Snow, a short story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Gay and Lesbian  |  House: Booksie Classic
In a time of severe homophobia, where being homosexual means death, two men of opposite social status must come to terms with their taboo feelings, and deal with the consequences.

Submitted: October 22, 2013

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Submitted: October 22, 2013

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Softly, gently, it falls so slowly, these small white crystals. The snow is so cold, but I can’t even feel it anymore. The snow numbs everything. I cannot feel the pain of my body, I feel no fear of a beating. The painful hunger no longer claws at my belly, but I have eaten nothing. My unfocused eyes watch the people pass me. Most ignore me, but some look disdainful or disgusted by my presence. The snow numbs it all.

Slowly, slowly, I reach out a single blue tinged hand. I watch in wonder as each snowflake lands on my palm, but I cannot feel their cold bite. I feel nothing. I know what morning will bring. I have seen it many times. I know the disgusted sneers the guards would wear as they remove me. My body would be burned, or thrown in some ditch somewhere. I realised I no longer cared.

A pair of legs stopped in front of me. An old man stood before me, and a boy around my age clutched the man’s hand. Slowly I raised my head to look at the man. Pity filled his brown eyes. I looked at him and slowly moved my frozen, blue lips into a smile. I smiled a sad smile at the old man. Darkness clouded my vision. As the darkness claimed me, I felt relief. I was tired of this life. It was time to leave, and the snow numbed my pain.

-

Pain. It flooded my body. Everything hurt. Was death painful? Slowly, I forced my eyes open. I was in an unfamiliar place. I realised I was lying in a bed. I was surprised, I had never known the luxury of a bed before. It was soft and warm and if not for my aching body, I would have enjoyed it. With the care reserved for the elderly, I slowly sat up.

It was dark outside. It must be very late. For a time my confused mind simply watched the snowflakes drift past the window, unable to fully comprehend my situation. It was not until I heard a noise that I realised I was not alone. Looking over, I saw a boy. He looked to be around my age. He was familiar, and I tried to place him as I watched him sleep.

He was the boy who had been with the old man! I watched, cautious and curious, as the blonde boy slept, his head resting on my blankets. His peaceful sleep was somehow calming, and I relaxed.

A part of me hated being the one to break the silence but I had no control over it. Severe coughing racked my body. I bent over, unable to breathe as the force of my coughing rocked the bed. It felt like hours before I could breathe again, even though it had been only moments.

The boy stirred, disturbed by my coughing. He looked at me sleepily, his mind not yet fully awake. I watched as his eyes widened and I cowered as he suddenly leapt towards me.

“You’re awake! We were so worried. You’re awful lucky my grandpa saw you!” The blonde boy grinned at me, and I was confused.

“Where am I?” It was difficult to form those words, I had not spoken for a long time.

 “This is my house. My grandpa noticed you and we brought you home. We thought you were going to die, I’m so glad that you didn’t.” The boy grasped my hands, “my name is Charles, what’s your name?”

I looked at the boy, his honest blue eyes were captivating. My voice came out as barely a whisper. “I don’t have a name.”

He looked so sad when I said those words. I looked down, ashamed. I was just a nameless street rat, that’s what I was always told. So why was I ashamed to be nameless all of a sudden? Then I realised I was not ashamed of having no name, I was ashamed that I had made the boy sad.

“Then I’ll give you a name!” I looked up at these words, surprised. “Hmmm” the boy was staring at me. I began to squirm under his gaze and I jumped visibly when he suddenly yelled “I know! How about Roy?”

I looked at Charles as my eyes slowly widened. Roy. Tears began to fall down my cheeks. I had a name. I smiled the happiest smile I could manage as I cried, and I think Charles understood. To have a name, it is something I never thought someone like me would have.

-

The family that had taken me in were well respected and very kind. Charles had an older sister, a mother, a father and his grandfather living with him. They were all so nice to me. It took time for me to heal, but when I was healthy again I took it upon myself to pay these gentle people back.

I jumped at any chance to do something I was asked of and I never had a single complaint. But mostly, I became Charles’ constant companion. Wherever he was, I was never far away. The kind blonde boy became my entire world. I was even accepted into his lessons, and learned them with him.

We hid nothing from each other, and when nightmares stalked my dreams, Charles would always appear. He would climb into the bed with me and calm me down. More often than not we shared our beds, in the innocent way of boys.

We became teenagers in what seemed the blink of an eye. Charles started attending social gatherings, and I loved to help him get ready. Washing and brushing his short golden hair, picking out clothes that brought out his brilliant blue eyes, making sure everything sat on him properly.

But even at these events I was ever at his side, my long black hair tied back and wearing clothes Charles would choose for me. I was always polite and correct, I would bring no shame to Charles or his family. But despite all this I could not control my hidden emotions. Watching Charles dancing with the young woman who also attended had me seething with jealousy.

But the smile Charles would wear was polite, and nothing more. Only when he was with me did he truly smile, and I felt terribly possessive of my blonde god. It was but a year later that our sharing of beds lost its innocence.

But relationships between those of the same gender are taboo, a sin worthy of death. We tried, we really did. But when we were older, things changed. I was 19, Charles was 18, and we looked death in the face. We had no more innocent actions between us, and we grew careless.

We were discovered.

I will never forget the horror and betrayal on the faces of Charles’ family. I had hoped to never bring them trouble, instead I was the source of it. My heart was divided by my shame. But I could never refuse those blue eyes. We took what we could and fled. My heart belonged to the blonde boy, and I would sacrifice anything for him.

From then on, we never stopped running. Never lingering in a single place, always looking over our shoulders. For the shame we had brought upon the family through our actions, we were hunted. We did everything to stay ahead of our pursuers, but for how long could we keep it up?

During the nights we were left to the elements and we clung to each other, seeking comfort and warmth. What we had done seemed natural, yet we were mercilessly hunted. Each day I would promise Charles that I would protect him, that we would get away. One day, we would be happy together, somewhere without judgemental eyes.

-

For committing a taboo and bringing such shame to a prestigious family, we were wanted dead or alive with an impressive bounty upon our heads. All manner of people were after us. During the cold nights Charles and I would lie together and share our dreams. We would speak of kind little towns who would accept us or a house in the middle of nowhere, as if just for us.

  But no amount of hollow dreams could ever protect us and we ran. Eyes both emerald and sapphire were ever watchful. We could not let up our guard. And we grew so very weary.

We pawned away our clothes and dressed in common garb. The food was tough, tasteless and cheap. But what I hated the most was the hair. Blonde hair is rare among the lower classes, where mine was not. I loved his golden hair, but we covered it in homemade dyes and cheap hats. And we walked so very far, seeking a place where we could live together.

A single snow capped mountain beckoned to us. Each day we drew closer to it. Maybe, just maybe, it was here we could find somewhere to call home. A place where I could kiss my lover, without the need to first look over my shoulder. Maybe our dreams were not so far-fetched.

But are not dreams the downfall of all men? When we dream, we let down our barriers, we stop looking over our shoulders, and we grow careless and reckless. What foolish creatures we are.

They came in the early hours of the morning, before even the sun had risen. Eight men on horseback. We were woken by the sound of a horse whinny. I clasped Charles by the hand and ran, our footprints denting the snow.

We ran the panicked run of prey as we heard the horses canter after us. We struggled on and on, trying to lose our hunters in the dark. But no matter how far we ran, I never let go of Charles. He was everything to me, and I refused to lose him.

The sound of the gunshot seemed to echo over the entire mountain. Charles let out a cry of fear as the bullet hit the snow beside him. I pulled him away and we slid our way down a small cliff. Frustrated curses chased us as the horsemen searched for a way down.

Whoever shot the gun next was a far better shot than the previous one. Charles fell.

I fell to my knees beside him, disbelief on my face. A wet gurgling came from Charles as he tried to breathe. Tears began to fall unchecked down my cheeks. His chest stopped moving and I sat there, unable to move. I didn’t even notice the horseman approach. The sound of the shot seemed muffled and far away.

I was lying on my back in the snow, but I could not feel it. One hand gripped Charles whilst the other rested on the gun wound on my chest. I looked up in dying wonder. It had begun to snow. How strange, the snow. Cold, so cold. So cold it cannot even be felt.

 A crimson stain on the snow, and new snow to cover it. I watched the blood spread but felt nothing. The snow numbs all pain, and claims the lives of many.

It took all the energy I had to move my head. I looked at Charles. His blue eyes were wide and vacant, his hair had lost its shine. His skin was pale and lifeless and he could no longer answer me.

The voices of our hunters seemed so far away. Laughing and boasting of gold to be obtained. My dying body felt so light and distant. I could feel nothing, no pain and no fear. What foolish dreams we had had. How naïve we had been.

The scarlet snow is leaving, hidden by new flakes. This frozen embrace would claim us and hide us from the world. Hunted, tormented, outcasts, we had been such fools. Slowly, slowly, I slip away.

And the falling snow numbs it all.

 

 

 

 


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