Twenty years ago
Approaching from down the street, Mitch parked his car in the driveway. He sat still inside the luxury vehicle as the engine idled trying to figure out what he was going to say to Spence. The words he had rehearsed over and over in his head were now absent. “Spence, I uuhh… Spence, something bad happened.” He was growing frustrated with himself. Mitch sat there clutching the leather steering wheel of his BMW. “Spence, I love you, and I… Fuck.” He clenched his jaw. Where did his words go?
Mitch had some heavy news to share, and he was struggling to find the words to articulate his mile a minute thought. Mitch peered into the rear-view mirror, seeing the frown on his forehead that had settled in for the long haul. Mitch was always the best with public speaking. He was smart and handsome, the type of guy that you would see as the spokesman for a business, the face on a magazine. He worked out and was in great shape. A clean-cut all-American man was the best way to describe him. Mitch had a short haircut, piercing blue eyes, and a jawline that went on for days. He dressed well, wearing designer clothes that fit his athletic build as if they were made just for him and made good money. Mitch was the type of guy that everyone wanted in their inner circle, but today the weight on his shoulders made him question it all. He had fucked up and there was no way of fixing it. Mitch was speechless as tears welled up in his eyes. He banged is fists on the steering wheel and steeled himself from screaming. How was he going to tell the love of his life that he had ruined everything?
After a few minutes passed, Mitch sat in the car alone. Spence poked his head out of the front door of their house stepping out onto the large, covered porch with a smile. Mitch was home! Spence was always in a cheerful mood, especially when Mitch was around. These two young men were lucky enough to find each other at an art exhibit for Mitch’s boss. They were even luckier to share such a good life together. They had been best friends for a number of years, and they were unstoppable together. However, it was the late 90s and being an openly gay man, much less a home owning committed gay couple in the United States at that time wasn’t exactly met with the most open of arms by society. Homophobia was still a rampant issue in the country, and it was the status quo to keep it to yourself even if you had allies. Even though they didn’t flaunt it, Mitch and Spence were proud of who they were.
Spence stood there on the covered porch of their craftsman style home dressed in medium wash jeans and a green polo shirt, his red hair was mid length and combed neatly to the side framing his fair white complexion. His shoes while worn still had the appearance of being new. Spence waved ‘hi’ to Mitch, smiling as he walked down from the front steps towards Mitch’s car. Walking along the brick paved pathway from the porch to the driveway Spence passed the garden he had worked so hard on. The white and blue hydrangeas hugged the porch railing and the lilacs and lilies stood tall and proud. Spence inherited his green thumb from his mother and he usually won the neighborhood garden contest.
Mitch hesitated to look out the driver’s side window as Spence approached, but eventually he did, doing his best to smile back as he turned off the engine and quickly got out. Mitch was scared, and with a stammer in his voice he spoke, “Spence, babe, I don’t know how to tell you this so I’m just going to say it. We have to go. NOW.” It felt like years went by in an instant.
“Hey, are you ok?” Spence asked. Mitch just stood there saying nothing. Mitch realized what he said was in his head, no words had even escaped his mouth. His face was blank of any expression as he looked directly at Spence. Quickly darting his eyes away Mitch walked past Spence toward the house.
Spences eyes followed as Mitch made a b-line through the front door toward the bedroom. Confused, Spence followed his trail shutting the door behind him. Noises could be heard from the bedroom as Spence stood in the doorway. Mitch was opening the closet and dresser drawers tossing things around. He was so confused watching as Mitch hurriedly packed their luggage.
Eager for some answers Spence spoke up “A surprise trip? Somewhere tropical? Your parents? Don’t tell me that your sister Connie will be there, she and her family are so exhausting with their drama…” There was no answer from Mitch. Spence decided to join in since Mitch seemed very focused. He hadn’t answered any of Spence’s questions, he hadn’t even said hello. Mitch just packed what was quickly becoming random clothes, essentials like toothbrushes some cash and not much else. As he rehearsed in his head what to say, Mitch didn’t look in the direction of his life partner. Spence was in the closet grabbing some of his favorite items when he stepped out into the room and saw Mitch holding a gun and counting bullets. Spence stood there shocked, if was frightening him how frantic and serious Mitch was behaving. escort ataşehir Spence dropped everything to the floor. The plastic hangers slapping the wood planks startled Mitch. As he finally noticed Spence was in the room with him.
“Babe… what is that?” Spence asked with his throat choking up in shock. “Where did you get that?” Spence couldn’t take his eyes off of the gun in Mitch’s hand.
Mitch put the gun down on the bed and approached Spence who was trembling. Mitch hugged him close running his hands up and down Spence’s back kissing his forehead. “Hey, hey… it’s ok. I’ll tell you later, I promise. But we have to go. It isn’t safe here.” Spence nodded his head as if saying yes, not knowing whether he should agree or not. He was unsure if he wanted answers to the questions that he was too afraid to ask. Rather than make things worse, Spence stayed silent trying to catch his breath between sobs and his body continued to shake. He had no clue as to what just happened, but Mitch had never steered him wrong nor even lied to him once. The love in which Spence had for Mitch was unmatched, he trusted him with his life. With no words uttered between the two from this point they loaded up the car and drove away.
Later that evening, Mitch and Spence arrived at a motel on the outskirts of town. From the lap of suburban luxury to a by-the-hour motel Spence went along. This was something he had no control over. Armed with only the things they haphazardly packed Mitch and Spence opened the door to a dingy room and walked in. The air was stale and smelled of shame, they both knew what had happened in this room not long before their arrival. They were both sure there were remnants of the previous occupants on every surface they touched. This place would be home for the foreseeable future. Spence laid a newspaper out and sat on the edge of the bed not saying anything as he watched Mitch lock the door and draw the curtains. As Spence contemplated the reason for this sudden change, he soon realized their future was as bleak as the tired room he found himself in.
As the days went on, Spence asked many times why they had to drop everything. At this point how this happened didn’t matter. Spence was smart, smarter than many gave him credit for. He knew how this all happened. Mitch had done something to the wrong person, knew something he wasn’t supposed to know, whatever it was Mitch always skirted the issue and avoided the situation when asked about it. Mitch would tell spence that the less he knew the better, he meant to keep Spence safe but was only pushing him away. Spence came close to leaving Mitch multiple times unless he had answers. Mitch would break down begging Spence not to leave, apologizing for destroying their lives. However, there was never a clear or satisfactory answer that followed. All Spence knew was that someone bad was looking for Mitch and Spence was involved simply by being his committed partner. He was implicated in a crime he hadn’t the faintest clue of. Out of fear Spence stayed. He was growing tired of Mitch and resented him for his secrets but was fully aware that without Mitch he was a sitting duck
Several weeks had passed and things were quiet. Mitch had let his guard down finally; someone should have come to collect by this time, right? Nothing. With this newfound sense of security Mitch and Spence decided to leave their shitty motel room for a shitty apartment behind a trashy bar. Spence had taken a job at a small truck stop diner. Spence detested the smell of oil and gas along with the stale odor of dirty ashtrays and bad coffee, but he swallowed his pride and smiled his way to earning tips serving tables. Spence was determined to have something better. This was the new normal, far from what Spence was accustomed to before his life was turned over the same as his dining tables. To help make ends meet, Mitch sold his BMW. His flashy car in a poor part of town would stand out like a sore thumb to anyone who came looking. The two of them had managed to save up enough money for a small cash car. With this came a new start.
The keys to the apartment behind a bar were now theirs. With some excitement for a change of scenery Mitch and Spence approached the door to their new apartment, they feigned their excitement as they inserted the key into the lock together. The building had seen better days, the paint was faded and mismatched through patch jobs. The door lock was beat up, and the door had a large dent from being kicked in several times. They smiled and kept up morale for each other, but internally both hoped this was all a terrible nightmare. As they opened the door together both hoped they would suddenly wake to see the interior of their cute craftsman home furnished with all of their new trendy furniture and accessories. As the door cracked open their hopes vanished. After a moment of hesitation, Mitch and Spence entered. The apartment was dingy and tired just like that motel room. The white walls had become yellowed from years of indoor smoking, the ashy kadıköy escort smell had long settled into the rough looking carpet and sheet rock.
The small interior of the space appeared fairly large upon first glance, but it was also very much empty. Spence’s eyes teared up; this was not his life. He was supposed to have a white picket fence, a house they could call home. He and Mitch were supposed to have the perfect life. They did. But Mitch ruined it. What did he do? Spence still had no clue. His resentment toward Mitch had grown so strong that the amount of distance between them rivaled the Grand Canyon. There seemed to be no romance left between them, they were merely roommates who shared a bed. Spence hated Mitch for giving him the world only to take it away like it was some elaborate prank. The whole world was laughing at their expense and Spence started to cry silently to himself as he roamed the small one-bedroom apartment.
The next day movers were in and out of the apartment. Mitch and Spence had bought some cheap furniture from a secondhand store in an attempt to start this new life. Spence studied Mitch, he seemed to have his guard down. Now was the time to approach him. Pulling a can of soda out of the fridge Spence offered a drink to Mitch. “Hey, will you tell me what’s going on? It’s been months, and I’m still in the dark. Look, I will follow you anywhere Mitch, but you need to tell me the truth. You’re hiding something from me, I know it, I know you.” Mitch took a sip and turned to meet Spence’s glaring eyes.
Mitch swallowed the hard lump in his throat, “Look, I got into some trouble. This guy that I work for, Marcus, he’s not a good person…” Mitch noticed one of the movers listening in. He looked very familiar. “Later, I promise. I’ll tell you later. It’s not safe.” Spence sighed deeply; it was always too dangerous for the truth. He walked outside, away from Mitch, to get some fresh air.
The sun began to set, and the movers had gone. With this, Mitch knew it was time to answer Spence’s questions. Mitch stepped out to get some dinner. It was a long day, and they deserved a small treat. He would explain it all over dinner. Mitch’s phone rang as he got into the driver’s seat, placing the to-go bag in the passenger seat he answered the call. He had purchased a pre-paid brick phone for emergencies. It was Spence. “Hello… babe?” Spence’s voice seemed more strained than usual. He seemed on edge. “Mitch please come home… I think someone is outside.” The call ended abruptly.
Mitch sped home. It had gotten dark, the sun seemed to set more quickly tonight. In his panic he had sideswiped a couple cars as he sped through the streets. There was no time to stop, he knew what this meant. He knew who was there. Mitch arrived at their apartment. The bar next door was packed, and the music was deafening. Mitch pushed through groups of people standing around outside of the bar as he rushed inside of his apartment. The lights were off. Mitch looked around in the dark, flipping the light switch. He realized the power had been cut. “Babe…?” No answer, “Spence… hello?”
Mitch walked slowly through the dark and empty space. Only sparse lighting from the streetlights came in through the front windows. Mitch carefully searched the main living space of the apartment. As he made his way through the dark, he noticed that the bedroom door was slightly open. Approaching with caution, Mitch found Spence sitting at the edge of the bed in the pitch-black bedroom. The neon sign from the bar was just outside their bedroom window. Its blue and red coloring was blinking across Spence’s face melding into a purple hue across his pale skin. Mitch rushed over and reached his hand out to his face; Spence was cold and stiff. “Babe…” Mitch could feel that Spence’s skin had become hard to the touch. It was cool, unlike his usual warmth. Spence managed to shift his eyes ever so slightly up towards Mitch, they had no color. There was no glossy surface either, Spence’s eyes were dry and lifeless. The black of his pupils were fading to gray. The light from the sign blinked on again, Spence looked as if he was turning to stone… very… slowly. “Oh my god, babe… what the fuck?” This was unheard of. How? Why? Mitch grabbed Spence by his unyielding shoulders and shook him hard. Spence didn’t respond. He didn’t move. A grumble escaped Spence’s hardening lips barely registering as the sound of the bar drowned everything out.
From behind Mitch a voice spoke up. “Welcome home.” He knew that voice all too well. He turned around as Marcus emerged from the dark corner stepping closer. Mitch stepped back, tripping over Spence’s stiff unyielding feet falling backward. Marcus grabbed Mitch by the front of his red plaid shirt pulling him close, ripping the fabric and popping some of the buttons loose. Mitch pushed him off as he caught his balance and continued to back away. The front of Mitch’s shirt hung open loosely exposing his firm, smooth chest. “What did you do to him? What did you do Marcus?” maltepe escort bayan Mitch was in shock at what was happening to Spence right before his eyes. With each flash of the colored sign outside Spence became less human.
“Did you think you were going to get away? Stealing from me… not wise.” Marcus continued to pursue Mitch. “It was dumb to try and fool me, it was even dumber to run.” Mitch found himself backed up against a wall. Marcus closed in and put his hands against the wall on either side of Mitch’s shoulders leaning in close, sniffing at Mitch’s scent, Marcus licked Mitch’s neck as his tongue elongated and forked like a snake. Mitch quivered as Marcus flicked his tongue like a snake and licked him again. What the fuck was happening?
“How are you going to pay me back? I see you’ve spent some of my money already on this dump of a place. It’s no wonder you got caught, you’re so bad with money. But then again, the handsome ones are rarely smart. I could hold on to you, you’d make a great addition to my collection. Maybe I could sell you,” Marcus trailed his fingertips across Mitch’s exposed chest. “You’d go for a nice chunk of change and we’d be even. It would be sad to part ways with someone as good looking as you. Unless you’d rather I take him as collateral. I’ll keep him safe in my club until you pay me back.” Marcus nodded towards Spence who was still petrifying. “Become my personal slave and it’s all forgiven.” Marcus said lifting his knee into Mitch’s crotch grinding against his package trying to get a rise out of him. “I could make this worth your while.” Marcus slid his fingertips down the center of Mitch’s chest, tugging at the torn fabric of his shirt, ripping it open more. The remaining plastic buttons popped off and tapped against the wall and floor.
Mitch spit in Marcus’ face. There was no way he was going to do that. With a frown Marcus wiped himself with the raise of an eyebrow. In an instant he backhanded Mitch, sending him flying into a small table to his left breaking it to pieces. Jumping up, Mitch lunged at Marcus swinging a broken table leg like a bat, but Marcus was too quick. Marcus tackled Mitch slamming him back against the wall once more, grabbing him by the throat. He squeezed hard. Gasping for air as he dropped the table leg, Mitch clawed at Marcus’ arm.
“You fucking moron. You have no idea who you’re messing with…” Suddenly Marcus’ eyes began to glow yellow. Mitch became locked in a trance like state, unable to look away. Marcus tightened his grip on Mitch’s throat, crushing his windpipe and bruising his flesh. Mitch desperately struggled to breathe. It was difficult, his veins began to pop out across his neck and forehead. Mitch clawed at Marcus’ forearm breaking the skin with his fingernails as he was suddenly lifted off the floor with his back sliding up the wall. Looking into his assailant’s eyes Mitch’s body began to stiffen the same as Spence had, becoming heavier as his breathing became increasingly labored.
Spence started to turn back as Mitch became less human. As Spence’s body began to return to flesh and blood Marcus focused his attention on Mitch. Spence could only turn his eyes in their direction and watch helplessly through the flashing neon light from outside as Mitch slowly transformed. The neon light created a strobe effect, each image of Mitch was less human than before. Mitch’s warm healthy skin tone faded to a white pure white marble. Mitch tried desperately to kick at Marcus and the wall behind him to gain leverage. It was no use; his legs and feet grew heavy, and his kicks quickly went nowhere.
“You know, instead of you paying me back, your debt now rests with him.” Mitch’s eyes grew wide as he realized what was happening. All of those sculptures Marcus ‘collected’ and sold; they weren’t sculptures at all. They were people like him. It all made sense now. Mitch coughed and gasped, his face was turning blue, not from the light flashing neon but from lack of air in his lungs. They burned, it hurt so much. All Mitch could focus was the searing white fire growing within his lungs as he suffocated in Marcus’ grasp. The color faded from his eyes just as soon as they had become bloodshot. As the glossy moisture of his eyes dissipated taking on a matte finish, Mitch’s movements slowed, and he stopped breathing altogether. His chest was locked in the overwhelming pain of starving for air. Just as Mitch’s consciousness went black his body became solid stone locking him in that disoriented, dizzying state just before dying. Still alive within his stone prison, Mitch had nothing but a torturous existence to look forward to. Spence watched and listened to both of their fates being determined as he was still mostly immobile. As Mitch completed his transformation from a panicked man to a suffocating statue, Spence regained his ability to function and quickly gasped for air choking on it. Marcus lowered the strangled statue of Mitch to the floor leaning him against the wall as he turned his attention back to Spence. Mitch’s clothing remained the same, only his body had changed. Looking at the damage done to his arm, Marcus placed his hand to Mitch’s petrified chest and his arm began to heal. He was drawing Mitch’s life energy to replenish his own. As each wound disappeared without a trace, Marcus smiled.