Yesterday was release day for a book I wrote called Beacon, book one of the Nation of Five series. The book is about young men and an impossible task they set before themselves. Well, I know a lot about impossible tasks. I’m a DID survivor who suffers from hallucinations. I have bipolar and Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder. Getting through a day where I make dinner, hang out with my kids, be a husband to my wife, and not end the day screaming, is the completion of an impossible task. Well, it may be an impossible task that’s undertaken in the book Beacon, but it’s only even considered because of the friendship between four boys. Four teenage boys attempt this daunting feat. Got me thinking about the boys and men in my life. And so this weekend to celebrate the release of Beacon, I will be dropping upon you chapters from Reality of the Unreal Mind. These chapters are from the unreleased third volume, titled The Keep. I start at 7:30 in the evening on Friday, and will end at 9 at night on Sunday. So follow me now into the story of the men who made me possible.
I need to get to Hitchhiker. I need to get to the interview. I need to get to the bottle, but in order to understand all of that, I need to go through Chalice, all that he taught me, and how we shattered. I need to show you Draconic again, and so here we go. We head into what could possibly be the most important conversation of my young life.
It all began with Draconic. See, she was just trying to feel alive. She needed to feel wanted and she needed to breathe. She came to Artist for that, but he could never be enough for her. She needed more. So she snagged a few other guys in her desire.
She found Chalice and taunted him. To be honest, I don’t know what their relationship was like. I don’t want to assume anything. I will just tell you what came of it. And where we ended up.
The drama group did not disband when Dracula was over. We had found a home and we wanted to stay there. Everyone who was part of that production stayed bound to it, and that meant Chalice was still in my life when he became entwined with Draconic. He came into the drama room one lunch and had a wide grin on his face. He walked up to Teddy and spoke, looking over at me every now and then, just enough to let me know he was talking about me.
Teddy was loyal and he did exactly what Chalice wanted him to. He immediately walked away from Chalice and came to me.
“Dude, Draconic is talking about you.”
As he said this, Chalice moved to the next person. He found Cry and began talking to her.
“What did she say?” My heart sank and I knew the words he was about to say would be hurtful. Chalice was having too much fun saying them to everyone in the room for them not to be.
“She said that your body hair is gross,” Teddy said. “It’s bad.”
Cry and Chalice were laughing, and they were walking to talk to Precious. She was not part of the production but she was around us all the time, mostly because her other friends were.
Draconic knew about my back hair. Said it turned her on and she was constantly sliding her hand down the back of my shirt to run her fingers through it. It was the one part of my body I was most self-conscious about, and I thought I had finally found a person who was not disgusted by it. As I watched Chalice laugh with the group he was gathering, I knew better.
“She said you have back hair,” Teddy said. “Is that right?”
I could only nod and look down. I thought this part was a secret, but I had not expressly told her so.
“Well Chalice said that she kissed him and that he asked about you, and she said your back hair grossed her out. They laughed about it and she said that when she touched it she had to take a scalding shower after.” Teddy shook his head. “Man fuck that. It’s cool, fuck them. Don’t feel bad about it.”
Then she walked in. Draconic, in all her glory, walked into the room. Her clothing clinging and flowing, her hair perfectly mussed, she walked right past Chalice, straight to me, and dropped down on the couch with me. She grabbed my hand and leaned against me, laying her head on my shoulder and grinning up at me.
Teddy looked at me, then her.
“How are you, sexy?” she asked. She ran her hand across my thigh and I shivered.
I knew I should be mad. Teddy was waiting for me to explode, but she was Artist’s only desire. Shadow was furious. He wanted to scream at her, but Artist needed her near. So he wrapped an arm around her and she kissed his neck.
Chalice turned, stormed out of the room, and she watched him go. She was playing both of us, and this time, I had won.
Teddy watched us for a while, but said nothing. He walked away and I was left with her. Artist began to say beautiful things to her and she blossomed. She kissed him when she left, and she swept out of the room and Artist dropped away. Shadow saw her leaving. Looked and saw that Chalice was gone too, and he knew where she had gone. He walked across the room and dropped into a chair beside Teddy and Bootheel.
“Man, fuck her,” Shadow said.
They both looked at me. Teddy looked back at the couch, and we all went on with our day. We moved on as if nothing had happened.
It would come back to me from many different sources that Draconic had said this. But each time, Artist forgave her the moment she gave him even the slightest glance. The truth was, few of us cared. Her touch was electric. Her personality addictive. And all of us wanted to be around her.
Chalice and Draconic did not last long. Soon she stopped sweeping away with him. Soon it was just Nova and I, and it would be that way until Mary. Then Draconic would stare at me from a distance. Pull me away for tiny moments, and light Artist on fire.
When the thing between Chalice and Draconic ended and I began with Mary, Chalice and I bonded. We set everything aside and became tight. The thing was, by that time it was obvious to almost everyone that Chalice was gay. It had been the first time I talked to him. I had yet to accept it. I had yet to have to look at it. But it was a thing we all knew. It was in the way he walked, the things he cared about, and the way he talked. There was nothing masculine about him. And we all knew. I never thought I would have to look at it. Never thought it would touch my life.
See in my reality, homosexuality was a thing to hide. And as long as it was hidden, I could ignore it. But when it was brought before me and undeniable, I would have to face it.
For now though, Chalice was just a friend. He was just a guy to hang out with, and he was fun.
His house was fun because of his mother Silken. She was gorgeous, and though I never wanted to fuck her, I did enjoy our hugs, and I would look at her every now and then and imagine what it would be like to share a bed with her.
She had us over often, telling Chalice to call us and have us come to her house. Ty, Precious, Mary, and Bravo came over often. Chalice’s house was the place to be. And we all began to see it as home.
He had a dog named Missy Belle Pepper Schnapps. She was like a whippet but not quite there, and just the name tells you so much about the house he lived in.
Silken was gone a lot, and I went over to spend the night at Chalice’s. We talked about everything but the obvious thing, and every night I had over there was fun.
Bravo brought over an Adam Sandler CD. You know the one. It had the talking goat and the lunch lady song. We listened to it so many times. The first time I heard that goat bit, I actually peed my pants. We all hung out over there. It was home.
One day Chalice called, and in the background, I could hear his mother screaming. “You got to get over here, man. We need you to hear this. Bravo is on his way to pick you up.”
In Bravo’s truck we sped all the way there. All we knew was that Silken was screaming, and we moved through the town at unhindered speeds. When we busted in, Silken was a mess and Chalice was crying.
“We don’t know who it is. We have called everyone,” he said. “Mom, play it for them.”
Silken hit the play button on the answering machine and we listened in horror.
A woman was screaming. She was begging for help, and she it sounded like she was drug away from the phone.
Artist shoved everyone away because to him it sounded like Draconic. He snatched up the phone and called her. She answered the phone calmly.
“Is this you?” he asked. “Are you okay? We got a message—”
“I’m fine. It was not me. I am fine,” she said.
“I want to see you. Bravo is taking me to see you. I have to look at you,” Artist said.
“It’s not Draconic,” Chalice said. “It is not anyone we know.”
But that didn’t seem right. If they had called Chalice’s house, we were pretty sure it was on purpose.
“Are you sure you are okay?” Artist asked, but Guardian was already hanging up the phone. He called Mary and she answered immediately.
“Did you find out who it was?” she asked.
“Tell me this isn’t you,” Guardian said. “Are you in danger? Just say you are fine if someone is there. Say ‘I am fine’ and I am on my way.”
“Don’t worry about me. It was not me. Get off the line. Find her.”
We called everyone we had numbers for, and called other people to get numbers we didn’t have. In the end, we never figured out who the screaming woman was, and it has haunted Guardian for decades. At night sometimes as he is drifting off to sleep, the sound of that recording will come back to him and he will burn, knowing that whoever it was that called out for help never got it.
One day, when standing at the opening to the kitchen, Mary ran toward Chalice and he picked her up, half spun with her and set her back down.
Silken lost her mind. She screamed at Mary. She screamed at Chalice. She even yelled at me. See, Chalice had an embolism when he was young. It put him in a wheelchair for a while, and Silken’s worst nightmare was that he would pick up something heavy and an embolism would be sleeping in his head and pop. They had either scanned his head and found another embolism and were unable to treat it, or she just feared it so much that she fought to keep him safe, but every time he picked anything up around her, she hit the ceiling.
Two days after me and Mary had sex, I went to Silken and Chalice’s house and we started drinking. Silken thought she was doing us a great service. In her mind, we were out drinking all the time, and she wanted us to do it at her house so that we would be safe and looked out for when we drank.
I hadn’t had a sip of alcohol since the night of the Hootenanny and I had drunk all the last dregs of beer and gotten sick, but with a bit of a nudge I was willing to try it out again.
I had two Zima. Do you remember those? Zima is like the lemon lime soda of liquor. Almost tasteless. Damn near nonalcoholic and terrible. I had always just assumed all alcoholic drinks were terrible, so I drank them, and by the end of two, I was done. In my drunkenness I spilled it all.
Mary and I had sexed one another. It had been short, almost instantly over, and we had done it a few times since.
Chalice enjoyed my failure as a lover and Silken grinned and shook her head. “We call that a Minute Man.” She chuckled.
“Yeah, that would be great. I should shoot for that. A whole minute would be fun. This is instant. I am an Instant Man,” I slurred. “She always begs me to keep it in after I am done. I guess she wants something, but I can’t give her a thing.”
Silken looked at Chalice and they had some sort of conversation. They hatched their plan in silence. They were like that back then.
“Oh you can’t do that,” Chalice said.
“Yeah, that is not okay. That is a bad idea,” Silken said. “If you leave it in after you cum, then it swells up really big and you can’t get it out.”
Chalice didn’t even laugh. He just nodded. “Yeah, it is terrible. You have to find a way to get to the hospital without pulling away from each other because if you pull too hard, your dick could rip.”
He got up, walked out of the room, and Silken nodded. “Exactly.”
I didn’t have sex with Mary for a week. I would often give my dick a look, a distrustful look. After a week, I don’t remember if Chalice told me it was a joke, or I decided it was bullshit, or I just didn’t care anymore and my horny teenage mind drove me back to my instant orgasm, but I went back. I never left it in, though.
Still don’t. It’s best not to chance it.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 3: The Keep.