Friday, 27 April 2012

Halloween Night by Melanie Tushmore

A Crucifox Prequel

Copyright (c) Melanie Tushmore 2011

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, nor transmitted, nor translated into a machine language, without the written permission of the author.

This story is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events or real people are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual events, localities or persons, either living or dead, are entirely coincidental.


This story features adult content and should not be viewed by anybody under the age of eighteen. 
This work contains adult references including the taking of psychedelic drugs that serve only as a part of this story. The author does not advocate the taking of drugs nor any unsafe behaviour whatsoever. Any unsafe behaviour within this story is written for fictional purposes only and should not be viewed as an example nor replicated in any way.

* * *

Saturday, and it was Halloween. Goth Christmas, they'd joked. Obviously they were all going to the Halloween special at Slimelight later. Brandon waited impatiently for his shift at the pub to finish, eyes darting repeatedly to the clock on the wall. It was still daylight and, thankfully, not busy yet. The gothic themed pub was as quiet as the proverbial graveyard.
How can you not like Scotch eggs?” one of the die hard regulars asked, drawing out yet another tedious discussion topic.
Brandon turned his nose up. “I just don't.”
The man thought this was hilarious, and guffawed, “But you're Scottish!”
I don't like eggs, man.” Brandon moved away from the bar, under the pretence of tidying up. After he'd cleared away the one glass lurking on a table, he gazed up at the clock again. Hours to go yet. And as if being forced to talk to drunk old bikers wasn't bad enough, the large windows at street level were even worse. The pub sat slap band in the centre of Camden town, and a Saturday afternoon meant that Brandon had to endure seeing the never ending procession of shoppers and revellers while he was stuck at work.
The people watching was hypnotic, if slightly encumbered by the cheap décor of fake cobwebs and rubber spiders. The sad fact was, that décor was there all year round. Occasionally a familiar face would stroll by, either forgetting Brandon was at work or blithely waving at him without stopping.
Not much later, one of his favourite familiars flitted past the windows. His friend and bandmate, Sky, slowed his step as he gazed into the pub, a cigarette between his lips. Brandon smiled. Likely Sky was looking for him. With the pub being so dark inside, it wasn't easy to see in from the street. Brandon waited, enjoying that brief moment of voyeurism before Sky spotted him. It was always a pleasure to look at Sky, he was the dictionary definition of pretty boy goth.
Oh god,” Brandon's colleague and bar supervisor grumbled. “He ain't coming in here, Brand.”
Aye, he won't,” Brandon said quietly.
Sky spotted him then. He held the cigarette in his fingers and pointed off to the side, toward the front entrance. To be annoying – and because he loved to play with Sky – Brandon pointed in the other direction, grinning. Sky responded by leaning into the window and opening his mouth. A blotch of steam appeared as he breathed on the glass, which was easily the most erotic sight Brandon had seen for some time. With his finger, Sky drew a crude symbol on the window, then pointed again to the entrance.
Brandon relented. He strode through the pub and slipped out through the heavy front door. Sky rounded the corner and appeared beside him.
“A'right,” Brandon greeted. “Unfortunately, they told me you're still barred so y'can't come in.”
Really?” Sky snorted a laugh. “Well, in the words of The Anti Nowhere League, 'so fucking what?'” He extended an arm and tapped ash from his cigarette onto the pub's front step, to further his point.
Brandon chuckled. “It's dull as shite anyway, man.”
I know, that's why I don't miss it.” Sky brought the cigarette to his lips and inhaled. “You coming out later?”
Obviously,” Brandon said, an intentional mimic of something Sky would say.
Oh, obviously?” Sky said, looking up at Brandon. “So are you tripping with us too? I'm picking up the tabs later.”
Aye, g'wan then.”
How many?”
How strong is it?”
Sky shrugged as he continued to smoke. “All right, I guess. Won't know until we take some.”
Get me two,” Brandon said. “But I've got an early shift Monday so I can't get too wrecked.”
Sky laughed. “Harsh.”
I know. Hey, you dressin' up?”
Obviously,” Sky replied, with a smirk. “It is Halloween.”
What y'goin' as?”
Brandon frowned. “Aha?”
It's a surprise.”
Oh, right,” Brandon quipped. “So no cuttin' holes in the bed sheets?”
For a ghost, y'know?”
Sky frowned. “I don't own white sheets, you knob. You know that.”
Laughing, Brandon nodded. He did know that, although not via the way he would've preferred to be acquainted with Sky's bed. Unfortunately for him, Sky was straight. Or so Brandon had assumed. It was hard to tell when Sky rarely stopped playing guitar long enough to so much as glance at anybody, let alone date.
“A pumpkin, then?” Brandon teased him.
Shut up. You'll see later. In fact –” A smile tugged at Sky's pretty mouth. “– I'm off to get the finishing touch just now.”
Thought y'were goin' to get the tabs?”
Nah, later.” Sky flicked his cigarette onto the pavement and ground it out with his boot. “Right, I'm off.”
Brandon watched him walk away. “Aye, see ya.”
You want two, yeah?” Sky walked backwards so he could flip two fingers at Brandon.
Aye.” Brandon raised his hand and flipped two fingers right back. “Two's great.”
Not four?” Sky flipped him off with both hands.
Sky smiled as he turned away, still waving two fingers over his shoulder. Brandon chuckled.
Work was even more dull after Sky's visit. The pub began to pick up as the light faded to grey outside. Brandon was busy pulling pints when a knock at one of the windows caught his attention. It was Sky again, holding up a plastic bag.
Brandon watched with interest as Sky delved a hand inside the bag and brought out a small item. It looked like a bright red exotic flower. Sky waved it around whilst looking pleased with himself, then he was gone. Brandon didn't understand what that was all about but he was definitely looking forward to seeing this surprise outfit.

* * *

As soon as he got home, Brandon sprinted up the stairs and proceeded to hurl his entire wardrobe to the four corners of his room in an effort to decide what to wear. When he dived into the bathroom he was horrified to see that it looked like a bomb site. One of the many drawbacks to sharing with five other blokes; his four band mates and the man they called Spider. There was grease paint and fake blood spattered up the tiled walls, glitter in the tub, and a red lipstick kiss on the mirror. Brandon knew that Ritchie and Jamie had decided to go as zombies tonight, which explained the grease paint and blood, but the glitter and lipstick could have been Jez on any normal night.
Carefully navigating around the mess, he showered, then retreated back to his room. As Brandon sat at his mirror crimping his hair, Jez appeared in the doorway; the young bass player was a vision in shiny PVC, slashed up leopard print and safety pins. “See ya later, Brand.”
Brandon turned his head, with crimpers attached, to glance at Jez. “You not comin' to Slimelight, man?”
Bugger that,” Jez scoffed. “I'm going to see a band. I might pop by later, if I'm not slaughtered.”
Aye, a'right.” Brandon turned back to his mirror. “Have a good one.”
You too.” Jez disappeared, clomping down the stairs in heavy buckled boots. “HAPPY HALLOWEEEEEEN!” His voice echoed through the house before the door slammed.
Brandon went back to his hair, crimping and spraying it to perfection.
How long do we have to wait for you?” Spider's deep voice bellowed up the stairs.
Haud yer wheecht,” Brandon muttered under his breath, then louder, “Aye, not long!”
He had make-up down to a fine art but tonight it didn't really matter if he was messy. Eyeliner, metallic silver eye shadow, lashings of mascara and a dab of glitter across prominent cheekbones. He carefully drew on dark red lip liner, smoothing creamy lipstick over the top.
Make-up done, now it was onto the fun part; the clothes. Usually Brandon liked to take his time getting ready, but tonight he wasn't afforded the luxury. He pulled on clinging, iridescent trousers over his long legs and tucked them into knee high PVC boots. An equally outlandish shirt, as delicately thin as cobwebs, was thrown on then covered by a waist cinching corset – pinched from one of his female dates – laced and buckled up the front. With his favourite duster coat, floppy velvet hat and skull topped cane, Brandon was ready.
He descended the stairs with a flourish, entered the living room and burst out laughing at the sight of Spider in a fancy dress nurse's uniform, white tights and all. “Ye look great, man!” he commended.
Spider looked Brandon up and down. “You look no bloody different.”
Yeah Brandon,” Jamie, their drummer, piped up. He sat on the couch with Ritchie, their second guitarist, both of them covered in zombie make-up and grubby, ripped clothes for effect. “Thought you said you were gonna dress as a trendy?”
Changed ma mind.” Brandon waved an unconcerned hand. “Are we goin' or what?”
Going!” Spider said decidedly. “Let's move out.”
As they collected themselves together, Brandon looked around. “Where's Sky?”
Went to pick up the tabs,” Ritchie explained. “He's meeting us there.”
Brandon grinned and pointed his cane towards the door. “Then let's go!”
The October air was dark and chilled, but the journey to Angel wasn't far. A short night bus ride later and they were striding down the dark alley near the tube station, towards the entrance to Slimelight.
It wasn't even midnight yet, but the club was filling up. It's monolithic, cave-like interior was clammy and warm. Jamie and Ritchie complained their zombie make-up was running as they made their way inside.
Where are we meeting Sky?” Brandon asked, eager to party.
Where else?” Ritchie smiled. “The goth floor.”
The ground floor of the club opened out onto the bar, a gloomy chill out area with seats and an old, stained pool table. The dance floor that was dedicated to goth music was through a set of swinging doors that slammed loudly every time someone walked through them, aiding the impression of dramatic entrance.
Some friends of theirs currently occupied the pool table. Spider and Jamie joined in the game, while Brandon caught up on gossip with more familiar faces. The distant strains of Gene Loves Jezebel could be heard, seeping in from behind closed doors.
Clubbers flitted through the bar, androgynous beauties of both sexes on their way to the dance floor. Ritchie bought a round of fluorescent green shots that glowed under the lights. The taste was sweet and sickly but Brandon gulped it down. That would be his dinner tonight.
As the death rock beats of Alien Sex Fiend drifted through the air, a pretty waif suddenly appeared next to them. It was Sky, dressed as a hula girl. Brandon blinked in surprise as he looked Sky up and down. He had on the full costume, albeit a very tacky one from a fancy dress shop; a synthetic grass skirt draped over the habitual black jeans and boots, brightly coloured flower garlands and a plastic shell bra on a pale, bare chest. A vivid red, plastic hibiscus clipped in his dark, wavy hair made Sky look even more effeminate than usual.
“Awright,” he greeted, a twinkle in those heavily eyelinered eyes. “Who's up for a trip then?”
Brandon nodded eagerly, holding out his hand. He usually said yes to whatever Sky suggested anyway. Sky's cool fingers felt for Brandon's hand and gently pressed a little something into it. Have a good one.” He smiled, then moved between their friends to dish out the tabs.
Brandon tucked his cane under his arm, opened his hand to pick up the tiny tabs of paper there, and popped one into his mouth. He let it sit on his tongue before swallowing it down.
The others took their tabs. Ritchie tore one in half with his teeth, and muttered something about taking it easy tonight. Spider took Ritchie's extra half, as well as two more tabs. Sky had already taken his, and his eyes were growing wider by the minute.
They chatted together in anticipation as they waited for the acid to kick in. When things started to become a little blurry around the edges, Brandon knew it was working. He stared at their surroundings as if the very walls pulsed with music, and if he stared too hard, colours ran together.
More shots,” Ritchie declared. He, Sky and Brandon edged in at the bar, which was becoming busier. It took longer than usual to get served, as they kept getting distracted, forgetting why they were at the bar in the first place. During a particularly intense discussion about what the colour green tasted like, another presence appeared at their sides.
Brandon didn't appreciate being interrupted while he was talking to Sky, and turned to view the person with a certain disregard. It was another of their acquaintances, someone they weren't that keen on, who demanded attention. Pervy Paul, as he was known, clearly wanted to show off his new outfit, which mostly consisted of ripped fishnet, PVC and buckles. Brandon thought he was trying hard to look like Johnny Slut, but had failed miserably. The added extra of fetish inspired cut-away arse cheeks in the back were just laughable.
Ritchie took one look at Paul dressed up to the nines, raised a quizzical eyebrow, then turned back to the bar to ignore him. Meanwhile Sky looked Paul up and down, then offered the flat comment, “You look like a right tit, mate.”
Brandon couldn't help but smile. Coming from Sky the hula girl, that had to hurt.
Better than your cheap costume," Paul scoffed in reply.
Sky grinned. “I rock, and you know it.”
Don't you mean hula?” Brandon chuckled.
Precisely!” Sky agreed, as if they shared a private joke.
Paul huffed and turned on his heel. As he stormed off, they watched his pair of pale white buttocks wobble away into the club. Brandon snorted a laugh.
What a tit,” Sky stated, knocking back another shot.
Aye.” Brandon nodded. He didn't pick up his shot though. His limbs were starting to feel tingly, and too long for his own body.
Let's go dance,” Sky suggested. He nudged Ritchie with his elbow. “Drink up, mate.”
Brandon watched Ritchie turn to them, leaning on the bar as if he might collapse at any second. The effect of that coupled with the ravaged make-up on his face gave Brandon the impression of a very convincing zombie. Made all the more realistic when Ritchie only offered a groan in response.
As a group, they negotiated their way to the dance floor. Ritchie leaned his limp body against the wall, and attempted to light a cigarette. Sky chatted to two friends dressed like extras from Mad Max and quickly got into a heated debate over something or other. Brandon watched this for a while, then gazed out amongst the dancing throng.
The heavy bass of Bauhaus proclaiming “Bela Lougosi's Dead” vibrated through his body, his very mind. When Brandon realised he was standing right in front of an enormous speaker, he made the decision to move away. Several minutes later, he did so, gliding across the floor and clutching his cane he waved his hand at the clubbers like visiting royalty.
That's my corset,” one of the gorgeous girls he knew informed him.
The retort that it looked better on him was on the tip of his tongue, but all Brandon managed was a grin. She didn't really mind, not when he made up for it with an intense, heated kiss. She even let him kiss her best friend. Brandon didn't think it was right to mention that he'd already slept with said best friend. Surrounded by beautiful women, he was more than happy.
When a pair of beautiful boys dressed as women joined them, he was even happier. In their exquisitely decadent outfits, these boys looked even hotter than the girls. The usual club dramatics followed. They danced, posed, and chatted about nonsense in shaky voices and quick, buzzed words.
Brandon flirted with everyone that came near him, even disappearing into the toilets for whatever was on offer with whoever he fancied. The warm, pliable lips of another young man felt just as good as any other's, and nothing could beat a blow job whilst tripping your head off. The who part didn't matter to him, as it was all meaningless fun.
However, one of the girls became offended by his behaviour, and caused a scene. Brandon knew he was in no state to deal with a disgruntled woman; the acid had made his reactions too slow. When he couldn't respond to her accusations, she snatched his cane, then bumped him on the head with it. Brandon's surprise was eventually followed by pain as he made his escape, and staggered away. His feet felt like they were sticking to the floor and he thought people were starting to stare at him with accusing eyes. He got lost, and found himself wandering through the club and it's various rooms.
The sea of bodies blurred together. Occasionally a face he recognised popped up and said something he couldn't comprehend, their words a foreign jumble. He thought he saw Ritchie and Jamie amble their way past, but he couldn't be sure.
At one point, he looked out onto the dance floor and saw Sky dancing the hula to the industrial stomp of Skinny Puppy. Brandon stared, envisioning flowers and golden sands all around Sky, like an exotic paradise. Then he blinked to get the image out of his head.
Brandon wandered, lost, and his head thumped. Or was that the music? He was sure people glared at him now. The panic set in, and he cowered in a corner. The Sisters of Mercy filled his ears. He was lost, stuck fast, unable to move. He gazed down at the floor, watching people's feet waltz by as snatches of conversation buzzed around him like so many wasps.
Then, a familiar pair of boots appeared, and above them a tatty grass skirt over black clad legs. I'm taking charge of your trip.”
Brandon looked up with sheer relief at his saviour, the diminutive knight in fancy dress. Sky didn't say anything, he didn't have to. Words communicated through their saucer wide eyes and Sky smiled, reassuring. “Follow me,” he said.
Brandon found himself on his feet. He was led through the dancing bodies, following the beacon of colour in front of him, as Sky guided him to the bar.
Back at the pool table, Brandon felt the weight of the world lift off his shoulders. Ritchie and Jamie played a game, snickering as they continually missed all their shots. Spider stood nearby with more of their friends, tutting at their efforts and offering advice. Faintly, Brandon could hear New Model Army playing. Sky removed one of his garlands, and placed it around Brandon's neck. He looked knowingly into Brandon's eyes. “Everything's all right now.”
The words he wanted to say were there, floating in his mind, yet all Brandon could manage was a smile. The thought stayed with him though.
Everything's all right with you.

* * *

Morning. The trick to leaving Slimelight on a high was to beat a hasty retreat while the going was good. The club closed at seven, but Sky began to round them up at six. He herded them all out of the door into the bright, unforgiving daylight. Brandon, Spider, Jamie, and the drunk girl who was attached to Jamie's hip. Apparently Ritchie had got lucky, and Jez had never shown up.
Once at home, and in familiar surroundings, Brandon felt more relaxed, if a little tingly. “My head hurts.” He frowned, feeling the lump that had grown somewhere under his mountainous hair.
Jamie snickered. “Yeah, that bird smacked you on the 'ead with your own cane.”
Spider reclined on a chair in the corner, the chair that no one else wanted to sit in. “Who've you upset this time, Brandon?” he asked.
I can't remember.”
The Scotch Pimpernel strikes again,” Spider quipped, as the others fell about laughing.
Aye, hilarious.”
Sky put on a Killing Joke record before flitting away to the kitchen, muttering something about making tea. Jamie reached for the remote control and switched the TV on for Sunday morning cartoons. The loud, animated capering clashed with the chilled out ambience of the music, making Brandon wince.
“Jamie!” Spider barked. “Put that on mute.”
After some minor complaints, Jamie relented. He soon forgot the TV anyway, and was distracted by his date. The two of them kissed sloppily on the couch next to Brandon, as he tried his best not to look at them. Spider produced a small lump of hash and started skinning up. Brandon focussed on him instead, letting his mind wander.
When Sky reappeared, he'd shed the leather jacket he'd thrown on since leaving the club, and stood in the doorway twisting a lock of dark hair around his finger.
Where's my tea?” Spider grumbled.
Sky looked up, eyes still saucer wide, and seemingly confused. Then he blinked, and grinned. “Oh yeah.” He flitted away again, grass skirt trailing behind him. Several long minutes later, he returned with the cups of tea. “Who's staying up?” Sky asked. He flashed a glance at Jamie, who was busy playing tonsil tennis with his girl. “Well, obviously not you two. Who else?”
Me,” Spider said.
Brandon nodded, and mumbled, “I shouldny take anyhin' though. I'll just have a coffee.”
You want a coffee instead?” Sky snatched up the mug Brandon was about to sip from. “I'll make you a coffee.”
Aye, thanks.”
Sky returned just as Jamie and his date hauled themselves up. They left the room, with Jamie pulling a leery wink at them over his shoulder. Placing Brandon's new mug down on the table, Sky marched over to the TV to change the channel. Spider sparked up his joint and passed it around. Brandon was distracted by everything, and didn't pay much attention to which mug he picked up.
Once Sky had stopped fussing about, he sat down next to Brandon.
Why are you still in your hula outfit?” Spider asked.
Sky looked down at himself, as if considering. When he looked back up he asked, “Why are you still in your outfit, nurse?”
Spider smirked. “It's comfortable.”
What, those white tights?”
Yeah, they cup my balls nicely.”
Brandon snorted a laugh into his coffee as Sky pulled a face. “I don't wanna know!”
Gotta be more comfortable than that plastic bra you're wearing.”
You wanna try it?” Sky smiled as he reached under his hair to pull the strings. Brandon watched the impromptu striptease as Sky took off his shell bra and the remaining garlands. It seemed a waste to look away. Sky swung the bra by its string and launched it at Spider, who caught it easily in one hand.
“This wouldn't even go around one of my nipples,” Spider said, dangling it from his fingers as he examined the item. “What was this, a child's costume?”
Fuck off.” Sky laughed, getting up from the couch. He left the room briefly, and reappeared wearing an old black t-shirt. “Is this better, nurse? You can keep the bra, by the way. My gift to you.”
I'll treasure it.” Spider laid the shell bra on the back of his head rest, patted it, then carried on smoking.
Sky picked up his acoustic guitar, and settled onto the couch, strumming along to the record. Brandon sipped his coffee. Spider smoked himself to sleep, despite claims of not being tired. He passed out in his chair, and began to snore lightly. Sky stopped playing guitar in order to drape the abandoned shell bra over Spider's face like a mask.
When the Killing Joke record finished, Sky asked Brandon what he wanted to listen to. Brandon realised he'd been drifting, and said he didn't mind. Sky put on The Virgin Prunes, and resumed his position on the couch.
Brandon watched Sky lounge back with his feet propped on the coffee table, crossed at the ankles. He still had the grass skirt on over his jeans. As Brandon gazed at Sky's deft fingers plucking the guitar strings, he thought he saw the strings melt and drip down, but then he realised the long strings pooled around Sky's legs were in fact his skirt. That was strange, he thought. Brandon looked up at Sky, who was frowning at the TV, lips pursed in thought. “Um, Sky?”
Sky looked at him.
Um, I feel a wee bit...strange.”
Yeah? I feel like I'm sobering up.” Sky frowned more. His gaze focussed on their coffee mugs for a while. “Oh. Brandon, I think you drank my coffee.”
Sky started to laugh. “You drank my coffee, you knob! I put another two hits of acid in there.”
What?” Brandon panicked.
Chill out, you'll be fine.” Sky seemed unconcerned. “Dunno what I'm gonna do though.”
I've gotta work tomorrow, man!”
You'll sleep it off.”
Ach, shite.”
Chill,” Sky ordered.
Brandon attempted to chill. He shifted around on the couch, suddenly uncomfortable and jittery.
Sky affected a yawn.
“I could go to sleep?” Brandon wondered aloud.
Nah, you'll have freaky dreams,” Sky said. “Maybe if you smoked some more? Although one of us will have to grope Spider to find the hash.”
The mental image of doing so made Brandon shudder. “No way!”
Sky chuckled quietly. “Just relax then.”
I can't!”
What are you stressing over?”
Brandon swallowed, and the motion felt ten times bigger than normal. “You don't want to stay up baby sittin' me.”
I don't mind.”
Won't it be annoyin'?”
You're annoying me by worrying about it.”” Brandon fished around for what to say. He felt he would've had trouble with this conversation however wasted he was. “But...just the two of us?”
Yeah, and?”
Didn't you feel like pullin' anyone?” Before he'd even considered whether it was a good idea to mention it, the words had tumbled out of Brandon's mouth. He almost winced, but tried to keep his face neutral.
Sky's fingers faltered on the strings for barely a second before picking up their rhythm again. He shot a glance at Brandon. No. Why, didn't you?”
Not in this state, Brandon thought. He didn't feel a great compulsion to bring anyone back to their home anyway. He enjoyed being in Sky's company, especially without anyone else around. Brandon worried that now he'd mentioned it and turned it into a big deal, he'd carelessly crushed it – whatever it was – before it had even started.
And he still hadn't answered Sky's question.
Brandon sat there panicking, trying to think of selective words that wouldn't give the wrong impression. The longer he took, the more he panicked. His own thoughts felt huge and amplified, loud enough for Sky to hear them. The silence between them was deafening.
Sky's fingers stilled, and the guitar went quiet. He looked at Brandon, eyes searching his face. Brandon stared back, wishing for his sober self and the capacity to deal with the dawning look that appeared in the eyes in front of him.
Sky blinked, and looked away. He placed his guitar on the floor, then got to is feet. I'm gonna put the kettle on.”
Jerked back to normality, Brandon nodded. “A'right.”
As Sky left the room, Brandon heard the front door open, and voices materialise. The next moment their erstwhile bassist, Jez, and a few of his glam mates spilled into the lounge.
Sky stalked back in when Jez took the record off, and tried to put on a Wrathchild album. They proceeded to argue about music – a regular occurrence – but Brandon felt like he couldn't deal with these things today.
Somewhere in his mental wanderings, he made the decision to make himself sick, which would hopefully sober him up. Things didn't go according to plan. Brandon found himself in the upstairs bathroom, hugging the toilet, wanting to be sick, but unsure if he could cope with it. In the background he heard random sounds of noisy sex, which had to be coming from Jamie's room.
Sky and Jez soon crammed into the bathroom with him.
“This has to be the worst idea you've ever had,” Sky told him.
Oh, I dunno,” Jez teased. “What about his suggestion for go-go dancers for the band?”
Sky snorted. “I've chosen to disregard that.”
Brandon groaned into the toilet. He couldn't make himself do it, yet he felt he should. Vaguely, he was aware of someone's hands in his hair, gathering the crimped mass back, holding it safely away. Out of the corner of his eye he could see two pairs of legs, one pair clad in shiny PVC, the other in black jeans with the grass skirt still on top.
A hand patted his back. “Go on, Brand,” Jez encouraged. “Just think of a steaming, hot haggis. Then imagine Spider rubbing his hairy self down with it.”
Sky laughed at that, as Brandon groaned again. Eventually, he did manage to throw up. As he watched the contents of his stomach – which was mostly just brown liquid – wash down the toilet, he heard Sky complain about the waste of his LSD.
It took Brandon a while to get himself together. Sky and Jez looked after him in turns. When he felt better and ready for his bed, it was Jez looking after him. With a skinny arm around his waist, he guided Brandon out into the hall. On the floor, Brandon noted the abandoned grass skirt with a touch of disappointment.
Where's Sky?”
Think he's gone to bed, mate.”
Come on.” Jez deposited Brandon into his bed. “In you get. Night, night!”
Brandon grunted as he closed his eyes, and willed the streaming colours to go away. He must have dozed, or at least drifted, because something roused him to wakefulness not long after. A sharp pain cut into his head. Groggily, he reached a hand into his hair and pulled out the offending item, then sleep claimed him fully.

* * *

When Brandon woke later in the evening, his head felt thick, and thumped with hangover. The first thing his sore eyes focussed on was the vivid red of the plastic hibiscus cradled in his hand. He twirled the flower in his fingers as his muddled brain slowly replayed the events of last night. Brandon smiled.
When he stood up, he ignored the head rush that greeted him. He staggered over to his mirror, clipping the flower to its edge. Before he could dwell on it for too long, his stomach rumbled, demanding attention. He realised he felt completely empty.
Sounds from downstairs reached his ears at the same time his nose picked up the tell tale smells of something cooking. Drawn by hunger, Brandon vacated his room, thundered down the stairs, and to the kitchen. Sky was there, crouched in front of the oven's open door with Jamie behind him, leaning against the counter. They both looked up as Brandon hovered in the doorway.
Ahh.” Jamie chuckled. “It has risen!” He took a bite out of some sort of confectionery, partially unwrapped and dribbling in his hand.
Brandon frowned in an attempt to focus his eyes. “What's that?”
Choc ice,” Jamie said, with his mouth full.
Ugh.” Brandon made a face. He didn't want ice cream. He looked elsewhere, eyes darting about for clues as to what was on offer. On the counter top, he could see an opened packet of bread, the almost finished bottle of Worcester sauce, the cheese grater, and a plate of grated cheddar cheese.
What y'makin'?” he asked Sky hopefully. As if on cue, his stomach growled.
A smirk appeared on Sky's lips. “Cheese on toast. I suppose you want some?”
Aye, too right,” Brandon answered, and his stomach eagerly agreed.
Find a plate then,” Sky instructed.
Brandon strode into the kitchen, toward the sink, and crashed about with the pile of unwashed dishes until he found one that wasn't too disgusting. He wiped it off with his hand, then passed it to Sky.
“Oi, hang on,” Jamie complained. “How come he's getting some, why don't I get any?”
Sky threw Jamie a glare over his shoulder. “Jamie, I just watched you eat two bowls of cornflakes, followed by that choc ice.”
Yeah, but I'm still hungry.”
And why is that my problem?” Sky turned his attention back to the oven.
Oh, go on, Sky,” Jamie whined. “I'm hungry.”
All right, shut up a minute.” Sky held the plate ready and pulled out two piping hot slices of cheese on toast, cursing when he burnt his fingers. “Fuck, that's hot.” He brought his fingers to his mouth and absently licked them as he offered the plate.
Brandon was momentarily distracted, staring at Sky's lips and the tip of a pink tongue that licked the grease from his fingers. All it took was that split second of visual to send his mind wandering.
Sky stopped licking and snapped, “Earth to Brandon!” He thrust the plate forward. “Do you want this or not?”
Oh, sorry,” he mumbled, accepting the plate.
Sky rolled his eyes, then turned away to prepare another round of toast. Brandon watched him, quietly mesmerised by his movement and the meticulous way he lined up the bread. Sky always had a slight pout on his lips when he concentrated on something, no matter what it was. It was a very subtle pout. Brandon wondered if Sky was even aware that he did it.
Are you still tripping, Brand?” Jamie asked.
Brandon blinked to right himself, and glanced at Jamie. “Eh?”
You're just standing there like a dick, letting your toast get cold.”
Um....” Brandon looked at Sky, who had paused to direct a frown at him. A frown that said: what the hell's wrong with you? “Um, no,” Brandon said. “I'm fine. Cheers for this.” He gestured to Sky with his plate.
Sky lost the frown and smiled, just a little. He went back to arranging his cheese and bread. Jamie offered instructions from behind him like some back seat chef. As they started to bicker over the amounts of cheese needed, Brandon decided to leave them to it.
He could talk to Sky some other time.

* * *

Read more about Brandon and Sky in the upcoming Crucifox Series
by Melanie Tushmore

Crucifox #1
Available from Storm Moon Press
January 2013

For updates visit  

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