Tara was already awake and busy preparing breakfast when Donovan wandered downstairs followed by a nervous Percy. Even though Percy knew Tara did not care about her brother’s sexuality and that she would never say a word about it or that the two of them had been involved for five months to his father, he did not think he could look her in the eye. He sat down beside Donovan and kept his head down.
He had been told numerous times by his friends that there was nothing wrong with his being gay; nobody cared that he was attracted to other boys. But his father’s incessant rants about the immorality of homosexuality were something he found difficult to shake off. That, along with the ever-present fear that he would find out his secret and lash out kept the shame alive just beneath the surface.
He looked up briefly to see Tara smiling at him. He felt his cheeks warm and dropped his gaze back to his lap.
“So,” she asked as she placed two plates of pancakes on the table. “What are you two up to day?”
“Don’t know yet. I kinda expected to be a blubbering mess today but it’s not as bad as I was expecting.”
“Well that’s good to hear. I think Asa would be happy to see you like this. Y’know, he always said you would come out.”
“No, what he always said was I was a fuckin’ fag. Not the same.”
Tara smiled. “Yeah, I know.” She sat down across from them with her own plate of pancakes. “Still, he’d be happy to see you happy.” She looked at Percy, who had yet to start eating. “Speaking if happy… don’t you ever smile? Honestly, pretend you like my cooking.”
“Oh, um, sorry.” He grabbed the fork and stabbed his food. “I guess I’m just not that hungry.”
“He’s freaked ‘cause you know about us.” Donovan said nonchalantly as he shoveled his breakfast into his mouth. “Y’know, daddy issues.”
“Percy? What’s Donny talking about?”
“Family stuff.” He looked up at her.
“Is your father…?” She leaned forward.
He shrugged. “No. He’s just his same old bigoted self. I, uh, don’t want him to find out.”
“So don’t tell him.”
“What of someone else does?”
“No one will.”
“Why are you worried about this?”
“I dunno. I guess finding out you knew and no one told you… he might just know.”
“Hon, just because you close the door doesn’t mean you make his room soundproof.”
He blushed. “Oh, um, sorry.”
“That’s what my iPod’s for. As long as you two are happy, I’m fine with it.”
* * *
Donna opened her eyes when she heard Peter scream. The air rushed out of her when she saw him hanging from the ceiling by his wrists. His naked body was covered in tiny cuts and streaks of blood. She tried to go to him but realized she too was bound inches above the dirty carpeted floor. She struggled against her bindings, kicked her legs wildly, and screamed.
Peter looked at her, fear and pain in his green eyes, and tried to speak but all that came out was blood as the tip of a blade broke through his chest. Donna’s body tensed with fear as the blade moved down his body, swiftly and easily, until he was two bloody halves; hands separated them and the boy stepped through the curtain of dripping intestines.
Donna could not believe her eyes. The entrails-covered boy in front of her was dead and buried; she had cried over his casket at his funeral. No, impossible. She told herself it was all a horrible nightmare and that she would wake up in Peter’s arms and the entire heart-pounding scene would be over.
Until the blade pierced her stomach and the screams and blood both came pouring out of her. She wanted to cry out for help, beg for mercy, have anything resembling words pass her lips but only the sounds of pain and fear made it out.
Does this form we wear not comfort you? A strange voice, a mixture of the familiar and unearthly, echoed through her head. Or does it make the fear and pain coursing through you worse?
“Please…” She finally found the strength to form words. “Stop this…”
When we are satisfied, we shall consider relieving you of this tortured flesh. The boy pulled the blade out and held it up for her to see. The human body is such a fragile thing yet can survive so much mutilation before it gives up the fight for life. He sliced at her, over and over, as she screamed for help she would never receive.
* * *
Percy laughed as he popped Donovan’s bubble and dropped him into the pit.
“You bastard,” Donovan said as he mashed the buttons on his controller in a vain attempt to resurrect Mario quicker. “I almost had ‘im.”
“No, you didn’t.” Percy laughed again as Luigi was stomped by Bowser. “Dude, we’ve been at this shit for weeks. I’m beginning to think it’s unbeatable.”
“Fuck.” Donovan dropped the controller onto his lap. “I swear, Nintendo fucking cheats.”
“Aw, don’t feel too bad. At least we made it to World 8.” Percy pushed himself onto the couch and put an arm around him. “Maybe we’ll get him next time.”
Donovan smiled. “No, we won’t. Ever, I bet. Ugh. Cheaters.”
Percy kissed his cheek and set his head on his shoulder. “I don’t know why you get so worked up over it. You’re gonna give yourself a stroke one day.”
Donovan sighed. “I know. It’s just me and Asa used to play until we beat a game and sometimes it’s hard to not think he’s got the other controller.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize…”
“No, man, it’s not your fault. I just get carried away is all. I-”
Everything went black.
When the light returned, Donovan was in a small room filled with rusted chains hung from the ceiling. A cold draft chilled him as screams filled his ears. Blood dripped down the walls and collected at his bare feet. He felt as though her were being watched but there were no doors or windows and he was alone with the scent of death.
Hello, Donovan. The voice came from nowhere and everywhere at once. It sent goosebumps along his flesh and made his heart race.
“Who are you?”
Do you not remember us? We had so much fun when you were younger… So sad you have forgotten.
“What are you talking about?”
You will know when the time comes. Until then, prepare yourself for the exquisite pain only the death of a loved one can bring.
“What the fuck do you want?”
To devour your suffering and feast on the darkness of your soul.
A bright flash blinded him. When he regained his sight he saw Peter, torn almost I half, hanging in front of him. He screamed and spun right into a disemboweled Donna.
TO BE CONTINUED