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PROLOGUE

May was the worst month of my entire life. I already knew I also like men, so did my family and they are cool with it, but now being a “man” was starting to feel wrong to me.

To top that off, my mother died in an accident before I had the chance to come out to her.

After all that bullshit, I wanted something to take my mind off everything. I needed something.

So, you know. Drugs.

In retrospect, I probably should have done more research on how to buy drugs safely because right now I am being mugged.

At this point, I’m just accepting the bullshit as it comes.

???: What’s going on here?

A voice interrupts my muggers. A voice speaking fluent British English.

Mugger 1: English?

Mugger 2: What the fuck?

The stranger steps into our sight. He’s a white man, around my age. He has a pair of headphones hanging around his neck and he’s dressed in a thick black trenchcoat, even in this heat.

???: Are you beating someone up? Did he deserve it?

Mugger 1: Speak Finnish, you clown.

???: Yeah yeah, spurdo spärde to you too. Did he deserve it?

Mugger 2: Fuck off, dude.

Mugger number 2 steps away from me and towards the newcomer, who eyes the man up and down, then looks at me.

???: Are you mugging him? That’s illegal.

Mugger 2: I said fuck off!

Mugger number 2 swings his fist at the newcomer. I don’t know what happens, but suddenly mugger 2 is on the ground on his back.

Mugger 1: What the fuck??

???: Hey come on. I’m just trying to be a good, peaceful guy here.

Mugger 1: You fucked with the wrong guy, pisshead.

Mugger 1 attacks the stranger and in a flash, he’s on the ground as well.

Mugger 2: Whatever! This fag isn’t worth it!

The muggers scramble back on their feet and run. The stranger laughs and offers a hand to me. I grab it and he pulls me up.

Now that I can see him more clearly, I realize his eyes are blue. His hair is dirty blonde and casually tousled. He has a little stubble going on on his jaw. His smile is relaxed and almost contagious.

???: Did you see that? I just flipped them over and they run. Pathetic.

Valo: I-I did… Thank you.

???: Huh? Oh. Right, they were mugging you. Haha, no problem, mate!

???: What are you doing here anyway? You’re dressed way too fine to be in a gang.

Valo: …

> Tell the truth > Lie
Valo: … I was buying drugs. I was supposed to meet my dealer here. Valo: I was… taking a walk.
The stranger blinks at me for an astonished second before throwing his head back and laughing loudly. ???: Oh? And you chose this dank-ass gross alleyway for a bit of a jog?
???: Okay first off, you don’t tell people you’re buying drugs like that. Valo: …
The stranger narrows his eyes at me and stares at me for a long while.

???: Wait a second… Are you… what was the nick… LightEnvelopingDark or whatever the fuck?

Valo: Y-yes?

The stranger laughs again.

???: No way. I’m dealing to you? Is this your first time buying?

I feel myself blush and I nod.

Valo: We might have to call the deal off, though. The muggers took my money.

The stranger scowls.

???: That’s unfortunate. After I came all the way here too…

He claps his hands suddenly, making me jump.

???: How about this? I give you the shit and you repay me with a favour later.

Valo: …Sure.

As soon as the word leaves my mouth, I realize that it might not be a good idea to leave a drug dealer with an IOU. Especially with a verbal agreement.

Too late now, I guess.

???: Cool cool cool. Name’s Nigel, by the way.

Valo: I’m Valo.

We shake hands.

That’s how I met Nigel.


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CHAPTER 1: DRUG DEALZ

Somehow Nigel and I settled into a weird nonverbal agreement, where Nigel would randomly call me up to help with his errands, which he then rewards me with drugs or experimental tech.

At some point, I had become his go-to handyman.

It’s… a weird relationship, but it works.

Nigel is actually pretty cool now that I’ve gotten to know him.

xxEndOfAnEraxx: Hey m8! We have deals! Meet up at my place.

LightEnvelopingDark: Alright. Be there in 15.

xxEndOfAnEraxx: Good boy. I’ll give you a cut from the stock.

LightEnvelopingDark: Hell yeah!

I put my shoes on and head out to Nigel’s place.

valo%20nigel%202.png

I press the doorbell and wait for Nigel to open the door.

… There’s no answer.

I press the doorbell again.

I hear clattering inside the flat and Nigel finally opens the door, looking frazzled.

Nigel: Fucking… I don’t have time for getting fucking doors. I need someone here to do it for me.

Nigel: Anyway! Valo! My man of the hour! Come in, come in!

He steps aside and lets me in. I follow him into his kitchen.

Valo: What are we selling today?

Nigel: Cocaine. Boring, but it works.

I huff a laugh. God, Nigel is so cool. Only he could describe cocaine as “boring”.

Nigel: I already have a few lines out for us before we hit the road.

Valo: Awesome.

Nigel grins and motions towards the table. There are four lines of cocaine on the pristine surface, along with a plastic card, a five euro bill and minigrip bags of the white powder in varying sizes.

Nigel: After you.

I nod and snort one of the lines. The powder stings and burns in my sinuses [do research on this]. I sniffle when my nose feels like it’s going to start running.

While I’m recovering from the hit, Nigel snorts two lines.

Nigel: You gonna take that?

He points at the last line.

Valo: I’ll take it slowly. you can have it if you want.

Nigel: Top shit.

He finishes off the last line and snorts like a huge dog, shaking his head.

Nigel: Whoof! Top shit!

He claps his hands.

Nigel: Take the bags. You’ll be in charge of the merchandise tonight.

I nod and carefully stuff as many bags into my pockets as I can. I’m only wearing jeans and a T-shirt, but I manage to fit all of them, except for the biggest bag.

Nigel: I guess I’ll have to take that, then. Since I’ll be wearing my coat and all.

He grabs the bag and we head to his door. Nigel shrugs his coat on and slips the bag into one of its inner pockets.

Valo: Are you sure you want to wear that? It’s like a million degrees outside.

Nigel grins and flicks finger guns at me. My breath hitches.

Nigel: Check this out! I modified it!

He opens the coat, showing me a network of pipes inside the coat.

Valo: What’s that?

Nigel: Try it!

I blink, but hesitantly touch one of the pipes. It’s pleasantly cool.

Valo: Wow, what?

Nigel: I built a cooling slash heating system inside. I’ll be nice and chill during the summer heat and warm and toasty during winter colds. And always styling.

Valo: That’s awesome…

Oh my god, he’s so smart!

Suddenly I realize how close I am to him. My hands are almost touching his chest. My heartbeat speeds up.

Nigel: I can Make you one, too. If you want. Might take some time though.

Valo: Mhm…

Nigel gives me a grin like he knows what I’m thinking.

Nigel: We should go.

I snap my hand back and start stammering.

Valo: Y-yeah!

We head out, my heart still pounding. Nigel leads us to the center, to a small club. As we sit down to wait for our customers, Nigel starts talking.

Nigel: Did you know that there is a haunted tree in this city?

The club is kind of loud, so I lean closer to him to hear what he’s saying. I can almost immediately smell his deodorant. That, with the pounding music in the club, is making me dizzy.

Valo: What? No. Where?

Nigel: Ah, shit mate. I don’t fucking remember. But it was like. There was this guy who broke out German prisoners of war during the second world war, right?

Valo: Uh-huh.

Nigel: He let them escape, right? And he got caught for doing it and he got hung. He was hung on this one specific tree.

Nigel: And he was buried under the same tree.

Nigel: Later his body was taken to a real graveyard, but before that, people said that that tree was haunted by that guy’s ghost or something.

At some point, my gaze had fallen to Nigel’s lips.

Valo: That’s wild.

Nigel: Right?!

Nigel: But the haunting stopped when the guy was buried properly. Or something.

Nigel: Shame… It would’ve been cool to see.

Valo: There might be other haunted places in Oulu.

Nigel hums and lets his head roll back. The way his neck arches makes his Adam's apple stand out and it’s… distractingly sexy. Luckily, someone approaches us to buy a few bags and distracts me from the distraction.

When the customer leaves, Nigel doesn’t speak. I should keep the conversation up.

> Ask about current projects > Ask about the sudden interest in ghosts > Ask where he got the cocaine
Valo: Wh… Have you been working on something cool? Valo: So… Ghosts? Is that a… an interest? Valo: Where did you get the… merchandise?
Nigel frowns. Nigel: Haha, yeah. I’ve recently gotten into supernatural and occult shit. Nigel: Made it myself. I’ve been dabbling into chemistry as of late.
Nigel: Not really, just the usual repair work. Valo: I thought you were a logical… a man of logic. Nigel grins at me. My heart skips a beat.
Nigel: I’ve been in some kind of slump as of late. Nigel: Hah! I am! I’m just interested. Valo: Wh… How?
Valo: Maybe you need to work on something new. Valo: How so? I knew Nigel was an engineer but now he’s getting into chemistry too? He’s so smart!
Nigel crosses his arms. Nigel grins and winks at me. The action sends an electric jolt through my spine. Nigel laughs.
Nigel: You may be right. Nigel: I might have an idea for a project, if my hypothesis is right. Nigel: It’s actually surprisingly easy, you just-
He grins at me. My breath hitches.
Nigel: You always know just want to say.

Another person comes to buy a bag and interrupts us. He gets his baggy and leaves, leaving me and Nigel alone again.

> Ask about current projects > Ask about the sudden interest in ghosts > Ask where he got the cocaine

As we speak, I find it’s harder and harder to pay attention to his words. My eyes keep slipping to his lips. Luckily, business picks up and clusters of people show up to buy our shit. Most of the stock is sold and Nigel and I are by ourselves again.

> Ask about current projects > Ask about the sudden interest in ghosts > Ask where he got the cocaine

Our conversation lulls, and I’m glad for it. I need to cool my head.

Time passes and the closing time arrives. I still have one bag left.

Valo: Someone didn’t show up to get their shit.

Nigel: Yeah, I thought so too.

Nigel: Do you want to have it?

Valo: Haha, hell no, I’m not snorting from a filthy fucking club table.

Nigel: You don’t have to. I’ll show you how to snort from the back of your hand.

Nigel: Check this out.

Nigel opens the bag and sprinkles a line on the crook of his thumb and index finger. He glances at me before he lifts the powder to his nose and inhales it.

Valo: Oh.

Nigel: It takes practice. Now you.

I nod and carefully sprinkle some on my hand. Some falls off, but not much. I snort it hurriedly, so I don’t spill it all on myself.

I end up inhaling it too hard and it burns in my sinuses. I start coughing and spill some of the leftover powder on my shirt.

Nigel laughs.

Nigel: You’re such a doofus.

I’m coughing so hard that I can’t reply to him.

Nigel: You are a mess.

He starts dusting the cocaine from my chest. The touch is so electrifying to me that I stop coughing almost immediately.

My heart is beating so fast. God, I hope Nigel won’t feel it.

Nigel’s hand stills. His eyes catch mine. God, they’re so blue. His pupils are massive. Is it because of the dim club, the cocaine, or…

The club’s lights flash in a sign that it’s about to close soon.

Nigel: Hm. Better get going.

He glances at me and grins, licking his lips.

My eyes drop immediately towards the motion.

Nigel’s grin widens and I know he saw me looking. I look away like yanking a hand away from a hot stove. Fucking shit.

Nigel stands up and starts walking towards the exit. I follow.

We go to our respective homes and I have a hard time shaking Nigel from my head.

I have a cold shower and I may or may not furiously jerk off a few times to appease the libido that the cocaine woke up. I also may or may not think of Nigel while doing it.

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