Thursday, February 1, 2018

Dead Luke (Conclusion)

dontravis.com blog post #270

How have you enjoyed the story so far? Last week’s episode ended with a question. Why did dead Luke want our hero (have you noticed he has no name) to discover the diary? Today, we’ll find out with the finale to my adaptation of Mark Wildyr’s short story, Apparition.

Here is part three of three parts.

*****
Courtesy of publicdomain.com
DEAD LUKE
Adapted from a short story by Mark Wildyr


The semester started, so I had little time to give to Luke and his deepening love. He soon grew impatient with my inattention. He began to intrude on my nighttime sleep once again. At times, it was the restless stirring in the ink-black corners of the bedroom. At others, I felt pressure on my body as if he were prodding me. Finally, I picked up the diary and began reading it again after I finished homework one night. That was when I discovered two photographs between the pages of the book.
The first was obviously Luke Collins, a fresh-faced, handsome youngster with blonde hair and green eyes. He looked exactly what he was, a college preppie. He was shirtless and obviously posing for whoever was taking the picture. His musculature was good, and he looked masculine, not effete. The photo of Drew Knighton revealed a dark, almost ethnic man with striking, classic features who was totally at ease with the camera.
At this point, the nature of Luke’s writing changed. Some flaws in the relationship began to appear, and they seemed to be centered around the nature of their physical trysts. In the acts detailed in the diary, Luke had been the recipient, I guess you’d say. Maybe bottom is a better description. Now he began to ask for more. He pressed his lover to share that sensation with him. His love began to falter as Drew continued to deny him. The shadows in the corner became more restless as I reached this part of Luke’s story.
I slapped the book closed. “That’s it for tonight, guy. I’m tired.”
A minor windstorm shook the room, but I refused to be put off. I cleaned up and went to bed. I don’t know if Luke sulked or just accepted my decision, but he didn’t bother me that night.
The next morning, a Saturday, I ignored the few chores I had set for myself and took up the journal again. The succeeding entries chronicled Luke’s deepening love for Drew and growing dissatisfaction with... something.
Later that day I went to the U and found a tennis partner about on a par with me. We each took a set and gave up without playing the tiebreaker. The first thing I did on arriving home was strip and hit the shower. The exercise had felt good. I’d become too sedentary and vowed to play more often. As I dried off and stood in front of the sink to comb my curly, brown locks, I eyed the heavy condensation on the mirror and wondered if this was a way to communicate with my local ghost.
“Okay, Luke! You’re a college boy, write me a message.” After five minutes of speaking to the ether while the condensation slowly evaporated, I snorted at my foolishness.
Taking up my toothbrush, I worked on my choppers with vigor. It wasn’t that I was vain about white teeth; rather it was that I feared the dentist. As I bent over to spit out the foam, something touched my bare butt! I jumped! I hadn’t even had the warning of my goosebumps this time. Leaning back down to fill my palm with water to rinse my mouth, my buttocks puckered.
All right, already!” I gasped. “Go away and leave a guy some privacy!"
The night was fairly calm, although I risked stirring things up by studying the journal again that night. The tenor of the daily entries were definitely changing. Luke’s profession of love grew increasingly intertwined with dissatisfaction.
Drew is so wonderful to me. I feel like his wedded spouse, which of course, will never happen in this country during my lifetime, at any rate. There’s just one thing I wish I could change. He makes love to me wonderfully, but he doesn’t permit me to reciprocate. Says he’ll never do that. It leaves me feeling…I don’t know… cheated.
Being unfamiliar with gay-speak, it took me a minute to figure out the obvious. The boy was playing the passive role and was beginning to resent it. Still later:
I almost caused a fight tonight, begging him to let me do him. He left in a huff! Oh, why can’t he understand? But is it worth losing the most wonderful man I’ll ever find?  I don’t know. I just wish he’d treat me more like a man sometimes.
The shadows had started to stir, so I put away the diary and made ready for bed. Surprisingly, he let me go to sleep.
On the Friday after classes, I made me a sandwich, opened all the drapes to let in the sunlight, and sat down to finish the journal. Luke seemed less active during the daytime. The rest of the diary was less nirvana and more real world. Luke’s frustration continued to grow, and with it came resentment and fractures in the relationship. They apparently broke up, but soon got back together. Luke’s happiness at the reunion soon frayed.
He just won’t listen. He won’t hear of me making love to him like he does me. If I could only make him understand!
Even so, Luke apparently continued to pursue his goal, almost causing a breach again. Then I came to the last page… dated the day of the accident.
Tonight I’m going to do it. I’m not going to ask him this time. I know once he has the experience, he’ll treasure it like I do. I’m going to know what it feels like to be a man with a loved one tonight! He’ll love it! I know it!
Later that night, Luke Collins was dead.
Suddenly, it all fell into place…why Luke was here; what he wanted; what he needed before he could rest. He wanted the authorities to know what happened to him.
The next morning, I presented myself at the Crandall Police Department and handed over Luke’s dairy to the officer who had investigated the Collins death. He thanked me for bringing it in.I left tremendously relieved. Luke would have his justice now. He could rest in peace. I’d tell him as soon as I got home.
As soon as I opened the door I knew that something was wrong. The air was hostile… downright malevolent! My goosebumps came back in spades. The room was cold enough to require a sweater. I stood stunned in the middle of the living room while I was buffeted by something like a strong wind. Luke was furious.
Realizing that the apparition had no power over me beyond what I conferred on it, I fought down my fear. Gradually, my body stopped swaying from the wraithlike blows raining down on it. Fear turned to pity. This young man was clearly infuriated, but all he could do to express it was rage around me like a small gale.
“Calm down, Luke. What is it? What’s happened?”
Something gave me a shove from behind. I stepped forward, allowing myself to be cajoled along until I found myself in front of the telephone. The light on the answering machine was blinking. I punched the button.
‘Mr. Hughes, this is Officer Munzey down at the police station. Thought you’d like to that I talked to Drew Knighton. He confessed right away. He needed to, I think. It was eating him alive. He apparently thought a lot of the Collins boy. I’m satisfied it was an accident. The kid made an unwanted advance, and Knighton threw him off. The boy hit his head. Knighton claimed he thought the Collins boy was dead. Broke down when he learned he’d left Collins there to bleed to death. He’ll go down for manslaughter. I thought you’d want to know.”
The wraith went crazy! With no obvious power to lift objects, Luke nonetheless stirred the curtains, buffeted me about, set the recliner to rocking and scattered papers on my desk about the room. Obviously, I had not acted the way Luke intended.
“Sorry, Luke, if that’s not what you wanted. But it was the right thing to do. He deserves what’s coming.” The high wailing sensation came back, filling the room, hurting my ears. “I know you loved him, but he had no right to harm you and then just leave you to die. You could have lived, Luke. You didn’t need to die.”
The room was suddenly empty except for me. Shaken, I picked things up and fixed something to eat. When I went to bed, I was alone. In an odd way, it left me feeling lonesome.
In the wee hours, I woke struggling for breath. The air was thick around my mouth and nostrils. The feather-light pressure on my lips, the tingling of my nipples, the pressure against my groin panicked me. I kicked out violently, just as Drew Knighton must have done, achieving nothing except to send the sheet sailing off the bed. Surprised, angered, frightened, I leapt up and let out a roar.
“Dammit, Luke! I did what I thought you wanted. What else do you want from me?”
And standing there naked in the cool night, my heart beating furiously, I understood. I knew what Luke wanted. He wanted from me what Drew Knighton had denied him. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

*****
Well, a fellow just never knows, does he. A surprise lurks around every corner, it seems. Well, at least we know our hero's last name was Hughes. Wonder what the first one was? Hope you enjoyed the story.

And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. And keep on submitting your work to publishers and agents. You have something to say… so say it.

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See you next week.

Don


New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

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