Tastes Like Pennies

by Justin Fredericksen

Castello-di-Amorosa-torture-chamber
Photo by David Ball via Wikipedia. Creative Commons: Some rights reserved.

 
He was delicious. Luke Price had grown up to be quite the man; he stood six feet- three inches tall, had luxurious blonde curly hair, green eyes and had the body of a Spartan. He ran every day, like clockwork. At five-thirty, the lights in his bedroom came on and in ten minutes he would be off to run the neighborhood and into Piedmont Park. Luke would run at a pace that few could keep up with, especially for that amount of time and would return home at seven to get ready for class. From the outside, it looked as though he had a perfect life. He was going to Emory, had a bright future ahead of him, lived in a prestigious home and had never wanted for anything.

Luke had never wanted for anything, but for his parents to still be alive. They were on vacation in Nepal; his father was writing a book about the adventures of a child that walked from Tibet to India to escape genocide from China and he wanted to travel the route to get a true sense of the terrain. They were happy together, seeing the world and sharing experiences. On a road near Pokhara that ran alongside a mighty roaring river, the Price family discovered just how dangerous the trek was. At the base of the mountain that led into the village, the road met with the Seti Gandaki River. The road ran parallel to the rushing waters and was only protected by a couple of feet of embankment. The earth was saturated and their jeep swayed heavily as it tried to navigate the thick mud. The intensity was palpable between the group as they exchanged looks of alertness.

A tourist van was coming down the mountain and slid into their jeep, crashing them into the soft mud embankment. The mud gave way and the waters hurled them into its grip. The crash had instantly killed the driver and badly injured his mother. She was bleeding and was unconscious. The freezing waters filled the car as it ricocheted off giant boulders, lodging the jeep between two boulders and securing it from its violent journey downstream. Luke’s father grabbed him and pushed him through the windshield onto the top of the boulder. Luke’s tibia had broken the skin and was bleeding profusely. Just as Luke had begun to turn around on his belly to reach for his family, the river surged and engulfed the jeep, taking his parents with it. The mighty Seti Gandaki had claimed its victims, yet again.

Luke returned home a shell of a boy with no one he could turn to except, for Walt Shoeman, the neighbor two houses down. Luke didn’t have any close friends his own age and found his high-school years to be hollow because the other students were shallow and boring to him. The students always thought he was stuck-up; he never went to their parties or hung out with them. Luke’s life experiences made him mature and disconnected from his peers. He had traveled the world with his family on trips to strange lands and tried amazing foods that his mom was introducing him to so that she could bring the recipes back to her Midtown restaurant. His close relationships with adults were what excited him more than any party could. He had no other family to speak of and found himself inundated with lawyers and paperwork. He had to make decisions about the restaurant and his dad’s manuscripts that Walt was kind enough to help explain and help him with. Luke had inherited millions from his parents’ estates and his childhood home. He was the last of the Price family and became determined to carry on the reputable family name.

The neighborhood had changed so much over the years, but Luke had remained one of the few locals that were born and raised in town, keeping the heritage of Midtown alive. His parents had come from old money and purchased their four-story home in the heart of Midtown on 7th and Myrtle in the 80’s. The neighbors were friendly and had lived among them for years. Two houses down lived Walt. Walt had lived in the neighborhood for years while he worked as a medical doctor for the Marines. His house was a single-story bungalow, one of the few small homes left on the street. Luke’s dad was working on a project about the military and how the medical doctors see the worst of war. Walt was all too happy to share the details because he thought people should know the effects that war has on the human body and about the dedicated men and women who devote their lives to helping the soldiers heal. Luke’s dad and Walt became friends, often having dinners in the spring on Walt’s perfectly landscaped courtyard that overlooked his pool and his amazing garden with beautiful flowers everywhere. Luke always wondered why Walt’s house was so small compared to theirs, but the landscape made up for the one story home.

Luke first discovered his attraction to men during the summer break before they went to Nepal. Luke had picked some herbs and vegetables from his garden that Walt had helped him build two summers before and wanted to bring them to Walt. Luke walked into the backyard through the rot-iron gate on the side of the house to see Mr. Shoeman sunbathing naked next to the pool. Luke crept quietly. He had often found men attractive but had never really seen a man like this before. Walt was older, but had the body of a hard-trained military man. His tanned skin glistened with sweat that streamed over the muscles and pooled at Walt’s navel. Walt was erect and had begun pleasuring himself. Luke found himself at full attention himself and squeezed the bulge in his shorts. As Walt rolled his head he noticed Luke near the house. He didn’t stop but gestured with his icy blue eyes for Luke to join him. Luke stripped and straddled Walt as they climaxed together. “Good boy,” Walt grunted out. “I-uh…” Luke tried to mutter. “It’s ok. It’s perfectly natural. You’re eighteen and a man. Men have needs. I wondered how long it would take you to realize…” “I brought you some veggies from the garden.” “Thanks, Luke.” Walt licked his lips as he watched Luke walk away. Luke quickly got dressed and left as quietly as he had entered. The thrill of what he had just discovered about himself had shaken him. He felt like a part of him that he hadn’t acknowledged was set free. Walt set him free.

Luke found himself going over to Walt’s house regularly and gave his virginity to a true specimen of a man, a brute, a warrior but who was gentle with Luke. His hands were soft but strong. They held him in a way that melted Luke into him. Those icy blue eyes looked into Luke’s soul, they were connected. Walt was the only one Luke could turn to after the tragic accident. He was the only comfort Luke had. They spent many nights together, sharing stories about Luke’s parents, cooking, working out, making love, watching movies and grew closer. Walt helped Luke organize the financials and guided him through school. Walt’s world experience was intriguing and kept Luke asking questions. Walt meant everything to Luke. They were happy together, spending almost every day together for three years.

Luke started noticing that Walt would go quiet at times, sitting at the table, staring off into space. An expression of regret and hatred blanketed Walt, sending chills down Luke’s spine. They talked about how Walt’s last tour was different than any before. He wasn’t working on the soldiers, but the prisoners that had undergone various forms of torture and Walt’s job was to keep them alive during the interrogation process. The things he saw done to the human body cracked his psyche with remnants of that past starting to seep out.

The sex had always been amazing, but Walt grew more and more aggressive in his methods. His once passionate and tender love became fierce and painful. Walt was becoming more and more demanding of his sexual expectations. Their relationship became strained when Walt had introduced leather and bondage to Luke. At first it turned Luke on, the smell of leather and sweat, but the intensity in Walt’s eyes retracted Luke from the pleasure. Walt had built a dungeon of sorts in his basement; chains hung from the wall with handcuffs, a leather sling hung from the ceiling and had a steel table with leather straps. Luke wanted to please Walt so he dressed the part and played along. Walt brought Luke to the brink between pleasure and pain. The sex became sessions of pain and tolerance that Luke found to be degrading. Walt whipped him with an intensity that turned from pleasure to fear. “Stop! Stop! I’m done!” Walt tightened the straps around Luke’s wrists. “You’re done when I tell you boy!” “Stop! Please! You’re hurting me! Sir!” Luke had tears falling over his cheeks. Walt walked over and licked them. “Delicious.” Walt loosened the straps and walked upstairs, leaving Luke in the dark basement. Walt got what he wanted that day, pain, real pain.

Luke didn’t come back after that. Love had faded into fear and Luke avoided Walt for a week. Luke thought hard about whether he wanted to continue seeing Walt and realized that it was the end of the relationship. He called Walt to join him for dinner. “We need to talk.” “Look, I didn’t mean to…” “Can you just be here at seven?” “Sure. See you then.” Luke prepared a meal fit for a king. Luke cleaned rack of lamb the way his mom taught him, prepared roasted vegetables from the garden and selected a vintage wine from the cellar; a bottle of Romanee-Conti DRC 1990 would be perfect. Luke’s dad had bought it while on a trip to the U.K. at the Sotheby’s London in 1996 for about twenty-eight thousand dollars and was saving it for their twentieth anniversary. Luke wanted the night to seem well-thought out and intended the break-up to go smoothly. This was hard for Luke, he didn’t want to hurt the man that had been there for him through the worst part of his life, his first love, his ‘Daddy’.

The doorbell rang. It was exactly seven. “Come in.” “I brought dessert. Dark chocolate truffles. Your favorite.” “Thank you. Wine?” “Sure.” They sat at the dining room table with the spread of food between them on the dark mahogany table. “Looks amazing.” “I wanted to talk…” “Look, I’m sorry about the other night. I got a little out of hand. It won’t happen again.” “Walt, you have been there for me through so much. I have loved you so much, but I need to be on my own now.” Walt sat quietly. He didn’t even blink. “You are a wonderful man, but I am not into the kind of things you are. You scared me. I told you to stop and you just kept going. That was the first time I was afraid of you.” “I thought you liked it. I only wanted to keep you happy.” Luke reached for Walt’s smooth hands. Walt pulled them away and took a drink of the wine. “This wine is delicious. Vintage?” “It is.” “This is it, huh? The end?” “I love you, Walt. I need to be on my own, though. I want us to stay friends. I thought this would be special and show you how important you are to me.” “I see. I suppose this is goodbye.”

Walt looked stoic. There were no tears, no pain, just emptiness. His eyes went black as he got up from the table and walked towards the door. “Walt, wait.” Luke walked over to him. “Goodbye, Luke.” Walt leaned in for one last kiss. Luke couldn’t resist and leaned in. They embraced and kissed heavily, Walt groaned. “What the…” Walt bit Luke’s tongue, drawing blood. Luke pushed him away. “Get out!” Walt stared at Luke with those icy blue eyes as the blood dripped down his chin, “Delicious.” He walked out the door and into the night. Luke bolted the door and went to clean up his mouth. The wound would heal, but his love was broken.

Luke was finishing his junior year and started applying for grad school. He applied to only one school, Emory. His dad and mom went there and he wanted to honor their memory by continuing the tradition. He met with the board for his interview and was accepted almost immediately. He stood in the elevator, relieved and proud. “You got in?” a voice asked from behind him. “Wha- Sorry. I didn’t see you there.” “Didn’t mean to scare you. Just noticed that you looked like it went well. I’m Logan.” “Hello. Luke.” The two men shook hands. “I just got in myself. Law School. What are you going for?” “Finance Strategy and Markets.” “Ah. Sounds interesting. Maybe you could tell me about it over coffee?” “Uh- ok. Yea, sure.” The men exchanged numbers and met for drinks.

Luke and Logan became quick friends. They spent their extra time running together and hanging out. Luke found comfort in their relationship, Logan was easy to get along with. Logan came from a small town in South-Georgia and had earned a full-ride to Emory for his outstanding scholastic achievements. Logan was everything Walt was not. He was short and thin with a gentle confidence; he wore these thick-framed glasses that almost looked like he was trying to be funny and thick black curly hair that he greased down. Logan was quiet, but funny, always telling awkward jokes that made Luke laugh to the point of tears. Logan filled the hole in Luke’s life that had been missing, not a caretaker, not a role model, but a friend, an equal in life that made Luke feel safe around him. Logan was the one person who truly understood and accepted Luke as he was. They shared stories from their childhood and how they felt growing up different from the other kids. The two found themselves in a blossoming friendship.

Luke felt lonely in that house all alone, so he decided to offer for Logan to move in. “Logan, I was thinking that instead of you moving back home for the summer, you could move in here. I know we haven’t known each other long, but thought that it would be nice to spend some more time together. You can have any room you want; besides, you are already here almost every day anyway.” “Uh- I’m not so sure, I don’t have that kind of money to…” “No worries. You would be doing me a favor.” “Ok. Sure. Could be fun. I would have missed all those amazing dinners you cook.” “Great! It’s settled then.”

Logan moved in the day after finals. Luke had just grabbed a box and went inside when Walt walked up to Logan’s car. “What are you doing here?” “Excuse me? Who…” “Never mind who I am. What are you doing here? He’s mine. You don’t belong here.” “I’m not sure what you are talking about. Are you and Luke…” “You have been warned.” And just like that, Walt walked away. Logan was just standing there when Luke came outside. “Why are you just standing there?” “I think I just met your ex?” “What? He knows… Was he tall with big muscles? A leather daddy type?” “Yes! He scared the shit out of me! He said I was warned.” “I’m sorry. That was Walt.” “Oh, that was him?” “Yes. Just steer clear of him.” “Are you sure this is a good idea? I don’t want to cause any problems.” “It’s fine. Don’t worry.” Luke and Logan finished unloading the car and went inside to unpack Logan’s things and make dinner.

The two of them ran every morning together; Logan was quick and kept Luke at pace. One morning, they were running and Logan suddenly stopped. “Did you see that?” “What?” “I thought I saw someone running through the woods.” “Probably another runner.” “No, he was wearing a dark hoodie. In this heat? It’s weird.” Luke shrugged it off and kept running. They ran for an hour and when they returned, Logan’s car windows had been smashed out. All of them. “Oh my god! Look at this! My windows! All of my windows!” “Probably some crack-heads.” I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry.” “Yeah, but why all the windows? Don’t they usually just break one?” “Guess they were hitting it extra hard last night.” They called the police and made the report so Luke’s insurance would cover it. “See? All taken care of.” “Seems weird though.” “Stop worrying. These things happen here sometimes.”

It was the third year since the death of Luke’s parents. Luke always took this day to visit the family mausoleum. Luke walked to Logan’s door, “I’ll be home later tonight. Wanna grab dinner?” He didn’t respond. Logan had missed their run that morning, so Luke figured he was just tired and wanted to sleep in, so Luke left a note on the counter and left. When Logan woke up he found the note on the counter next to the French-press. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the sky was clear, enticing Logan to go outback and sunbathe. The sun on his naked flesh relaxed him as he fell asleep. He woke up to a car door slamming. It was coming from Walt’s driveway. Logan looked over the fence, but couldn’t see through the bushes that lined Walt’s drive. Logan was afraid of Walt, but his curiosity got the best of him and he quickly dressed to go and investigate. As he walked down the back alley towards Walt’s drive, he saw Walt carrying something heavy into the house. A shiver ran down Logan’s spine. Whatever it was, Logan could only see that it was long and looked heavy, even for the massive man that was carrying it. What is that? He panicked. He wasn’t sure why, but he felt something was not right.

He called Luke’s phone, but it went straight to voicemail. Logan left several messages, but Luke never called back. Luke always answered his calls. Logan became increasingly worried and decided to call the police, but they wouldn’t do anything for him. It had only been twelve hours and since he was an adult, they figured he had just decided to leave or was out somewhere. Besides, Logan wasn’t family and had no connection to Luke other than friendship. Logan’s imagination went wild as he thought the worst. Logan drove around Midtown all night looking for Luke. He drove past their local hangouts and walked through the park in hopes of finding Luke. Logan decided to come back to the house in hopes that Luke would have already returned, but the house was empty. Logan sat in the living room calling Luke’s phone over and over again, hoping Luke would eventually pick up. Logan woke up late the next morning, expecting Luke to be sleeping in bed. He ran through the house, looking in every room, and found no Luke. He could only think of one place Luke could be, Walt’s.

He gathered his courage and walked over to Walt’s and knocked on the door. Nothing. He rang the doorbell three times. Finally, he saw a shadow come from the back of the house and walk towards the door. Walt opened the door in nothing but a black pair of leather shorts. “Yes. Can I help you?” “Uh- Is Luke here? I haven’t heard from him all day. I thought he might be…” “Oh, you’re Logan, right?” “I am. Have you seen Luke?” “Come in, come in. Don’t want everyone to see me half-naked.” Walt was filling out those leather shorts and Logan couldn’t help but stare. “You like?” Walt rubbed himself and licked his lips. “Yes, but…” “Let’s play.” Logan found himself following Walt to the back of the house. The house was barely lit except the light coming from the basement. Walt had blackout curtain drawn on almost every window.

“I really wanted to know if you had seen Luke? He was supposed to be back…” “Don’t you know that this is our anniversary?” “Don’t you mean the anniversary of his parent’s death?” “Yes, but also the same time we fell in love. We helped each other grow, he freed me. He usually disappears for a day or two around this time. You would understand that better if you were truly close to him, like I am. You may never know. Drink?” “I -uh…don’t think…” “It’s ok. I am sorry I came across so intense when you first moved in. I am just very protective of my boy.” “It’s ok. I can see why he loved you.” Walt strutted towards the refrigerator, “Beer?” “Sure. Thank you.” Walt walked the beer over to Logan, “Here ya go.” Logan nervously took it from his hands; their fingers lingered.

Logan felt Walt’s massive hands pressing against him. Logan reached out; his sweaty hands slid over the leather, feeling Walt’s massive endowment grow under his touch. Walt’s body felt strong and powerful, bringing Logan to his knees. Walt grabbed onto Logan and drew him in close. Walt had Logan in his grip as they kissed. He pinned Logan against the fridge and made quick work to strip him and bring Logan to his attention. They gripped one another in a fury of sexual power. Logan couldn’t resist man that gripped him. Walt leaned in, reaching behind Logan, gripping his cheeks, lifting Logan onto his fingers. Logan moaned and felt the massive member slide under him. Walt carried Logan to the counter, setting him on his stomach. Walt took no time in putting himself inside Logan, ripping him. Logan cried out, but found himself pinned under Walt’s force. He struggled to free himself. Walt groaned after several agonizing minutes. He reached around Logan’s throat with his massive biceps, squeezing harder and harder as he licked the back of Logan’s neck, whispering, “now you’re mine too.” Logan fought with all his remaining strength but hadn’t enough left. Walt’s grip tightened and all went dark.

Logan woke up to discover that he was handcuffed to the chains on the wall, wearing nothing but a leather jock-strap and a ball-gag in his mouth. His body ached. The room was dark except the light hanging over the steel table. Luke was on it. Logan tried to scream and break free, but it was no use. Walt came in, “Ah. You’re awake. Just in time.” Logan leaned away from the wall, struggling to stand up. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Walt had a steel cart with medical instruments on it next to where Luke was tied down with leather straps, spread-eagle over the steel table. “You boys are all the same. You see a man and think we are just something to play with, something you can use to fulfill you. What about our needs? What about how you fulfill us? You can’t just take it away once you give a little.” Luke had begun to wake up. Tears fell from his eyes as he looked to Logan, trying to talk through his ball-gag. “You are so sweet my boy. So delicious.” Walt ran his hands over Luke’s body, stopping at his thighs. “Yes. This is it.”

Walt grabbed the scalpel from the tray. The young men stared at each other, shaking violently. “Hold still. You don’t want me to hit an artery.” Walt sat on a steel stool, still in his leather shorts. He put on black leather gloves and made his first incision. Luke’s eyes bulged as he screamed through the gag and then passed out. Walt sliced Luke’s thigh open pulling the tissue back, exposing the layers of muscles. Walt sat there and explained his procedure to Logan like he was giving a lecture in a hospital theatre. “The first incision is always the most important. Notice how the layers of flesh separate as you pull away from the sub-dermis? Tonight we are going to try the Rectus femoris. This muscle is easily recognizable. See the outline? Now it is important not to cut the Femoral or the Deep femoral arteries. He’ll bleed out if we do.” Logan vomited and puke spewed around the gag and through his nose. Walt carefully sliced the muscle from Luke’s thigh, exposing the femur and laid it out on a clean steel cart. “Looks like a pork tenderloin. Doesn’t it?” Walt rolled the cart toward Logan. “I want you to try this. I will let you go if you do.” Logan was sobbing, but shook his head in agreement. He tried to muffle the anguish, but vomited again. “Stop that! You’re making a mess of things.” Walt cut a piece of the muscle and picked it up with his fingers. He lifted it into his mouth, blood dripping off of his lips. “Delicious. Now you.” Walt removed Logan’s ball gag, relieving the pressure that squeezed his face. Logan looked at Luke who wasn’t moving and stared Walt in the face, spitting on him. “You’re a monster!” Walt chuckled and cut a big piece for Logan. He caressed Logan’s torso with it, drawing a blood line straight up to his mouth. “Take it!” Logan shook and slowly opened his mouth. He sobbed and chewed. “Well?” “Tastes like pennies.” Walt laughed violently as he walked away, leaving the young men alone with their fears. Luke woke up screaming through his ball-gag and Walt returned to sew and bandage Luke’s thigh up. “Good boy. You did so well. The pain will subside soon. By the way, Logan thinks you are delicious!” Walt swung the light to strobe over Logan as he stood chained to the wall, revealing the trail of blood that led to his mouth. Vomit spewed from Luke’s nose and around the gag. Walt attended to the mess, never allowing the smell of death to enter their nightmares.

He left them alone in the dark for what seemed like days before he returned. They could only hear each other’s muffled speech through the dark basement and the clanking of the chains as Logan tried to free himself. Walt came and went for weeks, exchanging the boys’ positions from the wall to the table, feeding them from one another, giving them water, bathing them to keep their wounds clean. Walt made use of the boys’ position and took great pleasure in using their bodies for his sexual hunger. He raped them over and over, taking a piece of their sanity with every thrust.

Luke filled with rage with each piece of meat he was forced to eat. Walt assumed them to be too weak to try anything and let his guard down, allowing Luke to grab a scalpel from the cart as he was being lifted up from the steel table. Luke was leaning against Walt’s massive body as he was being placed into his chains and a power surged within him, a powerful force like that of the Seti Gandaki River. He lifted his arms behind Walt and stabbed with all his might. The scalpel sliced into Walt’s bulging deltoid, causing Walt to drop him and retract from the wall. Luke fell to the ground, his weak body struggling to lift itself up. Walt was stunned by the sudden act of resistance. Luke sat on his knees and stabbed into Walt’s lower abdomen. Walt collapsed. Luke drew on the remaining strength left within his body and cut the harness that Walt had laid Logan in while he transferred Luke to the wall. Logan fell to the ground, but gathered his strength and the two slowly climbed the staircase towards the blinding light of day, leaving Walt to bleed out on the cold basement floor.

The men yelled with ferocity and blood-curdling screams that drew out the neighbors to investigate. One man puked when he saw the state of the two young men as they dragged their naked bodies down the drive. Stitches lay over concave portions of their bodies where muscle had once been. They clawed their way towards freedom from that dungeon, down the drive towards the street, collapsing when someone put a blanket around them. Sirens blared in the distance. The police arrived and quickly went to the basement, guns drawn. They rushed down the stairs to discover nothing but a puddle of blood.

The A.P.D. canvassed the area and led a manhunt that turned up nothing, no traces of Walt. The police report recounted the horrific tortures of their account. The police chief recognized this as the most gory and extensive case he had ever encountered. The neighborhood quietly acknowledged the events that took place, closing one another off. Everyone remained in a state of limbo, wondering where Walt had escaped to and if he would return. Their lives, however distant from this event, were changed forever. Neighbors who had known each other for years, stopped saying hello to one another, only exchanging nervous glances from their driveways.

Luke and Logan were rushed to Crawford Long Hospital and sedated while the doctors looked over the wounds of the young men. Walt’s precision methods had left the wounds in healthy shape with the exception of their loss of body mass. Luke regained his strength after days in the I.C.U, but Logan was not so lucky. The shock of the events had drained him beyond recovery and he passed away on the third day in recovery. Luke came to and discovered a delivery of red roses had shown up in his room. He took the out the card and read the single word written in red ink, “Delicious!”

 

 

Justin Fredericksen is a Seattle native, calling Atlanta home. This 37 year old writer is currently working towards his MFA at SCAD. Justin’s work breaks heteronormative expectations in Fiction by including the LGBT community in the horrors Fiction has to offer.

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