Land of the Living Ch. 02

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Revised version copyright 2006 by the author.

“Are you sure you can manage him?” the doctor asked a week later. They were standing some distance from Lee, sitting placidly in a wheelchair at the curb of the hospital’s main entrance.

“Yes,” Jordan said with a confidence he didn’t feel. “He doesn’t know anyone, but he’s perfectly fine otherwise. You said his memory could come back at any time. Being at home he’ll be in familiar surroundings. Surely something will trigger it.”

“I hope so. Please let me know if there’s any change. Good luck,” she said, shaking Jordan’s hand.

Nothing miraculous happened when he brought Lee home, however. Still stiff from the accident, the professor hobbled inquiringly about, Jordan following, saying at one point, “Nice house.” A few minutes later, he said to Jordan, “So you’re my partner?”

“Yes, I am, Lee,” Jordan replied.

“So I’m gay,” Lee said musingly. He looked at Jordan. “Please forgive me, but right now, I don’t feel–anything for you. I don’t know you.”

Jordan tried to smile reassuringly. “Don’t worry about it. You just get some rest, take it easy. The university’s granted you a medical leave and we’re trying to keep things quiet, give you plenty of time to get better.”

“Thank you,” Lee said. The impersonal, formal tone in his voice made Jordan’s heart sink. How was he going to deal with this? And for how long?

A trace of humor flickered in the older man’s distant eyes. “You can trust me, Jordan. I’ll stay put. It seems I remember how to do the basics like feeding, dressing and the rest. I won’t wander off or pee on the rug.” He patted Jordan gently on the arm. “I’d like to look at the garden. I seem to have been good at growing things.”

The next afternoon Jordan came home from work. “Lee?” There was no response. He went outside around the house and yard, but Lee wasn’t there. Jordan walked into the house from the back, beginning to be worried. He called Lee’s name again.

“In here,” came a voice.

Relieved, Jordan went back into the master bedroom, then stopped short. Lee was standing naked, gazing at himself in the full-length mirror on the bathroom door with a critical air. He wheeled around, and Jordan recoiled at the sharp accusation in his eyes.

“Why did you let me get like this?”

Jordan stammered, “L-like what?”

“I’m a fat slob. This is disgusting. Why didn’t you say something?”

“What was I supposed to say? It’s your body.” He had never known his partner to be concerned about his weight before.

Lee shook his head, pursing his lips. “Well, I’m going to start working on this right now–after I shave.”


“I’m getting rid of this ratty thing,” Lee said, pulling at his beard. “Mind if I use the NordicTrack?” he called from inside the bathroom a few moments later.

Jordan, still standing there, replied, “Go ahead, it belongs to the both of us.” Lee had never shown any interest in it until now. He left, shaking his head.

Later, at dinner, Lee’s strange energy seemed to have dissipated. He had returned to the pleasant, somewhat vacant state that had been the norm since he returned from the hospital. He had run on the NordicTrack for a good hour, and asked Jordan about gym memberships. Jordan had told him he could use his at the local fitness club.

In the days that followed, he saw no sign that his partner was improving, if that meant his memory returning. Lee treated Jordan with polite formality, as if he were a stranger temporarily sharing living quarters with him. Beneath his placid exterior, though, Jordan sensed something going on. Lee showed no interest in his academic or scholarly work, but continued exercising with fierce diligence, riding the machine in their home every day for long periods of time. He also found the track at the high school nearby. Inevitably, he was glimpsed by one of his colleagues at the University, who later called Jordan, frantic at the professor’s bizarre behavior. Jordan had to spend twenty minutes explaining the situation, and hung up dismayed. So much for the “medical leave” story.

He was uneasy himself about the situation. Periodically Lee’s calm was replaced by what seemed to be another, much more aggressive personality. That early day in the bedroom had been one instance of that. Another took place about a week or two afterward.

He came home and found Lee in the office, clicking at the computer keyboard. For a moment Jordan was startled, thinking that his partner’s memory might have returned. Lee looked up and smiled. “Been fooling around with this thing.”

“Oh really?” Jordan suddenly felt nervous. That strange look in Lee’s eyes was back, an unnatural brightness.

“Found some pretty interesting stuff. Your live-in know about all of this?”

Jordan stiffened. “What are you talking about?”

“This pic, for one.” Lee clicked the mouse and suddenly the picture of Marc in his red bikini filled the screen. “Pretty hot guy there. Someone you know?”

Jordan bursa escort bayan answered, trying to keep his voice steady, “Someone I knew.” He was angry, and bewildered at Lee talking about himself as if he were another person.

“So high and mighty about people fucking around, and you’re doing the same thing left and right. “

“That’s not true.” Jordan began to be frightened as well as angry.

“Oh no? What about that little blond number you go see?”

Jordan was speechless. How could Lee possibly have known about Daniel?

“I know what he does to you for a hundred dollars a pop.” Lee snorted contemptuously. “Loser. Paying to get it–“

“Shut the fuck up!” Jordan screamed, completely losing control under the strain of the past weeks, and now this vicious, mystifying attack. “What the fuck would you know about it, you smug asshole.” He began to cry.

Abruptly Lee rose from the chair and came toward him. Jordan raised his arms and began to flail at him randomly, still weeping. Lee caught hold of his arms to stop his attack, enfolding him in a fierce, surprisingly strong embrace. Jordan struggled a few moments longer, then yielded and let Lee cradle him sobbing against his chest.

“I’m so sorry,” he heard Lee say. “I don’t know why I say those things. Please, I’m sorry, Camel. You were good to me. You were there when everyone else left… please.”

Just as abruptly Lee released him and was gone, footsteps fading rapidly away. Jordan sank to his knees, hiccuping with sobs, completely disoriented. When he finally was able to get up and go searching cautiously for his partner, he found him asleep on their bed.

Lee padded into the kitchen some time later as he was half-heartedly making something to eat. Jordan wheeled around warily.

The professor, however, had reverted to his usual state. He ate his meal and chatted agreeably enough. It soon became clear that he remembered nothing of the conflict that had taken place not an hour earlier.

That night Jordan lay awake, staring into space. The quarrel had deeply shaken him, not only because of Lee’s uncharacteristic malice but also certain things he had said. It was possible that sometime in the past he had told Lee Marc’s silly pet name for him–but why would he suddenly use it now? No answers came, and after tossing and turning he finally fell into a troubled sleep.

He began to feel desperate and confined at home. Conversation was impossible with this being who looked like Lee, but had none of his partner’s cultured intelligence. This person watched TV most of the time or read popular magazines, when he wasn’t running or lifting weights. His occasional energetic moods remained puzzling, though not as upsetting as that day in front of the computer.

Jordan finally decided to take some time for himself. After work one day he went to the gym and drove himself through an intense workout. The exercise failed to relieve his stress as he had hoped–he remained tense and irritable, and caught himself worrying about Lee every few minutes.

He arrived home exhausted, without having showered. He needed one badly before turning in. The bedroom was dark and Lee was asleep under the covers, his face away from the door. Hoping that he would not be wakened by the sound of the shower, he slipped past him and entered the bathroom, trying to not make too much noise as he closed the door and turned on the light.

He stripped, turned on the water and got in under the hot spray. Finally he began to relax, closing his eyes and letting his mind go blank. His cock stirred, and he gave it a couple of strokes as it rose. He hadn’t realized how horny he was. He had been too busy to see Daniel, and sex with Lee seemed out of the question as long as he was in this state…

At that moment the bathroom darkened. Startled, Jordan looked up to see a hulking, menacing shape looming on the other side of the shower curtain. Before he could react, a hand swept it aside to reveal a tall figure with one arm raised in the air, holding something cylindrical. Jordan’s mouth opened and he screamed in terror as the object descended on his body, and…

Bounced off his skin. It was a rolled-up newspaper. “Boo!” Lee cried.

Jordan’s knees buckled and he had to lean against the shower wall to keep from falling. Relief flooded through him, quickly replaced by anger. “Are you fucking crazy?” he shouted.

“No,” Lee replied gaily, “Just amnesiac.” He was dressed only in a pair of white briefs, and as irate and off-balance as Jordan was, he couldn’t help noticing that all the exercise was having an effect. Lee’s belly had shrunk and his shoulders had broadened. Jordan realized, dismayed, that his arousal was returning, made stronger by the surge of adrenalin that had shot through his body.

Lee’s smile broadened. “You’re cute when you’re mad.”

“Well, are you just going to stand there getting water all over the floor?”

In response, newspaper and briefs gorukle escort were quickly discarded. In an instant a naked Lee was in the shower with him, closing the curtain in one quick sweep. Jordan was flabbergasted. He couldn’t recall a time when he and Lee had showered together–or for that matter, when Lee had played a prank on him.

Lee’s arms went around Jordan. He kissed him, lifting his shorter lover in the air. Jordan found his body responding eagerly as he let his hands rove over Lee’s back. Lee put him down and knelt. The next moment Jordan gasped as his cock was surrounded by surging heat. Lee had engulfed him with a mouthful of hot water and was churning it vigorously in his cheeks. He finally released him and raised his face, grinning and squinting his eyes against the pelting spray. “Hot enough for you?”

“I’m going to shoot in about two seconds.”

Lee stood, towering over Jordan again. “Not before you get fucked.” He leered at his partner just before grabbing his shoulders and forcing him to turn toward the tiled wall. He felt Lee’s hand between his butt cheeks, applying some slippery substance, then, before he knew what was happening, the hard cylinder of his cock sliding into his rectum. Searing pain shot through him and Jordan screamed.

“Shh. Easy,” Lee whispered in his ear, one arm wrapped tightly around his body. As the worst of the hurt passed Jordan felt the invading cock begin to move slowly in and out of his stretched hole. Gradually warmth replaced the pain. His head fell back against Lee’s shoulder, his eyes closed, his mouth opened. As Lee fucked him steadily and methodically Jordan let go of the wall with one hand and began to work his own cock underneath.

“Oh yes,” he breathed, softly at first, then gradually repeating the words louder and louder until the last “Oh!” became a prolonged wail of triumph. His anal ring gripped Lee’s shaft in an ecstatic convulsion as his cock discharged its load, thick white drops trickling down the tile before being washed away. Soon he heard Lee groan. His lover pitched forward onto him, exploding in turn into his body.

They got out of the shower, dried themselves off and mopped up some of the water on the floor. Then they moved to the bed and started over again. Jordan felt the accumulated tension of the past weeks finally leave his body, consumed in the fireball of his second orgasm.

Later, their limbs loosely entwined on the bed, he stared at the ceiling, listening to Lee’s soft even breathing.

Whatever the hell was going on, it wasn’t dull. The only problem was, he wasn’t getting much work done–the work that counted, anyway. He hadn’t written any of his own stuff in weeks, not since all this had started. Jordan realized how much Lee had helped him to write, not only by reading and critiquing his work, but by treating him like someone with talent. With the person that Lee had become he was alternately playing nurse and fuck buddy. Come to think of it, his life with Marc had been about like that.

Lying there, Jordan admitted the truth–Marc never had regarded him as an intellectual equal. Lee had. Suddenly Jordan desperately missed the partner he knew. Was he gone forever?

He forced back the tears of panic that suddenly rose.

On Sunday that week he drove Lee down to a little Mexican restaurant on the main drag downtown for brunch. The narrow dining room was crowded and noisy. Lee was pleasant, vague and distant as he had usually been during the weeks since the accident. He gave no sign of remembering that he had been to the place many times before.

As they were finishing their meal, Jordan said, “Want to go to Tesoros?”

Lee started. “What’s that?”

“It’s a few doors down,” Jordan explained patiently. “They sell antiques, curios, interesting stuff from Mexico and other countries. It’s one of your favorite stores. We always go there after brunch here.”

“Really?” Lee asked, brightening a little. “That does sound nice.”

They walked into the crowded and colorful shop. Jordan began to browse, simultaneously trying to keep an eye on his partner. Things seemed okay and he relaxed a bit, becoming interested in some inlaid wooden boxes from somewhere in Asia. In a few moments someone tapped him on the shoulder. Lee was standing behind him holding a large, carved wooden statue. He couldn’t place its origin, but Jordan saw that it was obviously male-its most prominent feature was an enormous phallus.

He looked sharply at Lee. The peculiar wicked glint in his partner’s eye was back.

“What do you think? For my office at school?” Lee asked.

Jordan snorted, though he was also a bit worried. Lee had shown himself capable of almost anything when he was in this mood. “I don’t think so. Some female student will cite you for sexual harassment during office hours.”

Lee opened his mouth to make some retort, but at that moment there was a disturbance at the front of the store: a figure moving hastily toward bursa merkez escort bayan the door, bumping into surprised and protesting customers. A man’s voice, closer to them, demanded, “Hey! Where are you going with that?” Then, the high-pitched beeping of a store security alarm.

The store clerk shouted, “Stop that guy! That stuff’s worth thousands of dollars!”

Lee put down the figure he was holding and sprinted toward the street entrance. Before Jordan could fully grasp what was happening he was out the door and after the thief. By the time Jordan got to the street himself and looked down the sidewalk, his partner was more than a block away, chasing after the vanishing figure of the shoplifter with astonishing speed, barely avoiding crashing into the people on the street that he passed.

“Lee! What the hell are you doing?” Jordan began to run after them.

Lee was gaining on the other man. He had almost caught up when the thief, still grasping his loot, reached a main thoroughfare. Even on Sunday morning the cross street was filled with traffic. Beyond, a long bridge spanned the river that ran through downtown.

The shoplifter scurried across as horns blew and brakes squealed. Somehow he got to the other side without being hit, and began to cross the bridge, staggering with fatigue but refusing to give up. With no hesitation Lee flung himself into the busy street as well. Just then Jordan saw a large dump truck speeding toward the intersection. His scream of terror was drowned by the deep blast of the horn. He saw Lee turn, his mouth fly open, his arms rise in a futile attempt to protect himself. Then the tall man’s body flew through the air as if it were a rag doll, struck the pavement with a terrible thudding sound, and lay still.

“Lee! Oh God!”

In a shorter time than he would have thought possible Jordan reached the spot where Lee had been thrown, getting there well ahead of the shouting truck driver. He knelt down, panting, half sobbing. The older man lay on his back, motionless, his clothes torn, his hair disheveled by the impact. A trickle of blood ran from the corner of his mouth. Jordan stared down at Lee’s face. Terror seized him as he heard the ragged breathing, saw the eyes staring unfocused into space.

“Hang in there, Lee,” Jordan urged desperately as he bent close to his wounded lover’s face. “Please–help’s on the way.” He was dimly aware that the truck driver behind him had pulled out a cell phone and was talking rapidly into it. He knew with an awful, leaden certainty that it was too late.

The man on the sidewalk, though, seemed to rally at Jordan’s words. His glassy stare disappeared as he blinked. His eyes focused on the face above and brightened with recognition. Jordan saw the lips, pale with shock, move, and strained to hear the words.


Jordan nodded frantically, fighting back tears.

“You…knew it was me, didn’t you?”

He nodded again. Lee, or Marc, made a great effort and managed to smile faintly.

“So lucky…got to come back…little while.”

He had to ask. “Why, Marc?” Jordan cried. “Why did you take Lee?”

The smile disappeared, the brows furrowed. “No.” A pause. “Not me. Pure chance…had to take it.” The eyes closed, then opened again. “Unfinished business.”


When Marc started to speak again his voice was much weaker. Heedless of the crowd that had begun to mill around them, Jordan bent until his ear was almost touching his lover’s face to hear his words.

“Treated you like shit. Tried to make it up to you. Love… you.” Jordan felt a hand grip the back of his head with surprising strength. With a supreme effort, the dying man had managed to lift one arm to embrace him. Jordan gazed again into Marc’s face. He could barely get the words out.

“I love you too…Marc.”

Marc’s voice was now a whisper. “Don’t be too long…I’ll…be waiting.” The eyes shone with an unearthly brilliance, then went blank. The hand on the back of his head relaxed its grip, the arm fell heavily to the ground.

With his last ounce of control, Jordan gently pressed his lips to his lover’s, now stilled. “Goodbye.” He bent his head over the dead man’s chest and began to sob.

A wailing siren that had been approaching during the last few moments grew to a deafening pitch, then was suddenly cut off as the EMS vehicle pulled up and stopped nearby. In a moment, strong arms pulled Jordan roughly from the body. He began to struggle to get away and his arms were pinned firmly behind him. A stranger bent over Lee’s still form and began to push rhythmically on his chest with strong thrusts. Jordan stared, appalled.

“Let me go!” he screamed. “Can’t you see he’s dead?”

The man restraining him spoke. “Take it easy,” he said, not unkindly. “We might save him yet, fella.”

Jordan ceased his struggles. Weeping, he let his body sag against the paramedic’s, giving way to his grief. He had been too scared and stupid to believe that Marc had returned to him, and now it was too late. He had lost him again, and for good this time. And Lee, good, kind Lee who had never done anyone any harm was gone too.

“I’m getting a pulse, Mike!” the paramedic on the ground shouted. “I think he’s coming back!”

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