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Warmth in the Cold

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After several reported incidents of killings ravage Queens, New York, a seventeen-year-old finds himself wrapped up in it all, and in more ways than one. Not only is he inflicted with such a thing that would cause him to be included in the hunt for the killings, but he's living with a family who is closer to figuring all of it out.

Thriller / Horror
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

December 2002

Queens, New York City

“Look, you know what I’m gonna say already so I won’t talk your ear off.”

“Because he’s older than you?”

“Well, I just think it’s in your best interest to steer clear of guys like that.”

“Guys that like me?”

“No, just people who might be a little too old right now.”

“I don’t see it as an issue.”

“I know you don’t, but you have to understand where I’m coming from, right?”

“I don’t.”

“I’m your older brother, I’m not going to let this shit slide without at least warning you or something. You realize this could go wrong for you, right?”

“Do you think it will?”

“I hope it won’t, but hoping won’t do fuck all if you’re the only person who knows anything. I can’t help with any of this if I don’t know who he is.”

“I didn’t ask for your help.”

“Well, you’re still getting it,” he said, sitting down beside his brother. “Can I meet him?”

“If he wants to meet you.”

“He should have no issue with that if his intentions are as good as you think they are.”

“He has no intentions.”

“He’s seeing a seventeen-year-old, there’s some intention there.”

“I don’t even know what you mean by that.”

“You’re young, what are his motivations to see you?”

“Are you asking why he likes me?”

“Has he said anything?”

“He’s said I look nice and that I’m intelligent for my age.”

“That sounds worse than you think it does.”

“Would you rather he call me stupid?”

“It’s not that; some people try to lure in younger people by telling them things that boost their confidence or increase their perceived age as a way to justify the difference in age.”

“I don’t think that’s what he’s doing.”

“Do you know for sure?”

“Do you?”

“No, but that just makes me more sure I want to meet him and actually assess this before just accepting it as it is. If I actually see that this isn’t something to worry about, then, yes, I won’t bring it up again, or any more than I should, but if it is something to worry about, I’m not going to pretend it isn’t.”

“What if he won’t?”

“If he won’t meet me, that’s your answer already. It means he knows he’s doing something wrong and doesn’t want me to know.”

“Or he’s shy.”

“He’s not shy.”

“You’ve never met him.”

“He’s not shy if he met you.”

“He likes me.”

“He either meets me or….”


“I will force him to meet me.”

“How, you don’t know where he lives.”

“Wait for him to come to you.”

“That’s fucked.”

“I don’t like not knowing the state of the relationship my younger brother is in, ok? You’ve got what, five years between you? I’m allowed to be concerned.”

“Four and a half.”

“Rather me tell mom and dad? Get them on your back about this?”

“Please, don’t.”

“I won’t if, one, I get to speak to him, and, two, I know he’s fine.”

“So you just do whatever you want?”

“Jake, you should know this by now,” he smiled.

“Fuck off,” Jake replied, pushing Joshua’s hand away as he stood from his bed. Joshua couldn’t help but to laugh at his brother’s aversion to his very nature of being an older brother.

“So when?” he asked.

“I don’t know, I’ll tell you.”

“I’m only here until Monday morning, but I’m leaving early; I have class at eight.”

“You’ll get him tomorrow or Sunday, if he can.”

“If he can see you, he can see me.”

“Yeah, I got it,” Jake replied, sitting at his desk chair as it swiveled.

“Alright, goodnight. Don’t stay up too late,” Joshua said, heading for the door.

“I will if I want to.”

“I’m kidding,” he said, closing the door.

Minutes later, the exact man Josh had wanted to see appeared at Jake’s window. Heading over to it quickly and quietly, he lifted the old thing open to let the man in.

“Your fire escape confuses me,” Blake said, stepping into the room.

“How?” Jake asked, trying to keep his voice low.

“It’s weird, every time I think I’ve reached the seventh floor, I realize I’m only on the sixth. I had to look into the sixth floor for a good minute or so just to figure out if it wasn’t your room.”

“Did anyone see you?”

“No, it was empty.”

“Lucky, could’ve had the cops called on you.”

“Yeah, that would’ve been bad….”

“Wouldn’t be able to see me,” Jake said, wrapping his arms around Blake. He smelt of shampoo and faint liquor.

“Hair’s still wet, it’s not drying because of the cold.”

“I can smell it,” Jake admitted.

“My hair?”

“The shampoo. You just smell clean.”

“I hope you like that.”

“Of course.”

“And I have this,” Blake said, revealing a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniel’s.

“I could smell that, too,” Jake added, smiling.

“Like some kind of police dog?”


“Here,” he said, handing it to him. Jake drank, tasting the sweetness of it all, but not before the taste of pain that came with those of little experience with such drinks. He didn’t drink often, Blake always being the one to supply him as he could never purchase it on his own. He looked older than he was, but not old enough to forgo an ID check, which he never went through with.

“Like it?”

“As much as I did the last time,” Jake replied, wincing a bit as he felt his throat quiver and numb. He closed the window before heading over to his bed, the same one Joshua had been sitting on just moments ago.

“Come here,” he said, Blake coming to sit beside him.


“Hi.” They looked into each other’s eyes despite the dark of the room. Of course, the city’s lights helped to brighten it all, never letting it be black. “What’s that?” Jake asked, pointing to something behind Blake’s right ear.

“Oh, it’s a hearing aid. Trouble with the right one. Left is good.”

“I never noticed.”

“Most people don’t. Blends in very well,” Blake smiled.

“Take off your coat.”

And so he did. Removing it, with some snowflakes still resting on it, he let it fall to the floor. Like that, Jacob Crawford put his hands on Blake and leaned in to kiss him. Blake reciprocated, kissing him back slowly as his hand moved to Jacob’s back.

Eventually, Jake got greedy, moving himself onto Blake more until Blake was made to lie on his back, careful to avoid hitting his head on the brick wall. They sped up, Jacob having plans unbeknownst to Blake who’d only ever thought of kissing his younger boyfriend.

First was his knee, Jake placing it between his legs, letting it move up against Blake’s inner thighs. He could already tell what Jacob was trying to do, but didn’t want to say anything just yet, in case he was wrong.

Next, and the big tell, was his hand. Using his right, Jake couldn’t help but to move it over his leg until he’d reached the crotch of Blake’s jeans, rubbing it with clear intentions of giving him an erection if he didn’t already have one. It was his idea that if he aroused Blake enough, he’d ignore his originally plans.

Making a sound of minor distress, Blake moved his hand to Jake’s, trying desperately to pry it off, fighting his will to keep it where it was and let Jacob touch him as much as he pleased.

“Why?” Jake asked in annoyance.

“I can’t,” Blake replied.

“I don’t get you,” Jacob said, letting himself roll onto his back, lying beside each other.

“I just don’t know if I’m ready to do that with you.”

“Because of my age.”

“Yes, and because I’m not so experienced with it all.”

“You’ve mentioned.”

“So, do you get it?”

“You can’t become experienced if you never try things,” Jacob explained.

“I know, I just need a little more time. I’ve never been with a boy before and it’s scary to think about.”

“But you like me.”

“It’s not you. I would feel the same one about anyone.”

“Unless it was a girl.”

“Girls are just more comfortable for me.”

“How? You know how boys work more than you know how girls work, and yet you’re less comfortable being with a boy.”

“It’s hard to know how things will go.”

“Bullshit, you’re just scared.”

“I never said I wasn’t. Why do you want to have sex so much?”

“Because I’m horny 24/7 and I know you are, too, you’re just denying it.”

“Look, I’m new to liking boys. I knew I felt something for them for a while but I never actually pursued it until now.”

“You always liked girls more.”

“Yes. I never thought of doing anything with a boy until a month ago because I always had girlfriends.”

“I don’t get bisexual guys.”

“I never said I was bisexual.”

“I don’t get any guys who like girls,” Jake restated.

“Why not? Your dad does.”

“It just—I feel nothing for girls and it even hurts to think about trying to like them. I just have no frame of reference for why a boy would like a girl, because I’ve never experienced that.”

“Everyone is inexperienced with something.”

“Yeah, but you can do something about your inexperience and it’s really fucking simple.”

Blake looked around the room, sitting with Jacob’s words.

“We don’t even have to do a lot. We can start off with the very basic shit, just a hand. Maybe we don’t even take off our underwear the first time.”

“Over clothes?”

“Yes, until you get more familiar with it all.”

Blake inhaled, letting himself breathe as he looked at the hopeful Jacob.

“I can try it. Not promising I’ll like it yet.”

“You will,” Jake said, nodding profusely. He knew the touch of a man turned him on, so he hoped Blake would feel the same way without issue.

“You’re so sure.”

“Pleasure is pleasure, no matter who’s giving it to you. And you like me.”

“I do.”

“Then there’s no chance you won’t enjoy it if you actually let yourself enjoy it.”

“You think?”

“I know,” Jacob assured him. And Blake seemed ready to go on. Immediately, they began to kiss again, resuming their position of Jake on top. The hand was quick to return, only this time, Blake didn’t remove it, he reassured it, letting Jake grip it harder as he pushed down.

“Wait,” Jake said.

“What? Did I do something?”

“No, the door,” he replied, getting off the bed. He stepped to the door, locking it and setting his mind at ease.

“Oh, I thought something happened.”

“No, you’re doing great,” Jake said, already above him and back into what they’d been doing.

Moving quickly, Jake felt his own erection’s discomfort, pushing weirdly against the top of his pants, near his waistband.

“Touch me,” Jake said, both now looking to his prominent boner as Blake’s hand was placed, by Jacob, onto it. Blake’s fingers weren’t steady as he felt the boy through his jeans. Jake didn’t care. Blake’d get used to feeling another man’s penis soon enough. He wasn’t even touching it yet, just feeling its outline and its throbbing kicks every so often.

Jake was loving it all, praying to the imaginary god that Blake loved it just as much as he did. This could be a serious turning point, finally allowing Jacob to have what he wanted, only if Blake let himself open up.

Like he’d rehearsed it, Jake removed his green, knit sweater, letting it fall to his pillows on his left. It was better to straddle Blake than to keep on his knees, allowing for his bare chest to be exposed and appreciated as he leaned back, smiling as Blake, the virgin to homosexual experience, looked up at him. Taking Blake’s hands in his, he placed them on his chest, letting them run down his flexed, defined abdomen as Jake’s head titled back.

“You’re good?” Blake asked.

“Don’t have to ask that,” Jacob replied, coming back down to his neck.

Blake had trouble understanding how comfortable Jake was with this, or why he’d be so comfortable with it. Blake wasn’t, he’d ignored it until now, never acknowledging his feelings for other boys. He was too new to it, it was something he’d barely even thought about, unlike Jacob. He’d been picturing sexual scenarios with boys since the age of twelve, to a point where he’d be imagining more than what was ever likely to happen. He was nearly over prepared. Blake couldn’t grasp that, constantly worried that he’d be hurting Jacob in some way, when in reality, it was Blake who was entirely susceptible to some kind of emotional damage surrounding sex with another man, even if what they were doing wasn’t anything more than risk-free foreplay.

Eventually, Jacob realized he was more tired than he’d hoped. It was fine, though. Blake had felt that touching as much as they had was enough for one night, and that he’d be willing to try more again tomorrow.

They merely decided to sleep together, removing most of their clothes and crawling under Jacob’s sheets. Before he’d closed his eyes, he leaned over the edge of his bed to make sure his lock was turned, even trying the handle just to make sure. The last thing he wanted from this was a reaction from any of his family members, or waking to find one of them standing in his room, watching both of them sleep.

It had nothing to do with the fact that Blake was a boy. No, he knew that would be no issue. Why? Joshua was gay, and the entire family knew. How could they not? His own boyfriend was living with them on the weekends the same way Joshua was.

So, no. There was no issue with finding Blake. The issue was finding Blake’s age, as anyone older than Joshua would be cause for automatic suspicion within the household. And as much as Jacob could try to lie to his parents about it, he’d already told Joshua that Blake was twenty-one. And Joshua was still twenty. It was a reasonable concern to have, Jake admitted, but trying to justify it to his parents was all the more terrifying. He had no idea what they would say. Oh, if only Blake were younger. Even nineteen would go without questioning, but a man who could drink? Only one of the Crawford children could do that, and his name was Andrew. Andrew was twenty-four and had since moved out, having finished his bachelor’s degree two years prior.

In total, there were four. Andrew, Joshua, Jacob, and Madison. Madison was fifteen, in Grade 10, and not ashamed to admit that she’d been named Madison before the name was cool. She’d been born in 1987, right at the slow start of the booming of the name.

Joshua was in his third year of his Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in sociology at CCNY (The City College of New York.) Once he graduated, he’d be headed to Columbia Law School to complete a Juris Doctor degree, making him the first JD in the family. Of course, they already had an MD. Denise Crawford, fifty years old, mother of four, of course, and wife to Stephen Crawford, had been practicing medicine for over twenty years.

Stephen, forty-seven, was a teacher at none other than Queens Institute of Technology and Science, the high school that every Crawford child attended. QITS was often just called “kits” by those who studied there, as sounding out QITS was not the most enjoyable experience. Another non-enjoyable aspect was having your father work at the school you attend. They were lucky enough to avoid having him as a teacher, as there were always other options which both the children and parents alike elected for. But, nevertheless, it was still awkward passing “Mr. Crawford” in the halls when everyone knew he was the father of two of the students presently attending.

By three, they finally got to sleep. Jake loved the feeling of Blake near him, even if he was conflicted about how they ended up just going to sleep instead of doing what he really wanted. Making sure his alarm was set, he wanted to get up a bit early to let Blake out in silence, hoping everyone else might still be sleeping by the time he left.

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