underneath the back steps of his house and began rearranging his possessions
for the thousandth time. He had the dashboard of a '53 DeSoto to his
right, a broken Philco television in front of him and the top of a Frigidaire
gas range to his left. Surrounding these were a multitude of other broken,
rusting items that Tim had foraged in the junk yard. Every day after
school he would either go to the junkyard for more things or go under
the steps and rearrange what he already had. There was no specific reason
why Tim chose one piece of junk over another, nor why he was never satisfied
with the way they sat under the steps, but that's just what he did and
he didn't question it.
occasionally did, though, but never got anything close to a reasonable
answer and always let it go. Twelve-year-olds had to amuse themselves
somehow, Tim's father would say, as he had collected coins at that age.
Tim's mother could easily understand collecting coins; if you were diligent
enough and got together a good enough collection eventually it would
be worth something. No matter how long and hard Tim stuck to what he
did it would still be junk.
they never got mad at him for his avocation because they felt partially
responsible. If he didn't collect and arrange junk, what would he do?
He certainly had no friends to play with and never had. His father had
been transferred five times since Tim was born and even though his present
position seemed pretty solid, all that moving just couldn't be good
for a young boy's growth process. How could a child be expected to acclimate
himself to a school and his fellow students if he never got to spend
more than two years there?
So his parents
tried to be understanding. The fact that Tim only weighed 75 pounds,
was 4'10" and looked like a starving war orphan didn't help make
him friends, either. Tim had inherited both his parents' blond hair
and light complexions, but they were both good-looking healthy people.
Tim looked like death warmed-over.
new kid at school as often as he was and looking the way he did made
Tim more than used to being picked on and teased. He was so thoroughly
immune to it that the kids picking on him always grew quickly bored
of it because of Tim's lack of response. It's no fun to tease someone
who doesn't care.
deep down, Tim really did care. A lot. It had once been much closer
to the surface, but had done him no good there, so he forced it further
and further within himself until, by the ripe old age of twelve, he
had nearly lost touch with it. Now he went about his routing of going
to school, doing homework, going to the junkyard and arranging his possessions
with a quiet, grim intensity that subliminally frightened both his parents.
however, one other thing that did interest Tim -- Hank Murrow, one of
his present classmates. Interest wasn't exactly what Tim felt, it was
more like fascination. Hank was a half a foot taller than he, dark-haired,
good-looking and well liked by everyone. Exactly the opposite of Tim.
Without knowing it he was always finding himself staring over the top
of his book at Hank while he read, or sitting off to one side of the
school yard and watching him swing on the swings, or play kick-ball,
or talk to his friends, or anything he did. It all deeply intrigued
Hank arrived at school wearing a pair of brown suede boots and immediately
everyone grouped around him saying what "cool" boots they
were. Tim came home from school that day and begged his parents for
a pair of brown suede boots. This completely surprised them because
Tim had never taken the slightest interest in anything he'd ever worn.
They happily relented believing this might possibly be the beginning
of a new awareness on Tim's part.
wore them to school the next day no one noticed them; not during his
first class, his second or his third. During recess, while everyone
else played and talked, Tim sat off by himself as he always did and
read a book. When he looked up from his reading to check the time he
saw Hank Murrow across the yard staring right at him. For one moment
their eyes met and locked. Finally hank's head moved down a bit. Tim
followed his gaze and realized he was looking at his boots. In that
half second Tim was certain that Hank would now be confirmed that he
was a total asshole for rushing out and buying the same boots as him.
It took all of the strength in his feeble little body to look back up,
and when he did he found Hank pointing at his boots. Now he was sure
Hank and his friends would come over and kick the shit out of him for
his effrontery of treading on Hank's territory. Instead though Hank
brought his fingers and thumb together into an O.K. sign and winked.
Tim didn't know what to do, whether to nod or smile or wave or wink
back and before he could decide Hank had turned back to his friends.
wore any other shoes from then on.
Tim had his very first wet dream -- and it was about Hank. They were
in the school locker room getting suited-up for gym. The teacher blew
his whistle and everyone hustled out to the gymnasium -- everyone but
Tim and Hank. Tim was already in his black shorts and yellow shirt,
but still wore his brown suede boots. Hank just wore his tight jeans,
his back to Tim. He slid his jeans down to his ankles and kicked them
off and with no underwear beneath lay down on the long wooden bench.
Tim looked down and found his gym shorts bulging out from his erection.
With a slight yank up on the right leg of the shorts his hard cock came
poking out. He walked over to the bench where Hank was lying and stood
over him. Hank looked up at him and winked. Tim climbed on Hank's back,
grabbed his shoulders and
woke up having ejaculated all over himself and his bed. He switched
on the lamp, threw back the covers and found his limp, sticky penis
hanging out the fly of his pyjama bottoms. He grabbed a handful of tissues,
wiped himself and the sheets off, then disgustedly threw them out. Pulling
the covers back over himself he curled up in a sweaty, shaking ball
and began to cry.
like he was that aware of sex and its myriad variation, but he
certainly knew what a fag was. He'd been called one regularly enough
for the past several years, but he never really thought he was one.
He fell asleep still crying with the light on.
next several weeks he couldn't even bring himself to look at Hank for
fear he would see right through him to what he really was. Each night
as he lay in bed the image of Hank lying naked on the locker room bench
would creep back into his mind and before Tim could vanquish it he would
get an erection. His disgust for himself increased daily. It amplified
as he masturbated to get rid of the damned hard-on. Hatred engulfed
his being as he wiped the sperm from his hand and stomach. Soon he found
himself jacking-off to the image of Hank as he lay under the steps surrounded
by his possessions. When he woke up in the morning with an erection
he was sure it was because he had been dreaming of fucking Hank. He
wanted to die.
* * *
through the junk yard searching out "cool" things, although
lately nothing seemed particularly "cool" anymore. He made
his way to a virtual mountain of junk and began pushing the surface
stuff out of his way with his foot. Beneath some rusty paint cans and
a cracked toilet bowl shone the edge of a car bumper; a nice shiny '56
Cadillac front bumper with chrome missile heads. Clearing some more
stuff out of the way he gave it a yank and it didn't budge. Tim wedged
his feet into the junk, grabbed the bumper solidly with both hands,
pulled with all his might and moved it a half an inch.
up and coming over the top of the junk mountain was Hank Murrow. Tim's
entire state of being went into a major panic. His exterior froze.
widely, Hank made his way down, landslides of junk cascading before
him. "What kind of bumper is that?"
Let me give you a hand."
down another step until he was right above Tim with the bumper between
them. He spread his legs, wedged his feet in for leverage and grabber
the bumper. Tim grabbed it right below, putting a few inches between
their hands, then looking right at each other they both pulled as hard
as they could.
another half inch, stopped dead, began sliding a millimeter at a time
as both their faces went blood red, then burst forth from the refuse,
the two boys simultaneously losing their footing and tumbling down the
mountain. When they hit the dirt at the bottom Hank was laughing happily.
Tim watched in utter amazement.
probably wondering what I'm doing here, right?" asked Hank.
I heard that you came here and I wanted to know why."
saw you here a while back and told me."
at him skeptically. "Why would he tell you that?"
asked Hank a little amazed. "Really?
Hank looked away. "He was making fun of you. He said you were a
at Hank for a long moment. "Aren't I?"
garbage picker? Hell no! A Cadillac bumper's not garbage -- it's cool
nodded Hank. "Really."
Tim spent another hour looking for cool things and found a Zenith radio
that looked like it might work and an old lawn mower with an engine
that looked restorable, if either of them knew anything about engines.
get out of here," said Hank wiping his hands on his jeans.
agreed Tim feeling like the bottom had just been yanked out of his guts.
"I guess I'll take this stuff home."
it here. You can pick it up on the way back."
Tim's guard went up. "From where?"
I don't know," shrugged Hank shoving his hands in his pockets and
starting out of the junk yard.
for a moment, looked down at his new possessions, saw Hank walking away
and took off after him. "Hey, wait up!"
in silence until they got to a nearby woods.
you get the same boots as me?"
back at him and smiled. "Damn straight."
walking until they got to a stream, which they began to follow. The
stream got progressively wider and further beneath the level of the
ground and trees. When they got to a dead tree that had fallen across
the stream forming a bridge, Hank jumped up on the trunk near the protruding
roots and looked down on Tim.
are you always looking at me?"
so red and embarrassed that he had to look away. "I don't."
don't anymore, but why did you?"
"I don't know."
right," Hank went on. "Why did you stop?"
was completely turned away from Hank, his heart beating in his ears.
"I don't know."
his eyebrows, then started across the bridge. The tree wasn't very wide
so he put his arms out to his sides for balance and began carefully
placing one foot before the other. Tim watched for a moment then jumped
up and followed.
across it was about twelve feet down to three inches of water moving
slowly around large jagged rocks. Hank stopped and slowly lowered himself
until he was straddling the log. Tim stood behind him.
back apologetically. "When I get up too high I get dizzy."
to stand and now Hank felt slightly embarrassed. He turned, put his
hands out before him and began to shimmy across the log. Still standing,
Tim realized that the sight of Hank before him was nearly the same as
the image of Hank on the locker room bench, only instead of being naked
he was in his tight blue jeans and instead of lying still his butt was
going up and down and up and down.
rushed madly to Tim's head and cock and within a second he had a massive
hard-on bending the wrong way in his pants. In a panic he reached down
his pants and tried to straighten it out before Hank noticed.
Hank stopped, looked back grinning, saw the strange expression of Tim's
face, glanced down and saw his hand down his pants fumbling with his
prick. For a moment Hank seemed thoroughly puzzled, then it all became
why you looked at me. And that's why you stopped looking at me."
Hank stood up and faced Tim. "You're a queer! You're a fucking
helpless; caught in the act.
a face like he was totally grossed-out. "Man, I thought you were
just a loser, but a queer? That's sick!"
up from a lifetime of abuse a force entirely unknown to Tim moved him
a step forward and with both hands he gave Hank a hard, sharp push.
He stumbled back several steps looking right into Tim's eyes, brought
both his hands up to keep his balance which he couldn't find, began
tilting one way, then the other, then both his feet shot out from under
him. Hank hit the tree pretty hard with his side, made an attempt to
grab it, failed and fell head first into the water and rocks. Tim watched
from above as Hank's head hit the sharp pointed edge of a large rock
and split open like a melon. Hank bounced and splashed in the water
and within a second the stream ran totally red. Hank continued to quiver
for a few minutes, then stopped. The water stayed red.
unmoving on the log bridge expressionlessly watching as the life-blood
slowly drained from Hank Murrow's body through his split-open head.
It was twenty minutes before the water began to clear and a half an
hour before it was transparent again.
set carefully before the other, Tim made his way off the log bridge
and stood on the bank of the stream. He felt that he had to run away,
but something held him. He tried looking away, but couldn't. His gaze
was inexorably held by the corpse's lifeless eyes.
As the full
horror of the situation stole over him in a wave of convulsive shaking,
Tim realized what he had to do.
down the muddy bank, stepped into the stream and pulled Hank Murrow's
limp body from the water. With all of the strength in him he dragged
the body up the bank's incline and as deep into the woods as he could.
With a sharp stick he cleared away the mat of leaves covering the soil,
then with his hands he began to dig.
hours later, when his nails were a bloody mess and the hole was about
three and a half feet deep, Tim climbed out and with a dull glaze over
his eyes he grabbed Hank's dead arm and pulled him into the grave. The
hole wasn't long enough and Hank's feet wouldn't go in. Tim set to digging
body finally fit Tim immediately started pushing the soft soil back
in. A clod of dirt fell right into Hank's open mouth. The idea that
there might possibly be a worm in that clod of dirt caused Tim to begin
shaking again. He quickly filled in the rest of the grave.
dirt was level with the ground around it Tim walked over it to tighten
it down. He then added more dirt and walked on it again. When it was
level and tightly packed he grabbed handfuls of leaves and scattered
them over the freshly dug rectangle of dirt. Once covered he walked
over it to smash them down, then added more. There was still a pile
of excess dirt and this he began throwing and kicking to spread it out,
then he sprinkled leaves over it. With a stick Tim smoothed out the
dual tracks that Hank's heels had torn up from the stream to where he
now reposed. When he reached the stream he tossed in the stick. He was
about to turn away when he noticed a dull red smear on the rock with
the sharp pointy edge which Hank had landed on. Tim waded out to the
rock, grabbed a mass of mud and pebbles from the bottom and scrubbed
the stain off. From the bank he took a mound of fresh moss and laid
it over the rock's sharp edge where the spot had been.
his actions as he stood in the stream, Tim decided he had done all he
could do and washed his hands in the ice cold water. The dirt around
his ripped-up nails wouldn't come off, but he knew with some soap and
the fingernail brush it would.
out of the stream, climbed the bank and started home for dinner.
As he passed
the junk yard he saw the Cadillac bumper, the radio and lawn mower that
he and Hank had scavenged earlier. He stopped, piled the radio and bumper
on the base of the mower and pulled his new possessions home.
* * *
on his back in bed that night, the light out, no images of Hank Murrow
came to arouse him. Hank on the log blotted out Hank on the bench and
instead was a star-filled night sky. Tim rolled over onto his right
side, his hands drawn up to his cheek, and sleep silently crept over
As it did
the night sky became the day-lit woods with beams of sunlight playing
over the leaves on the ground. Tim walked through the spots of light
as though he had nowhere to go and no reason to hurry. The wind lightly
ruffled the branches and the shaking leaves sent the sunlight gliding
back and forth. Suddenly the ground shook, the soil began to rise, the
leaves dropping off to either side as Hank Murrow's dead and buried
body ripped out of its grave, his split-open head dangling brokenly
and his white, cold hands clawing their way up Tim's legs. He tried
to scream, but had lost his voice, his limbs seemingly caught in molasses
and unable to move as Hank pulled himself up out of the ground. And
then they were face to face, Hank's hands groping up to Tim's throat
where they began to tighten. As the bone and cartilage in Tim's neck
began cracking and tearing, Hank winked his dead eye and
burst awake in a cold sweat, his body frozen except for his thighs and
crotch which were warm with urine.
sleep came that night and instead Tim read a Perry Mason book. When
the dawn came and he'd read more than half the book he finally drowsed
off. An hour later his mom woke him for breakfast.
night was an exact repeat of the previous night, only this time Tim
finished the book. At breakfast he could barely focus his eyes and had
almost no energy to lift his fork to his mouth. His mother moved back
and forth across the kitchen as his father read the paper. Neither noticed
his total exhaustion.
you know Hank Murrow?" asked his dad.
out of every pore on Tim's body. "Who?"
Murrow," repeated his father, still hidden behind the paper. "It
says here he went to the same school as you."
down into his plate. "No. I don't know anyone there. Why?"
says here he's been missing for two days. He left for school Friday
morning and his parents haven't seen him since."
his sausage up into tiny little pieces with his fork. "Maybe he
mumbled his dad moving on to another article. "You never know."
Tim went under the steps and rearranged his possessions. When his dad
went out to the garage to work on the car, Tim went back inside. His
mom was out of the kitchen, so Tim sat down at the table and read the
article in the newspaper. Hank was missing, his parents were very worried,
no one had seen him since he left school and he hadn't mentioned where
he was going to any of his friends. There were no speculations on where
he might be or what might have happened. Tim looked up from the paper
and wiped his cold sweaty brow.
next two weeks both the nightmares and the articles continued. Tim finished
all the books in his room and borrowed a couple from his dad's study.
A few days later he returned those and borrowed more. The local police
were checking out all possibilities, but hadn't yet uncovered a single
clue. At least that's what the paper said. Tim realized it must be true
when a week later the articles stopped. But not the nightmares. They
were always the same and never allowed Tim to get back to sleep before
So he began
drinking coffee, which he didn't particularly like the taste of, but
enough milk and sugar made it palatable. His parents took it as a sign
of growing up. Tim also purchased some stay-awake pills at the drugstore
and took those, too. And slowly but surely he adapted to two hours of
sleep a night and large amounts of caffeine in his system because the
bad dreams never ceased.
* * *
Tim took accounting and did very well at it. He still had no friends
which left him a lot of time to study, plus he had all night, too. By
the age of twenty his thin blond hair had already begun to recede a
bit and he had a constant pain in his stomach that he was sure was an
ulcer, although he never went to a doctor for verification. He'd had
a small spurt of growth between the ages of fourteen and sixteen that
brought him to 5'4" and abruptly halted. He now weighed 102 and
was one of the thinnest, shortest men at college.
in a dorm room with a baseball player who despised the sight of him.
The baseball player did his very best to stay at his girlfriend's apartment
whenever he could manage, which wasn't often enough for him. After a
semester he moved out leaving Tim to himself and that was fine with
him. He had enough troubles without having to sneak out of the room
every night so as not to wake up someone who hated his guts.
had over twenty-five different libraries on campus and Tim found a tiny,
one-room library that almost no-one used. That's where he spent a great
deal of his free time reading most anything he could get his hands on.
Aside from the intensely bored library science student assigned to overseeing
the little library, Tim rarely saw anyone there more than once. An occasional
student dropped in to study, but since the library specialized in literary
journals, the students never came back because there were no reference
books. The only other "regular" there was a tall, emaciated
girl with coke-bottle glasses and orthopedic shoes. She always sat at
the furthest point away from Tim and she actually real all of
the literary journals.
during the second semester of his sophomore year, Tim sat in the green,
cracked leather chair he always sat in totally caught in a Dostoyevsky
up and looming over him was the bespectacled, emaciated girl.
um, have you got a pencil I could borrow for a few minutes?"
immediately taken with the fact that she smelled like baby shampoo and
said Tim opening his notebook. "You writing a poem?"
face grew bright red and her ridiculously magnified eyes began blinking
crazily. "Yes, I am. How did you know?"
"I've only seen you down here every day for a year and a half and
you read every literary journal from every school in the country, so
I just assumed you might be interested in poetry."
am. Are you?"
stopped and the girl began shifting her weight from one orthopedic shoe
to the other. Tim took the longest, sharpest pencil from his notebook
and handed it to her.
she said. "I'll bring it right back."
hurry," replied Tim with a smile. A tiny little smile cracked the
edges of her tightly drawn lips, then she turned and went back to the
other side of the library. Slightly amused, Tim went back to his book.
After a moment of not being able to concentrate, Tim looked up and saw
the girl intensely staring at a notebook. Setting Dostoyevsky aside,
he made a wide circuit around the room and ended up standing behind
the girl. She had his pencil poised over a blank sheet of paper apparently
unable to begin the poem. Beside the paper, attached to the three rings
of the notebook, was a plastic pocket containing no less than five pencils
and five pens.
think of a subject?" asked Tim.
looked up, startled. "What?"
haven't written anything. Having trouble coming up with a topic?"
befuddled, looked down at the pencil in her hand, then at the multitude
of pencils in her notebook, then up at Tim. She quickly became very
let me bother you," said Tim sauntering back to his chair.
looked thoroughly confused and looked away. "
at her, looked back at his chair, then back to her. "Uh, you wanna
get a cup of coffee?"
she let a real smile cross her face.
was Judy and she was majoring in English literature. Even though Tim
was in accounting he still had read quite a lot, so they had a fair
amount to begin talking about. After several cups of coffee they came
to the conclusion that she liked writers with style and he preferred
writers with a good story to tell. Her favorite author was William Faulkner
and his was Robert E. Howard, whom she'd never heard of, let alone read.
He assured her she didn't need to bother because Howard had no style,
which was why he liked him.
across campus and one topic segued to another which segued to another.
She was the oldest child of a family of eight kids and her mother had
passed away when she was twelve, so basically she became the mother
to the other seven kids. Her father made pretty good money as the foreman
of a small though prosperous furniture factory, but at thirteen Judy
got a part-time job at the town's only bookstore. For the next seven
years she cooked the meals, went to school, worked four hours a day
and saved her money for college. She really could have started a few
years earlier; she'd finished high school, had been accepted by several
universities and two of her brothers were already working, but she had
stayed until her littlest sister was old enough to take care of herself.
And before Tim and Judy knew it the sun had set. She invited him to
her house (where she lived with five other girls) for dinner and being
so caught up in the moment he accepted.
on they saw each other every day, whether it was for a few moments between
classes, or for lunch, or dinner, or occasionally when they would study
together in the evening at Tim's dorm room -- she couldn't study at
her place because it was a madhouse.
Judy wasn't sure about being alone with Tim in his room, but she did
like him and they were just going to study. In fact, beside talking
and drinking tea and coffee, that was all that they did. When they were
together she seemed to do almost all of the talking. He asked a lot
of the questions and would add something now and then, but for the most
part he listened with a look of mildly removed interest as though there
were yet another person whom he was giving equal time to.
at Tim's dorm became a regular thing with Judy. She liked the easy atmosphere
and was fascinated by the odd assortment of items Tim kept around: a
big shiny car bumper, several old radios and phonographs, a lawn mower
handle and a multitude of smaller things. They were so oddly out of
place in a stark dormitory room that the place seemed comfortable.
months like this Judy had fallen deeply in love with Tim. She wasn't
sure that he was in love with her, though. She had nothing to base it
on having never been in love before. As a matter of fact she had never
even had a boyfriend before, so it was all brand new to her. Judy's
fear of going alone to Tim's room had quickly vanished, yet now, three
and a half months into their relationship, they had not even touched,
let alone anything else. Something seemed wrong. Not only that, but
whenever they studied together Tim always read a novel, he never did
his accounting work. Whenever she asked about it he always said it was
done. When was he doing it? She assumed that he did it after she left,
though that usually wasn't until eleven or twelve and they both had
9:00 A.M. classes. When did he sleep? He never seemed tired, either.
Haggard, yes, but never tired.
to not rock the boat and see how things went the next semester. She
gave him her phone number and address at home, which was less than twenty
miles from his house, and made him promise to visit her during the break
and meet her family. He said he would.
* * *
indeed visited over the break as he'd promised and Judy's family had
liked him. They were all real pleased that she had found someone. The
next semester was very much like the one before and still Tim made not
the slightest advance on her. Finally, one night as they both read in
his room, Judy set her book aside and looked at him for a long time.
When she felt she had summoned enough courage she gave a little cough
and he looked up.
love you," she said in a tiny little voice.
at her blankly and in that moment she was sure that their whole relationship
had just come to an end. Without the slightest change of expression
he said, "Wanna get married?"
It was like
a big wind had come along and blown all the years of loneliness and
despair out of her soul. She felt lightheaded and refreshed. "Yes.
Yes, that's exactly what I want."
happiness she rushed to him and held him tight. They kissed for the
very first time. Tim felt his cock swell in his pants and a sharp bolt
of pain shoot up his spine to the center of his brain. Judy felt him
stiffen, but was too happy to wonder why.
married a week later in a church a couple of blocks from campus. Tim's
parents and Judy's father and family all drove in and it was a nice,
small affair. Tim's father offered to pay for a honeymoon anywhere they
wanted, but they declined thinking it better to finish up the semester.
they checked into the nicest hotel in town and took their nicest room.
They drank a bottle of champagne in the bar, then took another bottle
up to their room. When they were both rather drunk Judy stood, kissed
him lightly on the lips, extinguished all the lights except a lamp on
the dresser and went into the bathroom. Tim finished his champagne,
removed his coat and tie and began massaging his scalp with his fingertips.
from the bathroom quite a while later attired in a short, rather sheer
nightgown. The light from the bathroom behind her gave Tim his first
real glimpse of her tall, thin body. His heart began pounding heavily
and the pain in his head increased. Clenching his teeth with all his
strength, he watched as she turned out the light behind her, crossed
the room until she stood before him, knelt down and slowly undid the
buttons of his shirt. He sat frozen fighting back the throbbing pain.
Taking his hands she urged him forward until he was standing, then she
pulled his shirt off from behind and let it fall to the floor. She led
him to the vast king-size bed, had him sit, then bent down and removed
his shoes and socks. His breath came in shallow short spurts and the
dimly-lit room started flashing red as his brain beat against the walls
of his skull. Gently she pushed him back on the bed, unhooked his belt
and waist button, then very slowly eased down his zipper. She ran her
open palms up his thighs, lowered her fingers under the waist of his
pants and shorts and brought them down over his swollen erection, which
bobbed up and down. She lifted his feet out of his balled-up pants and
shorts and tossed them aside. With her right hand grabbing the left
side and her left grasping the right, she deftly pulled her nightgown
over her head. Beneath she wore nothing at all. She stepped forward
and lowered herself on top of him, his cock against her stomach, and
brought her face to his. Tim was certain that his head would explode
any second. He felt her tongue move up his chin and between his motionless
lips and suddenly his pain transformed into a power he'd never known.
He put his arms around her back, rolled her over so that his legs were
between hers, took his cock in his hand and roughly thrust himself into
her. Tim felt something give inside her as he pushed himself all the
way in. Her whole body spasmed and she let out a tremendously deep gasp
in his ear. She locked her legs around his as Tim began pumping furiously,
his eyes rolled all the way back in his head. He ground his hips and
dug his fingers deep into her flesh. She dug just as deep into him and
arched her back to meet his forward lunge and then his body gave a jolt
and a quiver and in a mad rush all of Tim's pain, anger, despair and
guilt flooded out of him. He hung over her for a moment shivering and
jittering, then a deep breath hissed out of his chest and he collapsed
beside her totally unconscious. Tim slept undisturbed and unfettered
for the next twelve hours -- the amount of sleep he usually got in a
week. Judy found this response to the whole thing somewhat strange,
but having nothing else to compare it to she curled up beside him, pulled
the covers over them and joined him in sleep.
* * *
Judy rented a flat off campus and set up house. Tim got a part-time
job at a gas station, Judy found another bookstore job three nights
a week and somehow they made ends meet.
their wedding night there seemed to be a change in Tim. He no longer
seemed as jittery as he once was and his haggardness began to diminish.
Now Judy was much more likely to find him asleep on the sofa or doing
accounting homework than reading novels. In fact, as soon as they were
married he seemed to give up novels entirely, as well as the huge amounts
of coffee he had constantly consumed, not to mention the amphetamines
(although Judy never knew about those in the first place). The nightmares
were completely gone. Since Judy never knew about those, either, it
was no surprise to her that Tim slept well.
later, Judy showed up at the gas station where Tim worked with a strange
expression on her face. Sort of a cockeyed grin. She waited in the station
until he was done scrubbing the bugs off the windshield of a '68 Charger.
Tim came in, saw her and the odd expression she wore and knew something
can we talk?"
here." She nodded toward the garage and Tim shrugged. They went
into the garage and stood under a pick-up truck on the hoist.
she trailed off.
what? Come on, I'm at work."
out to lean on the main post of the hoist and got grease all over her
hand. Tim gave her a rag from his pocket. "Well
continued. "I'm pregnant." She finished wiping her hand and
gave him back the rag. He mechanically put it in his pocket.
at her enlarged, downcast eyes behind her thick glasses and smiled.
He took her in his arms and hugged her. "It's wonderful, it really
is. How far along are you?"
back and looked at her. "Two months? Then
was probably our wedding night. That's a good sign don't you think?"
her to him and hugged her tight, an odd, puzzled look on his face.
* * *
months later Judy gave birth to a son. They named him Gordon for no
other reason than they both liked the name. he was a very healthy baby
even if he never seemed to stop crying. The doctor assured and reassured
them that that was perfectly normal.
and Judy graduated and in no time Tim got a job with a small accounting
firm just five miles from his parents' house and fifteen from Judy's
father's house. They borrowed enough money for a down-payment on a small
wooden house just two blocks from Tim's office and things moved along
smoothly -- except that Gordon would not stop crying.
they took the baby to the doctor and once again he could find no medical
reason for the problem and explained that some children were just like
that. He advised patience and understanding.
years passed and little Gordie came to accept that it wasn't that bad
a place he'd been born into -- at least during the day. Night was another
story. Until he was three he could not be left alone to sleep and even
then it was a real trial getting out of his room. He would beg and beg
to sleep with them, however the line had to be drawn sometime and that
was that. There was no way they could shut his door or not leave on
the night-light and even then he would still beg. And every night, like
clockwork, Gordie would awake screaming from a nightmare having wet
his bed. When this happened Judy had to go in and sit with him until
he got back to sleep. Several times Tim had tried, but with him the
child's fears never seemed to subside.
a child psychologist who recommended that they not allow Gordie to watch
T.V. Obviously, the doctor surmised, something he had seen while still
very young had implanted itself in his unconscious mind. Both Tim and
Judy thought this was a crock of shit, their son had been like this
since birth. As Tim argued this point with the psychologist, Judy felt
a strange sensation, like Tim was a bit too vehement about it
not being something Gordie had seen on T.V. or through his window,
like Tim knew what it was and wasn't telling. Of course that was completely
absurd, but still
years went by and Gordie's troubles only increased. Now when he had
his nightmare there was no way to get him back to sleep. He had been
seeing the psychologist regularly since he was five and was able to
explain the nightmare in awful detail.
He was in
the woods and it was a pretty day, the sun shining brightly, when all
of a sudden the ground beneath his feet began to rumble and split open
and two rotting corpse hands burst out and grabbed his legs. He tried
running but was rooted in his place as the corpse pulled itself out
of the ground while clawing up his body. When the head emerged it was
cracked wide open with the brains hanging out. The dead hands would
grope up to Gordie's throat and began squeezing just as one protruding
dead eye would blink at him. That's when he always woke up.
time that Tim heard Gordie's nightmare he got so shook up that he got
in the car and just left, returning many hours later completely plastered.
From then on he had been drinking quite a bit. To Judy's point of view
Tim was darn near an alcoholic now. Judy forgave Tim his iniquities
because she knew they were based on love for their son. Nevertheless,
something more than was already wrong seemed wrong.
become unbearable for all three of them. Gordie was averaging two or
three fitful hours of sleep a night and could not function in school,
Tim was drinking all the time and was obviously messing up at work,
Judy was a total nervous wreck and had no idea how to help her son or
how much he drank Tim could not blot out the fact that the sight of
his own son scared him. He stayed late at the office and found any pretense
possible to not come home, but it didn't help. The image of his wide-eyed
petrified child stayed with him no matter where he was or how much he
weren't enough, Gordie began wandering off without telling anyone where
he was going. Several times he had left for school and had never shown
up. He'd come home hours later and not have the slightest recollection
of where he had been. Neither Judy nor Tim had the heart to get mad
at him, so instead they would get mad at each other. And since neither
was very good at arguing or yelling, long silences developed.
longer wrote or read poetry, but instead brooded silently throughout
the days wondering just what had gone wrong with her life. Something
had to break, and though she knew deep in her heart that it most certainly
wouldn't be good, she wished for it to finally happen.
On a sunny
October day with a hint of chill in the air, Judy sat in the kitchen
lost in a long stare out the window, the full cup of coffee before her
ice cold. The front door opened and Tim came in. It was much too early
for him to be home from work and from the sound of his footsteps she
knew something was wrong.
him fix a drink and drop into a chair. She entered the living room to
find him angrily glaring at the floor.
a big gulp of scotch and winced. "I got fired. I fell so far behind
with my work and did such a lousy job with the shit I did do that they
fired me. I don't blame them, either."
are you going to do?"
sourly. "I can always go back to the gas station. Maybe I can handle
their books and make an extra dollar an hour."
know what to say so she didn't say anything. The silence thickened.
could always go back to work, she thought, it would keep her busy anyway.
Maybe this was what she was waiting for.
rang and Judy answered it. It was Mrs. Collins, the principal at Gordie's
school. She wanted to know if Gordie was sick because he hadn't shown
up for class. Without thinking about it Judy lied and said that he was.
She hung up.
wandered off again."
down the remainder of his drink and stood up. "He'll probably be
home in a little bit, but I'll go take a look for him anyway."
He went to the door and left without looking back.
into their '76 Skylark and began slowly cruising the streets, turning
his head back and forth looking for his son. Somewhere deep within he
hoped that he might never find him, yet he knew that he would. The pain
and misery would just keep going and going, only now it would be worse
because he'd lost his goddamned job. At first he had been able to happily
lose himself in the numbers, the exactness, the answer always lurking
somewhere in the figures if he could just reach it. After a while he
just couldn't concentrate fully and the answers seemed to elude him.
As the shit got thicker the answers got lost completely. He turned left
on the highway and left the town behind. Gripping the wheel until his
knuckles were white, he ground his teeth together and drove faster,
the odometer silently gliding around. Without the slightest thought
of where he was going he had pulled off the highway, down several side
streets and come to an abrupt halt in front of his parents' house. Tim
looked blankly at the old wooden house. He felt lost and helpless. And
then it suddenly hit him with an electrifying jolt. He knew why
he was here.
the car he hurried up the driveway. As he passed the wooden steps leading
to the side door he bent down and glanced underneath -- his possessions
still remained as he'd finally arranged them. Continuing past the house,
he walked briskly pulling the cool early evening air deep into his lungs.
Then the junk yard was right up ahead. As he walked past Tim scanned
the mountains of refuse to see if there was anything obviously worth
taking, but it all basically blended from a distance and he continued
As he entered
the woods the setting sun cast an orange glow on the colorful autumn
leaves and dappled the ground with spots of light. He came to the stream
and began following its winding path until he reached the place he hadn't
seen in eighteen years -- and exactly where he had dug in the dirt with
his hands stood Gordie, his eyes wide open and staring at him.
here, daddy," croaked his son in a strange, trembling voice. "It's
his head helplessly. "I don't know. Whatever's trying to get me
when I sleep. You've got to stop it."
and stepped forward. "You're right. It's all got to stop. Right
now." He placed his hands on his son's shoulders and massaged the
knotted muscles in his thin neck.
daddy, make it all stop! Please
son, that's exactly what I'll do. I'll make it all stop." His grip
tightened around Gordie's throat. "I'll make it stop for both of
eyes widened as his father began squeezing his neck with all of his
might. The boy quickly started gagging and thrashing as Tim lifted the
small body off the ground and began shaking the life out of it.
the ground beneath them began to tremble and quake, violently erupting
upward causing Tim to lose his balance and drop his son, who plummeted
to the ground unconscious but still breathing. Two green rotting hands
burst upward through the dirt and leaves and took hold of Tim's ankles.
He tries desperately to pull away, but the dead hands of Hank Murrow
held fast. Tim tried to scream but couldn't as Hank's putrid, skeletal
face moved upward through the dirt, his dead-white eyes staring into
Tim's, the hands clawing up his legs, shredding his pants apart as they
climbed. The boney, rotting hands found Tim's throat and closed around
it with an intensely powerful grip. Hank's dead face loomed an inch
in front of Tim's, leaves clinging to decayed shreds of muscle and skin.
Hank's mouth opened and a horrible guttural voice came out along with
a steaming awful smell of rot and puke.
finally come back
a high-pitched whistle as his windpipe crushed inward.
wanted me and now you can have me," groaned Hank, his face moving
in toward Tim's. "You can fuck me in my rotting asshole for all
of eternity just like you wanted!" A shred of slime came down over
one white eye causing it to wink, then the horribly putrefied mouth
slammed forward onto Tim's and the black, maggot-ridden tongue slid
forth down his throat.
in Tim's brain began exploding one by one as the eighteen-year-dead
Hank Murrow pulled him down into his shallow grave with him. The Earth
settled smoothly over the top, not a leaf out of place.
was found two days later wandering aimlessly up the highway with absolutely
no memory of where he'd been nor how he'd gotten the bruises on his
throat. He spent a week in the hospital, then returned home to his mother.
His nightmares stopped and never returned.