Just Let It Burn

Diesel, darling. It burns slower and hotter. Gas goes up in a flash and hardly makes an impact.

 …said one of my closest friends and fellow writer, RC Murphy, when describing how I should feed the flames of my writing prowess. I’m not exactly sure where I’m supposed to find this metaphorical accelerant and I’m definitely not sure if I should pour it all over my carefully laid plans. One thing I am sure of is that R.C. Murphy is a damn genius and there hasn’t been a single piece of advice that she’s extended to me that hasn’t made me a better writer or person in the process. That being said, I took her advice to heart this past week and the results have been utterly amazing. Not finished book amazing, but more like powering through five chapters in as many days amazing.

From the prospective  of a new-ish writer and someone who has yet to finish a single novel, I can admit that it can be extremely disheartening to try and write a book, only to continue running into obstacles that prevent you from progressing, rather it be writers block or just plain ole laziness.

I have been working on my first novel, Bound, since Feb 2011 and I must say there have been times when I just wanted to close my Microsoft Word document, delete all my saved files and simply forget that I was ever foolish enough to think that I was talented enough to write my own novel. I mean, really, I legit deleted my entire manuscript, threw away all my notes and tried to forget that there was even two men in my head screaming to be heard. That turned out to be the best thing I could have done.

You see, my very first manuscript (all twenty something pages of it) was complete shit. Yeah, I can admit it. That thing was shit. And not just regular shit, but the kind of shit you have after a whole lot of Mexican food and sriracha. I had completely gone against everything I had been taught by my amazing writing group (shout out to R.C Murphy and Sandi Bischoff!) and almost destroyed an amazing tale of betrayal, love and redemption.

This is where I believe that bit about diesel and gasoline comes in.

You see, when I first began writing what would become Bound, I was going through Basic Military Training. I was sneaking to writer here and there on corners of napkins and in secret notebooks, but I wasn’t giving my boys the time and attention they need to share their story with me. In all honesty, I think my motivations to simply write a but to say I did was where I went wrong. I was, in essence, pouring gasoline on a fire and hoping it would burn forever, and what I got was a big explosion of shit.

After much internal debate, some guilt tripping and tough love from R.C Murphy and finally escaping BMT to get back to freedom, I decided to pick things up and give it another go with my boys. The right way. And what do ya know, those two little jokers got to jaw jacking like two Mean Girls at a debutante. That when the chapters just started basically writing themselves, the stories falling in line like good little duckies. I believe it was at this point that my writer’s mind figured out what worked for it (which accelerant, that it).

Long story short, we all write at our own pace and it is simply bad practice to judge you progress based on the progression of others. I made the mistake of trying to apply someone else’s methods to my own works and it blew up in my face, but thankfully I have a great circle of writers who are not afraid to tell me when something is shit or when I need to get my head out of my ass. Hopefully you all have that or will some day. In the meantime, find your accelerant, and let that bitch burn.

-QuamaineB

Late Night Phone Call.

Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz.

The female rolled her face into a well-used pillow, pulling the soft, white down alternative duvet over her head in hopes of drowning out the source of that obnoxious noise. It could be her annoying teammates playing a prank or her alarm malfunction. It could be a million and one things, but her half-sleep brain couldn’t be sure. The one thing she knew for certain was that anyone bothering to call her after eleven pm and before six am knew damned well not to expect an answer.

Not before she could shower and brush her teeth, and certainly not before First Cup. Anyone stupid enough to approach her before the sweetness of chamomile tea touched her lips invited serious scorn.

She rolled over with a sigh of relief, her room divinely silent once again.

“Thank Go-.“

Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz.

The phone. That goddamn cellular phone. The same goddamn phone she constantly reminded her handler she neither wanted nor needed. Telepathy made technological solutions like cell phones obsolete for people like her.

Throwing the covers off her head with a curse, the female snatched the infernal device off the nightstand, “This is Talat.”

“Layla, it’s Yaya.I need your help.”

Layla Talat shot up in the bed, the fear in the voice on the other end of the line snapping her to razor sharp alertness even as her heart constricted in unease. Not just from the fear that was almost tangible to Layla’s empathic senses, even though the phone, but because she and Atiya Talat had not spoken in nearly four years.

Ever since Layla’s younger sister began dating that cheating dog of a man.

“Yaya, slow down, take a breath,” Words spoken in a calm rooted in a well of serenity deep inside that required constant maintenance achieved through hours of mediation every morning. Today that pool of tranquility rippled, the storm of Atiya emotions an undeniable force. “What’s wrong? Has something happened to mom?”

She hated asking that, wished she hadn’t needed to, but worry was as a part of her as an arm or leg, and when it concerned her family, it was downright irrational.

She should have never left home, not with her siblings scattered to the winds, her mother left to pick up all the broken pieces left behind. Regret a lump in her throat, Layla forced herself to allow her sister to speak.

“No, mom is fine,” A hurried, almost impatient response. Unsurprising considering Atiya’s strained relationship with their mother. “It’s John-Paul.”

Layla’s fingers tightened on the small device in her hand, her lip curling even as she resisted the urge to hurl it across the room in frustration. Of course she’d called about that no good bastard. Why else would her little sister contact her after four years of the cold shoulder, of shutting out Layla’s every attempt to reconcile their differences? God forbid Atiya be an adult and actually address the real issues. Layla loved her sister but, for all her patience, the urge to choke her mother’s youngest child remained tempting.

Wanting the best for you baby sister wasn’t a crime. Being as stubborn as a mule just to avoid being wrong should be.

Layla kept her tone neutral, managed to keep the distaste she felt simply talking about the bastard from coloring her attitude. Atiya was no empath, but she possessed a degree of sensitivity, could hear the minutest shift in emotional nuances in the voices of others. “What has he done now?”

“It’s not his fault, it’s mine.”

Layla rolled her eyes as her sister did what she did best. No self-appreciating woman would ever make excuses for a man. Let alone a man who continually and blatantly stepped out on her multiple times. More importantly, no man worth claiming would allow his woman to take blame belonging solely to him. “Tell me.”

“I’m pregnant, khahar.”

The phone dropped unceremoniously from Layla’s hold. Sitting there in the tangle of white linens in only a t-shirt clearly meant for a man far larger than she, her long, ebony hair a wild mane, Layla stared blankly into space, her mind attempting to make sense of the declaration. Joy and love, anger and annoyance, a firestorm of emotions devastating the calm she’d managed to hold thus far.

God, she wanted to scream, to cry. It was a cruel irony that Atiya would receive the one thing Layla ever wanted and yet always denied.

“I’m happy for you, Yaya,” Empty, forced words as Layla returned the phone to her ear. And she was, truly. Jealous? Yes, positively, but happy nonetheless. If she couldn’t have children of her own, she would at least have a niece or nephew to spoil. “But what does that have to do with John-Paul?”

Silence from her sister, a thousand things going unspoken.

Here it comes, Layla thought bitterly. I was right, he screwed up again.

And wasn’t that absolutely fucked up? That she wanted to be right, to hope that John-Paul stupid ass finally showed Atiya the dog he really is? The betrayal would break Atiya’s tender heart, destroy her sweet innocence, but rather sooner than later. Before the child was born, before it was too late for Atiya to start over and still find love with a real man.

“John-Paul wants…” A sharp exhale, the sound of sniffling, of tears. “He doesn’t want the baby. He says he already has enough on his plate, that he can’t afford more children. Layla, he has a family.”

Fury an incandescent flame in her veins, Layla switched on the visual for the comm device and waited for Atiya to accept the request. The distressed face that appeared a moment later splashed winter cold water on her temper, a worried big sister left in its wake, helplessness a heavy weight on her chest.

“He’s a man, Yaya. A stupid fucking man.” Unforgiving truth swathed in a velvet soft tone, because, while Atiya put on a good front, she didn’t take reprimand, or any form of rejection, very well. And the next words she spoke came from a place of sorrow and regret, a place another woman once faced the same problem, though she’d been given no choice.

“What do you want, Atiya?” The question a courtesy no one extended to Layla in her younger years, one she would allow no one to take from her baby sister.

“I..I think..”

Layla cut her off harshly, her tone unforgiving even as her empathic instincts reached out, ached to soothe, to comfort. “No, the time for indecision has come and gone. You are pregnant by a dog that calls himself a man, and you need to do what is best for that child you are carrying.”

Atiya bit her lower lip, a nervous habit that’d carried from childhood. Good, Layla thought, her sister should be nervous. Motherhood wasn’t all smiles and giggles and baby’s first step. Sacrifice and more sacrifice- that was the cost of being parenthood. That experience evaded Layla, but Atiya stood on the cusp, needed to be ready.

Finally, she said, “I want to keep the baby, but I know it will be so hard.” A pause, contemplation heavy in the air between them. “Will you help me? I can’t do it alone.”

Layla released a heavy breath she hadn’t been aware of holding, soothing waters of calm washing over her mind, bubbles of joy in her veins at the prospect of seeing his baby sister again. “Yes,” Immeasurable excitement in that single word. “I will be there every step of the way, Atiya. I promise.”

Why Did You Have to Break It?

August rolled his eyes as Jourdan moved to pour another nightcap. It was the five in as many minutes and, though Jourdan could no more get drunk any more than August could stop killing, the other man strength continued to diminish from lack of proper feeding.

Jourdan would never confess anything to that affect, what remained of the male’ pride a crucial part of his identity, but August had remained at his side for thousands of years, knew the cadence of Jourdan’s every breath.

There was nothing about Jourdan that escaped August ‘s notice.

As the thought crossed his mind, another realization struck. His obstinate concubine hadn’t fed in three weeks, his eyes sunken and dark, and his skin the color of aged chocolate. The simple fact that Jourdan could still function on any level was proof to the sheer strength of his will, as well as confirmation that he’d once again been defiling his magnificent body with the blood of human filth.

August’s wanted to snarl in violent repudiation, the mere thought of Jourdan’s lips at another’s vein set his blood aflame. He kept his irritation leashed; the small rational part of him acknowledging that it was he who forced the lilim to sink so low. It took an incredible amount of control, but then he was an expert in that regard, his darker half having been with him longer than most realized.

So soon after a feeding, however, the delicate balance between sanity and mindless rage was a tightrope. Only years of practice kept him from slipping his leash. The blood high seemed to only feed his darker half, a testament to his tainted blood, allowing it a solid foothold in his mind that never boded well for anyone.

Especially the man before him.

August could be brutally violent at times, there was no question about it, but he by no means enjoyed all the depraved things he had done. Especially when it caused him to hurt the only being in the universe that made him feel more than blinding anger and furious hate. He’d never speak a word of how he really felt to Jourdan, however; the male would only use it to hurt him again.

Another glass of vodka disappeared down Jourdan’s throat.

Augustine snatched the crystal decanter before Jourdan could take another drink, ignoring the male’s sound of protest.

Gifted to him by Jourdan centuries, the small, delicate glass container remained the single vestige from Jourdan’s old life on Lemurya. It represented a time when thing had been good, when August had been…better. True to his callous nature, August broke the damn thing when presented with it, offended that Jourdan thought him even remotely capable of appreciating something so fragile and easily broken.

The thing had shattered into a thousand obsidian pieces, and Jourdan had never said a word about it. Not even when that very same decanter had been back in one piece the next day, but August knew the gift hadn’t been the only thing he’d broken that day.

“Slow down, pet, all that poison will impair your ability to think clearly.”

Jourdan lifted his eyes lazily and what August saw in that glossy gaze made him want to smack some sense in the other man. But more than that, he wanted to hunt down that fucking witch and kill him for daring to upset Jourdan. It was illogical, of course; the witch’s concern for Jourdan seemed genuine, but that didn’t salve August’s need to hurt someone.

Then again, who was he kidding? He was incapable of clarity of mind when it came to his male.

“That’s the whole point.”

August shadowed as Jourdan placed his empty glass down on the black marble bar and headed for the bathroom, wondering just how much the male truly had drank. He took note of the short, choppy steps the other man took, the way he favored the right leg. Moreover, the edges of August’s own vision were beginning to blur, Jourdan’s weakness bleeding through their bond. August couldn’t afford to be in a weakened state.

Not now, not ever.

His enemies were legion, the line of those out there who would love nothing more than to catch him defenseless endless. Many would gladly sacrifice their own young if it meant just one moment of torturing him. Though he cared nothing for his own life, he could not fathom Jourdan’s death because of him.

August’s temper snapped before he could catch himself. “Stop being a fucking brat!” He mentally cursed himself, taking a long, deep breath before he spoke again. Jourdan never reacted to anger, would simply ignore reality and withdraw into himself further. “We don’t have that luxury- you know there are those out there that would hurt you to get to me! That goddamn witch-“

“Nahuel.” Jourdan volunteered without looking up from the sink he’d braced himself heavily on. “That witch’s name is Nahuel, and he is my oldest friend. You have no right to treat him as you did.”

August paused, for once considering his actions and how he had torn into Nahuel the moment he’d sensed what he was. It wasn’t his fault he didn’t like witches; they’d caused the bad blood, not him. And sure, maybe it was juvenile to hold on to petty grudges, but a witch had once stolen something very important from him.

His concubine may consider a witch friend material, but August had no such delusions.

Witches were treacherous wolves in sheep’s clothing, no better than the demonkyn they opposed. They waved the high and mighty flag in the public eye, but under the cover of the Moon they summoned the darkest of magick to carry out their own evil wills.

In all his centuries of walking the earth, August hadn’t met a single one worthy of his trust. Personally, they could all rot in Annwyn for all he cared, but for Jourdan’s wellbeing he thought grudgingly, he would stomach this one. The matter of another male in his territory, however, was an entirely different animal to skin.

“Another male was in my domain in my absence. What was I to think?” Irritation in every word.

He stalked around the bathroom as Jourdan reached into the glass ensconced shower to turn on the water, nearly falling in as he did so. August was at his side in a burst of speed, wrapping a single arm around Jourdan’s lean waist to steady him.

Jourdan clumsily shrugged August’s hold off, falling haphazardly into the wall behind him. A well-placed hand on the wall the only thing preventing him from face planting. “You will think what you will, Augustine. Nothing I say or do will change that.”

“Everything you say affects me.” August confessed absentmindedly, but his words were lost in the storm of shower water before they reached Jourdan’s ear.

August stood there as Jourdan stripped naked, exposing a well-muscled body rife with healing wounds, wounds put there by August’s own cruelty, and fumbled his way into the shower. He ached to join him, to remain and ensure Jourdan didn’t succumb to weakness, but he had no right. It was a most foolish thing to think- Jourdan did not want his help, would refuse it as he’d done just a moment ago.

Without a word August turned on his heels and headed out, intent on verifying Nahuel’s vision. He was no wounded dog to lie at his master’s feet and be kicked. If Jourdan did not want him there, than he’d be damned if he were going to sit around and wait like an eager pup.

Happy New Year!

Welcome to the first day of a brand new year.! I hope everyone was safe and had a great time last night, but today is January 1st and that means that fun  time is over and its time to get to work. For some that means going back to the office, for others it means back to being a stay at home something. For me it means right back at my desk and this here blog.

Last year I intended to breath new life into this blog and, like with all things, life go in the way and I was not able to keep that promise. This year will be different. I will not be tying myself to any set schedule this year, as I know myself well enough to know that will never work, but I will be doing my very best to post consistently and continuously.

If you followed my progress formerly, you’ll notice that the Pre-Fall Journals and the other miscellaneous one-shots I previously posted are no long available for public consumption. That was a decision I made a few days ago as part of my refreshing this blog. Don’t worry, it will all be available again for your reading pleasure when I feel it’s ready for primetime. For the time being, I will be focusing on a series of one-shots focusing on a group of young adults.

You may not be aware of this, but I am working on finishing my first book (it’s turns four years old on the 11th) and it will be my primary focus for the first half of this year. I plan to have it finished and published by Summer 2015 (keep your fingers crossed that my Editor keeps her foot in my ass), but that takes priority.

As I said before, I will be posting regularly, even if it’s just to say hello or muse about the day, but I will be sure to do my very best and keep this blog alive. All I ask of you, my wonderful audience, is to stay patient with me and continue your much-needed support.

Thank you all and Happy New Years!

~QuamaineB

One Last Hurrah.

Eighty-seven.

That was the number of targets he had tagged and bagged like so many animals for the human government since the Revealing, an event that reveal the existence of another species to mankind. And yes, the delineation was intentional, because no, he was not human, apparently never had been.

 Not according to the human scientist who studied his kind, not to the military board who’d kicked him unceremoniously to the curb after discovering the truth of his heritage, and certainly not the piece of shit fiancé who’d left him six months ago.

 Four.

The number of paranormals who had not survived what the human doctors called Rehabilitation, a procedure that forcibly cut off his kind’s access to the very powers that made them unique. An inhuman process which left them in an endless coma, stripped of their very identities, nothing more than shells for the humans to poke and prod like lab rats.

He had sentenced eighty-seven of his own people to that fate.

Tracked them down like errant dogs and turned over members of his own species to be experimented upon and then put down like rabid animals. All on the say so of a group of humans who would sooner see everyone like him dead out of fear than attempt to understand and help them adapt to the modern era.

Lyncoln Turner was a traitor, self-loathing his ever-present companion.

He took a moment to survey the table to his left, offended. If he didn’t already hated himself enough, Lyncoln stood posted within spitting distance of every single member of the Program’s ruling Board, the men and women who gave the execution orders, like a well-trained dog waiting to be recognized as their most accomplished field agent since the inception of the program.

A banquet.

They were throwing a fucking banquet to celebrate his team and their hand in reducing his species, one by one. It was disgusting and revolting enough that he be the instrument of his people’s destruction, but even more so that the so-called civilized humans so coolly celebrated genocide.

Toasts were made, fine wine consumed by the gallon and plates the cost of which one could provide the capital to help his people reform were cleaned by human societies most elite, New York City’s one percent. He wondered if they even knew what it was exactly the Program did to the paranormals it supposedly helped integrate into modern, human lives.

Lyncoln somehow doubted it.

While the rich could be insensitive to the suffering of others, they weren’t always cruel, would most likely not take kindly to the knowledge he held. The nouveau riche did not mind a dirty deed or two done in private so long as their pockets were lined, but they would sell their own mothers to protect their precious reputations. Reputations the truth about the Program would trample with muddied boots.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t do a damn thing to stop it.

The Director, his salt and peppered hair fashion in a military high and tight, sat at the head of the table wearing a perfect mask of civility. And it was just that, a mask. The man was a ruthless bastard with a mind as sharp as any blade, his gray blue eyes as cold and merciless as a winter storm. He was the one who’d found and recruited Lyncoln following the Revealing in 2010. Recruitment was the politic term that had been used.

It had actually ben a euphemism for serve or watch your family branded as freaks, their lives ruined.

He could not stand his family, for while they hadn’t abandoned him as everyone else in his life had, they may as well have. Nevertheless, they were family, even if they refused to claim him, and he would never turn his back on family. The Director knew that about him as well and didn’t hesitate to use it to his own ends.

Lyncoln hated the smug bastard with every ounce of darkness in him, but no one was any wiser as he took the champagne flute offered and lifted it to toast to a man he’d gut at the first opportunity. The liquid, usually a favorite of his, was uncharacteristically bitter, the bubbles dry and bitter on his tongue as he downed the contents of the glass.

 “Turner!”

Lyncoln snapped out of his thoughts at the harsh whisper in his left ear.

Talat, an exquisite beauty whose features spoke of her deep Middle Eastern roots and a fellow field operative, glared at him as she approached from his left. Her shoulder length jet black hair was pinned up in a neat bun to expose her bare shoulders in the strapless, teal dress she wore to perfection.

Her topaz eyes locked onto his, her concern intense, so tangible he could practically touch it.

Lyncoln put on his best faux smile as he addressed his second. “What?”

“Stop it.”

He locked down his shields, dark eyes narrowing on Talat. He knew exactly what it was she meant. He also knew precisely how she knew about it. Though he loved Talat endlessly, knew she would never betray his trust, Lyncoln loathed even the thought of anyone being privy to his chaotic emotions.

Even if it was his empathic best friend.

“Stop eavesdropping or I’ll give you a migraine.” He threatened, putting his champagne flute back down on black tablecloth before he spoke again. “You know I hate that.”

Talat, with her infinite patience didn’t react to his less than brusque tone, her abilities and inherent peaceful disposition providing a fertile field for the roots of a deep and abiding friendship to grow and flourish. Though she’d come into the Program nearly a year after he, Talat had quickly become someone he could depend on, in any matter.

That same reliability came with complimentary couch time.

“In my defense, you were projecting,” A casual shrug of her shoulders, beautiful bronze skin aglow beneath the ballroom lights. “If you actually paid attention in the classes I teach, you might actually remember how to prevent that.”

She was wrong. He’d listened diligently. The techniques she’d first taught him no longer worked with the same efficiency as they’d done a year ago, his mind having found a way around the self-imposed blocks, but that wasn’t something he was ready to share. Not with her and certainly not with the doctors that Talat would insist he confer with.

“You right,” an effortless lie told with unnerving ease. It was becoming far too easy. “My apologies for snapping at you, but the combination of this stuffy suit and these small suns they call lights above us are making me incredibly irritable.”

In truth, Lyncoln was nervous.

Today marked his fourth, and God willing, final contracted year as a field operative, the ceremony serving the dual purpose of a celebration and a farewell. No one else knew, the Director having decided it was best he make a clean cut.

He didn’t agree, but the Director wasn’t a man anyone defied.

Still, Lyncoln remained grateful. No matter how small it seemed, the promotion to desk jockey was a welcomed reprieve. His soul was torn and tattered, every mission a corrosive acid drip on the fragile tapestry. He would live with the shame of his actions to his final breath, but if he could save just one life, just one of his people, then perhaps he could earn a modicum of forgiveness.

The comm timepiece on his wrist chimed.

Switching open his mental pathways, Lyncoln answered the mental hail, the distinct steel of Samone Richards mind touching his own. A former emergency responder, Richards was also an incredibly skilled telepath and functioned as the team’s main source of information.

There was an electromagnetic spike detected in Lower Manhattan three minutes ago. Precinct 7. Orders are to retrieve the target alive.

He didn’t bother asking why the mission had been assigned to him when Command surely knew his time as a field agent was over. If the order came across Richards’ desk, it was meant for Turner and his team.

Copy. We’re on it.

a King’s Christmas.

King did not like Christmas.

No, that would be dressing it up far too nicely. He fucking hated Christmas. The unending blanket of snow for miles and miles, the fresh pine smell of Christmas trees in his nostrils, and one could not forget those goddamn gingerbread cookies. Fucking gingerbread. God, he loathed the very mention of the season, dreaded the sight of the first falling leaves.

Fall heralded the coming of winter and winter always brought with it the cold chill of his past.

Just two years ago, King had been living the good life. A life Kanye West himself would be envious of. He’d had a mother who, aside from her annoying, overbearing tendencies and occasional bitch fits, loved him and almost everything other young men his age only dreamt of. Car, check. Rent free house, check. Free groceries and a maid, check check.

What the hell kind of idiot wouldn’t be content with all that?

“Clearly an idiot like you,” he grumbled under his breath. Or so he thought.

“What’d you say there, pretty boy?”

King looked up at the mountain of a man who’d somehow managed to get right up in his grill while he’d been lost in dream land. Probably not the best course of action when one was sitting in central holding with all manner of lawbreakers, but King never claimed to be the brightest light bulb.

Apparently this precinct didn’t believe in separating minor offenses and first time offenders from the less friendly riff-raff. His mother sure paid a lot of state taxes. If they weren’t going toward making his occasional jail visits more pleasant, then where the hell was it going?

“N-no-nothing,” he finally managed to spit out. It was an admittedly weak response, but through the cocktail of cheap alcohol and even cheaper tree he’d smoked, his mind was not capable of a more complex retort. He cleared the little bitch in his throat to make room for the man before speaking again, hoping he didn’t sound as worried as he was. “Thinking out loud, sir.”

The tattooed behemoth seemed to accept the half-assed apology, but not before he giving King an extremely long and completely unnerving up and down with lust filled eyes. As if sex were anywhere near his list of priorities right now. And even if it were, it wouldn’t be with a man that reeked of stale cigars and looked like he did not know what “No” meant.

“You have a pretty little mouth,” A slow, lusty smirk that revealed teeth should belong to a pirate. “Keep thinking aloud and the boys and I’ll put those pretty lips of yours to good use for the night.”

Self-preservation would have kept any other guy’s mouth tightly sealed as the inmate turned to leave, but King had never been normal or the type to let an insult slide. Not from his mother, not from his father when he’d been alive, and certainly not some reject from the Last House on the Left.

“Like hell you will.” And wasn’t that a fucking mistake.

The hulk-man whirled around shockingly fasted and locked one meaty hands around King’s throat before he could so much as flinch, pinning the smaller man to the prison cot with his body weight. King’s hands came up immediately, scrambling for something to hold on to, to escape. It was no use, those hands locked like a snake around his throat, constricting airflow. Damn, the fucker was strong.

In the movies, this was around the time the inmates started causing an uproar, which in turn drew the attention of the guards. Guards who would come and break up this little attempt on King’s precious life. At least, that was how it worked in all the movies he had seen. Apparently in the real world, those very same underpaid civil servants were in their sorry excuse for a break room. How oh so very fortunate for him that he should die while the guards were away drinking cold, dollar store coffee out of Styrofoam cups.

“Should have kept your mouth shut, little boy,”

The smell of booze and onions blasted King in the face as the creep leaned down until they were nearly nose to nose. King’s body locked up immediately, memories from his past bubbling to the surface. His throat tightened even as the grip loosened. A cold sweat broke out, his face perspiring as the brute rubbed King’s chest through his shirt with his free hand.

Something hard pushed against King’s thigh and, though he couldn’t see, he knew exactly what it was. Bile rose in the back of his throat, his stomach heaving in violent rejection of what was about to happen if he didn’t man the fuck up.

That hand slid lower, stopping just at King’s waistline to snake underneath his shirt. The feel of those balmy, fat fingers on his naked flesh almost caused him to retch right then and there. He didn’t care if it got all over his Versace sweater- money could buy more shirts, but it couldn’t buy his dignity back if he lost it to this bottom feeder.

Wiggling just enough to give his arms some room to maneuver, King laid his fingers on the sweaty, belly partially exposed by a shirt that was clearly to small. Though it had been more than a year since he’d last done it, he was hoping his little trick would work right now. Liquor usually crippled it, but it was better to try and fail, than not to try at all and just lie there and take it.

A button coming undone, the sound of a zipper.

King closed his eyes and forced himself to filter everything else out. The stench of liquor vanished, the heavy weight of another man astride him lifting, the sounds of labored breathing silenced in a moments time. Warmth spread through him, the tell-tell sign that his trick was working, and King went to work.

“You don’t want to do this,” King said, the words no less commanding for that they were spoken calmly.

The male trying to rape him looked up then, a look of completely bewilderment on his aged face, a combination of drunkeness and King forcing his will onto the other male. That was usually what happened when King “pushed” someone- minor resistance, followed by compliance and then confusion. In this case, there was no resistance, the no doubt illegal amount of liquor in the man’s bloodstream circumventing any kind of mental fortitude he may have had.

“I don’t?” A confused look around before he looked down at King. “I don’t. I don’t want to do this, do I?”

King sent up a silent prayer to God, thanking him for small favors. “No, you don’t. In fact, you never want to ever have sex again. Ever. The very thought of it will make you sick. Do you understand me?” It was only fair, right? The male was certainly going to rape King and he wouldn’t shrink at doing it to someone else. This was practically community service or something, right?

The jerk rolled off of King then, scrambling to stuff his engorged manhood back into his dirty trousers with remarkable speed. Thankfully, no one else was present in the cell and the guards still hadn’t come by on their usual rounds. It was embarrassing enough that he’d had that disgusting appendage on his designer jeans- if anyone had witnessed it, he’d absolutely die.

Of course, King was more concerned with making sure no one had seen him use his trick.

“What am I doing?”

And wasn’t that a good question? King sat up on the cot and tried not to curl his lip in revulsion at the man before him as he considered punishment. Telling the guards would accomplish nothing- the could care less what happened to those they put behind these bars. No, retribution was lain at King’s feet and his feet alone.

“You want out of this cage?” A jerky nod from a head far too small for the body is sat on. “Good,” King said with a slow smile. “Then leave. Claw your way out or whatever, just don’t stop.”

King turned over on the cot content as the man went to the far wall and began clawing at the concrete with his fingernails. It was the season for giving after all. His gift was a cruel thing, especially the way in which he used it, but King couldn’t bring himself to give a fuck.

The world was a cruel place- why shouldn’t he be cruel too?