I'm trying something a little different with this story. It is far less erotic than my usual work, but I think it's decently written. Being as how I'm posting this in installments, please help me make each part better than the last by posting your comments. Thanks for reading, and enjoy.
A Cross to Bear
by Nikki J
Charlie Young knelt beside the dead body, examining it. The boi was, it appeared, around thirty-five years of age – maybe a little younger, but still the worse for wear. Long blonde hair fanned out around the boi's pretty, but worn face, framing it with a halo of golden tresses. The unfortunate boi was naked, just like all of the others had been. As with the other victims, his arms were spread, and his smooth legs were pressed together, making him resemble a cross. The boi's wrists were cut, and a dried pool of blood decorated the tile floor beneath the wounds.
“The same as the others, huh?” a deep voice asked from behind Charlie.
Young didn't look up when he answered, “Yeah. No sign of foul play. It looks like a suicide, just like the other four, but...”
“Four identical suicides, where the victim ended up in the exact same position? Unlikely,” the deep voice interjected.
Charlie stood, and turned. “This one looks like a whore, too. Too many similarities for a coincidence.” He faced a tall, black man. “Damnit Harry. This sick bastard is screwing with us! I mean, what the hell are we supposed to do? No fingerprints, no hair...nothing. I just don't know what to do.”
“We'll get him, Charlie. It's only a matter of time before he screws up. They all do,” Harry answered.
“But how many more bois have to die before he does?” Charlie murmured as he pushed past his much larger partner. “I'll be back in a minute.”
The click of Charlie's heels followed him through the crime scene. A camera flashed as he navigated his way through the seeming army of crime scene investigators, uniformed police, and other detectives. Finally, he reached the stairwell, and descended a single flight before reaching the bottom floor, all the while, the details of the case racing through his head.
Four dead. All prostitutes. All bois. They seemed like suicides, but they were too similar, too clean. No, they were murders made to look like the bois had taken their own lives; that much was evident. But the why, the who, and the how...those all remained a mystery even as Charlie stepped into the dingy bathroom, and clicked on a light.
The mirror was chipped on the edges, and showed the same age and apparent neglect as the rest of the seedy hotel which had become a crime scene. The face staring back at Charlie was pretty, but tired. The long days and even longer nights had started to catch up to him. He sighed, and walked over to the lone stall, and opened its door. The toilet which greeted him wasn't the pinnacle of sanitation, but it was cleaner than he would have expected.
He turned around, slipped his panties down his smooth legs, raised his skirt, and sat down to relieve himself. When he was done, he wiped the moist tip of his small penis, and pulled his lacy thong back into place. He smoothed his skirt, and washed his hands.
No witnesses, he thought. The hotel's proprietor knew nothing. The neighboring rooms were empty. Leads were nowhere to be seen. The trail was cold, and Charlie knew it.
“What the hell am I supposed to do with this?” he asked his reflection, knowing the answer even as he asked. He would interview the victim's family and friends, try to find a connection with the others. Maybe he would get lucky. Probably not.
With a deep breath, Charlie clicked off the light, and exited the bathroom, and then the hotel itself. There was nothing left to do there. Let the others scour the place for nonexistent evidence. Charlie had better ways to pass the time.
Charlie closed the door, and slipped out of his heels as he entered the house. Then came his gun and badge, which he laid on the table near the door. It was late, and Charlie was tired. The interviews had been fruitless, but that had been expected. Whores had few friends and their families, by and large, chose not to claim them. No, they were the dregs of society, and would be missed by few, if anyone at all. But that knowledge only served to gall Charlie, to inevitably send the cases needling into his brain, never to be forgotten.
He reached down to the lamp, and clicked the light on. A moment later, a figure on the couch stirred, and Charlie saw his husband rise sleepily.
Rubbing his eyes, Charlie's husband muttered, “Long day?”
“You have no idea,” Charlie responded, crossing the living room, and plopping down next to Hugh, his husband. “Rebecca kick you out of the bed again?”
Hugh nodded. “You know she doesn't like us in the bed together without you.”
“Silly girl,” Charlie said. “She should know by now that I'm not the jealous type.”
Hugh shrugged, and Charlie leaned into his muscular arms, sighing. For the first time that day, he finally let himself relax. Absently, he stroked the dark skin of Hugh's forearm, and closed his eyes.
“Eight years, and I'm still not completely used to all of this,” Charlie intimated.
“Thinking about going over to the other side on me?” Hugh asked, mirth in his voice.
“Oh yes, couldn't you just see that? Me, a lesbian,” Charlie said with a slight giggle. “I think we both know how that would work out.”
“I have no idea what you're talking about,” Hugh said sarcastically.
Charlie turned around, and straddled his husband. He reached down, and grabbed Hugh's hardening member. “You know I just love this big fellow far too much.” And Charlie leaned in to kiss his husband passionately. It seemed only seconds later that his panties were on the floor, and his skirt was hiked up around his hips.
Their lovemaking was short, but enthusiastic – Charlie was simply too tired for anything more elaborate. However, they were both satisfied when they came almost simultaneously – Hugh into Charlie's ass and Charlie's small penis squirting while his anus convulsed in orgasm. It was a familiar feeling for both. For almost ten minutes, Charlie lay in his husband's arms, completely limp, totally serene. But then the events of the day -- the unsolved case -- crept back into his mind, cluttering it to the exclusion of all else.
Charlie turned a knob, and the shower responded, sending a cascade of warm water over his smooth body. He stood there for a few moments, reveling in the relaxation before soaping up, and cleaning the grime of the day from his body. His hands roamed over his now-familiar body, feeling the taut smoothness of his skin, the protruding nipples of boihood, and his small penis. But his thoughts did not dwell on these things; it was normal.
Cleaned, he stepped out of the shower, and looked at himself in the mirror. Strangely, looking at his nude reflection in the mirror served to remind him just how much his body had been altered since the Great Change eight years ago. He had once been a normal man – almost six feet tall and one-hundred and ninety pounds. Charlie had fancied himself handsome then, but in a bit of a rugged way. Square-jawed with a perpetual five o'clock shadow and short black hair, he had been unerringly masculine. Now, though, he was so unmistakably boish, he was almost a caricature.
Sure, he had kept the short black hair, but his face was delicate and his entire body was smooth. At five feet and two inches, and one-hundred and four pounds, he was about average size for a boi. His hips jutted, and his tummy had a slight curve to it. His face may simply have been pretty, but his body was a gorgeous testament to boihood – all petite curves and softness.
He could have gone back to the way he had been – the cure was still available. And he probably would have if it hadn't been for Hugh and to a lesser extent, his sister wife, Rebecca. Love. He loved them both, that much was certain, but in different ways. Obviously, like most bois, he was attracted to men, but mere physical or sexual attraction is a fleeting thing. In Hugh, he had found his soulmate, and in Rebecca, he had found the sibling he had never had or knew he needed. To have changed back would have meant the end of that triangle of love. No, he couldn't do that. He could never throw that away.
And so he remained the way he was, and never regretted it for an instant.
Charlie dried himself off, then brushed his teeth, readying himself for bed. After that, he left the bathroom, and climbed naked into the bed. Ever since the change, he had preferred to sleep that way. He didn't know why, but there it was. He snuggled up against Rebecca, and quickly drifted off.
Charlie awoke the next morning to a splitting headache. Too little sleep, and too much on his mind. He was used to it. At least it was his day off. He sat up, rubbing his eyes. Rebecca and Hugh were already up – he could hear the din of conversation in the other room. He rose, and slipped on a pair of panties, some shorts, and a tank top. Seeing himself in the mirror, he thought he looked like some cheerleader headed to practice. Shaking his head at the thought, Charlie left the bedroom.
Stepping into the kitchen a few moments later, he saw his husband, Hugh, and his sister-wife Rebecca eating breakfast.
“Good morning, sleepy-head,” Rebecca said with a smile. “We thought you were going to sleep all day.”
“I probably could have,” Charlie responded, sitting down. He grabbed a piece of toast, and started buttering it. “Eighteen hour days will do that to you, ya know.”
“Oh yes, you're horribly put upon,” Rebecca said sarcastically. “Nobody makes you work that long. You choose to do it.”
“Leave it, Rebecca,” Hugh interjected. “He can't help that he wants to do his job right.”
“No,” Rebecca said, her voice rising. “I can't even voice my opinion now? I just don't think it's right that --”
“What do you want me to do?” Charlie asked. “Just ignore the murders? Maybe I should half-ass it like most of the rest of the force?”
“Or maybe you could get a different job,” Rebecca suggested with more than a hint of irritation.
Charlie was taken aback. He had never even considered changing careers. He was a cop. That was his identity. What was he without the badge, without the gun, the authority? Just a boi in a dangerous world. “I'm not quitting my job, Rebecca,” he said quietly.
“Why not? I know why you became a cop, but honestly, do you really think you're suited for it anymore? I mean --” Rebecca was interrupted.
“I think what she's trying to say, Charlie, is that this, what we have here between the three of us, doesn't work when you're not here,” Hugh said. “You're the glue that holds us all together. You come home to sleep, and when you're here, your mind is everywhere but with us. Without you, we fall apart. It's as simple as that.”
“I --” Charlie didn't know what to say. He had been a cop for his entire adult life. Sure, there had been some growing pains after the Great Change, but he had overcome it, and he thought he was a good cop. Even though the job was about as masculine a career as one could choose, he felt he had adjusted to it rather well. He loved his job, but in his heart, he knew that Hugh and Rebecca were right. Their little family was falling apart. Conflicted was an understatement. “I don't know what to say...”
“You don't have to say anything, Charlie. And we're not giving you ultimatums or anything like that,” Hugh said. “If you don't want to quit your job, fine. We – the both of us – have just been feeling...neglected, and we thought you should know.”
“But what else would I do? This is all I know,” Charlie responded.
“It's not like we need the money,” Rebecca said. “I mean, there's a reason every girl or boi wants to marry a doctor like Hugh.”
“So I'd just hang around the house and do nothing like --” Charlie was interrupted.
“Like me?” Rebecca asked, clearly offended by Charlie's insinuation.
“That's not what I mean,” Charlie said. “And you know it.”
“I do,” Rebecca allowed. “I know you're not the type to not have a job. But it doesn't have to be permanent, you know.”
Charlie didn't respond. Instead, he let the idea float around in his head. Could he be a housewife like Rebecca? Even temporarily? A break would be nice, he knew, but to permanently quit his job? That was a big step. It was a huge part of who he was, being a cop. But if it was a choice between family and the job, he didn't really have a choice. Family came first. Was it to that point yet, though? Did he have to choose? He was uncertain.
Finally, Charlie said, “I don't know.” He shook his head. “I just don't know.”
“All we want is for you to think about,” Hugh said. “Give it some thought.”
“I will,” Charlie said.
An awkward silence filled the room for almost a minute until it was broken by Rebecca saying, “Hell of a way to wake up, huh?” All three laughed, the tension draining away.
It was a good day, Charlie thought, until the phone rang. He and Rebecca had gone shopping, each trying on clothes and shoes, and finally buying a couple of outfits apiece. When they got home, the three of them shared a candlelit dinner and more than a little wine. Altogether, it was a perfect day, and it was quickly leading to a perfect night of lovemaking. The phone ended that notion.
Charlie picked it up.
“We have another one,” the familiar deep voice of Charlie's partner, Harry, said.
“So soon?” Charlie asked.
“Yeah. Same situation. Dead whore, looks like a suicide, but the body's just like the others,” Harry responded.
“Where?” Charlie asked.
“The Vista Hotel on 2nd Street. You know it?” Harry asked.
“Yeah. I'll be there in about an hour,” Charlie said. “Don't let anyone else interview the witnesses or friends this time. I don't want them spooked.”
“10-4,” Harry said, then hung up. Charlie put the phone down, and turned to Rebecca and Hugh.
“Sorry, but I have to go,” he said. Seeing the disappointment in their faces, he added, “But I've been giving some thought to what you two said this morning, and, well, this is it. Once we finish this case, I'm done. I don't know if I'm going to just ask to be transferred to a desk or if I'm going to quit altogether, but I'm done with homicide.”
“Are you sure?” Hugh asked.
“I am,” Charlie answered. “I know my priorities.”
“Okay, then,” Hugh said.
“But I have to get ready to go. I can't leave this thing unsolved,” Charlie said.
It was the same scene as the other four. This one was younger – probably mid-twenties – but it was otherwise identical. Naked boi splayed out in a cross, wrists cut – it was obviously the same killer. After about an hour of searching, the forensics team had come up with nothing. No fingerprints. No DNA. No hair. Nothing. All they could tell was that the boi had died where he lay. It was maddeningly frustrating, to say the very least.
Charlie turned to a uniformed cop, and asked, “Do we have any sort of lead on who he is?”
“Yeah. The hotel manager knows...knew him. Said his name was Willy. Willy Graham,” the man said.
“Any family in the area?” Charlie asked.
“Yeah. His mother lives a few blocks from here.”
Charlie knocked on the door, dreading his task. There was nothing worse than telling someone that their loved one was gone, much less telling a mother that her son had died. Even though it would leave him without any leads, part of him hoped that no one would answer. Even as the thought passed through Charlie's mind, the door opened, revealing a woman in her mid-fifties. Her gray hair was disheveled, and she wore a dirty nightdress.
“I'm sorry about the late hour, ma'am,” Charlie stated almost mechanically. “But I have some bad news. You are the mother of William Graham, correct?” He hated himself for being so cold.
“Yes,” she said. “Is he in trouble again?”
“I'm afraid so,” Charlie said. “He was found earlier tonight, having been killed.” He knew it was insensitive whenever he said it, but Charlie had never been good at that sort of thing. “I'm sorry.”
The woman sniffed, and a tear rolled down her cheek, but she didn't break down as so many before her had. “I suppose you want to ask some questions, then?”
“Yes, ma'am,” Charlie answered. “I need to get as much information as I can so we can find out who killed Willy.”
“Well, come on in, then,” the old woman said, turning and walking away. Charlie followed, shutting the door behind him. The old woman motioned to an old couch. “Have a seat.” Charlie did as he was bade, and the woman sat in a recliner perpendicular to the couch. “Ask your questions.”
Charlie pulled a notepad from his purse, and asked, “Do you know anyone who might have wanted to hurt Willy?”
“No. Everyone loved Willy. He was a whore, but he had a good heart,” she answered.
“So you knew?” Charlie asked, slightly surprised.
“Of course I knew. He wasn't always like that, but...Well, he was only nineteen when the Great Change happened, and he had been working construction. Needless to say, when he changed, well, that kind of work dried up. You saw him. Barely a hundred pounds if an ounce. Manual labor was out of the question. He tried other things. He tried working retail and getting a job as a secretary, but none of it worked out. The bills mounted as he was fired from job after job – I think he failed at those because he was so unhappy, and soon, we were backed into a corner.”
“I didn't know, at first. He just told me he had gotten a job, and that it paid well. It wasn't until a few months later that I found out that he had been stripping. We argued about it, of course, but he was a grown boi, and I couldn't stop him from doing what he wanted to do. Besides, the pay was great, and he seemed happier. It wasn't a year before I found out that stripping had led to other things. He began sleeping with men and women for money. I never even said anything to him about it,” the woman said, sniffing loudly. “I couldn't. How do you bring up that subject?”
Charlie knew the question was rhetorical, so he didn't answer, instead letting silence fill the air. Finally, the woman continued, “He told me he had met someone, though. It wasn't a week ago that he said that he had met the most wonderful boi, someone who didn't care about what he did, someone who could help him get back on his feet.”
“Do you know this boi's name?” Charlie asked.
“Quentin Williams,” she answered. “He's some higher up at an investment firm downtown, Willy told me.”
“Did Willy have any other friends you knew about?” Charlie asked, knowing the answer even as he asked.
“No,” the woman said. “He was a solitary boi.”
“Is there anything else you can tell me about him that might help us find his killer?” Charlie inquired.
Charlie rose, and said, “Thank you for your cooperation, and I promise that we're going to find whoever is responsible.” He handed the woman his card, and said, “If you think of anything else, don't hesitate to call me.”
And with that, he left, an old, crying woman in his wake.
What was he missing? There had to be something; everyone made mistakes, even if they were small and hard to see. This killer couldn't be different. They had a profile, sure. Black male (or possible a white male who had taken the cure), mid-thirties, and probably a bit of a loner – but profiles were only starting points. They had to be coupled with some sort of evidence; something had to be there to narrow the field.
But there was nothing, Charlie thought as he knocked rode in an elevator the next morning. A beep, and the door opened, revealing a plush office. A young, female secretary sat at a desk. She looked up, and asked, “May I help you?”
Charlie flashed his badge, and said, “Detective Young. I need to speak to Quentin Williams.” The secretary nodded her affirmation, and picked up the phone.
“Yes, Mr. Williams. There's someone from the police here to see you,” she said. A pause, and then, “Okay, I'll send him in.”
A few moments later, Charlie was led into a corner office. Inside, there was a beautiful boi sitting behind an enormous desk. He rose with a smile, extending his hand, “Quentin Williams. How can I help you, detective?”
Williams was smartly dressed in a form-fitting pantsuit. Charlie took his dainty hand, and said, “Detective Young. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I am investigating the murder of one of your acquaintances, one Willy Graham. He –“
With a sharp intake of breath, Quentin fell back into his chair, a dazed look on his face. His hand found his open mouth, and his eyes widened. “Willy's dead? What? I don't understand. I just saw him yesterday, and he was fine,” Quentin began in a whisper, but his voiced mounted with panic.
Charlie was a little surprised. He hadn't expected that Williams wouldn't know that his friend was gone.
After a few moments, Williams looked up, and asked, “How did it happen? Was it Jermaine?”
“Jermaine?” Charlie asked.
“His pimp. Vicious bastard,” Williams said. “Jermaine Richardson.”
Charlie wrote down the name. “You saw Willy yesterday? About what time?”
“Around six or so, just after I left work. We met for drinks,” Quentin responded.
“And how did you meet Willy?” Charlie asked.
Williams wiped the tears from his cheeks. “About six months ago, I...we had a business arrangement.”
“You were one of his clients?” Charlie queried.
“Yes. I'm a lesbian. Well, I don't really consider myself one, but society does. I never asked for this to happen, and I...I just don't like men is all,” Quentin said.
“Why didn't you take the cure?” Charlie asked, genuinely curious.
“You know it only works on about ninety percent of us, right? Well, I was in the unlucky ten percent, it seems,” Williams intimated. “I don't have a choice, not like the rest of you. I'm stuck like this.” He gestured to his body.
The two were silent for a few moments before Charlie asked, “Was it only through business that you knew one another?”
“At first, yes. We met, and we...you know. That went on for a few months. After a while, though, we would talk afterward. He really was a sweet boi, and he cared about my problems. Eventually, we became friends...maybe something more. I thought...” Williams trailed off.
“When did you last see Willy?” Charlie asked after a few seconds.
“I dropped him at his mother's house at about eight,” Williams said.
“What can you tell me about this Jermaine Richardson?” Charlie asked.
“He's a mean bastard, like I said. Treated Willy like a piece of property. He would show up sometimes with bruises, and Willy was deathly afraid of him,” Williams explained. “If I was you, I'd be trying to track him down.”
Charlie couldn't get Quentin out of his head. The other boi was so hurt, so raw over what had happened to his lover that the feeling had infected Charlie, making him that much more motivated to solving the latest murder. And so he found himself in the seediest part of town, knocking on the door of a dangerous criminal.
The door opened, revealing a hulking black man. He was shirtless, and wore only a pair of boxer shorts. His head was bald, and he sported a scruffy looking beard. He smiled, and Charlie could see gold glittering from his mouth. Tattoos covered his arms, and his voice was gruffly amused when he said, “Now, now, now...what do we have here?”
“My name is Detective Young, and I'm here to talk to you about the death of one of your...employees,” Charlie said. He was a little intimidated, but he knew that if the man attacked or became aggressive, he could have his gun out of his holster in the blink of an eye.
“You? A detective? Isn't that just precious. Which one of my bitches done got hisself killed?” Jermaine asked.
“Willy Graham,” Charlie said. “Where were you yesterday night?”
“You think I did it? Why would I go and do a thing like that? That bitch was a good earner.” He looked Charlie up and down, and said, “You would be too if you get fixed up a bit.”
“I'm not going to ask you again, Mr. Richardson. Where were you yesterday night between nine and two in the morning?” Charlie reiterated.
“I was at a Domino Club,” Jermaine said. “I was there from seven 'til four in the morning. You can ask any of the hundred or so people who saw me there.”
“I will,” Charlie responded. “Don't leave town. We might have some more questions.” And Charlie turned, walking away.
“I'll tell you what, Detective. You find out who did it, and just let me know. We won't have to worry about any of those courts or anything like that. I'll just make him disappear,” Jermaine called after Charlie. “People know not to mess with my bitches.” Jermaine went on, but Charlie ignored him. He wasn't the type to ritualistically kill anyone. No, if he was going to kill one of his “bitches,” it would be a crime of passion, and he'd be easy to catch.
“Back to square one,” Charlie muttered as he got into his car. As he drove away, the image of Willy Graham's corpse popped into his mind, and refused to fade.
Charlie opened the door to the house he shared with his family, and called, “I'm home on time for a change.” No answer. “Hey. Where are you guys?” Still nothing. Strange, Charlie thought as he looked around. He went into the kitchen. Nobody there. Nor was anyone in the dining room. Both of their cars were outside, so they had to be home. “Quit messing around,” Charlie said, a quiver in his voice. Something wasn't right.
With a little more urgency, he strode down the hall, and pushed open the bedroom door. There were no words to describe the sight that greeted him.
His breath came in gasps as he fell to his knees, and he could hardly comprehend what had happened. There was just so much blood. The bed was soaked in it. And in that pool congealed blood lay the two people he loved the most – Hugh and Rebecca. They were both naked, and their arms were splayed out to their sides, and their legs were together – a grisly pair of crosses. Four cut wrists, and two dead people.
Charlie panted, his breath ragged and his head spinning. The last thing he saw before he passed out was a sentence scrawled on the bedroom wall in blood. It read: “So close, yet so far away...” Blackness overcame Charlie's consciousness as he passed out.