Chapter 4: End of the road
Under the cover of night, Noah and I left through the front door, heading north towards Montana. I was surprised at the lack of security. But I figured it was a hospice clinic, not the actual prison. But I quickly realized why it had been so easy. Two guys in their twenties (one who was terminally ill) walking along the highway, through the South Dakota badlands were not going to get far. We had no food, water or medicine. By all accounts, we should have been dead before making it anywhere near the state border. Never underestimate the power of hitchhiking and prostitution.
I had contacts in Montana, people who could help me, despite the fact I turned state’s evidence against my former employers. Along the way, there were others like me, former drug dealers and hitmen living off the grid. We managed to find a shit-hole motel primarily used by homeless and drifters. With my charming, agreeable personality I landed a sweet gig; getting paid twenty dollars a day to clean and play repair-man around the facility. With Montana prices, it was enough to buy food and save up for a cheap car. The days turned to weeks, all while Noah was doing some hustling of his own.
I knew what he was doing and I tried to convince myself I was fine with it. Noah brought in way more than twenty dollars a day and he never once rubbed it in my face. In my heart I could tell myself that Noah was just resting, maybe entertaining visitors with his spirituality. Certainly not fucking every redneck trucker with a paycheck.
But one day, after about a month, fate just had to go and intervene. I came back to my room early, to get out of the blazing heat, I was welcomed to the sight of Noah sucking off a large bearded man. I paused by the doorway. With the light of the midday sun, there was no way the man didn’t see me, but he didn’t seem to care. As he came closer to climax, he gripped Noah’s hair- hard.
Noah emerged from between the man’s legs, wiping thick white liquid from his lips. The man paid Noah a wad of bills and a sandwich bag full of random pills. “Oh, yeah,” the man groaned with pleasure as he closed his pants. “You’re worth every penny, Lakota boy.”
“Thank you, kindly, Sir,” Noah replied in a fake accent that made him sound younger than he really was.
The man passed me as he left the room. “Your turn.”
I shut and locked the door, gripping my head as I turned to Noah. “So, are you taking appointments or something?”
“No, I’m just a popular attraction at this freakshow.” Noah took a few pills and washed them down with what I hoped was water. “Why, you mad?”
I started to laugh. “No.” I couldn’t be mad. Noah was sick, and the little money I brought in was not enough to keep his pain at bay. “Can I have some of your pills?”
“Of course.” Noah handed me the bag. I recognized certain pills as pain medicine but a few were clearly Viagra and Ecstasy.
I took a few pills and downed them with the liquid from the water bottle. It was vodka and within seconds I started to feel dizzy. “Do you let them touch you?”
Noah shrugged. Already completely naked, he pinned me down, straddling my hips. “Nah, man. You’re my one and only.”
Reaching between his legs I knew he was telling the truth. His balls were heavy, full. He had been sucking cock all day but never once did he take pleasure. “But do you let them fuck you?”
Noah chuckled. “Maybe, for the right price.”
I took off my shirt, revealing my sweaty chest. “You’re a bad liar.” I felt a rush of energy. I wanted what was mine. “Get on your knees.”
“As you wish, my love.”
I licked my palms and jerked myself off until my cock gushed with pre-cum, more than enough to lube his tight asshole. “You’re damn right, I take you as I wish.”
Noah laughed as he buried his face in the pillow, clearly high as a kite.
I took his comfort as a challenge. I was going to use him, like the fuckboy slut he was. Ramming my dick in his ass, I gave his leg a hard slap. “Do you want me to jerk you off?”
Noah nodded into the pillow, with a pain-stricken whimper. He sounded like a puppy begging for attention.
I grabbed him by his hair, forcefully yanking his head up. “Answer me, bitch!”
Noah spread his legs, coaxing my hand. “Please…jerk me off.”
I could hear knocking at the door. I had no way of knowing if they were here for Noah or for the fact that I was blowing off the rest of my cleaning shift. But it made me even more hot and horny. “Damn right I will. You’re all mine.”
I jerked off Noah’s cock, giving his balls a hard squeeze when I blew my load. I took a moment to savor the feeling before my sweaty body collapsed onto Noah, allowing me to bury my face in his sweat-soaked hair.
We laughed, splitting the remainder of the vodka and pills. It was enough to help us fall asleep in a hot sticky mess. I was feeling satisfied, even a little happy. We didn’t need food and water, all we needed to survive was sweat, cum, and our undying love.
Hours later, I awoke to darkness. Noah was coughing so badly it made my heart ache. I was about to look over when I heard the sound of sobbing.
“Marc?” Noah reached for my hand.
I wanted to pretend to be asleep. He needed his bi-pap, his oxygen, he needed more than I was capable of giving.
“Hey, Marc?” Noah’s voice was a soft, weak whisper.
Fighting back tears, I gave his hand a squeeze. “I’m here.”
“Got any more pills? M-My chest hurts really bad.”
“I’ll go look.” I got up, standing on unstable legs. I knew if I moved too much I was going to pass out, vomit or worse. Luckily, I managed to find some weed on a nearby table. So, with hands shakier than I would have liked I rolled a joint. “Here, I found something.”
Noah sat up in bed, grabbing a lighter from the nightstand. “Thanks, man. I can always count on you.”
I stayed by Noah’s side, putting my arm around him. “Tomorrow I’m going to start shopping for a car.” By that, I meant we needed to get the hell out of Montana.
It’d been only six months since that fateful day when I met my angel on the front steps of a South Dakota prison hospice, but it felt like a lifetime. I drove us north in a cheap Volkswagen van that felt like it was held together with duct-tape. We took the side roads, slowly making our way into Saskatchewan. I tried to find places to sleep that were under the stars and out of sight of any passing cars. I had no idea where we were even going, Canada just seemed a safer, more beautiful place.
Noah was in the passenger seat resting his head against the window, the light reflecting off his dark eyes. “I think it’s starting to snow.” With his weak arms, he struggled to roll down the manual window, stopping at just a few inches. It was enough space to smoke but it also proved his point; the outside wind was getting dangerously cold. Noah lit up a cigarette, taking a long drag. “So, what will you do when this is all over?”
“What do you mean?” I knew perfectly well what he meant.
“When I’m gone.”
I gripped the steering wheel as tight as I could. “I don’t want to think about that.”
“You’re right,” Noah said with a laugh as be blew a ring of smoke. “We can always find a genie or wish upon a star. Or maybe we can negotiate a cease fire with my cancer; it can take my legs if it gives me back my lungs.”
“I thought you’d want to negotiate for your brain.”
“Nah, man,” Noah chuckled. “I lost my mind a long time ago.”
I turned my head just enough to catch a glimpse of his radiant smile. “I’m going to find a place to camp for the night.” I wasn’t a child waiting for a fairy-tale miracle. There wasn’t much time left, but I wanted every moment.
I drove until I found what looked like an abandoned farmhouse. With the impending cold, I liked the idea of a roof. I had a small amount of water and food. Maybe we could even make a fire.
I parked the van just in time to catch the sunset. The orange sun turned to a dramatic purple hue, as I collected wood to build a fire. It was a nice house, safe, warm, even if it was covered in dust and possibly rot. There was no electricity but luckily, I still had a lighter and a couple packs of matches. I started to make some ‘torches’ out of paper scraps and whatever containers I could find. After about a dozen handmade lights, I was able to create a decently illuminated space.
Noah came in, arms crossed. “It’s kinda cold in here.”
“Maybe it’ll get warmer.” I cleared off a table to put down our supplies.
“Got any water?” Noah asked, still shivering.
“Yeah, I was thinking of boiling some to mix with the oatmeal packets.” I had a set up that I used to boil water. It used to be three soda cans but with some holes and hand-made connections, I had a little stove that could boil enough water for the two packs of oatmeal that I stole from the last motel we passed.
We had some Styrofoam cups to be able to split the meal in half, but the only utensil we owned was our lone metal spoon; the crack spoon. Noah went first, chuckling at the sight of the burnt metal.
“Does it taste weird?”
Noah ate spoonful after spoonful answering me with a mouth full of paste. “Oatmeal tastes like vomit to begin with. Charred crack can only improve the flavor.”
“I guess.” I was just happy he was eating. I fished around in my pocket for more matches, I always grabbed a handful whenever I saw a bowl at restaurants, gas stations, etc. But what I found was a little better. “Here, I have some M&Ms.”
“You have M&M’s in your pocket?”
“In a wrapper,” I said with a smirk. “I mean it’s just a fun-size, so there are like four candies in here but you can have it.
“We can split them.” Noah was still stuffing his face. Clearly, he was hungrier than I was.
“No, I’m good,” I said as I tossed him the small pack. “You need the calories more than I do.”
Noah tore open the package and counted out three peanut M&Ms. “You’re right, only enough for me.” He put all three in his mouth as he moved on to my lap. “One for you,” he said with a kiss, forcing a candy into my mouth, “and two for me.”
Noah finished his food and cuddled close, resting his head on my chest as I ate my cup of oatmeal-vomit-mush. I stroked his back, massaging his shoulder. Noah felt warm, it was clear he had a fever. But at that moment, holding him felt like a heating pad.
“Marc?” Noah asked in a whisper.
“Yeah?” I replied, stroking his hair.
“I need to take a shit.”
“Ok, um, let me get you some light.” I wanted to make him a torch out of my collection of matches to help him find his way around in the darkness of night.
“No, I think I’ll just go to sleep in the van.”
“Ok.” It made sense. We had toilet paper and sanitation wipes in the van. And by the light of the moon, it was easy enough to maintain sight of.
Noah kissed my cheek and then left through the main door.
I sat back down to finish my food. I had every intention of joining Noah once I extinguished all the lights.
But then I heard a different sound; the crunch of footsteps in the freshly fallen snow. “Noah?” For a moment I thought, maybe, he came back to check on me. I opened the door to see a person wearing an upscale down jacket; the person was small, slender, and notably female. “Dr. Miller?”
She stepped into the light of the doorway. “Can I come in?”
“I don’t know, can you?” I asked with all the seriousness of preschooler.
Dr. Miller giggled. “Just the reaction I was expecting.”
“Why? Do you have a sniper team out there?” I was in a joking, playful mood, although I had no idea why.
“I don’t. I came alone but I’d really like to make the trip back to South Dakota with some company.” Dr. Miller stood there. She didn’t come in, pat my arm or anything else that would have come off as condescending.
“Come in.” I took a step back, even offering her a chair at the empty, decrepit table. “So, how did you find me?”
“You only escaped because I allowed it. I’ve been tracking you for the past month.”
“Tracking me as what, an experiment?” Part of me really hoped that wasn’t the answer.
“Not entirely,” she said, casually sitting down. “Do you know why I had you transferred from a prison in New Jersey? I mean, it wasn’t the easiest process. I had to call in a crap-ton of favors.”
“You said it was because of my academic background.”
“And how would I know that? Do you think there’s a database of incarcerated child geniuses?”
Looking into Dr. Miller’s eyes, I saw a familiar blue-brown mixture. She had eyes like quartz crystal, something that always felt unique when I saw it in the mirror. I had no idea why I’d never seen it before. “Are we related?”
Dr. Miller nodded. In the darkness, I could still make out tears in her eyes. “You never knew your father, because he spent the majority of his life being my father.” She took out a key ring, throwing down what appeared to be a locket. “Major Joseph Miller, he looks just like you.”
I picked up the locket. “You carry this around?”
“I like the image of how he looked before I realized he was a womanizing scumbag with a girlfriend in every port city. He died a few years ago, but I always had a feeling he left something behind other than his massive debt. I put my DNA in the FBI database and, well, that’s how I found you.”
“How do I know this isn’t a trick?”
“What would I have to gain?”
“The reward for bringing in two fugitives.”
“Just what Dad would say.” Dr. Miller took off her pack and placed it on a nearby table. “I brought you guys some food, water, and even meds.” She picked up the bottle, shaking it. Strangely, it made no sound. “Can we go check on Noah?”
“Sure, I guess.” I gave her a moment to gather her pack and together we walked to the unlocked van. Opening the door, I could see Noah was asleep under the one blanket we owned. I turned to Dr. Miller.
She stood with her arms crossed, visibly shivering. “Turn the engine on, that will let some heat in.”
I did as she asked, even though we ran the risk of running out of fuel and becoming completely stranded.
Dr. Miller took a seat by Noah’s side. “Hey, Noah, sweetie, how are you doing?”
Noah opened his eyes. “Dr. Miller?” he asked in an innocent voice, “Are you here to take us back to South Dakota?”
“No,” she said as she stroked his hair, looking every bit like a mother. “I’m just here to check in, bring you some supplies.” She took off her pack and unloaded a few items; bottled water, food bars, and the mysteriously quiet bottle. “You can call me Shay.” Not Dr. Miller, not even Shannon, she was just Shay, our sister: our friend.
“I brought you some medicine but it’s up to you if you want to take it.” She placed the bottle in Noah’s hand, close enough for him to see the label. “This powder will help you end your life; mix it with water and with a few sips you’ll go peacefully, without any pain.”
My hands were trembling but not from the cold. There was a sharp pain in my wrists, a burning fire. I gripped my hands, if only to keep from attacking her. “Get… the… fuck… out.” The words came out as a whisper.
Shay turned her head, nodding at me. “When you’re ready to talk I won’t be hard to find.” She got up and left, shutting the door behind her.
I wanted to hurl the pack at her but I knew we needed the supplies. Instead, I took a seat by Noah’s side. “You ok?”
Noah looked up at me, his eyes seemed to sparkle in the light of the moonlit sky. “Will you stay with me?”
“Yeah, of course.” Shay had been right about one thing, running the engine made the space slightly less cold. I cuddled close to Noah, putting my arms around his slender body as we shared the blanket. I knew he was in pain. All I could do was keep him warm.
“Marc,” Noah said as he stroked his hand to my cheek. “I love you and I will always be grateful for you.”
“I’m so sorry.” I knew I was crying but there was no way for me to stop myself.
“This is not the time for feeling sorry.” Noah kissed my lips with the same tenderness and passion as the day we first met. “Will you hold me?”
I was already holding him, but Noah took my hands, directing them where he wanted them to go. His bare skin felt so warm and inviting as my fingers traced his slender hips, down his thighs. I could already feel the heat between his legs.
Noah was breathing hard, as he licked my ear. “Just use spit.” He gave my earlobe a soft, tender kiss. “I can take it.”
I could feel Noah’s warm hands inside my pants, gripping my cock. No words came from my lips. All I could do was look into his eyes, as he worked my shaft, jerking me off with our shared sweat.
“I know you want me, Marc.” Noah licked his lips, waiting with a seductive smirk. “I can see it in your eyes.”
Although there wasn’t much space I moved on top. Still under the blanket, I maneuvered his leg over my shoulder.
I spat on my hand to lube myself.
I remember the tightness of his body, the way he moaned my name, the way he begged.
“Fuck me, Marc, come on… harder… harder… I want you so bad…”
It felt so good. Just to be with him, just to experience his soft breath on my neck as I pounded him deep and hard.
Even now, I remember the smell of his sweat, the taste of his lips. I remember it all except for when he left.
I awoke the next morning alone. The bright light glared through the ancient curtains, making it impossible to see. I sat up, looking towards the front seat. “Noah?”
He was sitting in the front seat, fully dressed, holding two new paper cups. “Breakfast, courtesy of Dr. Miller, or Shay,” Noah said with a laugh. His hair hung loosely over his shoulders as he stared into the sun. Without so much as a glance in my direction, Noah handed me a lukewarm cup of coffee.
That was when I noticed his cup was empty. In it, were remains of liquid, and clumps of unmixed powder. I knew what he had done. “Why?”
Noah shrugged. “I know you’d never leave me, that’s why I have to be the one to go.”
I dropped my cup, sick to my stomach. It was all I could do to not fall to the ground sobbing. “So,” I said with a forced breath, “you drank it all?”
“Yeah, I just wish I had something better to mix it with; vodka, tequila. Hopefully, J.P will have something waiting for me.” Noah’s face seemed to glow in the sunlight making him look angelic. “I’ve done some messed up shit. I mean, let’s face it, I’m a fuckboy-whore with a pre-stamped ticket to hell.” He reached out his hand, gripping my fingers tightly. “But you’ve gotta believe me, Marc, I’ve never loved anyone the way I loved you.” Noah finally turned his head, looking me in the eyes. “I wasn’t meant to burn with my mother, I was put on this earth to live and die for you.” He blinked his eyes, as his hand slowly released its grip. “I’m starting to feel a little sleepy.”
I scooted close to Noah, resting his head on my chest. I could feel his breath against my skin. “It’s ok, you can rest now.” I brushed the hair from Noah’s face, to be able to kiss his forehead one last time. “I’ll never forget you.”
I could feel the moment his soul left. The warmth, the energy, the spirit was gone. All that remained was a shell, a husk. I laid Noah’s body on the floor of the van and then went about setting small fires with whatever matches I had left. Maybe his body would be burned, maybe it wouldn’t. At least he died someplace that was not a prison hospice.
I stepped out of the van, my bare feet crunching in the freshly fallen snow. Dr. Miller was waiting. “Hi, Shay.”
“Hey, little brother.” She held in her hand a pair of rain boots. “They’re one size fits all.”
“Thanks,” I muttered. I was grateful, but we still had a long way to go. “So, what happens now?”
“You’re my family. I’ll fight like hell to give you the future you deserve.”
I took one last look at the van. Wisps of smoke were just starting to emerge from the windows. I took one step then another until I was standing by my sister’s side.
Shay placed her hand on my shoulder. “You’ll be ok.” It wasn’t a question, but a declaration.
“I’ll be ok,” I repeated. “I don’t believe that, but I’ll have to try.” I mean, I found love in a hopeless place, anything is possible.
“Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missing home
Only know you love him when you let him go”