Speak & Listen

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So why exactly did I spare Gabriel’s life? What exactly made Niall so powerful and jurisdictional over Ben, Gabriel, Calvin and many others but most especially Cain?

I knew why. But still, it didn’t make sense as to why exactly he had everyone in bondage. Could he have been that acrimonious and cold at heart? But what led him to that? What made him more powerful than Cain, because Cain was the most feared, ruthless and formidable kid in the entire school from everyone’s opinion including mine.

But what made him that way? Why did he feed of people’s fears?

Not only he was a bully, but allegedly a murderer who was always known, ever since elementary school, to carry weapons such as pistols and daggers.

Niall on the other hand, was the teacher’s pet who had always been a good student and a socialite. This was elementary school, until not because of Clever Cats and anything that had to do with the transition from elementary to high school that changed him into a sinister murderer, but it was, as I’ve said, the day I came out that changed everything.


“You’re shaking.” Alan looked at me on the driver’s side outside his car. I had just gotten out of the car, ready to walk into the Clever Cats building. This was two days later after I had come out to my parents by introducing him, Alan, to my parents. We all know how that went.

He walked to my side, as various students stared with widened eyes at us. He held my trembling right hand and held it firmly. Alan too was scared, as it was the first and only time owning up to his sexuality so publicly, that is being bisexual. But of course, most minds thought Alan was bi.

We walked inside the building and everyone stared, as almost every student was in the locker corridor. I saw the awe or utter shock from my friends’ eyes. Gabriel expressionless, Ben disgusted, William disturbed as to why we were holding hands. Sophia had a wide smile, Mia too. Craig’s eyes were about to pop out of his eyes, Jeremiah too but out of pretence, I assumed. Jeremiah knew me too well to at least suspect such a thing could happen: that I was gay.

Many stared, some took their phones out to record. No one, at all, looked happy or happier than Sophia. But the majority reaction was disappointment that Alan, the famous, beautiful boy happens to be “gay” and me being gay in general and how exactly would he fall for a weirdo like me.

In the middle of the corridor, he paused to turn to me. We now held each other’s hands.

He sighed and smiled. “Are you afraid?” He whispered.

“Aren’t you?”

He looked around with a smile, mostly females gave him a funny stare before storming away. He shrugged as he looked back into my eyes. “Naaah.”

I snorted a little before looking back into his eyes. He really wasn’t afraid, only I was. I thought the paranoia came from my crippling mind, until Cain passed by. Alan smiled at him, as they were friends. “My man...Cain.”

“FAGGOT!” Cain passed him as he stormed to the cafeteria.

His face changed a bit, but tried to hide it from me with a mild smile. “I’ll see you after class.” He, unanticipatedly, kissed my partly opened lips. I wanted to slap him for the unnecessary attention he brought to us.

“FAGGOTS...FAGGOTS...FAGGOTS!!!” a chant started from a few female students, until almost everyone joined in. They clapped as they said the words. I could see the fright in his eyes too. I looked at Ryan Hunter, he also cheered. Niall, Calvin, Mason, Ben, Sebastian, almost everyone who I considered to be a friend. Now, against me.

I separated my hands from Alan and ran, as they were already throwing papers at us. Alan just stood there like a deactivated robot. I ran to the restrooms, now realizing I was having another panic attack. Before I began calming down, I noticed someone on the floor, hyperventilating.

My eyes widened, noticing it was Cain. His bag was on the floor too and looked as if he was trying to reach for it. I held him up, he was powerless, but still aggressive towards me. “Faggo...Leave me th fck alone!” Until it registered to me that he was asthmatic.

I had forgotten about that since his first episode in class whereby he ran out of breath and his pump was almost finished and not enough. This was the sixth grade. Mia, who happened to have a pump, helped out as the rest of the students, myself included, were in utter shock. Not because he was asthmatic, but how a bully like him had a weakness. Of course, as I’ve said, I was in sixth grade.

So how did Cain happen to be a grade ahead of me eventually? No, I didn’t fail a grade. But as much as Cain was a crook, he was one of the smartest kids in the entire school. I ranked first, which made him jealous of me. Why would I assume he was jealous? Well because for months I never ate my own lunch, never used my own money to afford transport to take me home after school, beatings and slurs every time I was isolated.

Of course, Jeremiah being my friend, would step in to defend me. Even reported him for bullying me which consequently resulted in him, Cain, being suspended for about two weeks and necessarily registered in an anger management programme provided by the school. Yeah, we had those too.

So back to the story, I ignored his breathless slurs as I dug through his bag to find his pump. It was in his smaller pocket. I tested it before forcing him to open his mouth and breathe in. I kept on spraying as his shoulders began to relax and his eyes opened. I stood up and stuck out my hand in silence.

Instead, when he stood up, he snatched the pump from my hand and unexpectedly, a gust of stinging pain crossed my face, making me bump my head on the basin and a large amount of dizziness and distortion followed, until it registered that it was a slap from Cain.

When my eyes regained proper vision, he was gone with his school bag.


And I’d think or assume that was the reason why he had motive to take down Niall with us. Maybe he remembered that I had once helped him from dying and from the change of heart came redemption. Cain’s intelligence allowed him to skip a grade, making him two grades ahead of me. So now it made sense why he was in college and I was still a junior. He had skipped two grades in high school. Among others too.

It was still that particular afternoon, Craig drove me home since Benjamin had left with his car. He drove around Belvyn first, just to cool off, I assume. In silence and no conversation. The guilt of having blood on my hands had not yet, or at all, kicked in. It was an intentional kill, however the intention was not to frighten or ‘disgust’ my boyfriend.

The car suddenly came to a halt, realizing that we were infront of Benjamin’s apartment, with his mustang parked outside. I sighed, thinking of the fight or the silent treatment I would get from Benjamin. Honestly, we had never fought about anything in particular, or generally, until this saga of Niall and Gabriel. The worst part was allowing Gabriel to live.

“What you did was stupid, Adrian.”

I looked at him, almost snarling. “Really? And you thought this is the perfect time to bring it up.”

“The disappearances around Belvyn were all Niall. You killed him. Didn’t you think it would go as far as investigating both Daniel’s killer and the person responsible for the disappearances? Didn’t you think, at that moment you held the gun, that you are already the prime suspect of the death of Niall?”

My eyes widened, but still I was furious and defensive. “I don’t want to talk about this. If you would have shot him, you would have been the prime suspect. Is that what you want, Craig? Did you think of Kelly and your mom? Craig, whether arrested or not, I do not regret killing that mutt!”

“All eyes are still on you, Adrian. Niall raped you, amongst other students, doesn’t that still make you a prime suspect? Don’t be fooled by the cops pointing all the guns at Jeremiah, they are still keeping a close eye at whatever you do...hence I said do not be part of this!”

“Did they clean up everything?” I tried to pacify the scorching topic.

He sighed, realizing that what has been done has been done. “Of course they did. Don’t even worry about that. I have to go, I’ll check up on you tomorrow.”

I nodded as I got out of the car, shutting the door behind me and not looking back. I heard Craig’s car driving off. I remember standing in front of the doorstep, sighing. I entered the house with an anticipation of either a fight or an anticlimactic pacification. I walked to the lounge, where Benjamin was watching television and eating popcorn.

“Hey babe.” I tried to make my voice casual.

He didn’t respond, even backed away when I attempted giving him a peck on his cheek like I usually did.

Now I got furious. “How long are you going to stay mad at me? It’s done.”

He stood up and looked at me. That was the scariest look I had ever seen. “I wanted that bastard to die, little did I thought you’d be his murderer.”

“YOU WANTED HIM DEAD, Benjamin. Everyone did.”

“The fact that you were behind the gun...” He growled as he trailed off. “It disgusts me. Now I live with a murderer under my house.”

“What the...I’m now a murderer?” I yelled. “If Jason or Mia or Craig shot him, would that please you? We killed, I killed someone who has been tormenting our lives and others. You remember? Saving more lives than we...”

He interrupted, now erupting. “You are a fucking murderer, Adrian. Not at all do you feel guilty about that. Craig is into that stuff, but you? I didn’t at all expect that you would be even be able to use a gun.”

“Dad taught me.” I sighed. “Anyway how does us fighting about Niall’s death going to erase what I did? Craig disposed the bodies, everything is taken care of.”

He walked closer. In fear, I took a step back. “Why didn’t you shoot Gabriel? If this about doing something right...”

“You were friends with him. I was too. I...”

“Or the fact that you had sex with him?” His voice roared.

Impulsively, my hand flew right across his face, making an echoing sound across the room. Then guilt overwhelmed me. Between fear of his response and the guilt, I didn’t know what was worse.

He looked at me and his jaws clenched, his fists tightened. Now I was beyond frightened. “Take your bags and leave my house.” He pointed at the lounge’s corner and to my shock, my bags were packed neatly against one another. I had never more hurt than anything at that particular moment. It was like a sharp blade cutting through my chest and shoulders. I just got weak.

Irrevocably, tears fell from my eyes and I looked at his merciless face. He sat back down on his couch and focused on the television. I walked towards the television and switched it off. Now he gave me a sinister look.

“What happened to the rule we just spoke about this morning? No break-ups?” I said these words, trying to get somewhere into his heart.

But he showed me a side I never thought he had. “I lied. I can’t live with a murderer in my house.” Blankly, he said.

In silence, I went to the corner to collect my luggage. I looked at him again, he never looked at me. I dragged my bags outside and as I took the last one, he followed me to the door.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t be the ideal person you had in mind. But apparently, you don’t know me that well. I also can’t see myself living with a liar.” Were my last words to him as he stood by the door.

“Yeah. Clearly, I didn’t. A LIAR IS BETTER THAN ONE WHO TAKES ANOTHER’S LIFE!” He shut the door and I heard the door lock.

It was a cold evening, dark and no clouds in the sky but frost, a teeth-bright moon that looked as if it was mocking me. I took a second to sit down, crawl on the ground until I found my body weak on the pavement. My hand touched the pavement as I released an ear-sore sob.

I realized it wasn’t a cold night, but it was my heart freezing. It was like something was ripped off my chest, and the pain felt like lemons on wounds. Rejection. Abandonment. I never thought it would have been that soon that I’d fail someone again. I always did.

But what if I said ‘fuck him’? Would that erase the fact that I now am murderer? Would that pacify the twisting pain that played between my stomach and intestines. Would that make me breathe again, because frankly I thought I was having another panic attack. But no, it was not that at all. It was heartache.

I dragged my lifeless body and luggage into my car. It felt strange to be in my own car again instead of his mustang. But after putting my luggage at the back, my car drove off. The stereo was silent, but a song played in my head. One that had a grand piano, viola and a scissoring baseline. I drove, not knowing who to call and where to go.

I decided to go to the liquor store. It was still open, only I was the customer. I looked around as I searched for the strongest alcohol I could find. I found myself picking a litre of vodka. I went to the counter, where there was a lady who literally looked like she doesn’t give a shit about her job other than receiving her salary. But then again, who would ‘like’ working in a liquor store?

“Can I also have a twenty-pack of Stuyvesant’s"

“Sure.” She gave the box of cigarettes and paid the sufficient price, returning the sufficient change.

I walked out to my car and quickly got in and locked. I looked at the bottle and I was tempted to drink it that moment. But I had to drive. I wasn’t ready for alcohol testing, standing on one foot to prove I’m not drunk, or worse...jail.

So I drove off, not knowing where to head. Mind clouded with sudden suicidal thoughts. I drove to New Heights Bridge. After a halt, I instantly opened the bottle. Sip after sip, gulp after gulp I allowed myself to drink to the point of inebriation.

I remember getting out of the car, with the probably that I may be hijacked. I felt the cold air against both my arms and face. Regardless, I continued to climb up the bridge hedges. I began to remember Benjamin, flashbacks dancing in my head. Him lying about the promise, the look he gave me, the tone he spoke in...like I was a piece of deserted land with no fruit to bear. I cried more.

I was so close to jumping. I wanted to drown the murderer in me. By then, I could feel my body forcefully wanting to jump. My arms were quiet, as I would have anticipated another panic attack, a pant of guilt or a hint of self-harm ideation...but...nothing.

No one was around. Indeed, it felt like no one cared. I felt like a terrorist who the world would be better off without. David? Cynthia? We all know I don’t give to shits about Cynthia. On the other hand, David had promised to move back to Belvyn, but has he? “Where can I go?” I spoke to myself as my voice wobbled.

I took another step, the last step. Now I could feel the coldness of the strait without even any physical contact. I could tell there were a lot of skeletons down there.

When my body slipped, an instant grab embraced my waist and above the water, I was floating with the certain “Good Samaritan” who stopped me before I could do what I wanted to do, which in a way triggered both joy and fury: fury because I consensually wanted to die however I was happy that someone, whoever it was, cared enough to stop me.

The person lifted me up with his single arm until I was behind the bridge hedges. My vision blurred, making me uncertain whether I was hallucinating or was it actually him.

“J...Jeremiah?” I stuttered, now suddenly sober.

“Why the fuck would you do that to me? To Benjamin? David...”

“BENJAMIN HATES ME, CHASED ME OUT OF HIS HOUSE...” I yelled. “He was the one person who I thought he’d tolerate my fucked up self. Jeremiah, he called a murderer!” My voice softened.

He opened his arms and damn I needed that. His cologne, the smell of his hair was still the same. He still had his favourite brown leather jacket on, I remember grabbing it in my arms as I uncontrollably wept.

“How did you find me?” I separated from him, which for a second made me stumble.

“Careful.” He held my hand, followed by a sigh. “I was driving back from Nahoo and found you about to jump. Conveniently!”

“But where were you?”

“My brother. He’s from a small village just beyond the CBD. You know I have Native-African origins, right?” He smiled.

“The brown skin with the curly hair says it all.” I was beginning to become more inebriated.

“C’mon, let’s go home.” He smiled, a bit. “I’m driving.”

“Benjamin kicked me out. I have nowhere to go.”

“My parents are out of town for the weekend. You can crash in my place for as long as you like.”

I nodded. I was homeless, I admitted that to myself. And hell would have to freeze to ice before I go back to Cynthia.

He had called whoever he called that was apparently was close to New Heights. So we waited in his car. He sighed and held my hand, which made my body shiver a bit. Or chills, I assume? But it always managed to put a smile on his face, as it did now.

But his hand was warm, like his character. The fear of losing me just made him an embodiment of an auristic, burgeoning light that made him attractive from every aspect. Except behavioral, of course. I also having found the proper pattern to his mood swings, panic attacks and destructive rage. But I knew he would always say ‘he was fine’ and I ’shouldn’t worry ‘bout nothing.’

The person, after a couple of minutes waiting in dead silence in his car, was Craig. It just had to be Craig.

He looked mad, the look I never wished to be dedicated to me. Apparently it was. “Adrian, are you drunk!?” He yelled.

“In fact, my dear friend, I am.” I laughed irrevocably.

“Benjamin kicked you out?”

My head turned to look at him, as he was talking outside my side of the window, giving him a sharp stare. “Yes. Called me a murderer and said he can’t ‘work things out, no break-ups’. A liar! That’s what that bastard orphan is!”

“We need to get him to bed.” Craig said to Jeremiah.

“I want to paaaarty.” I sulked.

“No, you’re going to Jeremiah’s apartment! You’re sleeping there. I’ll deal with Benjamin myse...”

“You are not going to do shit, Craig! You’re going to let him be! Is that understood!?” I roared, now feeling sober and defensive.

“HE DESERTED YOU, YOU’RE HOMELESS! Of course I’m going to kill him.” He was full of rage. I remembered, what worked as a calming effect for him. My hand reached to his head and my fingers slowly caressed his bald head. He rested his head on the door, Jeremiah looked disturbed, but I shook my head as insinuation that he shouldn’t say anything.

“Do you mind sleeping over at Jeremiah’s?” Now, I don’t know exactly why I caressed all the way to his face, but I did. He also gave me a look that seemed scared. Not scared, really. Just astonished.

“Sure.” He whispered. “I’ll be driving Jeremiah’s car to his apartment.”

“Sure, but why were you in New Heights?” My eyebrow furrowed.

He sighed. “To hide the bodies.”

My eyes widened. “Are you ins...”

“And visit my father in New Heights afterwards. I had to leave my car at my apartment for no tracks.”

“And Gabriel? Where is he?”

“He’s back to his father’s house. He had killed enough to get more than enough money to pay his father’s debt. I don’t know if they’re cool, but that’s all I know. I respected your decision, although it still doesn’t make sense why I did.”

“You have my best interests in heart, that’s why.” I touched his growing sideburns. He slowly took my hand away from his face.

Whitney Houston played in the stereo as Jeremiah hummed to the song, driving through the suburbs of Belvyn. Craig was right behind us in Jeremiah’s car. I took the moment of silence to meditate on what I had just done. How I witness the death of five ‘victims’ and a murderer of Niall Johnson.

It was stupid of me to think of ending my life because a man had deserted me. After all, I was used to the feeling. Both physically and mentally. I knew the agony of having no one to talk to but your own reflection in the mirrors or your shadows in the dark when the moon lit through the curtains. I knew how it was to feel crazy, but never did I think I’d be crazy enough to an extent of buying vodka and throwing myself from a bridge.

It was selfish and wrong. As I evaluated all these ruminations in my head, I looked at Jeremiah who did not at all show signs of sympathy or softness towards me. In fact, he was singing along to the Whitney Houston lyrics and of course, hitting all the notes. It soothed me somehow. It was like a lullaby.

It actually was, because the following second, I was being tucked in bed by Craig. Jeremiah was still whistling to the Whitney Houston’s songs now playing from what I assumed was his sound system from downstairs. Craig switched off the lights and left a side-lamp on. I assumed I was in the guest room.

“Can Jeremiah sleep with me for the night.” The words flew out of my mouth, later on realizing how weird that sounded.

But Craig shrugged his shoulders. “You’re in his room, so I guess he’ll be sleeping in his own bed while I take the guest room.” He walked up to me and sat on the bed. “You’re okay?”

I nodded. “I just don’t want to suffocate in my own nightmares without anyone around.”

“Then why Jeremiah...and not me?”

My eyebrow furrowed. As much as I was drunk, I still had the correct logic. “Why you and not him?”

“You’re drunk. Your questions are starting to not make sense.”

“Your questions don’t make no sense, Craig. Out of nowhere, I just found Jeremiah. I was with you just today...well...” I looked at the time on my cellphone. “...yesterday. It’s been a long while since I’ve...”

“Yeah yeah. No need to go deep into your guilt-trip hole.” His eyes rolled. I was also annoyed. “Goodnight.”


He went out of the room and closed the door behind him. I sat up, washing my face with the palms of my hands. I realized what I did was nothing else but a stupid move, regardless of who it would hurt if I jumped from the bridge. It was stupid because I did all that...because the same man who wanted a man dead is the same man who can’t stand the person who killed him.

Let’s rephrase what happened yesterday. Benjamin had found out about our plan, got upset when he found out that Alan was involved, even though that was none of my fault nor concern other than wanting that bastard, Niall Johnson, dead. We arrived in Nahoo, went into an abandoned building and the plan was to kill only Niall, only to find out that Gabriel was also involved and whatever. I, in surprise and unanticipation, took a gun from Sebastian and killed Niall.

I didn’t shoot Gabriel because I saw a chance or probability of redemption, which I didn’t see in Niall. Now...what confuses me about Benjamin kicking me out, insinuating that our relationship was over, was that I killed the man we all wanted dead. Every one of us had motive to kill Niall, NOT GABRIEL. Whether I gave Gabriel the benefit of the doubt or not, why should that be reason for him to kick me out, subsequently ending our relationship and leaving who he called ‘his lover’ homeless?

Was it because I pulled the trigger, specifically? So, he would have hated Jason too if he did it? What if Mia did? He wouldn’t tolerate being in the same school with her, was that it? Am I to believe the reason for him kicking me out was only because I, specifically, killed Niall Johnson and nothing else?

There must be something going on...was he seeing someone else? Is that why he couldn’t have sex with me? Was that why he found me killing Niall reason enough to kick me out...so as to let his mistress or whore live with him? Was it because, as I’ve always suspected, that he couldn’t see beyond me being a gang-rape victim?

Jeremiah entered in the room, only attired in his briefs. The sight just interrupted everything. “You’re up. Thought you’d be blacked out by now.” He laughed softly.

“I...just have a lot to think about.” I responded absentmindedly.

He sighed as he went under the covers with me. Now Jeremiah was always hot...literally. Sometimes I believed it was a supernatural ability, because you could actually feel the heat even three inches away from him. “You’re going to mind-fuck yourself over shit that will never make sense, Adrian. All you need NOW is a sleep.”

“Jeremiah, not only am I homeless...the one person who I thought would never give up on me...gave up on me. I killed the bastard we all wanted dead and...”

“Adrian, stop!”

“...and that gave him perfect motive to call me a ‘murderer’ and eventually kick me out, is that it? Was he just a coward who couldn’t admit to himself that he couldn’t see beyond a ‘victim’ of rape? What does that make him? What does he call himself...a man?!” My voice arose, roaring.

“Adrian...I need you to calm down.”

“What do you know about calming down?! Where were you when I fucking needed you, Jeremiah? You weren’t even a suspected culprit, at all, while I was being scrutinized in an interrogation room, had to lie and say I didn’t know anything about the murder of those five kids...they didn’t even THINK it would be you. But you hid anyway, Jeremiah. From me! When Gabriel back-stabbed me, WHERE THE FUCK WERE YOU?!” I screamed, now standing up from the bed.

Tears were streaming down my eyes. The alcohol just made things worse. “Look at me now, Jeremiah. Homeless. Motherless. Fatherless. Abandoned by everyone and you...have the guts and the audacity to tell me to calm the fuck down!?” I whispered in a lower-register roar. “I’m mad, Jeremiah. I can’t calm the fuck down.”

He stood up from the bed and stood in front of me. “Okay...let’s make this easy for you. Hit me.”

Just when my hand was ready to fly to his face, he locked my arms with his. Did he think I was playing a game? That is what he usually did to challenge his strength against mine, ever since we’ve known each other as friends.

But I tried anyway, screaming and trying to break from the bondage and no matter how furious I was, I still couldn’t break free. I fell on the floor, thinking it would hurt him, but not at all did his energy subside. I was getting sweaty, Jeremiah was getting hotter and hotter and I was losing all energy. He kept his head a distance from me, in case I tried bumping his head with mine and his legs were curled against mine. This was pointless, trying to fight him.

“Are you good now?” He laughed.

“No.” I laughed as well. That sure did bring a lot of good old memories.

With his hands locked on mine, he rolled me onto the bed and got on top. He now let me go. “Hit me.” He repeated.

“I don’t want to.” I replied weakly, looking into his eyes.

“Thought so.” He whispered with a smile, right above my face.

I don’t know how, but my hands irrevocably grabbed his head, pulling it towards my face and making our lips touch. This made him do a deep audible inhale through his nose, which frightened me. But he kissed back. He kissed every part of my body, as he knew what and how I preferred anything and everything. Fast, painful yet pleasuring. Parts of my body, he bit. Some he licked, pecked, smooched.

He took out a condom and that was when I snapped. “Jeremiah...”

“I swear it’ll be different.”

“Let’s try it when I’m sober.”

“No, I’m too on.” His hands pinned mine on the bed as, somehow, he tore the condom wrapper.

“Jeremiah, I don’t want to do this tonight.”

“Yes, you do. You wanted, even fantasized about it in your letters, remember?” He licked my neck, afterwards planting pecks after pecks, just like how the two letters sent to him instructed.

But I still didn’t want to be drunk when experiencing it. “No, I’m too drunk Jeremiah!” I began to yell, now meaning my words.

“You won’t be feeling any pain, babe. I promise.” He whispered as he took out his erect, LONG penis out of his briefs. Now I was beyond scared. I began pushing him from me, but we all know that was useless. “Yo, what are you doing? Chill.” He whispered again.

“Jeremiah, I don’t want this!”

“Then what the fuck do you want?!” He screamed above me.

“I want to sleep with Craig.” I was hyperventilating as I said these words. “Jeremiah, you were about to rape me.”

“It was consensual.”

“I am drunk and b) not at all did I consent to this!”

“You kissed me first.” He disposed of his genitals again.

“Like a drunk person would. It was stupid of me, but that never consented to sex. Are you crazy!?”

“I thought it’s how you preferred it. I am so sorry, Adrian. I would never do anything that would consequently hurt you on purpose. I thought the rough, dominant character is what you wanted, especially after you kissed me.”

“I want all that, Jeremiah...when I’m sober!” I smiled a bit.

“Will you kiss me again when you’re sober?” He frowned.

“We’ll just have to wait and see.” I shrugged.

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