Hope Is the Thing with Feathers(2)

By: Brandon Witt

The house was closer. And, if nothing else, maybe I could plant the seed of them wanting to sell.

I turned on the spot, not bothering with the flashlight, and trudged over toward the eyesore of a house.

True dark had settled in by the time I got close to the house. It was almost pretty in the shadows. The swirls of stars in the cloudless night sky softened the packed snow, making it look fresh, and a single window emitted a warm glow. Kinda looked like one of those glowy cottage paintings. The ones by the Christian guy. The one with the drinking problem. I hated those paintings.

From the way my heart pounded as I stepped up to the front door, I decided I’d chosen wrong. Should’ve done the woods.

How long since I’d talked to somebody?

I’d not gone into ElDo for near a month to get supplies. I was adapted enough at canning that I was well stocked on the vegetable front, and I had three deep freezers guaranteeing I wasn’t going hungry. Probably two weeks ago, Travis had dropped off the normal load of cattle and chicken feed. But Travis didn’t count. I’d known him forever, and he barely spoke more than I did.

Lifting my hand to knock, I hesitated.

I couldn’t do this.

I turned and started to walk away. But… Faloola….

With a growl I turned once more and knocked before I could think better of it.

Stupid. So fucking stupid.

What did I expect? Faloola to be seated at the table having dinner with the long-lost Webber clan just waiting for me to come fetch her?

Just as I debated either knocking again or running away, the door was flung open, the light from inside blinding me for a moment.

My eyes adjusted quickly. Too quickly. My tongue, however, didn’t, and I forgot how to create words as my mouth dropped open.

I stared at the man in the doorway.

Tall, over six foot. Short-cropped white hair. Lined yet handsome face. Older than me. Lean body but muscled. Not like me—definitely didn’t grow up doing farm work—but healthy-looking nonetheless. A light coating of silver hair over his chest cascaded down his flat stomach and spread around his pendulum-like cock and testicles. I got stuck there, just staring at them as they swayed ever so lightly.

It might have been months since I’d talked to anybody, but it had been much longer since I’d seen one of those. Besides my own.

“Can I help you?”

I suddenly realized I was staring and forced my gaze back up the body and met ice-blue eyes.

Then my tongue worked. “You’re naked.”

The man smiled, increasing the lines on his face and also making him more handsome. “Thanks for noticing. You need something?”

“You’re naked.” I glanced down at his dick again. I’d had fantasies like this. Go to a stranger’s house, they answer the door naked, and then take you inside and fuck your brains out. Fantasies from a billion years ago. I met his gaze again, almost pissed that stupid fantasy would show up now. “Who the hell answers the door naked?”

His smile grew at my tone. “My house. My body. My rules.” He winked. “I won’t show up at your house naked. Unless you ask me to.”

Something broke in my brain. Whether from shock at such a suggestion or hope that it might happen, who can say.

The man held out a hand. “I’m Raymond. And I bet you’re Samuel Phipps, right?”

I nodded.

“Figured. I think I talked to my uncle twice over the past decade, and both times he was bitching about the faggot Samuel Phipps who lived next door.”

I flinched.

I’d not heard that word in years.


Part of the reason I lived like I did. I heard things weren’t like they used to be. That they were better. That gays could get married and such. Whatever. I knew people. Hate liked to linger.

It had been so long I didn’t even know what to say or tell if I was more pissed or hurt.

The man’s smile faltered for the first time. “Oh shit. Sorry, Samuel. I’m assuming it’s okay to call you Samuel, or maybe Sam. I didn’t mean—”

“Samuel. Never Sam.” That’s what I had to say?

His grin returned. “Got it. Samuel. Well, sorry about that. Didn’t mean offense. I’m a faggot too, so didn’t mean any harm. Just repeating my fucked-in-the-head uncle. He hated me as much as he hated you. But I’m the only blood left, and he hates the government even more than fags, so I got the house.”

Too much. Too much information. Too much weirdness. Too much penis. God, penis. It had been so long. “You’re still naked.”

He laughed then. What had his name been?


Raymond laughed then. He stood back from the door and made a sweeping gesture with his right arm. “Come on in. I’ll cover up until you ask me not to.”

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