What Pegman Saw – Gay Terror

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s location is Chechnya.

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Gay Terror

I can’t tell anybody. They would kill me.

Adam was a pupil from my school, older than me.

He was lovely. Sometimes I used to follow him.

He used to meet a friend in the forest, another boy. I saw them kiss each other. I was jealous. I wanted him to kiss me.

They had a special place. I would hide in a nearby bush, right out of sight, and watch them.

One day his friend came with a gang. They had pick handles and baseball bats. Adam screamed as they beat him. I stuffed my hand in my mouth so as not to cry out.

When they had finished, they dug a grave and threw him in. They hit his friend then, several times, until he sobbed.

“If you ever kiss another man we’ll kill you, too,” said one of them.

Letter received by the Guardian newspaper March 2017

Author’s note

This is entirely fiction. Unfortunately, the actual situation in Chechnya is far worse.

Friday Fictioneers – Breaking the News

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them.

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PHOTO PROMPT © NA’AMA YEHUDA

Breaking the News

As Rick and Tamara stood centre-stage, bowing, Rick’s mom beamed. What a lovely couple they made! They could marry in the church where her father had been Minister! After the show, she chattered all the way home.

“Mom! Can we stop? I’ve got something to tell you.”

She pulled over. “Won’t it wait?”

“Mom, I’m gay.”

“Oh, no, Honey!” She clamped both hands over her mouth.

Rick flushed crimson.

“My boyfriend’s called Dexter. May I introduce him to you on Sunday?”

Rick’s mom fidgeted, then nodded.

“Okay. Invite him to tea, only…” she hesitated, “let’s not tell Gramps yet. Please?”

Inlinkz – click here to join in!

What Pegman Saw – Parting

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is Asuncion, Paraguay. It’s related to my story “Happy ever after” published on December 21st.

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Image by Bernhard Post from Pixabay

Parting

Asuncion market gleamed with thousands of coloured lights celebrating Christmas.

Carlos looked miserable. He hated seeing Jose upset.

“Look,” said Jose. “I love you. I want a lifelong partnership. I will never go with anyone else; I swear by the Virgin! What more do you want?”

Carlos laid his hand gently on Jose’s.

“I love you too,” he said softly. “But AIDS terrifies people.”

“But there would be no risk, because I’d be faithful!”

“I don’t think they’d see that. Do you remember that doctor last year? When he came out as gay, he lost all his patients.”

“Don’t you trust me, Carlos?”

“I would trust you with my life,” said Carlos, fiercely, and then he sighed. “Perhaps we had better not see each other again.”

Jose stared at him.

Carlos looked at his watch. “I must hurry, Jose. I’m meeting someone.”

Jose said nothing – but followed at a distance.

What Pegman Saw – Happy Ever After

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is Asuncion, Paraguay.

WPS - Happy Ever After 191221

Image by Bernhard Post from Pixabay

Happy ever after

“I must hurry, Jose. I’m meeting someone.”

Jose raised his eyebrows, pouted, but said nothing.

Carlos sighed with exasperation. He walked away quickly, scarcely noticing the market stalls with their crudely carved nativity scenes and insipid plaster models of the Virgin. The scent of coconut blossom was strong.

“Oh, you’ve come then? I thought you’d stood me up.” Beatriz scowled at Carlos, her prominent eyebrows drawn together, her eyes narrow with irritation.

“Sorry. I’m sorry. I had to buy something.”

The waiter hovered.

“We’ll have the fixed price menu, and a litre of red wine,” said Beatriz. The waiter nodded.

Carlos fumbled in his pocket and went down on one knee.

“Will you marry me, Beatriz?” he asked. The diamond ring sparkled in the restaurant’s lights.

Beatriz smiled.

“Yes, of course. I thought you’d never ask!”

Jose, across the square, watched in silence. So. Carlos had made his choice.

Friday Fictioneers – Shuttered

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

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Photo Prompt © Roger Bultot

Shuttered

After that first time, Binyamin knew better than to tell his father how he felt about Asher. He shuttered his face and kept his tears for the dark hours of night, alone in his bedroom. Besides, what good would tears do? His father had moved the family across the continent to give them a chance of a better life. How could he argue against that? If only he could speak to Asher occasionally, or even just speak about him to his family…

Day by day his face grew harder.

Day by day his joy diminished.

The shutters rusted solid.

Inklinkz – click here

What Pegman Saw – Pride!

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code.

WPS - Pride 191109

Pride

“We must have gay rights!” declared Marcel, banging his fist on the bar. “Both parties pledged reform in the 2015 election. It’s time they lived up to their promises!”

Akeem watched him from his corner in the shadows. He loved Marcel’s courage, his forthright way of speaking. Less forgivably, in the eyes of most people, he loved Marcel’s strength, his beauty, his lustrous, curly black hair. He wanted to kiss him, but he was afraid. Besides, Marcel never noticed him…

“We shall have a Pride parade. Who’s up for it?”

Nobody stirred. Awkward conversations started. Everybody knew this was a gay bar, but Marcel had gone too far. Akeem’s pulse raced, and his breath came quick. He stood up and sidled to the bar where Marcel stood, dejected.

“I’m with you,” he said.

That June, he and Marcel danced hand in hand among the rainbow crowd of Guyana’s first Pride celebration.

Friday Fictioneers – Betrayal

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

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Copyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

Betrayal

After the betrayal Samuel had hidden in the garage and turned to Facebook for consolation.

“In life, we never lose friends, we only learn who the true ones are.”

The truism had hit him like a bullet.

The one person – the one person he had entrusted with his secret, had told the world. Now everybody knew that Samuel was gay. Now he had no friends at all.

The daintily typeset words on the screen mocked him as his feet kicked and the noose tightened around his neck.

Friday Fictioneers – The First Time

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

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PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

The First Time

Gerald marvelled at how strong Peter’s legs were, how supple, how beautiful, as he followed him up the steep path.

At the top, he gazed over the plain and exclaimed, “Great view!”

“Even better wi’ a beer. Get t’ bottles out, lad.”

Gerald smiled at him. Trust Peter to be thinking of beer!

They sat down, side by side, almost touching, and opened the bottles. Yeasty bubbles tickled Gerald’s nose as he drank. The warm sun caressed his skin.

His hand crept onto Peter’s. Peter looked earnestly at him. Suddenly, their hearts sang.

For the first time, they kissed.

The Music Festival

Short Story – The Music Festival

This arose from a 100 word piece of flash fiction, ‘A Writer’s Perspective’. One of my fellow bloggers, Noonespecial, commented “Oh, Penny! Couldn´t you change the last sentence? Than I would say I understand!” This short story is specially for her.

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It was the second concert of the Festival. There was a modest audience – perhaps a hundred or so – and the venue, while visually attractive, had an atrocious acoustic for classical music. Those who were to perform sat in the front few rows of the audience. I noticed two very young men, sixteen or seventeen perhaps, sitting side by side in the second row.

The compere introduced a piece for solo piano, to be played by Jeremy. Both young men stood up. Jeremy went to the piano, while the other stood at the side of the auditorium recording a video of the performance on his cellphone.

Were they a gay couple, I wondered? I felt sure that Jeremy, the pianist, with his wavy hair, passionate face and confident manner would have appealed to both men and women, and when he started to play I could feel the strong pull of his magnetic personality. Even the poor acoustic couldn’t conceal that he was a virtuoso in the making. The youth making the video was engrossed in the performance. His face glowed with pride and delight.

At the end of the concert, I spoke to the Festival Director, to let her know how much I’d enjoyed it. I think she saw me as a potential donor, because she invited me backstage and offered me raki. The performers were tidying up, and Jeremy and his friend were talking in a corner.

“Doesn’t this last week mean anything to you?” I heard as we passed them.

“Of course it does. It’s been great fun, but I just don’t swing that way, Calvin.”

A girl came over, and pecked Jeremy on the cheek.

And then the Director and I were in her office and she closed the door.

Quite by chance, I saw the young men again the following evening, in a party of eight students in a taverna. Jeremy sat at one end of the table, and every so often I saw him look at the girl opposite. She was blushing. Her eyes were sparkling. She tossed her head, and spoke quickly and excitedly. The boy who had made the video sat on the opposite side of the table, at the far end. He was quiet. Occasionally he glanced in Jeremy’s direction, his expression a mixture of hero-worship and longing.

As the party left the taverna, Jeremy put an arm around the girl and she rested her head against his shoulder. I saw the quiet boy notice, and wince.

The final concert was the following evening. By now people had realised that the standard of performance was high, and the venue was packed. I found a seat on the outside end of a row, about halfway back. Jeremy was sitting on the other side of the auditorium, next to the girl with whom he’d left the taverna. The quiet boy was sitting at the end of the second row on the same side as me. He looked sad.

The third item of the programme was the ‘Habanera’ from Carmen, to be performed by Victoria, accompanied by Calvin. The girl next to Jeremy, the girl from the taverna, prowled sinuously onto the platform. The quiet boy, who I’d seen first with Jeremy, unobtrusively took his seat at the piano ready to play for her.

Her voice was superb; her manner both seductive and dramatic. Calvin’s accompaniment was musical and self-effacing, supporting her and never overpowering her. It was perfect accompanying; Calvin was an excellent pianist, I realised.

“And if I love you, Ah! then take care!” sang Victoria to Jeremy. I could see him beam.

The applause at the end of the piece was enthusiastic, but it was almost over before Victoria realised that Calvin hadn’t joined her for his share. Instead, he had slipped back to his seat in the auditorium. She gestured in his direction, as though she hoped he would stand and bow, but he just shook his head in negation. Victoria gave one last curtsey and smile and sat down beside Jeremy, whispering in his ear. Jeremy stared across at Calvin.

We came at length to the final item of the concert, Chopin’s ‘Heroic Polonaise’. Victoria kissed Jeremy on the cheek as he rose, and held his hand just a little longer than you might expect, before he strode to the piano and sat down.

The performance was bravura, brilliant. The notes poured out. The rhythm was as crisp as a military heel click. There was a fiery energy, and a stern strength to the playing. It was indeed a heroic interpretation. I was watching Victoria. She sat very straight in her seat, aflame with emotion.

Then I noticed Calvin. He had moved stealthily to the side aisle where he held up his cellphone, once again recording the performance. Tears trickled one after the other down his cheeks, as he wept in perfect silence.

And now, at a signal from the Director, the musicians gathered at the front. Calvin dried his cheeks and joined them. Jeremy and Victoria were centre stage, holding hands, triumphant, elated, already a couple.

We rose, in a standing ovation. The performers bowed, once, twice, thrice, and that was it.

The Festival was over for another year.