“Did you hear that?”

I don’t think silence, in its purest form, makes a sound. It’s the absence of sound, right? But too often we say things like, “it was completely silent” even though there’s the low whistle of the wind, or the hum of a fly’s wings as it tangles in the blinds quivering as the wind blows through them.

In my mind it had been completely silent. It was probably due to the lack of blood that is being delivered to that area at this particular moment. I lick my lips carefully and graze my teeth over the cracked pieces of skin, still sensitive from being bitten at. It’s a bittersweet taste in my mouth, but I’ve always liked Sour Straws so the taste, I don’t mind.

“I don’t hear anything,” I say, pulling his lips back to mine. For a moment it’s silent again, all I feel is his bottom lip brushing my chin and biting on me, making my spine crawl and the hair on my arms stand. I take off his shirt and sit up, resting my butt on that safe zone that’s not exactly crotch but not exactly stomach either.

His gut dips as I brush my fingers around his hips and trace the outer lines of his abdominals. He’s just barely ticklish enough to get a laugh out of him, but also horny enough that just me touching his stomach makes his back arch and his hands clench both my thighs. I take that as a sign everything is going okay. But just in case I kiss him again, testing him. Running my hands through his chaotic mess of hair, all spiked up—like he’d just woke up.

Really, it’s taken me two hours of sitting on the bed and watching horror movie re-runs to coax him into this current position. So I go slow as I work my way down from his lips to the slight peak of his Adam’s apple. At that his fingers dig into my thighs and I wince, but continue to kiss him slowly, just barely licking over his collarbone. I can’t hear him but he whispers something when I kiss his chest. I just nod and grind my hips a little, allowing the jeans to scratch between us.

“Oh fuck, Mason…” he says and he throws his head back into the pillows on his bed. I just smile, continuing on my way from his nipple down to his ribs. He doesn’t really like that though; he takes my head and forces it down faster. I have to hold his hands at his sides eventually because he wants to go too fast.

Which is bizarre, because I, Mason Manson, am the definition of fast. I eat fast, think fast, talk fast and fucking hell, I can jerk off quicker than most guys can take a dump. Thing being: I generally like it fast, and dirty—but that’s beside the point. This time it’s different, because I actually like this one. And that’s where the bizarre part comes in. This boy beneath me is Ben. Ben fucking Davis—and I like him. My best friend’s little brother, the kid I used to give wedgies to back when we were in high school. I tormented the hell out of him. And now he’s all grown up and doesn’t have glasses or that dorky hair cut, he’s even got this killer stomach—and he’s hard for me. That’s the important part, definitely a key element to this Master Plan.

Master Plan being: get Ben to kiss me. Clearly that’s a huge success; I just never would have figured we’d be fooling around already. Especially not in his bedroom, on Halloween night when I could be at my cousin’s party getting laid for sure. But I took a chance, another thing I don’t normally do. I took a chance and I’m probably only going to get a mediocre, if not decent, blow job. But that’s okay for now, I guess.

So I move from his lap down to his knees and I sit there, straddling him, sliding his belt from the loop, slowly. I throw it aside with our shirts and lean over, kissing just below his naval. I bite too, and he threads his hand into my hair, driving his hips up until my chin is rubbing against the denim of his jean crotch. It’s then that I decide to screw all this foreplay bullshit and just take his pants off. I undo the button on his jeans and nearly rip his zipper, shucking off the unneeded apparel and then go for his underwear. I nearly laugh (though I manage to hold it in by some miracle) because he still wears tidy whities. I even think about asking him if his mother sews his name into the lining, but bite my tongue because no one has mentioned Mrs. Davis since she wandered off.

“Wait, wait,” Ben blinks his eyes wide and sits up on his elbows. I curse and let my hands fall away from his underwear. “Did you hear that?”

“I don’t hear anything.” It’s not exactly true. I hear the faint buzzing coming from the TV that we muted a while ago. I even think I hear the wind blowing violently outside the bedroom window and maybe we’re both panting a little harder than usual—Ben definitely is.

“No, no—“ he sits up fully now and I roll my eyes. “See! That, do you hear it?”

I humor him and listen for a moment. There’s really nothing out of the ordinary that I catch. “It’s completely silent,” I say, and look back to him. The TV’s glow is reflecting on him and I can see he’s completely flushed all over—I can even feel how aroused he is under me.

“Look, if you’re nervous—“ I start to say but he shakes his head.

“No, I’m not,” he says and frowns deeply, wrinkles pulling into a knot on his forehead. “Well. Yeah, I mean, I am nervous but I swear…I thought I heard something. Like a scratching noise.” He brushes over his chest with an index finger and then sighs, relaxing his tensed shoulders.

“Fine,” I release a heavy breath and get off him. “I’ll go check.”

“Thanks,” he mutters, embarrassed now that I’ve crawled off of him and he’s even more exposed.

“Whatever,” I wave my hand in dismissal. “But you better be completely naked when I get back.” I zip up my own jeans and head down the stairs. And walking with an erection is a little uncomfortable but walking downstairs in jeans is just downright toturous.

The coffee maker is on but that’s pretty much it. The red light is flashing and I turn off the laundry downstairs. I know the place pretty well, being almost a member of the Davis family myself—not close enough a member though that it feels weird with Ben. I check the downstairs bathroom but there’s nothing. I even check the garage port for any raccoons or whatever that could be making noises. We’re out in the country so it’s possible there are coyotes.

I turn and run into someone. I jump back on reflex and my body stiffens—until I see it’s Ben and he’s got his pants on—fucking hell. It’s taken me an entire weekend to get those off.

“I’m positive I heard something,” he says, running a hand through his hair; he looks pretty shaken up. “I think it’s coming from outside.”

He’s just spooked, I know that. This house is huge and empty, especially when Riley isn’t here with him. I feel bad, but not entirely enough to hug him or anything. I just want to get him back upstairs and take those pants off and the underwear and pick up where we left off—because it’s almost midnight and I have to be heading home tomorrow; back to classes and back to college life. My weekend is coming to an end and I want to get out of here ASAP—but not before Ben and I can finish this little fling.

“Everything is fine,” I tell him. I take the back of his neck and pull him in for a kiss. It’s a nice turn on that he acts surprised every time I do that—he lets out that extra air he’s been holding in and sort of deflates into me and I feel the reverberation of his sigh transferring to my lips.

We don’t pull away though because we’re winded. I actually here ‘it’ this time. This…it’s almost like a cat scratching on plywood. Very distant though—and I try to ignore it but Ben definitely hears it too. He pulls away and looks up at me.

“I think someone is pulling a prank on me.”

“Why do you say that?” I ask, leaning up against the door frame and pulling him into me.

“I don’t know…” he says softly but he’s really thinking it over. “Just weird stuff—at school I get weird notes and people writing on my car. I step into my room sometimes and feel like someone is watching me.”

I laugh—maybe it’s rude but I don’t really care.

“You’re paranoid. It’s the coming out syndrome,” I tell him. He gives me this odd wrinkled up scowl. “It’s true. After you come out you get this feeling like everyone is watching you when really they’re not. And forget about assholes that have nothing better to do than to drop notes in your locker or write stupid shit on your car.”

“But it’s not—it’s not stupid shit. It’s just weird. And half the time it doesn’t makes sense and—“

Again, that scratching noise. Only…it’s followed by a whine. It sounds like a wild dog going into heat or something—but terrifying how human the dog sounds. It’s close too. Louder than the first time I heard it.

“Uh…fine,” I push Ben off of me. “I’ll go scare the little assholes away.” I go into the garage and come back with an old baseball bat. I point it at Ben. “You better be naked when I come back—seriously. Or I’ll come for you next.” I make a deadly motion with the bat and Ben smiles with all his teeth and I see some of my joking has lessened the worry lines on his face.

I go outside then, through the back door and sneak around the side. The noise is coming from the shed. I don’t expect Ben to follow me or anything—he’s always been a wimp. That’s why he invited me over to watch scary movies in the first place. The only way I’d gotten to hold him and then eventually…sort of seduce my best friend’s brother into his bed. In my defense, at least I waited a year after he came out. It wasn’t like I’ve been after him all along…

It’s eerily quiet when I walk into the backyard. It’s an acreage property out west, so there are no fences and the nearest neighbors are about a mile down the road. It’s even got a healthy crop of corn blowing in the wind. The door on the shed is open and it’s slapping open and shut, making a screeching noise. I lower my bat and head over to the door—it would just be that making Ben freak out. Sometimes it annoys me how skittish he is. Other times I don’t blame him at all. I think I would be the same if my mom just up and walked away one night and never came back. If I knew my mom. It’s something we don’t really talk about.

When Ben came out, a week or so later his mom walked barefoot into the cornfield and never came back. There are all sorts of poisonous snakes and wild dogs that could have gotten to her. She was a frail woman—and Ben blames himself. Even though he shouldn’t.

I’m about to shut the shed door when I see a shadow in the corner. It’s tall, and the silhouette is just barely visible in the dark that I nearly drop my bat, but something inside of me clings tightly and my adrenaline amps up. I slam the door shut—not able to get my fingers to work correctly but enough that I at least click the latch—but I can’t get the lock twisted. So I abandon that and just start sprinting for the house, yelling for Ben. As I look over my shoulder I see the shed door burst open and someone flying after me at a dead run. And even though I have a solid 32’ aluminum in my right hand and I was Junior League Hard-hitter, I don’t stop to take my chances against someone carrying the gardening axe.

And I definitely don’t think about the red dripping from the tainted steel blade.

“Get the goddamn door, Ben!” I’m breathless but somehow he hears me—I have a feeling he’s been waiting this whole time near the backdoor. He opens it up and I stumble through, not bothering to slow down until I’m inside.

“Mason?” Ben asks. He’s startled to see what sort of state I’m in. “What’s wro—“

“Lock it!” I order, scrambling to my feet and shutting the door. There’s a powerful thump that jars us both, but I manage to click the lock into place this time before the knob starts shaking violently. I think Ben screams when something starts banging on the door.

“What the fuck is it?!” he’s leaning against the base like I am, suddenly flushed again and panting, only it’s not exactly how I pictured it.

I don’t know—so I don’t say. I hear more scratching and then banging at the garage door—screaming, like someone is drawing helium from a balloon. I get up and run to the garage door, the top lock is latched but the door is open and I see a crimson colored hand reaching through. I don’t have time to even think—I kick my leg at the outstretched hand—knocking back whoever or whatever this thing is. I slam that door shut and lock it. I hear Ben panicking and run back into the living room where he is huddled at the door.

“How many are there?” he asks. I don’t know. I think I see more shadows moving around outside but I shut the blinds before kneeling down to Ben.

“Hey—it’s okay,” I tell him. “There are no more doors. We’re fine. I’m going to call the cops, okay.” He gives me a doubtful look. It’s been know that the Davis farm is about as far from town as you can get. Cops coming here would take at least twenty minutes, and right now even thirty seconds feels like an expanding and seemingly vast lifetime.

“We’ll just wait it out,” I say. And I go to put my arm around him and try to calm his nerves but I hear something.

A crashing noise. It’s coming from the upstairs bedroom. It’s a familiar noise. Riley (Ben’s brother) and I would occasionally use the busted in window when we were sneaking out late at night and we didn’t want to be caught.

“Oh God,” Ben’s nails dig into my shoulder and I look around wildly for the bat. “The fuck are you doing, Mason? Don’t leave me! Stop—Mason.”

I don’t know what I’m going to do if these fucking psychos are all upstairs but I’d rather go down with a fight than sit on my ass and wait to be a slaughtered animal. So I take that bat and slowly start to creep my way up the stairs. The sound of bodies crashing through the window gets louder—or it’s my heart beat. I can’t tell. It’s something my brain isn’t processing clearly. All I’m focused on is if I can swing this little bat fast enough to kill. You hear about it all the time, our toys being weapons but right now I’m depending heavily on that being true.

I finally make it to the end of the hall where the laundry room is and I hear muffled screeching and the loud sound of bodies piling through the window. I figure I might as well be the hunter, not the hunted and try to catch them by surprise. I don’t care of their corn-field-killers or some stupid fucks from Ben’s school that think they’re just playing a joke. I kick the laundry room door in and grip the bat, reaching back ready to swing at the first thing I see.


I swing and—

And I stop. I look into the wild eyes of a boy my age and then—for a second I think about following through.

“You fucking asshole.” I lower my bat and glare at the bloodied mess of a boy in front of me.

“April Fools!” Riley shouts, tossing the plastic axe aside and turning to help the last asshole through the window.

“It’s not April, dipshit,” I say, but I let out a relieved laugh and just slap him upside the head instead. He and his buddies take off their masks and it’s easier to see now that the Halloween costumes are just that…costumes. The blood even looks fake. Like Kool-Aid or some shit. But since my mind was already in panic mode I just couldn’t see it.

“Hey—I thought you said you’d be leaving back for college tonight?” Riley says. “I saw your truck parked in the driveway though. What’re you still doing here—“

“Mason?” I hear Ben call, he comes up the stairs, hesitant, his hair even messier and his entire body still stiff with fear. “Are you okay?”

When Riley sees Ben he tilts his head in this odd way and I can practically hear the gears in his brain turning and working as he then looks me over. I don’t have a shirt on and neither does Ben. It’s not really a secret about either of us but I don’t think Riley would have put two and two together. He’s not the brightest bulb in the bunch, if you know what I mean. Riley takes another look at Ben and I’m sure he’s doing this really girly blush—I can almost literally sense his embarrassment heating the whole house. I sigh deeply and pinch the bridge of my nose.

I should have gone to the Halloween party with Riley and the douchettes and just gotten laid or something instead of dealing with this. Of course, Ben is always really great for entertainment.

“You…you’re—“ Riley chokes a little and his few friends shift awkwardly behind him. He starts to swing a fist in my direction, just out of rage. “You’re fucking my brother, dude?!”

I hold the bat to his chest, making a steel barrier between us. Riley isn’t exactly as tall as me, or as strong but that won’t help me if he’s pissed. He’s like the very muscled version of Ben with twenty more pounds and a foot and a half taller. Not all that bad looking either.

“Don’t,” I say. “Just don’t.”

“Fuck you,” he says and pushes away the bat. But he doesn’t come closer, he just looks around me and nods his head at Ben. “You little fucker. I knew you always liked him. I told you to knock it off. What the fuck is wrong with you two?”

At that I don’t take it as an insult. I just turn and wink at Ben, reveling in the fact that he’s wanted me for a while and he’s blushing like crazy. It’s easy to tell because even his chest is flushed and I can tell he’s fighting to keep his eyes from continuously catching my gaze to see my reaction.

“Just chill, man,” I tell Riley. “Nothing happened, okay. No big deal.”

“The fuck it is. We’re not leaving, c’mon guys—I’m hungry.” He waves to his friends and they all pass me and head down to the kitchen I roll my eyes when I see Riley smack Ben on the back of his head and drag him along with the group.


I come down a minute later after taking a piss and pass one of Riley’s friends standing in the hall. He’s still dressed up as some fucked up version of that girl with the dark hair and the white dress. He smells like fucking death and I have a feeling he’s one of the guys that’s not entirely cool with me being me and liking who I do.

He…she, whatever she is—gives me a dirty look as I try and pass.

“Go home.”

“Okay, listen, I’ve heard it before,” I say. I’m used to these types of people around here harassing me so I don’t take any personal offense. “But get over it already. It’s the twenty-first century and where put my dick is none of your goddamn business. Ben and Riley like me fine so you can just leave if you’re uncomfortable. Also, isn’t it a little hypocritical? I mean, you are dressed as a girl… ”

I brush past him instead of waiting and head back down to where the rest of the gang is. All the contents for making a sandwich are spread across the kitchen counter and most everyone is eating and drinking already.

“So you basically lied about not being able to make the party then?” Riley says. He takes his sandwich and sits on the counter top, pulling off his goblin mask completely and tossing it. “So you could sneak around with my brother.”

Riley is like this. He holds grudges, takes things personal. He’ll keep on a subject just for the sake of making someone uncomfortable—he feeds off of that insecurity. Unfortunately, Ben is like his human battery and the more he flushes the more Riley taunts and talks.

“Pretty much,” I say, instead of denying anything. Honestly I don’t give a shit. He can’t stay mad forever. I think he’s more pissed that I ditched him for his little brother, but that’s just my opinion.

“Traitor,” Tom says but he smirks behind his drink at us. I roll my eyes at the guys and Ben shakes his head.

“No really man, that’s shady,” Riley continues. “I should still warn you though, Ben’s all new to this. He’s not like you—he’s basically in love with you.”

“Riley!” Ben snaps he mouths something at Riley and makes a don’t-make-me-come-hit-you-face. I find it all amusing and sort of…endearing.

“He’s a virgin, too,” Riley looks to me, trying to judge my reaction, expecting me to be shocked or something.

“Okay! That’s enough,” Ben grits his teeth, his cheeks on fire. “Stop, Riley.”

“Yeah I figured,” I say, still not intimidated or swayed. “I still want to sleep with him though.” Ben groans and buries his head in his hands and smacks it down on the kitchen counter trying to hide as Tom hoots like a fucking animal and slaps Ben on the back.

“This is like a soap opera,” one of the guys says and around that time Riley decides to kick everyone out.

“Just leave,” he says, herding the guys out toward the door.

“I have to go to the bathroom,” Ben says feebly. He stands and doesn’t look at anyone, still too embarrasses as he heads upstairs. I doubt he has to go to the bathroom, he’s probably mortified.

“Why do we have to leave?” Tom complains. “It was just getting good!” They’re all a little drunk from the partying and it’s late.

“Because this is personal and I need to talk to Mason alone—before he leaves.” He shoves at the guys despite their protests.

“Hey, don’t forget that loser upstairs,” I say. “I don’t think he liked me much.”

“What loser?” Riley asks.

“The fourth friend. He was using the bathroom after me, I don’t think I’ve seen him before though…hey—where did he go? I haven’t seen him since.”

Riley gives me an odd look and so do some of the other guys. “There was no fourth. Just me, Tom, Bradley and Zack.”

“No—the guy dresses up as that girl. The one from that movie with the twisted hair and crazy eyes,” I say.

“Dude…there was no fourth.” I can see it in his eyes that Riley isn’t shitting me but I hesitate.

“If…there was no fourth then—who the fuck is upstairs?” I say and then before I can ask more I’m cut off.

“Mason!” it’s a sharp cry almost muffled but I hear it anyway—it’s Ben.

“Oh shit.” I race to the stairs, fear coursing through my veins. “Oh shit oh shit oh shit…”

“Ben!” I yell, I climb the last step, my heart in my throat and my lungs burning from taking the stairs three at a time. I hear Riley and his friends running up behind me. For a minute I’m disoriented and my head is in a rush or panic and fear and pure adrenaline.

I run to the bathroom door and it’s locked. “Ben—open the fucking door!”

There’s no response and instead I just throw my shoulder into the thing that’s keeping me from Ben. It takes a couple tries but I manage to break through. The hinges in this old house are sort of faulty.

And there…in that moment, everything is silent. I don’t feel my pulse or smell anything. There are bodies running in behind me but they don’t register as I stare down at my feet. I only see what is before me and everything else is muted.

“Oh God…Ben?”

It’s not me who picks up the picture. But it is me, because I recognize it. It’s from this evening when Ben and I were alone in his room. We’re embracing and—and I fight the bile rising in my stomach and hear Ben’s warnings echoing in my head but it’s too late now.

Someone had been watching us.