this.”

“What?” Dennis asked.

“Bud, Kyle here is an employee of mine. We are currently having lunch. I assure you, everything here is perfectly fine. If you’d like to purchase something, why don’t you come back in half an hour. Otherwise, you can go ahead and fuck off.”

“You’re working? Here? For him? Since when?” Dennis asked Kyle, “Why didn’t you say anything about that on Friday?”

Kyle wasn’t sure what to say, and mostly he just wanted to slip under the floorboards for a while, and maybe die. “You…you won’t tell my dad, will you?”

“Tell your dad you’re working at a fucking smokeshop? Maybe I should. Maybe I should also tell him you’re going out to clubs underage while I’m at it! I still haven’t made my mind up about that, either, you know.”

“You don’t understand, alright? I’m fucking eighteen, you can’t just…just decide what’s fucking best for me!”

“You’re fucking eighteen, you don’t even know what’s best for you!” 

While they’d been yelling, Marshall had been calmly preparing a cigar for himself, and lighting it. Before Dennis could wheel on him, and likely try and chastise him for smoking indoors, He took an inhale, and pushed it all into Dennis’ face. Kyle watched, horrified, expecting Dennis to start coughing and explode even more, but instead, he watched as he went rather calm, almost like he was in a bit of a trance.

Marshall stood up, and beckoned Dennis over to the counter where he was standing, and without a word, Dennis did as the finger commanded. Then, Kyle watched as Marshall caught a wisp of smoke out of the air between his fingers, and twisted it, making it longer and thinner, with a little hook on the end. He put one hand on top of Dennis’s head and tilted it to one side, before sliding the wisp of smoke into his ear, twirling it a bit, and then pulling it out–along with…something else. Something a little smoke-like, but almost opalescent. Before Kyle could get a good look, Marshall had waved his hand through both hook and the bit he’d pulled free from Dennis’s head, and they dissolved into the air.

“Now, you’re going to leave my shop, and continue along whatever path you were going before, understand? You will never tell Kyle’s father about his activities. If asked by him about Kyle, you will only ever talk about what a good kid he is, responsible, and as an adult, he should be given as much autonomy as he needs, understand?”

Dennis nodded his head.

“Good, now get out of this shop.”

Dennis turned around and left, leaving Kyle with his jaw on the floor. “What did you do to him?”

“I know a few tricks,” Marshall said.

“Yeah, I’ve seen a couple of them, but what was that?”

“I pulled out the memory of him seeing us on the sidewalk, coming in here and trying to start a fight. Then, I used a little control on him, told him to carry on with his day. Easier than talking to him–I hate blowhards like that, they never know when to shut up. Come on, let’s eat.”

Marshall sat down and took a bite from his sandwich. Kyle stood on the other side of the counter, took a smaller bite from his own, and then set it down. After a couple of minutes, he asked, “Can…you teach me how to do that?”

“I’m not sure yet,” Marshall said.

“What…does that mean?”

“You said you’re going to college soon?”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“Out of state, right? One of those ivy league places,” Marshall put down the sandwich, and picked the cigar back up. “This place, Pigtown. It’s not just a place, you know. What’s happening here, it’s complicated. Most guys who come in here, eventually, they don’t go back out.”

Kyle thought about Marlon for a moment, the first he had all day, and pulling that memory free was like dragging it out from a swamp. He nodded.

“There’d be no college,” Marshall said. “No family outside of this chunk of city.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“I just need you to believe me, and trust me,” Marshall said, “What you want is not a simple thing. This place makes you give up more than you ever thought you’d have to. What you get back is…well, I wouldn’t want to leave, I can tell you that. But if he was right about one thing, it’s that you’re, well, young, Kyle.” He saw him start to get defensive and Marshall shook his head, “I don’t mean it like he does. I mean, you have potential. A future. Many futures. This place is hungry for people like you. It wants you, badly, and it brought us together because it knew I had something you wanted, and wanted bad. I don’t mind giving it to you. But you ought to know what you’ll be giving up. Most never get the choice.”

“I do want it.”

“I know you do,” Marshall said, and picked up his sandwich again, “But think about it. Really think about it for me. We’ll talk again tomorrow, alright? Now eat up, we’ll have some regulars looking for their smokes banging on the door soon.”

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TPC – Chapter 2.2

Chapter 2 – Marshall’s Cigar and Briar

Kyle woke up on Saturday morning with a throbbing headache and a sore throat, enough that when he went downstairs, his mother asked him if he was catching a cold, while his father just kept reading the paper, uninterested. Kyle waved his mom off, worried he might still smell of alcohol, or worse, smoke, but if either of them noticed, they didn’t say anything. He sat down, had breakfast, and the entire experience was such a break from what had happened the night before, that it was becoming easier and easier to just assume that it hadn’t. He’d just imagined the whole thing, dreamed it. After all, what was more likely–he’d had a wacky horny dream, or he’d actually smoked a cigar that had summoned a smoke version of a guy he’d met for five minutes a club, and they’d had sex?

But upstairs in his room, he saw that the cigar had been real, at least. The band was there on his desk, with the name and address as before. Later in the day, he went poking around in the shed on some other pretense, and he could smell it in there still, the smoke, and there, across the floor, was the faint outline of a dried spatter of some sort. If that was real, he wasn’t sure how to disprove the rest of it.

He checked his messages, and saw he had something from Jim, wanting to talk to him. Kyle wasn’t sure if he wanted to divulge the details of what had happened to him that night entirely, but the situation with his gay neighbors was too stupid not to tell his friend. He suggested they meet up at the park about halfway between their homes, and half an hour later, he was waving Jim down from the bench he’d snagged. Jim hustled over, and got on the bench across from him.

Kyle could see something was wrong–his eyes were bagged, and he looked like he hadn’t slept at all that night. “Hell, you must have had a good night man, sorry I had to leave early, you won’t fucking believe that happened.”

Jim just stared at him. “Kyle…have you seen Marlon?”


“Marlon. My boyfriend. He went with us last night. Have you gotten a text from him? Anything?”

Kyle just stared at Jim, feeling like he was pulling a prank on him. Jim was single, wasn’t he? But now that he heard the name, it was…familiar, somehow. Jim pressed him on it, and Kyle came to the realization that he was right. They had gone out with Marlon the night before–how on Earth had Kyle just forgotten that?

“You’re not the only one,” Jim said, “I can’t find him on any social media, his number just disappeared from my phone! My parents don’t remember him, and I’m afraid to call his house, I…I don’t know, we…something happened when we were leaving the club, and I thought it was a nightmare, but…but now I’m not so sure.”

So Jim recounted what had happened as they were heading to the car, the strange shadows, the man in the leather who had stepped out to greet them, Marlon just up and disappearing into the dark, the police who had interrupted them and gotten him to his car, alone. Kyle just listened, unsure of what to say about any of this, but it put what had happened to him in rather stark relief. When Jim had finished his story, he considered describing the cigar in the shed to him, but didn’t. It felt…wrong, and Jim was freaking out a bit, so Kyle went around, sat beside him on the bench and put his arm around him. 

“Look, he’s probably fine, alright? I…I believe you, I do, but…but people don’t just disappear like this. There has to be an explanation.”

“But from everything? I can’t even find pictures of us. It’s like some black hole opened up and swallowed everything about him.”

They sat in silence for a while, and then Kyle said he’d let Jim know if he heard anything, he’d try texting him too, and see what he could find on the internet–then they went their separate ways.

But he couldn’t find anything about Marlon, anywhere. By the end of the evening, he found himself wondering if he actually was being pranked, if Jim was just faking the whole thing after all. But he’d been distressed, that hadn’t been an act. He went to bed that night, feeling rather unsettled, and didn’t feel much better the next day. He’d looked up the shop, called Marshall’s Cigar and Briar, and saw it was closed on Sundays–he’d decided to go into the city on Monday and check it out. Now he was having second thoughts. What if he just…up and disappeared too? Could that even happen? Even now, he was still struggling to hold onto the memories of Marlon that Jim had dredged up for him. Almost like, if he didn’t keep bringing them forward in his mind, they kept threatening to slip away into whatever void they’d gone down into before.

But Sunday, he had a fight with his Father, enabled by his Mother. It was over nothing, but he found himself bristling at being in this house, in this neighborhood for another minute. Sure, college would be an escape in a few months, but would it really get him away? His parents were still paying for it, the whole thing out of savings. If he tried to be out, if he dated a guy and they caught wind of it, he’d be cut off for sure. He didn’t know the cigar bear–named Marshall, he assumed–at all, but that one evening with him was the first time he’d felt respected by someone older than him, by someone who could be his father. In the end, he decided to take the risk, drove downtown, and on Monday afternoon, stepped into Marshall’s Cigar and Briar.

It was a narrow space, made narrower by the glass counter cutting down the length of the shop. Underneath the glass were countless pipes–not glass ones, like he would have expected, the kind his friends usually use for pot. These were tobacco pipes, and Kyle realized he’d never seen one of them in real life, beyond movies and that sort of thing. Across from the counter, there were magazine racks. One of them was an assortment of newspapers and magazines, and further in, judging from the black plastic plates in front, was a rack of porno mags. Along the back wall were jars of loose tobacco, and behind the counter was a wall of boxes, full of cigars, he assumed, and even more in humidors further in. Close to the door was a cash register, and behind that was the bear he’d met first at the bar, and then in his shed, though dressed more casually today, in jeans and a sleeveless shirt for the heat, flipping through one of the magazines from the news rack. Marshall lowered it, and smiled, “Ah, good to see you again, and sooner than I expected.”

“I…uh…” Kyle said, but didn’t quite know what to do next. He’d pictured himself getting in the door and then, well, he didn’t know what was going to come next, at all. But that was part of the excitement. For the first time, really, he felt like he’d taken a genuine step off the path that had been laid out for him, and now, he didn’t know what he was supposed to do.

“How have you been? I hope the fellow who dragged you away treated you well that night.”

“Yeah, he’s…a neighbor, of my parents. And me, I guess. I watch his cat sometimes.”

“I see.”

The man flipped to the next page in his magazine, and Kyle was left floundering for something to latch onto. Everything in the club, everything in the shed had felt so obvious, but now… “I…I thought you wanted to see me again,” he said.

Marshall smiled, “You must have wanted to see me again too,” he said, “But now I suppose I have to ask you, what would you like? Cigars? A pipe? What interests young men like you these days? I don’t know anything about that new vaping thing I see twinks do sometimes, it seems so cold to me.”

I guess…I don’t know. I thought…we could, you know.”

“Ah, you came for me, and me alone, did you?”

“I think you’re teasing me.”

Marshall smiled. “Well, I haven’t had lunch yet. Why don’t we go get some food, and we can chat a bit more? I’d be interested to get to know a little bit more about you, I think.”

That seemed as good of a foothold as any, and they ended up at a little restaurant down the street, Marshall poking around and asking Kyle about not just his plans, but how he felt about his plans, about his general dissatisfaction. It ended with a surprising offer–Marshall suggested he might work with him in the shop for the rest of the summer. He’d fallen behind on some of his organization, and there was always cleaning to do. It wasn’t the sort of job that Kyle had ever thought about doing, but he accepted without any hesitation. The more time he spent with Marshall, the more of a pull he felt. After just an afternoon, he felt a deeper connection with him than anyone else before. His mind called it love, but that might have been youth talking. They went back to the shop, and Kyle’s heart was beating fast, wondering what else might happen that day, only for the feeling to cut off when Marshall handed him a broom. 

“Go ahead and start off with a good sweep, will ya?” he said, smiling at him.

Kyle, who had never really had to work a broom in his life, just gripped it and stared at him, but Marshall was serious. So he took the broom and the dustpan, and started sweeping, while the bear went back to the register, took a cigar from the humidor beside him, and started smoking while reading his magazine. Kyle felt a little hoodwinked, and yet, when he caught a whiff of the smoke, he had to stifle a moan, as his cock leapt up. Marshall was smiling at him, and gave him a wink, but what felt like it could have been something more, was stifled by a steady stream of customers for the rest of the afternoon, and when it was time to close, he was given a wage right from the till, and sent on his way home. 

“I…Are we gonna, you know, again?” Kyle asked, not really wanting to leave the shop and step out onto the dark sidewalk.

“Is that what you want?” Marshall asked him, and Kyle nodded. “Well, Pigtown will usually give you what you want, Kyle. But you should be careful that you don’t lose what you need. Now get on home–shop opens at ten, and I want you here at nine thirty every day.”

Kyle nodded, not sure if that was a yes or a no…but he’d take it, either way.

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TPC: Chapter 2.1

Part 2 – Into the Gyre

Chapter 1 – Back to Reality

Dennis and Barry didn’t speak much for the rest of the weekend, after their night out at Depot. It was clear that something between them was withering in a way that was rather unexpected, but neither of them could articulate. Barry, however, was closer to understanding it. It was the same sensation that he always felt after a circuit party, or an orgy, when he was back in the quiet house again. He was back in reality. The party, the club, the sex, all of that was just fantasy, it couldn’t penetrate him. He couldn’t allow it to penetrate him. But when he saw someone like Samuel, or Parker, who not only allowed that energy to flow through them, but lived and breathed it, all he felt was restless. Like he’d done scuba diving, with all of this protection, only to discover other guys he knew had gills. That Dennis had intruded on that rather sacred experience, injected his own kind of order and justice and control into it only made him feel more sour, more disconnected, more jealous of what he could be, if he hadn’t chosen all of this.

Dennis, on the other hand, was feeling usurped. Annoyed that Barry had dragged him to that party, annoyed that he had challenged him when it came to Kyle and threatening to tell his father, annoyed that he felt bad about it, most of all. He’d done the right thing, he was sure of that. Kyle shouldn’t have been there, he was too young. It was illegal. Pretty much everything that was happening in that club was illegal, in fact. But Barry had put him on the defensive, a position Dennis hated, since he was very careful to always maintain a moral high ground. He felt like he needed to defend something that ought to be obvious. The fact that Barry apparently disagreed only made his own values feel more slippery. 

Barry dealt with the frustration by going to the gym, and stopping off at a gay sauna on the way back for a little action. Dennis dealt with it by making calls to the health department, the liquor control board, and the police department, reporting the myriad of violations he had witnessed at Depot on Friday. Neither of them felt satisfied, by the end of it. The energy that Barry was craving just wasn’t there, like it had been at Depot. The guys were all too nervous, too embarrassed, mostly older closeted men with wives in the suburbs. It only made Barry feel more hemmed in than before. Dennis kept getting the runaround from every agency he called. They would seem interested, and then as soon as he mentioned where he had been and they confirmed the address, the person on the other line would go quiet, say that wasn’t their jurisdiction, thank him for his vigilance and hang up on him. Only once, with a police officer, did he manage to get a little bit of info out of him. “Look, the folks you ought to talk to are down at Precinct 27. They handle everything in that neighborhood.” Frustrated, and again feeling like he was running into some bureaucratic red tape he hadn’t expected, he decided he’d pay a visit to the precinct sometime in the next week, and get some answers there. Surely they would have a more difficult time dismissing his complaints in person.

Monday came for them both. Dennis headed for the hospital–Monday was usually a day for appointments, and getting his surgeries for the rest of the week planned out and organized. Barry headed into the office, dreading it more than he had in some time. He’d hoped that seeing Samuel and having a chance to blow off some steam would have helped soften the blow of being passed over for a promotion, again. Instead, he just felt caught between two worlds, one unsatisfactory foot in each. He couldn’t invest himself entirely in his job–it bored him to death, and he didn’t understand how Dennis could stand being so normal all the time–but if he didn’t, he’d never get the respect there he longed for. Each time he saw Samuel though, it was like looking at some amazing being. He was so free. Sure, his life likely wasn’t easy, but it seemed effortless and fun and exhilarating in a way Barry’s had never been. It also terrified him, all the same, and he hadn’t even been able to hack an hour on the dance floor on Friday. He got settled in his office, and got caught up on his email for the first couple of hours, before the usual Monday morning meeting was due to start.

This is what he was dreading the most, of the entire day. He showed up a bit late, took a seat towards the far end of the table. Evan Ternbull, his current boss, was sitting at the front, and off to his left was Richard Carlisle, the man that Barry privately considered his rival, but they had never spoken more than a few words to each other, since Richard was a relatively new hire, and they’d been working on different projects.

“As you know,” Evan said once getting everyone in order, “I’m going to be transferring over to a new project team in a month or so, which I know all of you are so disappointed to hear about. I’m happy to announce today that Richard here will be stepping up into my role and overseeing your team for the remainder of your project. As you know, Richard is relatively new here, but he comes with some great outside experience, and I am very confident that he will be a great project lead.”

The folks around the table clapped for Richard, who stood up, looking a bit sheepish. How old could he be, really? Twenty-five, twenty-six? Slender, twinkish but clearly straight, Richard got up and introduced himself, talking about his wife, and about the baby they had on the way. The table clapped again, and Barry tried to mask his scowl as he clapped along. Part of him felt a bit bad now for feeling so entitled to the position. Dennis and he were doing just fine with their incomes, and he knew that kids were expensive–one of many reasons he’d never wanted one. But as soon as that sympathy popped up, he pushed it back down. Just because he was straight, just because he was “starting a family” didn’t mean he was entitled to more money than him. It didn’t mean he was entitled more respect.

That was it, wasn’t it? The respect. He didn’t feel respected here. He didn’t feel respected at home, even. Dennis loved him, sure, but did he respect him, really? Did it feel like a relationship between equals all the time? It didn’t. Barry would goad him, and half the time Dennis would just dismiss him out of hand, refuse to even engage, like fighting with Barry was simply beneath him. Like he knew that no matter how dissatisfied he might be, he’d never leave him, because he liked the money, and the lifestyle, and Barry’s own job here couldn’t afford it. 

He could barely focus for the rest of the meeting. After an hour, he faked a phone call, and retreated to his cubicle to think. Mostly, he stared at the little business card that Hugh had given him, and thought about what on earth “Broker” might mean. Someone in the drug trade, apparently, if Hugh worked for him. So much of that conversation had been…weirdly cryptic, but Hugh had been right about the central proposition. Barry was unsatisfied with his life, and more hemmed in he felt–by Evan, by Dennis, by Richard now–

“Hey, Billy, right?”

He was startled up from his thought, looked up and saw Richard looming in the doorway of his cubicle. The meeting was over apparently–was this the first thing he’d thought to do? Hunt Barry down?

“Barry, actually.”

“Oh shoot, sorry man. Everything alright? You zipped out of there in a hurry.”

“Yeah, just the husband, you know. Everything sounds like an emergency to him.”

Richard laughed, “Yeah man, I get it. Hey, Evan told me that you were on the shortlist for the position, and I just wanted to let you know that he thought you would have been a great choice too, and he wants you to keep throwing your hat in the ring, alright? He just didn’t think that this position would be a better stepping stone for me, since we’re at the tail end of a project, about to ship. He knows that wouldn’t have been a challenge for you.”

Barry’s face was growing a bit heated. Evan thought so, huh? Then why wasn’t Evan here telling him this? Why send this cherub faced little shit to come apologize on his behalf? “Sure thing, I understand. Besides, you got the growing family to feed, right?” Barry said, stretching his mouth into something he hoped was a smile and not a sneer, and from the way Richard’s face lit up back, he must have managed well enough. They chatted a bit about Barry’s current duties, and then Richard moved on to the next member of the team.

That settled it, then. If nothing else, he would have his curiosity satisfied. If it was a service that could make his life better, than great. Why care that the info came from a drug dealer? He pulled out the card Hugh had given him on Friday–it was rather simple. All it had was a name, Ian Miller, the word “Broker” below it, and on the bottom of the card, a phone number. He picked up his phone, and gave the mysterious number a call.

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Flash Commission: A Good Dicking

I’m currently offering patrons flash commissions! I’ll be posting a few of them here, but if you want to read all of them, and want to read them sooner, I’d recommend you go sign up! You can find more info here. This one was commissioned by Mutabear.

“Well boy, this is what you came for, isn’t it?” Coach Gus said, swinging his hard dick in front of Liam’s face, “You gonna stare at it all night, or are you gonna suck it like a good cockhound?”

Liam licked his lips, leaned in, pressed his nose to the crease between the coach’s thigh and cock, and took a long inhale of his musk. He smelled amazing, but then, it wasn’t like either of them had had time to shower after practice. Liam was a freshman on the rugby team this year, and for the last few weeks, the coach and him had been flirting harder and harder with each other, trying to sus out just how interested the other was. Today, they had both hung back in the locker room today, chatted a bit, and coach had suggested that Liam come over to his house for dinner. Dinner, though, was apparently going to be a load of cum from the coach’s cock, not that Liam minded one bit.

Well, aside from the fact that the coach’s junk was massive. He’d had a feeling it would be from the bulge, but finally getting to see the older man’s ten inch cock and grapefruit sized balls swinging below–he gave them a lick, and could almost feel them churning with cum in the sack. 

“Boy, don’t play with it, fucking suck it already, I’m about ready to burst,” Gus said, tugged up on Liam’s hair, and pushed the head of the cock against his lips. He tried to tell the coach to go a little slow, but he thrust in, pushing against the back of his throat, and Liam nearly gagged. It wasn’t his first cock by a long shot, but it was the biggest. He started milking and sucking on it, Coach let go of his hair, and gripped his head in his hands, gently thrusting in and out.

“Fuck, been holding this one for you since I first saw you checking me out on the field, you know that boy? I haven’t cum in weeks–saving it all up for a good dicking.”

A dicking? Liam liked the sound of that. He sucked a bit harder, and was rewarded with a grunt from the coach, and precum drooled from the head of the coach’s cock and into his mouth. It tingled a bit as it went down, reminding him a bit of a novocaine shot at the dentist. He tried to pull away and ask about the sensation, wondering if the coach was on drugs, or way worse, if he had some STD he hadn’t told him about, but the coach gripped the side of his head a little harder, thrust a bit deeper, and much to Liam’s surprise, he didn’t gag this time–the coach’s cock slid down his throat, choking him for a moment, before sliding back. “Yeah, that’s it–getting you lubed up. Gonna pump those guts of yours full of my seed, gonna dick the fucking shit out of you boy.”

Liam didn’t have much of an opportunity to ask what the coach was talking about, or about that strange sensation–all he could really do was focus on breathing in time with the coach’s thrusts. He managed a good rhythm, at least until Gus got close, rammed the whole ten inch cock down his throat and held it there for a good minute. He could feel the shaft spasming, pumping what seemed like gallons of cum right into his gut. With his hands, Liam reached down and he could feel his belly distending, his stomach uncomfortably full, but still he kept cumming. The tingling sensation he’d felt before around his mouth and throat grew stronger, but was concentrated lower now–on his legs, for some reason. At last, the coach hauled his cock free of Liam’s throat and mouth, letting him gasp for breath, “Fuck coach, what the hell? What’s wrong with your cum? It fucking tingles.”

“There’s nothing wrong with it–just getting you ready for your dicking is all–fuck, look at you, you’re gonna be a real handsome cock when I’m through with you.”

“I thought when you said dicking you were gonna fuck me, but it seems like you already blew everything down my throat,” Liam said, a bit disappointed. He tried to get up from where he was on his knees, but the tingling sensation was stronger–he couldn’t seem to feel his legs, like they’d fallen asleep. He reached down to massage them, felt something off about them, looked down and gasped.

His legs weren’t quite legs anymore. His ankles had adhered to the back of his thighs, the flesh had swelled around each leg, and were looking more and more like balls. The skin was loosening around them, the bones dissolving, and he could feel sensation coming back to them slowly. He pressed on the massive sack that had replaced his legs–his own cock and balls still sitting there where they had been, but found it increasingly hard to balance on the round testes. He ended up falling forward and catching himself on his arms, surprised that he wasn’t panicking. “Coach, uh, what did you do to my legs man? I…I think I’m hallucinating.”

“You’re not hallucinating, you’re getting dicked.”

“I…I don’t know what the means.”

“It means, boy, now that I’ve flooded you with my seed, turned those legs of yours into a couple of massive balls, now I’m going to fuck your ass. The rest of your body is going to turn into my dick, and when I cum again, you’re going to cream your brains right out your mouth, and stay my stupid cockhound dick forever.”

“I, what–” Liam started to say, only for…something to well up his throat, almost like he was vomiting, but what came out was rather familiar–it was precum. It tasted just like it had when the coach had fed it to him, but now, he realized, he’d just shot it from the massive sack below his waist.

“Look at you, just talking about it got you all excited for it. You wanna be my dick, don’t you boy?”

“No, I mean, I…”

“Come on, think about how good it’ll feel. Your whole fucking body is gonna he so fucking sensitive. You won’t have to worry about school. You won’t have to worry about anything other than driving into the next hole I line up for you. Trust me–my dick gets a lot of ass. I saw how much you liked how it smelled, I’ll always keep you good and musky, just how we both like it. Men will line up to worship you. Doesn’t that sound so fucking hot?”

It did sound surprisingly hot. Another load of precum pushed its way out of his mouth and down his chin; the coach leaned down and kissed him, licking it up from his lips and then got some on his hand. He went behind Liam, got on his knees, and pressed a couple of fingers, slick with precum, against his hole. Liam shuddered. The same tingling sensation from before spread down his ass, and he shuddered in pleasure. “Oh fuck, that feel so fucking good,” he moaned. 

“I know boy, I know it does. It all feels so good. You’re going to feel so good forever.”

“Oh fuck, I…I don’t know if I wanna be a dick!”

“You’re gonna be my dick, boy, I don’t care if you want to. Dicks don’t get to care about shit like that,” the coach said, now pressing the head of his cock against Liam’s asshole. “I knew you were gonna become my dick the first time I saw you. There’s nothing you can fucking do to stop me, so you might as well enjoy it. Every boy I’ve ever dicked has loved it, and I know you won’t be an exception.”

Liam began a half hearted beg, but then the coach’s massive cock slid into his ass, and another massive gout of pre drooled from his mouth, shutting him up. When he coughed it all up, he muttered, “Oh fuck, it…you’re so fucking big.”

“No, you’re so fucking big,” coach said, “One big, stinking dick, that’s what you are. Say it.”

“I…fuck, I…no, I–”

“Fucking say it boy, say you wanna be my fat, horny dick. Tell me you wanna blow your brains all over the floor, forget you were ever fucking human, forget you were ever not a part of my stinking body.”

The coach reached out, ran his hands over Liam’s body. He had been fairly hairy for as young as he was, and was getting hairier now–long pubic hairs sprouting at the base of his back and around his crotch as his own cock and balls were slowly absorbed into the sack below. Liam gasped at the sensation–his skin had never been so sensitive before. “Oh fuck, why does that feel so good?”

“Stroke yourself boy, I wanna watch you jack yourself off until those fucking arms of yours wither away.”

Liam gave himself an awkward hug, rubbing his torso with his hands, feeling his skin shuddering and loosening, becoming…dick skin. He could smell it all around him now, the coach’s musk, his musk. He ran his arms up and down his body, shuddering, a steady flow of precum drooling down his chin. He scooped it up, rubbed it into his chest, shuddering and moaning in delight. “Of fuck, feels so fucking good.”

“Feels good being my dick, don’t it?”

“Fuck, it does!”

“You wanna be my dick, don’t you boy?”

“Fuck, I…I do.”

“Since the moment you laid eyes on my cock, all you fucking wanted was to be part of it,” the coach said, “You can feel our balls churning now, can’t you? Getting the load ready that’s gonna blast out of your mouth in a few minutes, gonna empty that head of yours, erase that pretty fucking face, leave you with nothing more than a drooling dickhole where it was.”

“Oh fuck,” Liam said, “I can feel it.” He was still trying to rub his body, but his hands and arms were tingling more and more. He tried to look down, but his neck had disappeared–his body was now one wrinkly shaft, arms dwindling away to nothing, leaving just his human face plastered on the end of it, moaning and drooling out precum, powerless to stop what was about to happen to him, no longer even willing to stop it. The coach was stroking his body harder now, and he could feel it, his balls churning and tightening, until at last, there was a massive shock of white light and pleasure. Cum exploded from his mouth, and when it did, it tore his mind wide open–he could feel it, his memories, his desires, his humanity shredded apart, huge chunks of it blown out along the way. The next shot scraped away even more, and each one after that scouring what was left of his mind away, leaving him drooling on the carpet. For a moment, he tried to blink, but that was dumb. Dicks couldn’t blink. Dicks didn’t have eyes. 

The coach looked down at his new, massive cock–still around three feet long, his balls as massive as those exercise balls he had at the gym. It would take a few more loads before he was sure all of Liam had been erased, and before his cock would return to a more reasonable size, but he had all weekend for the two of them to get acquainted.

“See, I told you that you’d love being my dick,” he said. He felt the thought return, or a series of sensations really–gratitude, desire, excitement. Dick thoughts. He dragged his massive meat over to his couch and sat down, before putting on the video he’d just taken using the surveillance cameras he had in his apartment. This might be his favorite dicking yet–he was excited to watch it again, and cum again as well. His dick was too. His dick was very, very excited to cum, and fuck, and stink. After all, what else was there for a dick to do?

TPC – Chapter 1.11

Chapter 11 – Shadow’s Den

Whether it was morning or night now, Marlon didn’t know. One moment, he’d been on the sidewalk with Jimmy, talking about the streetlights or the shadows or something, and the next, he’d stepped into the dark and everything had disappeared around him–and now he was here. It wasn’t that he was falling, or at least, it didn’t feel like falling. There was nothing to fall relative to, so he could have just as easily been floating. He called out to Jimmy, but his voice wouldn’t cut through the vacuum. After some amount of time, it was difficult to say whether it was minutes or seconds, a figure had appeared in the dark with him. It was the man who had stepped from the shadows, before he’d fallen in. He called out to him, asking him for help. The man came close, and perspectives shifted. He became larger, and swaddled Marlon somehow, there in the dark. Cupped him in the darkness itself, and he felt it crush against him, even though there was nothing there. It was like drowning, like he was seven in his cousin’s pool again when hadn’t quite mastered swimming enough for the deep end. He was certain he should have died, at some point. Perhaps, he told himself, he had. But the darkness ebbed away, or pulled back from him, replaced with a deep red light.

There was space again. The colored light was disorienting, but he could make out that he was in what looked like a basement, or at least, a room with no windows–or doors, he realized after that. The floor was concrete, and the walls were adorned with what he could only really describe as a dungeon, though he’d never been one for fetish porn on the internet. He himself, he realized, was in a cage–thick metal bars, not tall enough for him to stand up inside. There was a sound behind him, and he managed to twist around. There on the wall were two figures hanging from a pair of wooden crosses, their limbs in steel manacles and pulled tight. Their faces were hooded, they were naked, and Marlon realized that he was naked as well. There were no clothes anywhere that he could see in the room. 

He was aware of the darkness in the room somehow solidifying, and the man from the street stepped out of what should have been a wall, just appeared with no way to explain how. Marlon scrambled back, banged his head on the metal of the cage, his vision bursting with stars. The man chuckled, strode over to the cage in the middle of the room, and squatted down. “A shame, the two of you would have been fun together, but this will be just as nice, and more filling.”

“Who…who are you? Let me out of here, please, I’m not into this shit!”

“You’re not?” the man said, pushing his face closer to the bars. The light in the room was strong enough that Marlon knew he should have been able to see the stranger’s face through the shadow of his cap, but it was made of the same inky darkness that had surrounded him before. “How do you know, little one? Have you ever tried any of it? Did you ever ask your shadow what he might like to try?” his mouth gave a little smile, “I asked him for you, by the way. He was more than a little curious.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Later, little one. I’m famished.”

“Wait! Don’t leave me here.”

“I’m not going anywhere little one, I have my meal right here,” he said, and walked over to where the two figures were strung up against the wall. The man made a little motion with his hands, and the hoods that were covering the faces of the prisoners melted away–Marlon realized that what he’d thought had been leather had been more shadow. A moment later, one of them gasped, his eyes opening wide, followed by the other, looking around, before staring at the leatherman in front of them. “You–you’re not a puppet, you’re Shadow! But you’re in the fucking jail, how did you get out?”

“Oh, it was harder than I thought it would be, I’ll admit that. Almost gave up a time or two, but why give up when I had such good reason to get out again, and see all you officers of the law again, after where you put me?” he said, gripping their faces with his hands. “One thing is for sure though, I am absolutely starving.”

Their eyes went wide. “No! Wait, we…we’ll get you the commander, that’s who you really want, right?” one said, “Please, Shadow, don’t!”

Marlon watched what happened next, from just a few feet away, and when it was done, he still couldn’t convince himself that he hadn’t dreamt it. Shadow, or at least, that’s what he assumed was the leatherman’s name, pulled one hand away from a face, and his fingers started to wriggle, and then extend. The way they slid across the man’s face, they were somehow flat, and yet retained all of their texture, then divided into even more tendrils, and began to dig their way into his nose, his mouth, his eyes, his ears. The man choked and shuddered as Shadow did his work, thrusting in deeper into the man’s mind, and then there was light–or a kind of light. It pumped it’s way backwards, drawn from the man down the tendrils of shadow and into Shadow’s arm, and when it reached his body, he gave a contented sigh. “Oh yes, quite delectable.”

After a few minutes of pulling whatever that light was from the man, he retracted the tendrils and the man’s face sagged forward. The last thing Marlon saw was the man’s eyes, which were now hollow sockets, as it dropped. He wondered if he was dead, but when Shadow unhooked the man’s manacles and the body slumped to the floor, he could see that he was still breathing, though it was shallow. His face had landed facing him, and Marlon stared into the hollowness, but the eyes were still there. They were just pitch black. Then the man’s own shadow rose up from the floor, spreading up around him, drawing his body in and holding it in something that looked like a cocoon. As soon as it was sealed, it shuddered and there was a scream from within–muffled, but obvious. The other man was shaking and pleading, but Shadow did the same to him, and when he was finished with his meal, there were two blobs of shadow there on the floor of the dungeon, quivering occasionally, mumbling and shouting and yelling. He drew down some darkness from the ceiling, strung the two cocoons up and left them to hang, while he turned his attention to Marlon again.

He was pressed up against the bars of the cage, trying to reach something that he could use to fight back, but there was nothing near him. Shadow squatted down in front of the cage again. “Much better, little one–now where were we?”

“What did you do to them?”

“I ate some of them, and left the rest of them for their own shadows. They’ll be ready in a while. You don’t need to worry about that just yet.”

“Are…you gonna eat me?”

“I don’t know, are you delicious?” Shadow said, and Marlon gulped. After letting the silence hang for a moment, Shadow laughed, “No, I don’t think I’ll be eating you. I already promised your shadow that we’d play for a while.”

“What do you mean?”

Marlon felt something come unstuck from him, something he didn’t even know could come away, and there, standing outside the cage, was a silhouette. His silhouette. He looked down, and underneath him where no light should have been, his shadow had simply disappeared–or rather, left him somehow. Shadow stood up, and embraced Marlon’s shadow, pulled it close, and he felt the embrace there in the cage, and shuddered, felt Shadow’s tongue press into his silhouette’s mouth. 

“Oh yes, I do like you, very much. I think I will keep you,” Shadow said, “You don’t mind, do you?”

Marlon objected, but realized that Shadow had not been talking to him–he had been addressing his silhouette, who nodded vigorously, and then looked to Marlon there in the cage.

“Don’t worry about that–come now, I want to play, little darkness. Here, taste this,” Shadow said, put a finger to the silhouette’s lips and a bit of the light that had come from the two men before slid into it–and Marlon watched as his shadow shuddered, and popped. For a moment, it had definition, depth, presence. And when it had, Marlon gasped, and felt a moment of weakness wash through him. 

“See? Doesn’t that taste good? He’ll never be able to give you that, but I can. I can give you so much. All you have to do is let me guide you. There’s so much I can show you–pleasure, pain, power. Isn’t that what you want?”

Marlon’s silhouette nodded, and Shadow embraced it again, then bent it over a bench, and fucked it–and Marlon, there in the cage, felt every thrust–but he felt something else too. Delight. Ecstasy. They weren’t his feelings though. It was his silhouette thinking and feeling all on its own, and realizing it was thinking and feeling on its own, and delighting in the sensation of the world around it. Marlon begged, when they finished. Begged Shadow to let him go, but Shadow never addressed him again, directly. He was no longer important. In the darkness, shades ruled, and Shadow ruled the shades of Pigtown–and Shadow was back at last.

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TPC – Chapter 1.10

Chapter 10 – Visions of Flesh

As Samuel crossed the club floor, he found himself blinking a bit too much, his eyes still watering and stinging after that odd moment in the VIP lounge upstairs, where his eyes had met Rod’s. The club was dark, but each time a spotlight swung around him he would freeze, like it might reveal something other than the other horny men around him. Something monstrous, but once he processed it again, he saw that it was just men engaged in the usual sort of acts that Depot inspired. But the sense that something was wrong with him continued to plague him as he found his way to the bathrooms. Had there been something in the drink? He hadn’t really seen the bartender mix it, and Rod had seemed rather…familiar with him, verging on obsessed, even. He stumbled down the hallway into the bathroom, and found a continuation of the scene he’d watched unfolding on the small TV set upstairs. 

Patrick had a twink up on the bar between the two sinks, legs up on his shoulders, dick deep in the young man’s hole. Samuel found himself feeling a little jealous at first–Patrick hadn’t been that hard during one of their fucks in a very long time. The smell of musk and cum and sweat hung heavy in the air all around them, and while it had seemed…rougher on that silent screen, it was clear from his moaning that the twink was rather enjoying himself, and that Patrick was getting close to orgasm.

But something else was off too. The two of them weren’t alone in the bathroom, there was a small collection of men all around Patrick’s feet, rubbing and groping him, all of them moaning and pleading, and from the cum drooling out of their holes, it seemed easy to conclude that Patrick had fucked all of them in turn–and all of them were aching for more. Samuel felt his head start to throb, his head pounding in time with the music–no, not his whole head, his eyes, what the fuck was wrong with his eyes? He gripped them in pain, and fell back against the wall, groaning, and when he opened them again, he swore that he had torn his eyelids apart–but it wasn’t that. His body wasn’t ripping, it was everything around him, some giant tear across the room, cutting across Patrick, across the twink, across the men fawning at his feet, and it was growing larger, it was consuming everything, and all Samuel could do was look.

Were they still in the bathroom? It hardly mattered where they were. It was Patrick that had changed the most. The tear opened wide, and revealed a massive figure where Patrick was standing, easily a foot taller, head close to the ceiling that couldn’t really be seen through the tear. The twink was groaning, coated in a sheen of sweat, and swelling. As Patrick fucked him, or the thing behind Patrick, the thing inside him and beside him, the twink was swelling, belly expanding, filling with cum, perhaps. It was difficult to know what it was, but it was inflating him, pumping him full, his face turning fat and pudgy, letting off a long moan of delight as his own cock was swallowed up inside his growing body, and with a massive thrust, Patrick…split the young man open, his skin shredding like a popped balloon in slow motion, pulling away and shrinking away, and underneath, coated in some sort of mucus, was another man, the same man, something born from that moment. Slick with gunk, soft and turgid, with a mouth that seemed too fluid, a body that didn’t have quite enough bones, both skinny and flabby at the same time, the moans and groans coming from it curdling in the air. The beast that was Patrick fucked harder and came at last, pumping a massive load into the thing’s hole, and when he had finished, he pulled his massive cock free, and the thing slumped off the counter and onto the floor, where the others had all pooled similarly, a tangled, throbbing mass of flabby things, mouths sucking at their god, crawling and sliming over one another, hungry for more, no longer hungry for anything else.

Patrick, or the beast beside him, turned to look at Samuel, smiling. It beckoned him. Samuel didn’t know how to get there, didn’t know how to cross the void between them. Black was enveloping him, clouding his vision. He thought at first it was another tear, another break, and terrified, he thrashed about in the dark until he flung over and found himself in his own bed, Patrick splayed out on top of the covers beside him, naked, snoring heavily himself. Samuel heaved himself out of bed, squinting, made it to the bathroom in time to get most of the vomit into the bowl of the toilet, and when he was sure his guts were empty, or at least no longer threatening revolt, he turned around and sat on the floor of the bathroom, against the cabinets, catching his breath and trying to push that image in his mind further away, but it was there. Impossibly close, burned into him, somehow. He rubbed his eyes, feeling them aching still. He had to have been drugged, what other possibility could it have been? He must have freaked out in the bathroom, maybe Patrick managed to get him home somehow.

He had made enough noise that he could hear Patrick rousing himself in the bed, and after a moment, he stumbled in, stepping over Samuel on the floor, so he could take a long piss into the toilet beside him. “Fuck, rough night, huh?”

“I…Yeah, that’s one way of putting it.”

“I don’t remember shit man, fuck,” Patrick said, “Hugh gave me a sample of a new steroid he’s selling, that shit is…fucking hell, it’s wild…You…you must have gotten me home last night, I guess?”

“Uh…I figured you’d gotten me home, I don’t remember.”


Samuel thought about trying to explain what he’d seen the night before in the bathroom, but where would he even start? Besides, it wasn’t like Patrick to really empathize with the inner life of someone else–that was labor he usually left for Samuel to pick up.

“I’m gonna hit the gym, I’m still feeling fucking pumped, you know?” Patrick said, stepping back over Samuel on the floor without offering to help him up.

After another couple minutes, Samuel flipped around and used the counter to pull himself up. In any case, that fucker Rod could take his offer and shove it. If his idea of patronage was drugging someone without even giving them a heads up, there was no way he was going to have any further dealing with the guy, no matter how much money it meant. But while his resolve started out that way, three things happened that made him waver again.

The first was his eyes in the mirror when he pulled himself up. His eyes had always been green, but in the mirror, they weren’t…entirely green anymore. The color was darker, and leaning in to look closer, he saw that there were swirls of the same cloudy grey that Rod’s had been. He couldn’t be sure that they hadn’t always had that coloring, and yet, he had never noticed it before in his life. Looking closer, he also was certain he could see the colors swirling about slightly, but that, he knew, was ridiculous.

The second, was when he dug his phone out of his pocket, he had a message from an unknown contact, that said, “What did you see?” He found the card Rod had handed him, and the number matched. He thought about replying and telling him off, but every time he tried to start the message it fell flat. Too angry, or too apologetic, or too many questions. He pictured Rod up in the VIP lounge, watching him freak out in the bathroom, and he felt like a fool, but the question was still there. He wanted to know. He knew that Samuel had seen something, and that it was important to him. If he had drugged him, it was because he wanted this from him. That made Samuel madder, of course, but it also made him feel important, and special, and he had a weakness for flattery.

The third, was that for the rest of the morning, he couldn’t seem to shake the feeling from his bones that what he’d seen hadn’t just been a wild trip–it had been real. Beyond real. Something and somewhere else. He just couldn’t stop seeing it, no matter how hard he tried to push it away, it was always just there, a heaving, pulsating image; a horror. He ate a little, but felt the gorge rise again, and instead left the apartment, for a constitutional that he hoped would clear his mind a bit. His feet took him past the gallery where he’d started his night, and he looked at his work. Work he’d been so proud of, it all felt so empty now. He had seen something true, and before this, he’d been painting around the edges of another world, another existence, and this was a vision right into the heart of it, he was somehow certain of this. He resisted the urge to pull it all down and tear it up–instead, he went to the studio and tried to paint it, tried, desperately, to force it out of him, to sketch it, to mold it, to paint it, to pin it down as something outside of himself at last.

Every hour or so, he would stare at that text again, and ponder it. The art wasn’t coming, but he had to know more, he wanted to know what he’d seen. 

“Can we meet again?” he texted back.

They arranged another meeting in a few days, and Samuel sat back in his chair, rearranged patterns on the ceiling, thought of the tear, thought of stepping through it, of what he might find. ‘Flesh’, his mind replied without prompting. Flesh–he would find true flesh.

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TPC – Chapter 1.9

Chapter 9 – A Virgin Smoke

Feeling like he’d dodged a bit of a bullet, Kyle took off down the driveway and onto the sidewalk, only slowing up when he’d gotten a few houses away from Dennis and Barrys’ home. “Fucking hell, I’d thought they’d be cooler,” he muttered to himself. The gay couple on the street had always held a certain mystique for him as he was growing up, even though he knew his rather conservative parents were highly suspicious of them. When Barry had come around to ask if Kyle might watch their cat while they were on vacation, he remembered how reluctant his dad had been to let him. They weren’t even going to be home, and yet somehow he was still certain his son would see something horrifying. 

Of course, Kyle had poked around a bit, but other than a few dildos, there hadn’t been anything interesting, like the sort of stuff he’d been checking out on the internet since he was fourteen. Despite protesting otherwise to Dennis back in the club, he was still a relative virgin. The closest he’d gotten at this point was an awkward threesome, oral only, with Marlon and Jimmy, the couple he’d gone to Depot with that evening. He checked his phone–no messages from them. Some friends, what if he’d gotten kidnapped or something? He sent them a message, telling them that he was home already, he’d gotten tired and bussed back home. The lie was stupid, but he didn’t really feel like dealing with the truth right now.

The stupidest part, he supposed, was that he’d always harbored a little crush on Dennis. Kyle had a bit of a thing for older, bearish guys, and while Dennis would have shuddered knowing that anyone thought he might be a bear, his dad bod and beard was the only thing around the suburb to fantasize about that seemed remotely plausible. Then, there had been the kiss. They’d never talked about it, of course, but Kyle had hoped it meant Dennis at least liked him. It had made tonight’s betrayal more stark, that his neighborhood crush had been so eager to turn him in and drag him home, to put him back in the little box Kyle hated so damn much.

All these little boxes, he thought, looking at the dark houses around him. The city felt so vibrant, that club felt so full of life, and everything around here was so dead and empty. Every adult he knew was so focused on him succeeding, and none of them even bothered to ask him what he might think success would look like for him. Kyle didn’t even know what it might look like, but it wasn’t this. He hated this. He hated hiding himself, he hated being someone that other people wanted him to be, and he kept thinking about that burly fellow, about the leather, the cigar, the smell and taste of him, what he might have shown him tonight, if Dennis hadn’t stepped in and squashed it.

He knew it was dangerous. He knew it was a bad idea. But he also knew that he wanted it, and he’d tried not wanting it, he’d tried telling himself all of the dangers, all of the bad things that might happen if he went there, but none of it had put out the fire that was in him, and so he’d gone anyway. His friends hadn’t even really wanted to, and now they weren’t even answering his texts back. Assholes. 

He let himself into his house. It was dark too, his parents already in bed. To them, a high school party wasn’t a reason to worry, and Kyle hadn’t driven anywhere, which was their big concern if he drank. It confused him, sometimes, that they could be so controlling about his future, and yet seemed so uninterested in partying, or drinking, or anything like that. Just last month, one of the football players had gotten caught buying alcohol underage, and gotten his admission and athletic scholarship revoked. His whole life was over. But that wasn’t risky, somehow, to them. He took the steps two at a time to his room, and only when the door was securely shut and locked, did he dare, finally, pull out the thing he’d felt that bear slide into his back pocket, when Dennis had shown up and interrupted them. He had an inkling of what it might be, and sure enough, he found himself holding a cigar.

Kyle had never smoked one before, but he’d always been intrigued by them. His dad wasn’t fond of smoking, and when his older brother had been caught with cigarettes years ago, he had gotten in a rather impressive amount of trouble. Kyle hadn’t wanted to repeat the same mistake. The allure was there all the same–what was the worst that could happen, really? Not in here though–the smell would give him away in the morning. He went downstairs, found a book of matches in the drawer, and then slipped into the backyard, squeaking open the door to the shed and sliding inside.

The space was cramped, but better than nothing. He looked over the cigar, saw it had been punched already, and put that end in his mouth. He knew that much at least. Then he struck a match and took a few puffs, like he’d seen guys do in a few of the videos he’d watched. It took three or four before he’d managed to get the light mostly even across the end, and he’d needed at least one break to cough a bit, after taking too much smoke in. Was this supposed to be sexy? It didn’t really feel that sexy. But then, here he was, crouched in his parent’s shed, hiding away with an illicit smoke slipped to him by a stranger in a club…nothing about this was very sexy. He was about to snuff the thing out and figure out how to dispose of the evidence, when he noticed that the cigar was putting out a bit more smoke than he thought it should be, since he wasn’t actively smoking it. He watched it curl around in the still air of the shed, and after a moment, it formed into…into a face.

“Ah, there you are,” it said, giving Kyle a wink. “Now, shall we continue from where we were so rudely interrupted?”

It was hard to tell in the dark, but from the voice, Kyle was sure, somehow, he was talking to the guy from the bar, who had given him the cigar. He went to snuff it out, certain it must be laced with something, only for the face to swoop down and stop him.

“Hold up there boy, calm down. Nothing to worry about here, trust me.”

“How…how the fuck are you talking to me?”

The head gave something like a shrug, without the shoulders. “Why don’t you keep smoking that cigar there, and then I can do something more than talk, eh?”

He hesitated a moment, then took another drag off the cigar, exhaled, and the smoke swirled around the head, adding to it, neck and the tops of the shoulders taking shape. Another drag, and he was looking at a proper bust. Another, and the man was there from the waist up. Tentatively, Kyle reached out to touch him, and felt his hand slide right through the figure–but when the man’s hand reached over gripped his wrist, and pulled his hand free, he could have sworn he was being touched by real flesh and blood. “I don’t understand how any of this is possible.”

“But you want to find out, don’t you boy?” the man said, one hand plucking the cigar from Kyle’s mouth, putting it in his own, and took a long inhale off it himself, the smoke pouring into him, filling out his body, making him appear more solid. More of him formed as well, and after a few more drags, His body was complete, including the sizable cock and balls hovering not too far from Kyle’s face. He took another drag, but held it this time, leaned in, locked lips with Kyle and exhaled it into him. The smoke was harsh, but he didn’t feel the urge to cough. It was just a sudden rush, all through his system, and he moaned, leaning back against the wall of the shed. 

“Take it easy there boy, just let Daddy handle things from here.”

The bear pushed the cigar back into Kyle’s mouth, opened up the fly of Kyle’s pants and pulled his cock free. Despite how strange the whole situation was, Kyle was rock hard, and the bear took it in his mouth and sucked. The mouth was warm, but not wet. He could feel the tongue and the throat, but nothing slick. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it wasn’t…real. It wasn’t a body. Then something pushed against the head of his cock, and burrowed down, sliding in and out, making him shudder and gasp. He tried to push the bear off, but again, his hands slipped right through him, unable to touch him.

“Easy boy, just relax. I just want to make you feel good is all,”

“I don’t…how are you doing this?”

“If you really want answers, I can give them to you. But for now, I need you to relax. Just inhale, and relax…I’m not going to hurt you. I just want you to feel good, alright?”

Kyle nodded, took another drag off the cigar, and relaxed again. The bear returned to his cock, sounding him with his smoke again, and he could feel the heat of it, the sensation. Kyle shuddered again and moaned, and it wasn’t long before his cock exploded in the bear’s mouth–or rather all over the floor of the shed, since like the rest of him, it couldn’t seem to touch him.

The cigar was dwindling at this point, and Kyle felt sick to his stomach from it. “I think that’s enough for tonight, boy,” the bear said, “I’ll be going soon. If you want to know more, go ahead and check the band–I’ll be waiting for you, if you want more.”

With that, the bear’s body dissolved back into smoke, leaving Kyle alone in the shed, still uncertain that the entire experience had actually occurred. He snuffed out the cigar and took the band off the end. It wasn’t a label he recognized, but then, he wasn’t sure why he would have expected to. He flipped it over, and on the inside, which had been against the leaf, there was something stamped. The name of a smoke shop, apparently, along with an address. If he was placing it right, it was just a couple blocks over from Depot, a little deeper into Pigtown than the club had been.

Kyle tucked the band into his pocket and got himself pulled together again. After a late night shower to get the worst of the smoky smell off him, he headed for bed, but whether it was the nicotine or the experience itself, he didn’t sleep for most of the night. He just…thought. Thought about that bear, thought about his dad, thought about college starting in a few months. Thought about what he wanted. Thought about the impossible.

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TPC – Chapter 1.8

Chapter 8 – Pigtown’s Shadow

Both Marlon and Jimmy had been reluctant when Kyle had suggested going out to a club that night. It wasn’t that they were bothered by the idea of going out, or drinking underage, it was that in their opinion, gay clubs were passé. Who went out to a club anymore? It seemed like such an anachronism. If you wanted to meet a guy, you got on tinder. If you wanted to get a drink or party, there were way more exciting places to do it than with a bunch of gay guys. But with enough badgering they relented, climbed into Jimmy’s car, and headed downtown to Depot.

But now, Jimmy and Marlon were converts. The sheer energy and vitality in the room was unlike anything they’d felt before, and by far, the strangest and most thrilling part was that in Depot they were normal. Growing up in the wealthy suburbs, going to wealthy schools, they were all part of the same upper class as the rest of their peers, and for the most part, the homophobia they’d faced was minimal in the liberal culture. But while they weren’t hated, they weren’t normal, either. They’d never really thought about all the ways they were constantly pressured to conform and tone themselves down, so that the people around them–the straight people–didn’t have reasons to be afraid of them. To hate them.

But here, they weren’t just normal, if anything, they were boring. The makeup, the bodies, the sex, all of it. The energy was infectious, and by the time last call came around, the two of them were amazed to discover that hours had passed and felt like no time at all. That, and Kyle was nowhere to be found. They checked their phone and found his message saying he’d gone home already, and they chuckled at that. The guy who had been so eager to come out had left early, and here they were, still having fun. 

In an effort to be responsible, Jimmy hadn’t had a drink since that first one, but Marlon had gone back to the bar for a few more as the night progressed. He wasn’t falling over wasted, but he was more than a bit drunk, enough that as they walked down the sidewalk towards where they’d parked the car, he was leaning on Jimmy for some support. It was cute, Jimmy thought. Looking around, the streets were emptier than he’d ever seen, and it was a little unnerving. As they got closer to the car, he also had the distinct sensation that something was watching them.

He paused, and Marlon almost fell over. “What’s up?”

Jimmy looked behind them, but there was no one there that he could see–but oddly enough, from the corner they’d come around, to a couple of yards away, all of the street lights had gone out. And not just the streetlights–every light on the street. About twenty yards away, everything just went completely black, which shouldn’t even be possible. There was still light around, after all–but it was like something was just absorbing all of it. As he stared into it, trying to look and see what might be in there, another street light flickered and went out, leaving just two between them and the void.

“Come on Jimmy, what’s up?”

“Doesn’t that seem strange to you?” he said, pointing into the darkness. “Those were all lit up a second ago.”

“Everything around here is falling apart man, it’s not that strange,” Marlon said. He tried to stand up on his own, but ended up stumbling over and leaning against the side of the building.

“Hello there, boys, how’s the night?” The voice came from the doorway not far from where Marlon was leaning. The space was dark, the same kind of shadowdark as the street they’d come from. A man in full black leather stepped out onto the sidewalk, the only bit of skin visible was the lower part of his face, and even that was obscured by a thick black beard. The band of his muir cap was pulled low, so his eyes were impossible to see. “You aren’t going home yet, are you? You know the night’s just getting started around here.”

“Actually, we are heading home, thanks,” Jimmy said, pulled Marlon over to him, and they kept walking down the street. As they passed under each street light ahead of them, it would flicker, and then go out as they crossed to the next. He looked behind them, but the man had slipped back into the darkness and was impossible to see. They were almost to the car, which was on the next block, and at least the guy seemed to be alone. But then, the light ahead of them flickered and went out leaving an empty hole in front of them. Jimmy pulled up short, but Marlon, whose head had been watching the sidewalk for cracks, stumbled on into the dark, and just…disappeared. 

Jimmy just waited, expecting him to come back out, but there was nothing. Not even the sound of his footsteps, or of him breathing. He stepped closer to the edge of the light, when he heard something behind him. Boots on pavement. The stranger stepped out of the shadow again, right on the edge of the light. “Where’s your friend, boy? Wasn’t he just here?”

“Dude, get the fuck away from me, alright?”

“He just stumbled into the darkness, didn’t he? He can’t be that far away. Go on, just take a little step–you aren’t afraid of the dark, are you?”

The man stepped closer, looming over him, the dark behind him, the man before him. He edged his foot back, but he couldn’t…feel the sidewalk there, in the dark. He felt like he was being pushed to the edge of a pit.


It was Marlon’s voice, but it seemed so far away. “Jimmy, where are you?” he replied.

“Right here Jimmy, I’m at the car. Come on, Jimmy, let’s go home, you have the keys.”

Another moment, and maybe he would have stepped back, and found out what was in the dark. But instead, a bright beam of light cut through the dark behind the man, and he winced, visibly, as though the light had hurt him. 

“Fuck, is it another one of Shadow’s puppets? I thought we’d gotten them all!” someone shouted.

“He has someone cornered!” 

The man in the leather, glowered. “A pity,” he said, straightened his coat, stepped past Jimmy into the dark, and like a switch, all of the lights came back on up and down the street. He blinked, and saw a couple of men running towards him with flashlights, and coming closer, he saw they were police officers. “Fuck, it’s just a kid,” one of them said. 

Jimmy looked around for Marlon, but he wasn’t on the sidewalk. Looking further up, to the car, he wasn’t there either, that he could see. “M-Marlon?” he called out. “Marlon!”

“Hey, hey!” one of the officers grabbed him by the arm, and shone the light in his eyes. “What the fuck are you doing out here this time of night, kid?”

“I…My boyfriend and I, we were just going home!”

“What the fuck are you doing out here? God fucking damn it!”

“Give him a break Williams,” the other officer said, and pulled the other off him. Something seemed off about the two of them, somehow–they weren’t quite…right. They didn’t quite seem to have the build he would have expected from the police officers out in the suburbs. Their beards were longer and unkempt, their uniforms dirty and wrinkled. “Did you say your boyfriend?” the officer asked. 

“Yeah, he…he stepped into the dark, and…and now I don’t know where he is.”

“Into the dark?” the officer said, “What do you mean ‘into’?”

“It was the shadows, I don’t know. The guy wanted me to go in too, but then you showed up.”

“I didn’t think any of his puppets could do that,” the other officer said, looking around.

“What’s your name, kid?” the nicer officer asked.


“Alright Jimmy, I need you to listen to me,” he said, and locked eyes with him. A sense of calm washed over him, and the only thing that was keeping him standing was the officer’s firm hand on his shoulder. “Is that your car over there, kid?”

Jimmy nodded.

“You’re going to walk straight there, Jimmy. You’re going to get in, and drive home. What’s your boyfriend’s name?”


“You let us take care of Marlon. You don’t need to worry about him. You don’t need to think about him for a while, or wonder where he is. The most important thing for you to do now, is to go home, and don’t come back here, for Christ’s sake kid. Stay the fuck out of Pigtown if you know what’s best for you.”

Jimmy nodded, the officer looked away, and gave him a little push towards his car. Jimmy did as the officer said, went right to his car–half expecting that Marlon might be inside waiting for him, but he wasn’t. He drove himself home, and found himself staring at every shadow he passed, but they were all empty ,and normal. Not like that strange, deep darkness. Still, he kept a lamp on next to his bed all night long, not that he slept much. He might not have been afraid of the dark before–but he was now.

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