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Darkness Of Me

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This is a novel for the LGBTI teen reader living in a country area, or dealing with negative steretoypes. Matthew lives in a small country town. A town that, to Matthew, is stuck in a timeless void of unchanged minds. It is a town ruled by the juxtaposition of alcohol and religious piety. But Matthew has a secret, one that he isn’t even willing to admit to himself. Matthew is gay. As the town’s main playmaker for the leading football team, it is a secret that is hard for him to accept. If the secret gets out, it could destroy all that he has – his close friendship with the hero of the town, Johnno, the destruction of his father’s reputation and the life of Sarah, his soul mate. It could destroy it all, them all, and it does. But will it destroy Matthew?

Ashley Sadler
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Bitches! I hate bitches! They can have any guy they want and I hate them for that. They walk around with their chests sticking out and their tits flopping about, and the guys! Well, they follow them everywhere, with their tongues hanging out and drool running down their chins. These bitches can have any guy in the school, but no, they don’t want them. They only choose from their little group, and there are only a select few in ‘that’ group. In their eyes, if you’re not part of their little group then you don’t exist! The funny thing is, I’m part of ‘that’ group, but I still can’t get any of those guys.

Girls! Ha, now that’s a different story. I could have any one of them, and God knows that I have. I guess I am like those bitches, too! The girls that I’ve had are from that group, or close to it anyway. It’s all part of the image, and an image is all you’ve got in a small town like this.

Image, it’s a funny thing you know. It all depends on two things, your looks and your friends. Looks, well you can’t do much about them. But friends, you get to choose them. Who would have thought that that first day of kindergarten would have planned our whole schooling lives, and probably beyond. From that day we were ‘it’, and we still are now. There have been a few minor changes to the group over the years, but not many. Change is hard to come across in a town like this.

It’s funny how you base your life upon the expectations of what others have of you. I’m the perfect example. My older brother hung with the cool group, so I’m expected to do the same. I’m good looking (unfortunately), so I was expected to have all the girls, but no one asked for my opinion. It’s so hard to break free from the stereotypes placed on you at birth. Especially in a place like this, where everybody knows your name.

I live in a small rural town, where people drink beer, play football and then drink some more. Everybody’s so set in their ways. Every male is hetro, masculine and macho. And for the women, well, the word ‘slut’ comes to mind for the majority of them. Everybody knows everyone and the gossip, it spreads like wildfire. I can guarantee that if you do something wrong (or against your image) around here, everybody will know about it within five minutes. With this town being about three hours’ drive from anywhere, it acts like it is its own little world. And it’s a place where outsiders aren’t accepted.

There is a party on at the showground tonight, it happens almost every Friday and/or Saturday night, and even on some weeknights. It’s what us kids do before we’re allowed into the pub. But it’s pretty much the same thing, a lot of beer being consumed and (if we can get any) a lot of drugs inhaled. It seems that the expected drinking age in this town is fourteen. I’m sixteen, so I guess I’m a professional now.

Our parents don’t mind us going out at night. They don’t say it, but they did the same when they were young- no one seems to be able to escape from this town, it’s just a continuous cycle. They were once us and we will one day be them. It doesn’t really matter though, because they’re usually out doing the same thing somewhere else. The police hardly ever break up these parties either. The cops are local, so they go on the rule that if they don’t know about it, then it’s not happening- but they know!

There is no true set time for these parties to begin, it’s just common knowledge when to turn up. The party animals begin at around six, but the thing really starts to liven up around eight. The time varies on when it usually ends, on a boring night it could end at ten, but if there was a reason for celebration it could see the sun rise.

And tonight there was reason for celebration. It was Saturday night and earlier that day the Under Seventeen’s, my team, crushed one of the neighbouring town’s team twenty-eight to twelve, putting us on the top of the table. This town always takes great pride in its rugby league teams.

There will be around a hundred people there tonight, probably more. The majority of them will be around my age, sixteen or seventeen. So we controlled most of these parties, and it was when we did something big, that it was cause for celebration.

I didn’t feel like going though, I had a rough game today. I had a shoulder rammed hard into my ribs in a tackle and I was hurting a lot. I wasn’t in the mood for a party. I had to go though, you pissed a lot of people off when you didn’t show up, especially someone like me! So I put on my jeans and the thickest jumper I had (since it is the middle of winter), and walked over to the showground.

The showground was huge. It consisted of two large horse-riding rings, the town’s swimming pool, some large hay sheds and two football fields, which turn into a cricket pitch in the summer. The large hay sheds held the heart of the party. The sheds were only used one weekend a year, when the rodeo came to town, so we used them every other weekend. The council tended to turn a blind eye to us using them but gave us gentle reminders about when the rodeo was coming to town and we usually got the guilt’s and cleaned it up nice before they arrived. The town just seemed to work that way.

The noise of the party entered my ears just as I was jumping the small fence, which divided the showground and the road. As I crossed the two football fields, I could see a mammoth, raging bonfire. It was seven forty-five and the party was in full swing.

The bonfire, we used it for heat, but it was probably the only thing that my group didn’t control. Well, we could have, if we wanted to. But why bother, it was the little kids’ job. It was the job of the kids aged between twelve and fourteen (the one’s under the drinking age), who had been let out by their parents, to tag along with an older brother or sister. A lot of these kids would have been collecting wood all day long for this. I’d know, I was once one of them. The fire gave these kids a sense of pride and a sense of power. It was the heart of the party, and they owned it, they were in control. But no matter how powerful they felt, they never questioned the authority of an elder. One of us.

The heat of the fire brushed against my face, the closer I got. It was placed just outside of the entrance to one of the hay sheds. The hay sheds themselves were huge. There were two of them. One was new, only a couple of years old and it was made out of steal, with large rolling doors that were always locked. It played host to large tractors and other machinery, which the council used to build roads and other stuff like that.

The other, the one with the bonfire out the front, was ours. It was tall, they both were, very tall, about the height of two houses stacked on top of each other. But this one was old and made out of wood, rotting wood, and it stunk too. It was a traditional hay shed, it housed hay, the town’s emergency supply for the drought season. It’s been years since we’ve had a drought so severe that they’ve had to resort to this stock. Therefore this shed became ours, and the hay was used to make secret tunnels and passage ways for lovers to frolic amidst.

I was now close enough to the party to be able to distinguish faces that were illuminated by the party’s life source and centrepiece – the bonfire. All of my football team was here, scattered in and amongst all of the little social groups. This was a celebration! There seemed to be well over a hundred people here already, and it was only after eight.

“Matty! Ya made it!” The voice came from Ian Thomas, a little, skinny, ugly kid, who ranked well below me in our social hierarchy. But tonight he was on my level, he was in the team. Even though he was just a left-winger and only touched the ball roughly four times a game, he had as much right to celebrate tonight as I had. By the way he was slapping me on the back, I could tell that the fame (and the alcohol) had gone straight to his head. But if it was still there on Monday at school, someone twice the size and twice as popular as him would put him back in his place.

“Is Johnno here yet?” I asked. Johnno was my best mate and my only superior in the hierarchy of coolness. He was also my partner-in-crime on the football field, I was the five-eight and he was the hooker – he played his role both on and off the field. He was the male equivalent to the female slut. But Johnno could do what he wanted, who was going to stop him?

“Shit yeah! Johnno was here before the little shits lit the fire. He’s probably inside the shed,” slurred Ian Thomas.


It took me around ten minutes to pass through the crowed and reach the entrance of the hay shed - there were too many forced hellos and congratulationary conversations to be had. I was even tackled by our overly large, fat, front rower, Adam Willis. He hit me hard in my sore ribs and drilled me into the ground. He then pulled me to my feet and gave me a very drunken, sloppy kiss on the cheek. His cup was jammed hard up against my mouth, I gasped for breath, and it did not move until all the contents were drained away. A nice way to have my first drink of the night.

Some of the light drifted into the shed, creating a dimming effect – enough light for a drunken person to see what they are doing, but not enough to care who you were doing it with. The shed was roughly thirty metres deep and fifteen wide, and tonight the hay bales seemed to be stacked up as if the shed was going to be converted into a makeshift picture theatre, with each row of hay bales being higher than the last. Although there was some gaps where people had created tunnels or stolen hay bales to use as seats around the fire, showing this groups lack of respect for perfection.

About halfway up the rows and in the centre of the shed were a group of kids, around ten of them, smoking cones. The sparks of their cigarette lighters gave glimpses of young lovers staking their claims on sections of the hay along the sides of the shed. It seemed that the smell of the rotting hay and the burning pot was an aphrodisiac, since the lovers were out in droves tonight. And up in the back corner, on the highest row of hay bales, a symbol of his status, sat Johnno. Next to him was his reward for a good game today.

“Matt, get ya arse up here ya prick,” the typical Johnno welcome. So I made my climb, dodging both lovers and drug users alike, to meet him. Sitting along side him was a beautiful blond girl, perfect in all physical forms – but for Johnno they always were. There was a coke bottle sitting at his feet, which definitely wasn’t full of just coke. Johnno picked it up and held it out to me. “Want some?”

I shook my head, “Not stay’n long.”

“Ya ribs still hurt’n . . . I’ll have to come round and see ya in the morning then.” Even though he treats women like shit, for some reason he seems to care a lot about me – ‘cause we’re mates’, he always says.

“So . . .” I said, staring at the half-drunken teenage girl attached to Johnno’s side.

“Yeah, um, this is my beautiful young lady.” That was the way Johnno introduced all the ladies when he had absolutely no idea what their names were. This rare show of romance from Johnno seemed to light a spark somewhere inside of her, since she began to attack his neck like a bloodthirsty vampire. I knew that was my cue, so I raised my eyebrows in approval, he smiled, and I walked my way back down the bales.

I wandered back out to the bonfire. I walked aimlessly in search for no persons or groups in particular, I just wanted to go home and go to sleep. I stopped and stared into the fire. The flames were constantly changing and rearranging themselves, very hypnotic. Sparks flew off with vengeance as the younger kids continuously sacrificed virgin wood.

I felt two hands creep beneath my arms and circle around my body. “Help me,” the sweet voice whispered. I looked to my left and saw the beautiful long brown hair cascading over my shoulder. I followed the hair and across the smooth, soft skin until I reached the innocent green eyes that only spoke of purity. It was Sarah.

Sarah, my ex-girlfriend, my neighbour from down the street and probably my closest friend in the world. We shared everything together and we knew everything about each other, both physically and mentally. We had been friends since birth and last year we dated for the whole year. Reasons for our break up were still unknown to both of us, because back then I didn’t know that I was . . . Anyway according to the town, Sarah was still seen as my girl. She was one of the very few girls that Johnno had never made a move on, ‘because we’re mates!’

“Why what’s wrong?” I laughed, knowing that there was no fear in her voice.

“Ian Thomas is trying to crack onto me,” she spat out. “When I told him that you and I weren’t together, he started putting his arm around me and tried to grope me and stuff.”

“So what do you want me to do about it?” I asked.

“Protect me,” she paused, then whispered, “do you want to go for a walk or something?” Her tone of voice had moved from being playful to seductive.

I knew what these little walks of hers usually led to, but I wasn’t in the mood to hang around with a bunch of drunks, so I agreed. We walked around the back of the shed, jumped the fence and walked onto the road. The road led down to the small, winding river, which ran through the town.

As we walked, Sarah placed her arm around my waist and mine around hers. Her head fell sleepishly on my shoulder. I loved her, she was my friend. We stopped at the boat wharf on the river. Well it was an opening amongst the trees and bushes, where a few pieces of wood had been laid down so that boats could be wheeled in and out of the water. The wharf was a place where we would go fishing and swimming when we were younger. Now we used it to launch Johnno’s boat, from there we wreaked havoc along the town’s waterway.

There was a three-quarter-moon tonight, and its reflection illuminated the water. The occasional sound of a jumping fish, and the noise of the party lingered in the background. The wind was still. We both stood there in silence.

She slowly moved forward and placed her hands on my waist, accidentally pressing on my bruise.

“Arr,” I quietly hissed.

“What’s wrong,” she asked innocently.

“I’ve got a bruise there from the game today.”

“Let me make it better,” she whispered into my ear. She slid my jumper and T-shirt up to my armpit, exposing my bruise to the night air. She bent down. Slowly and delicately she began to kiss my skin with her soft lips. I backed away and pulled my clothes down.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, I’m just not in the mood, that’s all.”

“You never seem to be in the mood anymore. It’s been eight months since we broke up and you push me away at every chance. What’s going on?”

“I don’t know, I just don’t feel like it.”

There was a silent pause.

She stepped closer once again, this time placing her arms around my neck. She looked straight into my eyes, “I want to make love to you.”

“No I’m not ready.”

“Come on,” she hissed, “We have to be the only two fucking virgins left in our year.” She let go and stepped away. “The whole school thinks that we spent all of last year fucking each other’s brains out.”

“For God’s sake Sarah, you’re only sixteen . . . Anyway, you’re not with me anymore, you can go and sleep with anyone you want.”

“But I want you,” she sighed.

“I’m sorry.” How could I tell her?

I stroked her face with my hand, I knew she liked that. She gazed up into my eyes again.

“I guess I can wait.” She leaned forward and kissed me.

I shut my eyes and thought of Johnno.

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