Of Which Nightmares Are Made
I don't know what to do. I can't tell my parents, my friends, or even my best friend. I wish it isn't happening to me, but it is.
I've started high school, and now have to shower in gym. It's mandatory. I knew it would be trouble. Changing clothes in front of other boys is bad enough, but having to shower, too, is too much.
And to make it worse, my best friend James is in the class with me.
And to make is as bad as it could possibly get, the one is too. And his locker is just five down from where my friend James and I chose ours. I didn't know the one was going to pick that locker. I guess he and his friends had already been in and out by the time James and I had chosen ours.
The one is part of my church, as is his family. As is everyone in our town. He is two years older than me. We have never been friends. He is tall, with perfect, dark hair, and a perfect smile, and a perfect laugh. He has strong arms, strong legs, a healthy body. I could go on about him for an entire page, but what is the point?
He is the one.
You've probably seen your own the one: The guy that first attracted your eye; who first aroused those terrible thoughts in your head – the one who was first to enter your mind when you touched yourself.
I had seen the one before, around our very small town. We often played baseball or other games over the years with the other boys. Everyone knows everyone else. Our town is so small that is inevitable. But our town is also very special. We are isolated from the rest of the world. Not entirely, we do see their television programs, we have cable and satellite, and we have cell phones and computers and the internet – but we do not venture outside our town. Not voluntarily. On rare occasions, someone is ostracized, driven out, never to return. Their memories are removed, and they are given false ones, and they live in the mundane world.
On rare occasions, someone finds our small town. Usually, the rest of the world drives past without seeing it, as the road is cloaked and secret. Those who find us are guided to us. They have no one in the mundane world. They inevitably join us. Our town slowly grows.
Our town is very special. Here, we have magic. Magic is not evil here. Not everyone can use it, it takes commitment and drive. You must dedicate yourself entirely to God, and live a life different than the rest of us. No wife, no children. But if you take the path, and you are found worthy, wielding the power is a reward beyond even marriage and parenthood. You become an elder, and the joy and happiness they beam is clearly wonderful.
They heal the sick, repair the broken, provide for all, and lead the church.
Our God is the creator, and all things natural are his domain. Some say our God is also the god of the Catholics and Protestants, but they have forgotten his origins, and have followed tainted and slewed teachings. We do not believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God, or that he gave his life for our sins. We believe that we must pay for our sins ourselves, and that our God will forgive us for them if we truly repent of them and ask for his forgiveness. Our God abhors war, and killing, and theft, and homosexuality.
So I had known the one for many years. My entire life. When I began puberty last year, and the urges struck, the one became my obsession.
I had already realized that I was different, that I was finding boys too interesting. But now, knowing I was going to see the one naked...
As we begin to undress, James and I are both red-faced. We have never seen each other with less on than shirts and shorts. Not undershorts – shorts or swimming trunks. We both talk about cars, trying to ignore the fact that we are about to strip to our birthday suits in front of each other and a dozen other boys in our locker row. And we are trying not to think about being completely naked in front of over a hundred boys in the showers later.
James and I have been best friends since we were little. We've spent nights at each other's houses. We've grown up together. And now we're high school students together, and in gym together, and changing our clothes in front of each other.
I've read all kinds of stories about boys seeing each other naked, touching themselves and each other. Not James and me. We'd never thought of doing such things. Ever.
Now I've begun the change into manhood. My privates have enlarged, and there is hair growing above them. And I have begun having emissions when I masturbate. And now I am having bad thoughts about... boys. My imagination creates scenes in my head before I can stop them.
Erections are natural, and they just happen, but now they happen when I see James lowering his jeans as we change for gym. He wears white briefs, like I do. I try not to look. But...
I think about cars. And that God is good. He will forgive me if I try not to think of such things. We finish changing and go to the gymnasium.
The class goes on. Seeing James in his shorts is... it's different now. I've seen him in shorts quite a lot over the years. But now, in those short-legged gym shorts and the tight gym shirt, his body looks...
God is good. He will forgive me if I try not to think of such things. Nineteen-seventy Chevrolet Chevelle 454 SS. Red with black racing stripes. Rally wheels and tinted windows...
I forget his body for now. The class goes on. I grow more and more nervous as the end of the class grows nearer. I ignore the fact that the one is in the gym too, but I see him. Wearing those tight, short-legged shorts, and that t-shirt. His strong, hairy legs are bare, and the shorts hug the curve of his buttocks, and cup and reveal the bulge...
God is good. He will forgive me if I try not to think of such things. Two-thousand and five Mitsubishi Eclipse. Charcoal gray with chromed five-spoke rims and low profile tires. Five-speed manual with close-ratio gearing...
I get through the class. And we go to the locker room. My guts turn over. I sweat.
I take off my shirt, talking about cars with James. I keep my eyes on my locker. I take off my shoes. I take off my socks. I lower my shorts. I remove my underwear.
In front of James.
In front of a hundred boys.
In front of the one.
James and I walk to the showers. I keep my eyes on the floor. My feet. I have to look up to find a shower head. I turn on the water. I soap up. I try not to look at James. Or around. Especially not at where the one is showering with his older friends.
But I see.
Naked. Strong. Virile. Hair on his chest, under his arms, on his thighs, his buttocks, above his... it's huge!
Mine is getting erect! No!
God is good. He will forgive me if I try not to think of such things. Nineteen-sixty-seven GTO with a 389 engine and tri-barrel carburetors. Four-speed and high-ratio rear end. Convertible. Triple white. GM rally wheels...
Shower. Get clean. Get flaccid.
James seems ignorant. I'm glad.
Ignore the fact that the one is naked, wet, drying himself just feet away.
I see James as he puts down the towel. His body is more developed than mine. He is in good shape. Firm tummy, narrow waist. He has few muscles, is fairly thin. No hair on his body yet, except above his privates, which are larger than mine. He is not as attractive as the one, but he is so near, and I can so clearly see the way his privates hang and swing as he dresses...
My God is my savior! Two-thousand-ten Porsche GT2 RS. Moonlight blue with black leather interior. 620 horsepower engine. 0 to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds...
We are dressed. It's over.
But it's never over.
Day and day and day again.
My only respite is my time at church. I'm too old to still be an altar boy, but I can assist in setting up and putting things away after services while my father meets with the church elders and the other deacons, and as my mother meets with the women. The younger children play downstairs. James sometimes helps me. I enjoy being with the relics, vessels, and books. I can feel the magic in them.
My time with James is different now, too. I sometimes see him differently. I know that he has a penis and testes. I always did, but now I know what they look like. I feel tingly and excited when I think about them now. I know he has more pubic hair than I do. I know that my own privates are less developed than his, even though mine are growing fast. I know the shape of his buttocks. His thighs. I don't want to know these things about him. I don't want to know he gets erections. Or that he masturbates too. But we sometimes talk about those things now. And about girls. I pretend interest. It's all confusing and frightening. I don't want these feelings or the urges.
But the worst is gym. Changing clothes. Seeing James and the one and the others in those gym shorts. Getting naked. Showering. Dressing.
All with James next to me.
All with the one just feet away.
And the nights. Alone. In bed. Thoughts rampaging through my head.
Perversions. Homosexual fantasies. Masturbation.
Day after day. After day.
I pray, but it does no good. The one still shows up in gym class. The one still strips naked and showers. The one still creates visions of entwined bodies, heaving muscles, heavy breaths, sweaty skin, and...
Even abstaining from masturbating is no respite. My dreams become of sex with the one. And even of sex with James. It has to be stopped.
I tell my Father.
It's so hard to do.
"I'm having impure thoughts."
"That's normal, my son. At your age, they come without your will. Push them away, and think on our God."
"I do, Father. But..."
"Yes, my son?"
"Pray when these impure thoughts come to you."
"I do! I think of God, and about cars. But..."
"At night, Father. They come... and I can't..."
"If you fornicate yourself, that isn't a mortal sin, my son. Just ask forgiveness for the weakness of your flesh. And abstain when you can, my son."
"But I have dreams! I can't stop them! If I don't... masturbate... I have dreams!"
"So long as you resist when you can, and only succumb to the temptation at rare occasions, you can be forgiven. So long as it does not become something you look forward to, or do regularly. Boys your age have such urges and dream of girls. It's natural."
So difficult! I'm shaking. My palms are sweating.
"Yes, my son?"
"But... the thoughts... the dreams... they're... about..."
So difficult! But I have to have his help.
"They're... they're about... boys, Father."
Oh, God. I've said it!
I'm shaking and sweating now. My mouth is so dry my lips stick together and I can't swallow.
How disgusted is he with me? Will he tell my parents, despite the assurances that confession is secret?
"My son... I want you to fight these thoughts. Dispel them from your mind. You mustn't entertain such impure thoughts."
My voice sounds shaky and weak. I feel shaky and weak. I want to cry.
"How long have you been having these kinds of thoughts?"
"Ever since... when... over a year now, Father."
"But they've got worse, since school started. A few months ago."
"Do you have such thoughts about girls, son?"
Now I cry. I can't help it. I sob like a little baby.
He waits. And waits. And after a time, I'm able to breathe again.
"There is something we can do to free you of these thoughts, if you cannot stop them. I want you to fight them as best as you can. Do not masturbate to such thoughts. Withstand the temptation to touch yourself. Pray instead. And after a month, come talk to me again. Understand?"
He gives me penance to perform.
I fight the thoughts. Sometimes I can resist them. Usually, I cannot.
The one is Satan. I cannot see him in his gym uniform and not have such impure thoughts. I cannot think of him at night and not masturbate to images of him in the showers. I see his naked body in my head, and I pleasure myself.
It's so wrong. I'm so weak. I can't resist.
I do my best, but the pleasure is too tempting. The one is too tempting. I masturbate. I can only think of the one, and other boys. I try to think of girls, but that is... lacking.
After a month, I go to see the Father again.
"You've done your best?" he asks.
"I have, Father! I can't! I see him... I see him naked in my gym class, and around school at times, and all I can think about is him!"
"You have no such interest in girls?"
I cry again.
We both know.
"You are a pure soul, my Son. You've been a good boy, and I can see your anguish. There is a way to help you."
"Yes. If you truly wish your temptation to be gone, we can do something to remove it."
"Yes. If you wish it."
"If you become an acolyte, that will remove the temptation. Do you understand?"
I do. Everyone in our church – our town – knows what becoming an acolyte entails.
"By becoming and acolyte, you will never again have such impure thoughts. You will never again fornicate yourself. You can live a life of purity and grace. Do you wish to do so?"
"You must be sure, my son."
I must be free!
"Consider it for another month, my son. Then, if you are still willing, we will remove your temptation. Becoming an acolyte will open the way to becoming a priest. It is also the first step to wielding the power. Do you want that?"
Wielding the power? Using magic?
I know the price of becoming an acolyte. I know what that means. I want the freedom, and the magic.
"Then try to refrain from touching yourself, and from impure thoughts. Give yourself to God, and prepare yourself. If you are still certain at the end of a month of reflection, we will perform the ceremony, and you will become an acolyte."
Another month, just like the last. I try, but I fail. The temptation of the one is too strong. It is not his fault – it is mine. It is not just the one, either. Being with James is uncomfortable. The changing in gym, the showers. Even actors on television, and musicians. I crave sex with boys. My mind creates situations and scenarios before I can help it. I dream of it. They are nightmares! I wake with sticky privates and underwear. It must end.
I see the Father again after the month.
"Have you been able to resist and deal with your urges, my son?"
No, Father. They only grow worse."
"If you are certain, my son, we will proceed with the ceremony after mass next Sunday."
I must be free.
"You know it will be performed before the congregation, and to bring shorts that will represent your impure thoughts. You will change into them for the ceremony, and when it is over, they will be discarded."
"Yes, Father. Will my parents be there?"
"Yes, my son. But they will only know that you have asked to become an acolyte."
I know the one would be there, too. He is part of our congregation. But he would not know why I was really becoming an acolyte, either.
"Should I tell them?"
"Of the ceremony? Or of your reasons?"
"That is up to you. You are of the age to make this decision. Once your body begins the changes into manhood, you are free to make your own choices regarding becoming an acolyte."
"Thank you, Father!"
It is a week of hell. I can't decide what to tell my parents, so I tell them nothing. It feels like lying, though I know it isn't.
I refrain from masturbating, but only with extreme difficulty. I push the thoughts of the one and sex away each time they come to me, but it is torture.
By Wednesday, I haven't masturbated, but am sorely tempted to do so before we leave for church. I am having erections constantly. Mass is a relief. I feel the release of the pressure and the fear as we celebrate, and for that time, I am free. I know I am making the right choice.
That night I dream of sex with such intensity that I am ashamed on waking.
It is worse on Thursday. I achieve an erection in the showers. I do my best to face the wall and hope that no one sees it, but they do. I am humiliated!
James laughs, too. He tells me as we dress that it isn't so bad, that it's normal. I feel like slinking away and never returning to school.
I go to James' house after school. He laughs about the erection in the showers. He says it's nothing to worry about.
If only he knew.
I nearly tell him.
But after Sunday, the problem will be gone, so I don't.
The erections are nearly constant Friday. They hurt.
I ask James to stay over. I am afraid to be alone. I am sure I will succumb to temptation. Thankfully, I survive the night by staying up as late as we are able.. But when I wake up, my privates are sticky and damp. I know it had happened during one of the dreams that now plague me.
I spend the day with James. I stay at his house overnight. My body aches for the release of masturbation so badly that I almost do it as I lay on the floor next to his bed. I nearly slink to the bathroom like a reprobate to masturbate.
I manage not to.
The nightmares grow worse. I dream of sex with the one and James many times. I wake with sticky, damp privates and underwear. It is intolerable.
I go home, shower, pray, and get ready for church. I can't wait until the services today... and the ceremony.
I feel happy again when I think of being free.
I am ecstatic!
Soon, I will no longer have the urges.
I choose clothing for the ceremony that I won't miss. Old, faded, worn out.
At church, before the mass, the Father takes me aside and asks if I still wish to undergo the ceremony. I nearly cry in his arms.
The mass is joyous. I enjoy it immensely. And at the end, as the Father makes the special announcements, he says, "Today, we will be having a special ceremony for one of our own. He has asked to become an acolyte, to begin the path to being an elder, and to the power. He is of the age to do so. Therefore, after mass, we will be joining together for him. All are welcome to stay."
I feel my face burning, even though he hasn't mentioned me by name.
Nearly everyone stays. I am ushered away by the deacons, including my father, and taken to a transept chapel. The Father joins us.
"Did you bring clothing that you can discard with you?"
"Yes, Father," I say, holding them up.
"Good. Change into them, and we will come get you in a few minutes. We would like your permission to record the ceremony. Now that the church has a video camera, it would be nice to have a recording of this ceremony. I promise the camera will be behind you, and we will only take one photo from the front. These are simply for historical purposes, they will not be used for the church newsletter or other such things."
"That's fine, Father."
"Good. Are you wearing undershorts?"
"Remove them, wear only those shorts. We will return shortly."
They leave, but my father stays.
He smiles at me very warmly, and I can see his pride. I am ashamed. If he knew the real reason I was taking this path, he wouldn't smile at me in such a way. He reaches out and puts his arms around me.
"I am so proud of you, son. Why didn't you tell your mother and I that you were considering this? We would have supported you fully."
"I... I wasn't sure..."
I cry on my father's shoulder. Something I haven't done in many years. I hold him tightly.
"Are you sure you wish to do this?"
"Have you considered this for some time?"
"Yes. I... it's been months. Over a month since the Father told me of it, and I've wished for it even before that."
He holds me tightly, then releases me. He smiles at me so lovingly. There is something else in his eyes, too, but I don't know what it means. Regret? Loss?
He steps back, then offers his hand. I shake it, then wipe the tears from my cheeks.
He nods at me, then leaves me.
With shaking hands, I remove my good clothes, and put on the old jean shorts. I sit and wait.
I am nervous and shaking. My hands sweat. I think of wielding the power.
I hear an unfamiliar psalm being sung, one that praises the bravery of a sinner and extolling his decision and willingness to give himself over to God, as well as forgiving that sinner his sins. I want to cry. I hope I can be free.
When the song ends, the Father returns, smiling warmly at me. Then he looks very grave as he places his hand on my shoulder.
"This ceremony is also the first step toward becoming a priest, then an elder, and wielding the power. Do you think you may wish to continue in that path?"
"Good. But you can decide for certain how far you wish to go later. For now, come. Bow your head, and pray for forgiveness and redemption. God will do the rest. You need not say anything, or do anything. Simply stand before the congregation and our God, and remain still and silent. If God finds you are contrite and sincere, the magic will work, and he will remove your temptation."
He guides me out of the transept chapel, through the transept, behind the choir, and along the ambulatory to the back of the chancel. There we stand until the choir has finished. Then he guides me to stand before the congregation and the chancel, before the altar.
The one is here! He sits in the front row! White shirt, red-and-white tie, black slacks. He is...
He smiles at me!
I can see why he is temptation incarnate. He is...
He is sex in solid form.
I achieve an instant, insistent erection. It is humiliating. I know it can be seen in the shorts, especially as I am not wearing undershorts. I am glad I already have my hands clasped before me, hiding it.
I turn my back on him and face the altar and our Father.
I hear the Father speaking, but I am praying and don't hear his words. I feel the heat of shame and the joy of faith. I ask for forgiveness and freedom from the temptation. I pray I am worthy.
I feel weak. Then strong. Then...
My privates burn for a moment.
I feel light. In body and soul.
The Father's voice is loud as he says, triumphantly, "It is done!"
I look up at him, standing before and above me, as he smiles at me.
"The eunuchism is complete! Welcome our newest acolyte!"
My shaking hands open my shorts.
I look down.
It is done! It is gone! I am free!
This story is part of the 2016 story challenge "Inspired by a Picture". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The challenge period of 20 February 2016 to 14 March 2016 is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the challenge home page.
The challenge was to write a story inspired by this picture:
[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. If the email address pastes with %40 in the middle, replace that with an @ sign.]