by Terry Johnson
CONTENT WARNING: VIOLENCE AGAINST GAY MEN, BODY HORROR
Here is evil, the pure poison of the soul, the darkness we are all afraid lurks within ourselves. We are afraid of it, and of what we are capable of doing if we lose control. Afraid, but also tempted, because there is freedom in doing exactly what we want. Freedom for a time and a price.
The fear, the temptation, the rebellion, the horror and the consequences are all part of the darkness that’s within ourselves. As a good, talented lawyer, James worked hard to protect the oppressed and the less fortunate in society by giving them freedom from the oppressors. But little did they know that freedom comes at a cost. But when James invited Cain—a homeless gay man—to his house to swap stories, the darkness was about to come to light.
Cain looked into James’ eyes and saw a man who was willing to help him get off the streets of San Francisco, so he never hesitated to accept James’ invitation. Cain wanted to invite his best friend but the lawyer told him to come alone, that it would be his turn first, and that once he got inside he could help his friends do the same.
James was making advances, but Cain didn’t mind at first. He got into James’s car and they drove to a country house where James lived alone. The home was a bit far from town and in a lonely place, but that did not really matter to Cain. James had a seductive nature that made strangers feel safe around him, even if at some point fear crossed their minds. James offered Cain a drink, and left him sitting on a couch in the living room while he went downstairs.
As Cain sat silently sipping the drink, he heard some commotion and sounds that sounded like a puppy coming from the basement. His head started feeling heavy, and he felt dizzy. He immediately realized there was something wrong going on, and rushed towards the door. James followed him and struggled to block Cain from leaving the house. The door was locked so Cain broke his way through a window, but by that time he had little strength remaining. The drugs in the drink took full control of his body.
He woke up in pain.
His sight was returning slowly but he was immediately aware of the stench—a rotten smell that quickly made Cain realize that his escape was unsuccessful, and that he was now in big trouble with this monster in the form of a lawyer. He had company. Also in the basement was a middle-aged man, the one who had sounded like a puppy before he was chained. Cain noticed a large pool of blood near a crushing machine, and a big freezer in the right corner. The walls were covered in photos of young men, hung on the walls with one of their bones. Each photo had a different bone from a specific part of a human body. One had a rib bone, another a phalange bone, another a piece of a skull, and so many other parts just hanging next to pictures of the victims.
Cain tried to unchain the other man so that they could escape together, but the man was too weak to stand. As they were struggling, they heard James come into the room. They tried to hide as James opened the steel reinforced door. Cain grabbed a heavy object nearby and brought it down on James’ head, then rushed out of the door, but the blow was not strong enough to knock him down. James, now agitated, followed Cain and beat him until he became unconscious, then chained him. When Cain regained consciousness yet again, he saw the older man he had tried to rescue earlier being dismantled and minced in the crushing machine, then burned. Cain knew he was next. He tried to scream but his tongue was cut out and thrown to the mincing machine.
James was transformed into something barely human, a murdering amoral fiend. As Cain’s blood leaked from his body, he could hear James mumbling about how he is attacking gay men by seducing them or pretending to offer help, then luring them to his home to torture and murder them. He says he believes by doing so he is atoning for the sins of his gay father who left him and his mother to suffer. He keeps part of their individual bones so that when assembled together it can make a full human skeleton. He claims nothing can stop him besides death.
Through the fog, Cain heard a doorbell ring. James closed the basement door and went to answer. When the basement door was opened, Cain saw the police officers who had been on the monster lawyer’s trail for some time after complaints from some of the victims’ friends. Cain was rescued, just in time.