Inner Demons

Inner Demons

Status: Finished

Genre: Gay and Lesbian

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Gay and Lesbian

Summary

Josh has been haunted by the same nightmare for as long as he could remember. there's a way to get rid of his "demons". he just has to accept himself. can jake, the new kid on the block help him?

Summary

Josh has been haunted by the same nightmare for as long as he could remember. there's a way to get rid of his "demons". he just has to accept himself. can jake, the new kid on the block help him?

Content

Submitted: May 09, 2016

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Content

Submitted: May 09, 2016

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I always had this nightmare since I was young. It always started out with me looking into a mirror, just staring into my reflection. Then the reflected me would suddenly change. My skin would turn to a grayish color, my eyes would turn either to a deep shade of red or pitch black. My teeth would elongate into razors, my nails formed into talons. My usual light brown hair turned the color of night. Although my reflection was different I knew I was still the same.
  My dream was always the same but it also changed. There were always two scenarios. The black eyed me started crying blood and begged and pleaded with me, asking why I wouldn’t accept him. He would then reach through the mirror and wrap his hands around my neck begging me repeatedly to accept him. Or the red eyed me would appear, he is more violent, and he screams at me to accept him, that I had no other choice but to. I couldn’t escape it. He would smash his way through the mirror and kill me in the most brutal of ways.
  Every night I would wake up screaming, drenched in cold sweat, my parents would come running in and console me. As a child I didn’t understand why this dream recurred, I had no idea what it meant. All I knew was that I couldn’t escape from it.
  My parents put me through different therapy sessions, I under went many medical tests, and was given pills to take care of my nightmares but nothing worked. Every night I continued to wake up screaming. I could still feel those cold clammy fingers wrapped around my neck, or still felt the unbearable pain of being torn open.
  I suffered from this repeating nightmare for three years. That was until my grandma made a dream catcher for me. She was an…interesting person, my mom called her spiritual. My grandmother was very heavy on dreams and she thinks that dreams can tell you your future, your wants, and your fears. She thinks this me is something I’m repressing in myself. An obstacle I would have to face later in life. She said this dream catcher held special powers, she told me that it will catch all the bad dreams I have and replace them with good dreams. She said I had to replace the beads every three days or else the nightmares will escape. She warned me that the mirror me can’t be suppressed for long. One day I’ll have to face him.
  For the first time in my life I was more than elated to get to sleep. My dad hung my dream catcher above my bed and I stared at it smiling widely. I was finally going to have a good nights rest.
  I remember that night both my parents kissed me good night, turned on my night light and then closed my door. I arched my neck so I could look at my dream catcher, it’s white and black feathers slightly swayed. I then rolled onto my side and closed my eyes.
  I actually had a nice dream, I never had one of those. I dreamed I was flying through the clouds, swimming in vast oceans and fought pirates. It was amazing. But in the corner of my eye I saw the demonic me, his piercing red eyes staring at me. But he never bothered me.
  My parents smiled as I told them about my dream last night, I’m sure they were very happy that I hadn’t woken up screaming that night. And I kept my word too. Every three days mom drove me over to grandma’s and she switched out the beads for me. She told me to watch her carefully because I needed to learn how to do them myself.
  My good dreaming went on until I was twelve. That was when my grandmother died. My grandmother and I were close, and I watched her deteriorate throughout the years. It hurt watching her suffer. I was happy that she was finally at peace, but it was sad to see her go. She was my best friend. I would stared at my dream catcher for days, one of the few things to remember her by. I continued to change my beads like she told me to.
  But everything change when I turned thirteen.
  I started going through “the change” or puberty like my mom calls it. I hated that word. My body changed, growing hair in places I didn’t even know was possible, my voice got deeper, I was growing at massive rates, and my hormones were out of control.
  But I was different than the boys my age, I noticed it, and I really hoped nobody noticed it. My interests were different than the other boys. I hated the fact that I was different and I tried to cover it up, hide it from my friends, family, strangers, and myself.
  I started noticing something different about my dream catcher one day. The normally white beads were turning black. I thought maybe I was putting in black beads instead of white. But I knew I wasn’t, grandma always told me to use white, white meant purity and innocence. I asked my mom and dad wondering if they were possibly messing with my dream catcher. No, they weren’t. But then why?
  I replaced the beads and hung it back over my bed. I stared at my dream catcher for a bit, almost expecting the beads to change color right then and there. But they didn’t like I knew they wouldn’t.
  That night I was dreaming, it was a good dream like I have been having for the past five years. It was more of a nonsense dream, one thing happened and then something totally unrelated and unrealistic happens. I find these types of dreams either tiring or entertaining. But I never remember them when I wake up though. Anyways, I was dreaming and then I found myself standing on the edge of a cliff staring at open skies. But I then felt a strong grip on my shoulder, a very familiar grip and I turned. Red eyed me was glaring at me, eyes full of rage, he snarled at me, showing off his pointed teeth. He gripped my shirt and pulled me closer to his face.
  “Why won’t you accept me?” He screamed at me.
  I stared terrified into his blood red eyes. “W–who are you?” I had asked when I found my voice, “what do you want?”
  “You will accept me!”
  And with that, with a hard push, I was falling down over the cliff.
  I awoke with a violent jolt, I was panting hard, my heart pounding hard against my chest. I looked around, I was in the safety of my room. I climbed out of bed and turned on my light. I then looked towards my dream catcher. The beads were black.
  I stayed up the rest of the night, too afraid to go back to sleep. My mom came into my room that morning to wake me up for school, and was shocked to see me sitting up in bed.
  She said she was surprised to see me up so early, her smile then faded when she saw how tired I looked. She asked me if I had gotten any sleep last night. I told her I had a nightmare and her face paled. She reassured me that it was just a nightmare and it wasn’t real, but that didn’t make me feel better. Grandma’s dream catcher was supposed to stop all nightmares from coming through. Maybe it was losing its magic. It sounded silly, I know, but that’s what I thought. But then I remembered that she said I wouldn’t be able to suppress the other me’s for long, I would have to somehow face them. But the thing is, I don’t know what they want but I’m supposed to accept them. But I’m not going to accept anything that has been terrorizing me all my life.
  As I grew older it only got worse, the dream catcher was losing its power. My dreams would start out nice, but then he would appear and ruin it, screaming or begging me to accept him. It was to the point my dream catcher no longer worked. It was just a decoration in my room, and he would come and visit me every night.
  I’m eighteen now, in my senior year of high school. I used try to keep myself awake by hyping myself on caffeine or taking some pills that keep me awake. But your body needs sleep. I would end up hallucinating, I would see the other me while I’m at school, or at work, or driving. He would be giving me that hateful glare or that sad look. I couldn’t escape him whether I was awake or when I was asleep. I gave up on trying to staying awake though, it was messing with my mental health. My grades were dropping, I was sucking more at sports, and I would lash out my parents over every little thing. I was only hurting myself.
  But I still don’t get a full nights rest, I still wake up screaming in the middle of the night, my sweat soaked clothes clung to my body, my parents no longer ran into my room like they used to. Sometimes my mom or my dad would pop in and ask me if I was okay. I would tell them I was fine and they would go back to sleep. But I would remain awake. I was starting to fear that I was going to deal with this for the rest of my life.
  There’s a new kid in my class today. He transferred over from another school due to his parents work. His hair was black, it was long, his bangs covered his blue eyes, his bangs were dyed a dark green color. He had piercings on his face and ears which I thought was pretty cool, and he had tattoos on his forearms. I thought that was pretty cool too. I learned that his name was Jake. I wanted to get to know him, but I felt too nervous to approach him. I didn’t know why I felt so nervous, I’m pretty charismatic, I loved talking to people. But I couldn’t approach Jake for some reason. He wasn’t unapproachable, he didn’t send out any hateful vibes or anything. I just felt that he, I don’t know, was out of my league? That was the best way to put it.
  I watched Jake from afar and learned things about him. He was social, he made friends fast. He was funny, he made everybody around him laugh. He was quite eccentric, despite his appearance he drew people around him, and he seemed like an all around happy guy. I wanted to get to know him, but how do I approach him?
  I always pondered about him when I got home. I wondered why it was so important for me to get to know this guy. I don’t know why I was so drawn to him, he was normal guy. To be honest he’s the kind of guy that would blend into the background after you made your double take on his appearance. But after that he’s another face in the crowd. But Jake was pulling me in, and it kind of bothered me.
  At school one day I was getting books for my next period class when Jake walked up to me. He smiled widely at me and leaned against the neighboring lockers.
  “Hey” he said.
  “Hey” I nodded.
  “I’m Jake.”
  “Josh.”
  Jake held out his left hand, he’s left handed, interesting. I shook it.
  “Anyways, I’ve noticed something, you live next door to me.”
  I blinked. I do? Now that I think of it, I do remember the moving trucks, but I never associated it with Jake.
  “Yeah, you jog past my house every morning.”
  I cocked an eyebrow. “That’s a little creepy dude.”
  Jake shrugged “I stalk you.”
  I leaned away from a bit.
  Jake smiled. “I’m joking man, you know, ha, ha?”
  I managed a small smile. “You got me.”
  “Yeah, hey um, since we’re neighbors and all, it would be neighborly of you to show me around the town.”
  “You’ve been here two weeks and you haven’t ventured around town?”
  Jake gave a sheepish shrug. “Show me again.”
  I eyed him. “Sure.”
  “Cool” Jake grabbed a pen from his back pocket and pulled the cap off with his teeth. He then grabbed my arm and wrote his number down. “Call me.” He winked at me then walked off to his class.
  I watched him leave, my heart was pounding and I pressed a hand to my chest feeling a bit flustered. I then closed my locker and went the opposite direction.
  At home I stared at my arm, I couldn’t believe he gave me his number. I should call so he would at least have my number. So I pulled out my phone and began dialing his number. But then stopped. I don’t think I could talk to him, so instead I texted him telling him it was me. He replied within seconds of my previous text.
  We texted all day until he told me he was going to sleep. I finished my homework and then called it a night. I climbed into bed and instantly fell asleep, forgetting what haunted me in my dreams.
  But my dream was different this time around. I was sitting on my bed and Jake was sitting beside me. He was talking but I couldn’t hear him. But that was fine, I was enjoying watching his lips move. I was then compelled to turn to my right, I knew what I would see when I looked, but I couldn’t stop myself. The other me, both of them were watching me. They were both smiling an earie smile.
  “Kiss him” the black eyed me said, “kiss him.”
  “Accept it” the red eyed me said, “you can’t run away forever.”
  “Kiss him, it’s alright, do it.”
  I looked at Jake, he was staring at me expectantly, he doesn’t seem to see the other me’s. I then looked the two others and shook my head disgusted that they even wanted me to do such a thing.
  The black eyed me started to cry, blood streaking down his gray cheeks. “Why won’t you accept me?” He sobbed, “please, accept me.”
  The red eyed one glared at me and walked over to me, the room darkened and Jake had vanished. “You will accept me” his voice was low and dangerous.
  “Accept what?” I yelled.
  “You can’t run away” his jaw then unhinged, stretching to an unnatural length. Rows of teeth glinted at me and I was overcome with fear. He gripped my shirt and clamped down onto my neck. I screamed as the pain shot through my neck. I woke up still screaming and grabbed at my throat. But it was fine. My head was still on my shoulders, I had nothing to worry about.
  I climbed out of bed and walked downstairs to the kitchen. I grabbed a cup and filled it with water and drank it down. I set the cup in the sink and leaned against the counter taking deep breaths. My heart was still pounding, I needed to calm down. I made my way back to my room and laid down. I wanted to at least get a few more winks of sleep before I had to get up. I didn’t.
  My alarm went off two hours later and pulled myself out of bed and pulled on sweats and a hoodie. I slipped on my running shoes and made my way out the door. I looked up and down my neighborhood, everybody was obviously still asleep, nobody would be awake around this time. Accept for Jake that is. God knows why he’d be up at five in the morning. I started my jog and counted the houses as I went past like I did every morning. I passed thirty-six houses until I arrived at the dead end. I then made my way back to my house and ten houses past it until I reached the end of my neighborhood. I took a breather there for about a minute before I turned and jogged back to my house.
  I took a long shower and got dressed. I then went downstairs and made myself breakfast. I stared out the window as I slowly munched on my cereal. My mind was on my dream from last night.
  They wanted me to kiss Jake, but got so angry when I didn’t. Why did they want me to kiss Jake? Deep down, I knew the answer, but I pushed it down and stayed oblivious.
  My dad came down, he usually left for work when I go to school. I had already made a pot of coffee, and I didn’t shy away from helping myself for a cup.
  “Another tough night?” He asked.
  So he heard me screaming.
  “Yeah” I nodded.
  Dad gave me a sympathetic smile and squeezed my shoulder. He then turned and poured himself some coffee.
  My phone vibrated in my pocket, I pulled it out.
  Had a nice jog? Jake texted.
  I smirked and texted back calling him a creeper.
  He replied with an emoji sticking his tongue out.
  “I’m heading out dad” I grabbed my backpack and started my walk to school.
  “Josh!” I heard a shout.
  I looked behind me. Jake was jogging towards me, I waited for him until he caught up to me.
  “Mornin’” he said.
  “Morning.”
  Jake laughed, “I think it fits you. If you want I can call you sport instead.”
  “So um, how’s your morning so far?” He seemed nervous.
  I shrugged, “you tell me, you were watching me through your window.”
  Jake smiled slyly. “Well it looked like you had a pretty nice jog.”
  “What are you doing up at five in the morning?”
  “Sunrises, I get good views of them from my room. And you just so happen to be jogging past when I’m looking.”
  “You enjoy looking at sunrises?”
  “I like drawing them.”
  “An artist?”
  “I’m an amateur, not sure if anything I draw is any good. But tell me about you. Tell me all about Mr. Popular.”
  “Popular?”
  “Yeah, I heard you’re a super athlete, excel in all kinds of sports.”
  “Well just because I’m good at sports doesn’t make me popular.”
  “You’re always surrounded by people.”
  I laughed. “If that makes me popular then you’re pretty popular too.”
  Jake waved his hand dismissively. “I just like talking, I haven’t really gotten to know anybody yet. You are my top priority.”
  I twisted my backpack strap feeling a little nervous all of a sudden. “And why is that?”
  Jake stuffed his hands into his pockets and trained his eyes to the sidewalk. “I don’t know, you looked like a cool guy, wanted to get to know you.”
  He was beginning to sound like me.
  “So tell me about you.”
  I thought about it. “I like sports, I also like talking to people, and I get pretty good grades. I don’t really have any personal hobbies besides reading comic books and playing video games. Under the surface I’m pretty lame.”
  “Nah man, you seem really chill. So do you go to any parties?”
  I shook my head wrinkling my nose. “No, hate parties, all you do is drink and smoke, I’m not about that scene. I’d rather stay at home and read.”
  “Do you have a girlfriend?” Jake voice was kind of quiet when he asked me this, and he wasn’t looking at me either.
  “No.”
  “Ever had a girlfriend?”
  “No, I’m too busy for a relationship. Maybe when I graduate I may think about it.”
  Jake nodded as he fell silent.
  The silence was too awkward.
 Say something! I screamed at myself, anything!
  “So um” I said, “how about you? Tell me about you.”
  Jake lifted his head, he still wasn’t looking at me but he answered. He told me he moved from two towns over because his dad’s work had moved. He told me they were always moving, but he said this was the last time though. He was graduating this year and he was going to find a place of his own and go to college. He said he never really had a job since he never stayed in one place for long. But he did do odd jobs for his neighbors and he’s been stashing that money away. Jake had many dreams. He wanted to be a tattoo artist, a guitarist, a writer, and a voice actor. He showed me some of his impressions and they were very good, made me laugh. Jake was quite the interesting character.
  We hung out together during our lunches at school, he would come watch my practices and I could hear him cheering me on from the bleachers. During the weekend I showed him around town, some of the popular spots to visit. We then hung out in the park and just talked about life.
  My friendship deepened with Jake, but my nightmares only got worse, and more complicated. It was to the point where I couldn’t act like my usual self around anybody. I felt scared and anxious, and I was unnaturally jumpy. My friends thought I was just hyped up on coffee, which I usually am. But Jake was the only one who knew something was truly wrong. But he didn’t call me out on it until we started our walk home.
  “Hey, everything okay? You seem different.”
  I looked over my shoulder feeling like somebody was watching me. “Yeah, fine.”
  “No, you’re not, you’re acting all jittery.”
  “It’s just hard to explain.”
  “I think I can take it.”
  I rubbed my neck, this morning it hurt real bad. My dream last night, the red eyed me had torn it open with his claws. That pain stayed with me until mid day, but I could still feel his hateful eyes on me, boring a hole right through me.
  “I um” I swallowed hard, I couldn’t get the words out. He’ll probably think I’m stupid for being scared. But maybe he might have a solution for these awful nightmares. The answer of maybe why they’re terrorizing me.
  “Do you have time?” I asked, “to come over to my place?”
  He nodded. “Yeah sure.”
  Neither of us spoke as we continued to walk home, I honestly didn’t want to speak. Jake must have caught on because he was quiet (for once), but that didn’t stop him from throwing worried glances my way ever so often.
  I unlocked the door to my house and stepped aside so Jake can walk in. He followed me up the stairs to my room. He’s been in my room several times, and he’s always so shocked at how clean it is. I’m not a clean person. My mom just comes in and cleans up my dirty clothes. He calls me spoiled because he said if he did that his mom would throw his clothes away
“You finally going to tell me what is up with the sheets? Why are you covering your mirror?”
  I looked down at my hands. “I um, I don’t like mirrors.”
  “Why?”
  “I’m afraid to see myself.”
  “Dude, you’re a good looking guy, can’t say for sure in the morning since I never seen you roll out of bed.”
  I didn’t laugh like I usually would, not even smile.
  Jake sat beside me on the bed, “what’s wrong?”
  It was just like me dream. Jake sitting beside me, he was talking, and I would just sit there and watch his lips move. I instinctively looked towards my mirror expecting the two me’s smiling at me. But they weren’t.
  “Earth to Josh!”
  I turned back around and gave him an apologetic look.
  “Hey man, if something is seriously bothering you, you can talk to me.”
  I nodded. “It’s just that I never told anyone before, not even my friends.”
  “Take your time, I understand.”
  I swallowed hard and combed my fingers through my hair. I told him about my nightmare that I have, I told him about the dream catcher my Grandmother made me, and then how it lost its “magic”. I left out the part about the other me’s wanting me to kiss him, but everything else was the truth.
  “You’ve been having those dreams since you were a kid?” He asked, serious concern was etched onto his face.
  I nodded.
  “That’s pretty dark things to be dreaming about.”
  Again I nodded.
  “You know what I think? I think your conscious is telling you something. They keep telling you to accept them, and they punish you each time you deny that part of yourself. Like they said you can’t keep running from it.”
  “But I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be accepting.”
  “Do you really?”
  I licked my lips, because I know very well what I’m pushing away.
  “You know, it’s okay to be different” Jake said scooting closer to me.
  “I don’t want to be.”
  “Nobody does, but we’re all different and the best thing to do is to grab it by the balls and roll with it.”
  What he said made sense and I know I should. But I was scared, what would my parents think, my friends, my family? I’d rather hide it for all eternity than let it up to the light. But Jake, and the other me’s were right I can’t run away forever.
  “You know, I can help you,” said Jake. I’ve learned to accept that part of myself for a long time.”
  I turned to him. “How?”
  “Well, I can do this” Jake leaned forward, part of me was very aware of what he was doing, part of me wanted to push him away, but another part of me said to stay still. I was having an inner argument myself, not really paying attention to Jake anymore. Should I kiss him, or should I stop him? But before I could come to a conclusion his lips were on mine.
  It was a quick peck, I was more or less frozen to the spot, I wasn’t sure what to think. Jake almost looked like he regretted the kiss, but then he moved in again, and this time it was a lot longer. His eyes fell closed but I kept mine open.
  This was weird. Kissing him was weird. I liked it, but it was weird. No! This was fucking weird. He’s a guy! We’re both guys, I’m not going to allow myself to enjoy this.
  I broke the kiss my eyebrows furrowing.
  Jake’s blue eyes searched mine, trying to figure out what I was thinking. “Too upfront?” I asked.
  “A little.”
  “Did you like it?”
  “I don’t know.”
  Jake nodded looking down at the floor.
  “I um, don’t think I want to accept that part of myself.”
  “Why?”
  “I’m scared.”
  “Why?”
  “I’m afraid what people might think of me.”
  “You can continue to pretend to be somebody you’re not and live a miserable life, or you can embrace it and live life the way you want it. Also, if you choose to be miserable you’re not only going to be hurting yourself you’re going to be hurting those around you.”
  “I’ll be hurting them if they knew about me.”
  “How do you know?”
  “From what I seen and heard.”
  “Josh, it doesn’t always come to that. You may lose some friends but you can also gain more supportive friends. Your family can reject you, or they can have your back every step of the way. When I came out to my parents they were very supportive of me. And your parents love you a lot, I’m sure they’ll take you as you are.”
  I shook my head. “No, I’m not gay.”
  “Have you ever had a crush on a girl? Or look at a girl in that way?”
  I never have, it was guys I would steal glances at.
  “Think about it Josh. I got to get home, I’ll see you later.” Jake stood up grabbing his backpack from the floor. And walked out the door.
  I fell back into my bed and covered my eyes with my arm. I can’t believe I kissed him.
  That night my dream started out like it had for the past few nights. Jake in my room talking to me, but I couldn’t hear him. The only thing that was different was  that I wasn’t compelled to look to my right. Instead Jake started kissing me. He kissed me over and over and over. I wrapped my arms around him as I laid down on the mattress, him on top of me.
  I was lost in the kiss, I felt his hands roaming my body and I moaned egging him on. My hands moved on their own accord as they took off his shirt. I kissed his chest, licked at his nipples and sucked on his shoulder.
  Jake held the side of my face and stroked my cheek. He gave me a sweet smile, and I smiled back.
  “You’re finally accepting me?” He asked.
  My smile faded as realization fell over me. I pushed him off me and scooted away from him quickly. Jake gave me a sad look his eyes filled with tears. Blood fell down his cheeks and he started to morph into the black eyed me.
  “I thought you accepted me” he wailed, “why won’t you accept me?” His wails got louder and louder until they became deafening. I covered my ears trying to drown out his screams. But soon I realized it was me who was screaming.
  I was roughly shaken and I opened my eyes and stared up at the faces of my parents. Their faces were panic stricken, I was just relieved that I was finally awake.
  “Son, these nightmares aren’t good for you” said Dad, “you can’t go off to college like that. People will think you’re getting murdered.”
  “We need to figure out a way to get rid of these nightmares” Mom ran her fingers through my sweat soaked hair.
  I told them nothing is going to work and not to worry about it. I know how to get rid of these nightmares, but I won’t help myself. I’m going to have to suffer through this my whole life. Or at least until it drives me off the deep end.
  It’s been awhile since I last talked to Jake. Being around him I knew it was bad for me. He made me think and feel things. I didn’t like it. I felt bad for ignoring him, he tried to talk to me, but after while the texts and calls stopped. He even stopped coming up to talk to me at school. He would just walk right past me. It hurt, he doesn’t even look at me. I gotten so used to hearing him cheering for me from the bleachers during my practices, I was so used to walking to and from school, and having long chats about nothing. I never felt so lonely. Jake is the closest friend I have, the only one who truly got me, the only one who really knows me. And I tossed all that away because of what? My possible feelings for him, my fear of being…different. Do I regret it? Yes, but there was no way in hell Jake would forgive me. I just dropped him without any warning or explanation. I can live with this regret, but it still hurt.
  I still watch him though. He still acts like his usual self, laughing and making others laugh around him. He goes straight home after school and I head to practice. Sometimes I can see him from my kitchen window sitting on his front porch. He had a sketch book in hand. He had a look of concentration on his face, his tongue poking out from between his lips. I would smile as I watched him. But I would force myself to look away. He was making me feel things that I didn’t want to feel, especially for him.
  Even though Jake and I no longer talk I still dream of him every night. But I’m watching him from afar like I’m doing now. He would be sitting on the edge of a dock and I would be just standing there, just watching. The two me’s would be standing on either side of me trying to persuade me to go and talk to him. I wanted to, so bad. But I always ended up turning away and then getting cut down by one of the me’s.
  My parents have noticed the change in me. When I was hanging with Jake I was a lot happier, a little more open. But ever since we stopped talking I was more introverted. With both my parents and friends. My parents always asked me what happened with Jake. And I always shrugged the question off and leave the room. I couldn’t tell them the truth. I was too scared how they would react.
  I laid on my front lawn staring up at the stars one night. I remember me and my grandma would lay out here and count the stars or she would show me the constellations. I was always so happy to hear about them and I would ask her a thousand questions. Back then I thought my grandma knew all the answers of the universe. I wish she was still here. I wanted to ask her what I should do. But I knew exactly what she would say.
  I heard the door open from next door and I turned to watch Jake haul two garbage bags out to his garbage can. He looked over towards me and I quickly looked away.
  Go inside, go inside I thought over and over again.
  I heard footsteps and I closed my eyes hoping he was going inside. But they were getting closer and closer.
  Just walk past, please be walking past.
  The footsteps hit grass and I sighed when they stopped next to me.
  “Hey” said Jake’s voice.
  I opened my eyes and stared up at him. His eyebrows were furrowed together as he stared down at me, his lips pressed tightly together, his black hair fell around his face. He definitely needed a haircut.
  “Hey” I muttered.
  “Can I sit?”
  I shrugged.
  He sat beside me and the stars came back into view. We sat in complete silence, my heart was pounding hard against my chest. Could he hear it? I hope not. It’s been a full month since we last talked and now he suddenly decided to approach me? Why? Isn’t he mad? Is he here to tell me that I’m a jerk and an asshole? What do I say to that? How would I respond? I just wanted to get up and leave, just sitting next to him was giving me anxiety. I didn’t move though, I missed his warmth.
  “Why?” Jake asked breaking through my thoughts.
  I looked over at him. He was staring straight ahead, his elbow resting on his knee.
  “Was it because I kissed you? If it was then I’m sorry, you could’ve just told me that you didn’t like it, you didn’t have to stop talking to me.” He looked down at me. “Or do you think I’m disgusting because I like gay?”
  I looked back up at the sky, I should have expected this. He was obviously angry, but he was also hurt. I hurt him, and I felt bad.
  “Tell me why?”
  I didn’t say anything.
  He sighed, “can I be honest with you?”
  I peeked at him.
  “I like you, more than I should. I’ve been to a lot of places, different states, my whole life has been one massive move. I never had friends. I talked to a lot of people but I never allowed myself to get close with them because I knew I was going to move again. But you’re the first friend I’ve ever had. The first person I told my hopes and dreams, my insecurities and fears, my likes and dislikes, the first person I came out to, the first person I fell in love with.”
  Love? Really?
  “I knew I shouldn’t have kissed you, I don’t know what I was thinking when I did that. But then you stopped talking to me, I got scared. I started thinking you hated me, I tried to apologize to you but each time I got close you went the other way. So I stopped trying and tried to just go back to the way it was before I started talking to you. I couldn’t though, I miss you. I miss talking to you, watching your practices, and walking with you. So please, just tell me why.”
  I licked my lips and sat up. “I don’t think you’re disgusting, and that kiss, I liked it, which is why I stopped talking to you. Being around you was changing me into somebody I don’t want to be.” I took a deep breath before continuing, “I know who I am, I know what I’m avoiding, but I don’t want to confront it. I’m scared, I want to be normal, I don’t want to disappoint anybody. So I thought if I kept my distance from you I would maybe go back to normal. But you had already changed me. I think about you all the time, I see you in my dreams and it’s fucking frustrating. What I feel for you…it terrifies me.”
  “Why do you care so much about what others think? It’s your life, you should be able to do with what you want with it.”
  “I’m not as strong as you, you’re used to be alone, I’m not. If everybody rejects me I’ll be alone, and I don’t want that.”
  “I can be there for you” Jake played with a blade of grass. “So, you um, you like me?”
  Hearing him say that angered me for some reason. He was so accepting of my feelings but I didn’t want none of that. Even if I do like him.
  “Um if you want we can—”
 “No” I stood up, “I’m not fucking gay Jake.”
  Jake frowned and also stood up. “Dude! When will you fucking open your eyes to the fucking truth?! Yeah I get that it’s a freaky thought but it’s who you are. You can pretend all you want but you can’t deny your feelings. Just accept it already!”
  “Fuck you Jake!” I yelled, “I can’t do that, I’m not like you! I’m not the kind of person who can throw caution to the wind, I’m not fearless, I don’t want to be different.”
  “So you would rather be miserable for the rest of your life?! You would rather marry a woman you won’t even love, having to fuck that pussy you won’t even like?”
  “Shut up Jake!” I said through clenched teeth.
  “Face it Josh, what you will be craving your whole life is a big, fat, cock!”
  I swung and my knuckles connected hard with his jaw. He fell to the ground and I immediately regretted hitting him. But my anger prevented me from apologizing. My nose flared as I watched him slowly sit up holding his jaw.
  He glared up at me, “fuck you” he spat, “you fucking coward.”
  My heart broke right then, I didn’t want him to hate me, I wanted anything but that. But as soon as I swung I knew it was all over. I stuffed my hands in my pockets and walked up the front steps to my house and went inside.
  I climbed the steps to my room and collapsed on my bed. My hand was throbbing, my knuckles were red but they were fine.
  So this was it right? Everything between Jake and I is over? This is what I wanted, to sever things between us. But then, why do I feel like crying?
  That night I dreamt I was alone, standing in front of that damned mirror, staring at my reflection. Except this time my reflection didn’t change into the demonic version of me, it changed into Jake. He stepped through the mirror and held my shoulders, he pulled me close and kissed me. My mind emptied with all thoughts and doubts and was replaced with lust and ecstasy. We walked backwards and we fell on top of a bed.
  He stripped me fast, he was somehow suddenly naked. I didn’t question it. I pulled him down for another passionate kiss. My fingers tangled in his messy black hair and I wrapped my legs around his waist. I have never lusted after somebody so bad. I wanted to get lost in the pleasure of being close to him, nothing else mattered.
  He was inside me, I moaned losing myself in the eroticness of this very moment. We moved to a rhythm only lovers know, I held onto him, moaning, letting him know just how good he was a making me feel.
  “Face it Josh” Jake said in my ear, “what you’ll be craving your whole life is a big, fat, cock.”
  I pulled away slowly. Jake wasn’t smiling at me, instead I was staring up at me, his red eyes pierced me, his smile wide, he started laughing at me. “You will accept me.”
  I snapped awake, my adrenaline pumping, I sat up and looked out my bedroom window. It was light outside. Did I seriously sleep the whole night? I grabbed my phone, it was seven in the morning, two hours late for my early morning jog. No matter though. I climbed put of bed and dressed up in sweats and walked out the door. I stood on my front porch and inhaled the morning air. The streets were still quiet. I looked to my left, Jake was sitting on his front porch staring at me, his sketch book sitting on his lap. His jaw was swollen and a pang of guilt stabbed at me.
  I pulled up my hood and jumped down the steps and began my jog. I felt his eyes on me as I ran past his house. I was then thrown back to my dream where we were having passionate sex. I grunted and my jog turned into a sprint.
  Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! I screamed in my head. I ran faster and faster, then turned back around and ran the other way.
  I could still hear him panting in my ear, feel him inside me, how light he made my body feel. I grit my teeth tightly.
  It’s just a dream, just a fucking dream!
  I could still hear his words in my mind as clear as day, it made my blood boil and my anger spiked. “Face it Josh, what you’ll be craving your whole life is a big, fat, cock.”
  I ran into my house and climbed the steps, I screamed loudly as I kicked, punched and threw everything I could get my hands on. Hot tears ran down my face as I sat down on my bed and stared up at my dream catcher. I haven’t wished for my grandma to be here in so long. I wanted her to comfort me, tell me everything was going to be alright. I wanted her to give me some of advice. Should I allow myself to love Jake, or should I just try cast that part out of my life?
  I could hear her tell me to follow my heart or something cheesy like that. I buried my face in my pillow and cried silently because my heart wanted Jake.
  I felt like my days have grown a lot darker, my dreams getting more conflicting. Jake no longer gives me the time of day, I don’t blame him. But I still wished that each time he looked my way he didn’t took at me with so much anger and hurt.
  My life was slowly spiraling down the drain, I was keeping myself awake again. I couldn’t handle the sexual themes of it, especially with Jake. My grades were once again slipping, I wasn’t performing well in sports, and I started isolating myself from my parents and friends. But I continued to watch Jake from a distance, that was something I couldn’t stop.
  I collapsed at school one day from sleep deprivation. My parents weren’t happy with me, but they understood. I hated sleeping, only nightmares awaited me with sleep. Of course I wouldn’t want sleep. But it wasn’t nightmares that awaited me anymore. It was Jake, and I didn’t want to see him like that in my dreams.
  My mom had me stay at home for three days so I could get my rest. I didn’t really get much sleep in those three days anyways. I woke myself up each and every time Jake and I went too far. I spent most of my time staring at my dream catcher.
  Back at school my friends welcomed me back with open arms, but I really wanted Jake to come up and tell me that I worried him or something. But he didn’t.
  At home I sat on my bed running my fingers over my dream catcher. It was getting old and coming undone. I wasn’t sure how to fix it, so I decided to keep it as is until it came apart altogether.
  I felt like my grandmother would be upset if she saw how I was treating myself. She wouldn’t like that I’m running from my problems, she would want me to face them like a man. Running can only make things worse. I knew she was right, everyday I just felt worse and worse. And I can’t live like this for the rest of my life. I would go crazy. The best thing to do is to accept myself whether I liked it or not. I didn’t have to tell people right away, I can tell them on my own time. But I was still scared. Still scared for their reactions of denial and disappointment. But I had to look at the pros and cons of this.
  The cons are I can lose my friends, and family, I will be an outcast and people will look at me in disgust. I will let so many people down, break the hearts of my parents, be bullied and beaten, and ignored. I didn’t want any of that.
  But the pros, Jake would talk to me, we can maybe be something, I can gain new friends, new supportive friends. They will be my new family. Not everybody is hateful, and there is always somewhere I will be accepted.
  I can do this, I just need time to prepare myself. I just needed to sleep on it.
  My dream was not of Jake this time, finally. I was standing in front of the mirror. But I didn’t see my reflection this time around. I was confused. I blinked and the mirror was gone, the two demonic looking me’s stood there side by side.
  They black eyed one was the one who spoke first. “Are you finally accepting us?”
  I hesitated at first, I then nodded. He smiled and took my left hand. His skin changed from gray to an olive tone just like my own, his teeth and nails shrunk back to a normal length, and his eyes changed to a carmel brown, just like mine. And his hair was no longer pitch black, it was brown like mine. He looked exactly like me.
  “I told you you’ll accept us” the other me said, he too no longer had his demonic features. And he no longer looked at me with anger and hatred, his smile was warm and forgiving. He took my right hand.
  When I woke up I felt exactly whole right then and there, that I finally found a piece of me that was missing for years. I stood up and walked over to my mirror. I stared at the white sheet covering it. I had my dad cover it for me when I was eight, I was afraid the scary monsters were going to come out and eat me. I knew that wouldn’t happen now. But I never took them down because each time I looked at myself I was scared what I might see.
  I reached up and pulled the tacks out of the wall and sheet fell to the floor. I stared at myself for the longest time. I didn’t look…gay. I still looked the same on the outside, but I knew I was different. I felt different.
  I took a long shower then I walked next door over to Jake’s house. I stood on his welcome mat staring at his maroon door for a long time. My thoughts were swirling with negativity. He probably doesn’t want to see me, he’s probably mad me. We haven’t spoke for two and half months now. The last time we spoke I punched him. I felt bad about that and even if he doesn’t want anything to do with me I still want to apologize for that. I rang his doorbell.
  I waited for a few minutes until I heard the door unlock and Jake opened the door. He looked shocked at first, then he looked angry. He crossed his arms and leaned against the doorframe.
  “What brings you here? Want to get the other side of my face too?”
  I winced. “No um, I came to apologize for that.”
  “Two months later?”
  I averted my eyes. “Yeah.”
  “Well you apologized” Jake went to grab for the door.
  “Wait!” I quickly stopped him stepping into the doorway. Our chests were practically touching, I took a step back not meaning to invade his space but I didn’t want him to leave just yet. “I’m sorry for punching you, and I’m sorry for ignoring you. I’m not as strong as you but you’re right. I can’t go with the rest of my life pretending. If I did I would probably end up putting a bullet through my head just to end the misery.”
  Holy shit Josh! Why so fucking dark?! I was shocked that, that even came out of my mouth.
  “I’m scared, I’m fucking terrified, but I think it would be better if I just you know, grabbed it by the balls just roll with it.” I smiled sheepishly as I quoted him. “And um, I was hoping I can still take up on that offer and you know, help me?”
  Jake didn’t say anything at first, I expected him to tell me to go to hell and slam the door in my face and that would be it. Instead he broke out into a flirty smile and cocked his head to the side. “As long as you don’t grab them too hard, they’re sensitive.”
  I laughed, a real laugh for the first time in two months. It felt so nice.
  “You maybe want to go out?” Jake asked.
  “Um, yeah, That’ll be nice.”
  Jake’s smile grew wider. “My parents aren’t home” he said flirtatiously, “you maybe want to come in and you know, play some Smash Bros?”
  I snorted. But I said sure and led me into the living room.
  I no longer have nightmares, I no longer wake up screaming or drenched in cold sweat. I get full hours of sleep and I always wake up feeling refreshed. Something I never thought I would ever feel again.
  I plan to take things slow with Jake. This whole being possible boyfriends with this guy sounds really exciting and like a fun adventure. But I know I still have to overcome a few more of my fears before we even get to that step. But until then I’m just happy that I finally accepted that I’m gay, and I’m ready to face it head on.


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