Black Dog

September 5, 2014

Hi guys, this is an excerpt from a new novel I’ve penned called “Tarnung” — also set in Australia

Since I’d been faithfully following the exercises my physiotherapist had given me, I’d had no trouble sleeping. I was so tired I was usually asleep before my head hit the pillow, even though I had a lump of plaster for company which meant I mainly slept on my back.

But tonight, after the expose` of our former lives, my mind was just so stimulated I found it difficult to slip off.  Finally, I must have done just that but it wasn’t a happy place – there were bad images there, and fear.

I woke up to find tears coursing down my cheeks like a waterfall. A feeling of worthlessness sweeping over me, and I just couldn’t stop crying.

Suddenly he was there with his soothing voice, and the side light popped on.

I was embarrassed, but he wasn’t.  “Kenny,” he said, “what’s upset you?”

I shook my head, but the feeling was still there, a frightening feeling like someone was chasing me.  I must have looked like a dog, cowering after some bastard was about to kick it, and I started again, sobbing away like a big girl.  Finally I pulled myself together, and whispered to the only person in the world who seemed to understand, “Will you sleep with me tonight?”

Raj nodded, picking up my hand again and kissing it in an absent-minded fashion, returning to his room momentarily to switch off the lights.


It was quite light outside. I groaned inwardly, and what was left of my sense of humor kicked in and I giggled to myself.

“What’s wrong now?” he said.

“Oh, trust me,” I said, pointing at the window, “it’s a full moon, no wonder I’m stranger than normal.”

His perfect white teeth flashed in the darkness. ‘Ask me to smile in a dark room,’ he’d said at the hospital, ‘you’ll always find me.’

He turned to me. “Would you like some hot chocolate, it might help us sleep?”  I nodded my head in agreement and he returned with two steaming mugs.

He helped me sit up in bed and I sipped the drink gratefully.  I looked over at him. He was the most handsome creature I’d ever seen and hoped like buggery I didn’t stuff things up, because I really loved having Raj as my best friend.

“I want to tell you all the story,” I whispered. “I left a few things out”.

“I know,” was the quick response from the other side of the bed.

“I’m gay,” I said quietly. “There’s never been any doubt in my mind, but keeping it hidden from your mates is just torture, particularly when you fancy a few of them.  That’s when I went crazy, at high school.  All those years of pretending I was something else has fucked with my mind. Once I had my driver’s license I was in Melbourne most weekends, and that kept me sane for a while, but I never met one single guy who wanted anything more than a quick fuck. And that frustrated me no end, because nobody was interested in a relationship with a bloke who came from the bush.  I met a few guys down here through the Internet, all of them married, and I hooked up with a few.  They seemed happy enough, but in the last year two of them have taken the easy way out.”

Raj looked at me with a determined expression on his face. Then he closed his eyes and nodded his head. He’d heard it all before, I suppose.  “I found your shotgun in the workshop,” he said tiredly. “I hope you don’t mind, but I disposed of it until you’re in calm water again.”


My first reaction was a flash of anger but, because it was Raj, it lasted a few seconds only.  That feeling was replaced by the certain knowledge that I was in fact a sick puppy, and I felt more hopeless and useless than ever.

“I don’t know why you hang around a fuckin’ loser like me,” I muttered. “You were probably smart to get rid of the old gun. No bastard cares, and no bastard loves me or would even fuckin’ miss me if I wasn’t around.”

The voice from the other side of the bed was clear but I thought the meaning a bit ambiguous. “Well, I love you, Kenny, and I would miss you terribly. That’s why I’ve fought so hard to keep you around.”

For once in my life I was bloody speechless. Because I thought I knew what Raj meant but I wasn’t certain.

He saw my hesitation and jumped right in.

“I don’t know what it is with Aussie men, because so many of them are as thick as a fucking house brick, like you.” He grinned at me. “The first time we met, I know, was under difficult circumstances, but I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted you. It was instant attraction for me.”

My mouth went dry and I could hardly spit the words out. “You mean you love me like that?” I croaked.

“Yes, Einstein, like that.”

I swung around in the bed and nearly broke my crook leg again.  I yelled with the pain of the protesting muscles, and he bloody laughed at me.

“That means you’re gay too!” I shouted.

“Two questions correctly answered,” Raj laughed. “Go to the top of the class. You get a prize for that.” He scooted across the bed, slipped his hand gently behind my head and kissed me.

Somewhere, somehow in my life I must have done something right, I reckoned. Some bastard must have been listening to me when I was in so much trouble, because out of shit something amazing and beautiful had come along.  I felt stronger, and I realized as long as he was around I could achieve anything, anything at all.

We cuddled and talked quietly and I slipped off to sleep, a lovely peaceful sleep, with Raj’s arm over me, keeping me safe.




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