"Erik's Journal"
By Niko Wilde
Copyright 2002, all rights reserved

Jess doesn't ask about the journal. He doesn't ask who I'm writing to, or why. He doesn't try to make awkward, uncomfortable conversation, just for the sake of passing the time. Maybe that's why I've decided that I like him.

He is quiet and self contained, almost bordering on secretive. His physical appearance is pleasing enough- blond hair that falls below his shoulders, so pale that it reminds me of spiderwebs in the moonlight. Sleepy blue eyes. A mouth that doesn't smile often enough. Warm brown skin that immediately makes me think of hard, honest work done under the sun. A construction worker, maybe. Yes, I like that. Broad shoulders, thick biceps, and wide, calloused hands. (There is a pale spot on the ring finger of his left hand, which makes me think he was married once.)

His personality? Quiet, like I said. Has a soft voice. Is slow to anger, and even slower to laugh. He is almost expressionless, sometimes; not quite happy, not quite sad. When he does decide to speak, you can feel the sincerity in his words. Speaks with a drawl that nearly matches his sleepy eyes. I get the sense that he would do terrible things if he had to, in order to protect someone that he cared about.

I get the sense that he *has* done terrible things. Perhaps that explains his quietness. He reminds me of a cowboy that stepped out of an old western. He belongs in another time.

I hope that begins to paint a picture of Jess. Now, we move on to Christian.

This is not going to be easy, because I'm not so sure how kind I can be, about Christian. My first impression of him was that he was young, both physically and emotionally. He was quite a good looking boy, but unlike Jess- who seems oblivious to his looks- Christian was very aware, and very calculating. He knew how to use his face and his body, to get what he wanted. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, because I do the same thing myself, at times. I'm just trying to get a better handle on him, I suppose.

I guessed his age to be roughly around seventeen years. He had a tangle of blond curls, seafoam green eyes, and a generous mouth that could be both sweet or sarcastic, depending on his mood. He was a spoiled child who was running away from home, because his parents "just didn't understand him". How do I know? His clothes. All the rain and mud in the world wouldn't have been enough to cover up the desinger labels that he wore.

We met at the same truck stop that I left him at, in Dallas. It had been raining, and I had ducked inside in the hope of drying off, and maybe getting something to eat. Christian was already inside, probably for the same reason, and noticed that I had spent too much time warming my hands on a cup of black coffee. I'm sure he realized, as soon as he looked at me, that I didn't have any money. He offered to pay, and sat down with me before I could refuse.

At first, I was grateful for the company. (I'm starting to realize that this is a weakness of mine) He was close to my own age, after all, and the idea of traveling together seemed so much better than going on, alone. Strength in numbers, you know?

It didn't take long for the conversation to dwindle down to nearly nothing. I simply had nothing to talk to him *about*. I had no parents who would be moving heaven and earth to find me. The biggest problem he'd ever had to deal with, was his parents being unnerved by his new penchant for black lipstick and spiked dog collars. We had *nothing* in common, and almost instantly, I was bored to tears by him. Still, being bored seemed like a better option than going on alone.

Especially considering that I wasn't sure where, exactly, that I was going. I'm still unsure, but that isn't important just now.

He had an idea, he said, for how we could dry off. And we were both hoping that by killing more time, the rain outside would stop completely.

So, he paid. The waitresses were glad to see us go, because they were undoubtedly tired of trying to figure out which one of us was going to steal something, first. We found the restrooms outside, just around the back, and locked ourselves in. The plan? To take off our clothes, and dry them on the heating vents. I should have known better, but the simple fact is, I didn't care enough to be more careful. Christian was just a boy, after all, and one that I hardly considered dangerous.

He wanted to fuck me.

This didn't come as any great suprise, because I read it in his eyes the moment that he sat down with me, earlier. I might have been willing if he had gone about it differently. I mean, it doesn't mean anything if you don't want it to...and a part of me might have welcomed the physical closeness to another body. It was the *way* he went about it, that I didn't like.

We weren't equals any more. It was a power game, plain and simple. See something smaller and weaker than yourself, and take what you want without asking for it, first. For most of my life, that was how I lived- and at that moment, with the rain pounding against the windows like tribal drums, I had had enough.

I hurt him.

Badly.

I don't understand how, because it happened so quickly. I felt the first sharp spark of temper, my hands found his shoulders, and I pushed with every ounce of strength in my body. He hit his head, and I remember seeing a great deal of blood. I was fascinated by it, the way it almost looked black under the bright lights. It stirred something inside of me, something that was both alien and terrifying- I felt rooted to the spot, and almost completely unable to move. All I could do was stare at the ever growing crimson pool, and marvel at how different it looked from the blood you see, in the movies.

I must have touched him, because I remember him moaning...and I remember the relief I felt, that he was still alive.

I got dressed, and quickly ran out into the parking lot. In my hurry to get away, I ran directly into Jess. I was crying, almost uncontrollably, and Christian's blood was all over my hands. I must have looked utterly pathetic and scared witless, because Jess thought someone had tried to hurt me. His big hands clamped onto my shoulders, and he spoke to me in that impossibly sleepy southern drawl, trying to get me to calm down enough to tell him what had happened.

I told him enough of the truth to satisfy his curiosity.

He asked where I was going, what I was doing all alone. Again, I told as much as I had to, and just like before- it was enough.

I haven't had to look for another ride since Jess found me. I'm sure the day will come when we have to part company, but for now, I'm happy enough to stay where I am.

I'd like to introduce him to you, someday.

I hope I get the chance.



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