- Campers must carry out all therapies to ensure maximum conversion.
Dear Gay Drew
I hope this letter finds you unwell.
It’s been five years since I met you. Five years knowing that I’m not normal. But that is going to change. After tonight, I’m going to burn you out of my life for good. In two weeks’ time, no one will ever know you existed.
Remember when we first met? I was thirteen, sitting on the broken wall behind the science block at school. Ben had managed to steal his older brother’s copy of Playboy. Him and Charlie were flipping through the pages scoring the girls out of ten and saying who they would fuck. Not that they knew where to stick it. They had noticed my reluctance to join in and thrown the magazine to me, egging me on to show them which one I’d want to get a blowjob from. But no matter how many women I flicked through, how many tits I saw, I couldn’t decide. Not because there were too many to choose from, I just I didn’t want to fuck any of them. Or any woman.
So, I just played along; chose the blond with the biggest tits and acted like I was spunking over the magazine. It fooled them for the time being and I could pretend to be any other normal teenage boy. It didn’t last long though. Kids talk, spread poisonous words. They noticed how I’d never had a girlfriend, how I chose to play the flute (the gayest instrument, of course) and how I would go red in the face every time someone made a gay joke about me.
I hate my body, and it’s all your fault. I hate the way I get a semi just when a guy takes his shirt off on telly. I hate the fact that just thinking about touching another girl makes me feel sick. But when you’re gone, I won’t need to worry about any of this again. I can finally live a normal life. Without you.
Goodbye Gay Drew. I won’t be writing to you again.
Standing like a prophet
Trevor shepherds his flock, patting each camper on the back once
they throw their sin into the fire.
“That’s it, come up and throw your letters into the bonfire. Burn your illegal selves to ashes. You were once golden children before you drowned in the great flood. Now your bodies have become rust and perished at the bottom of the ocean of modern life. With the burning of these letters, you begin the process of rejecting your homosexual lives. Though your body has corroded, your soul can still be salvaged. Throw your old selves into the fire and prepare yourself to enter the Ark.”
I fold my letter in half and cut my finger, dripping warm
blood onto the paper.
“Careful there, number Ten,” Gabriel says.
He grabs my finger and wraps it in a tissue and kisses
my finger tip.
I draw my hand away and shove him to the ground.
“What the hell you doing?”
“Calm it, queer. Just helping my fellow camper with his wound.”
“Don’t touch me. We are curing ourselves. What you’re doing is wrong.”
“Well maybe some of us don’t want to be cured. Some of us might like the way we are,” Gabriel says, standing up and patting himself down.
“How can you like the way you are when what we are isn’t normal?”
“Not normal? It’s a damn shame, I thought you would be different. Looks like you’re the same as every other brainwashed guy here.”
Putting up the hood of his black jacket, Gabriel walks away.
I unwrap the tissue. My finger stops bleeding.
In the fire, my gay self burns to ashes;
but my filthy body remains perfect.
- Campers must remain in their cabins after lights out at 22:00.
I run naked in a field of weeds, heading straight for the castle.
The sky is a storming purple bruise. I hear my father’s laughter in the thunder
pursuing me over the mouldy drawbridge.
Inside, the cold light from the glass windows stained with blood
hangs tight around my body.
Black smoke pours into the throne room. At the back, Gabriel sits on top of a bonfire.
His naked flesh burns, but he doesn’t move.
“Welcome to my empty kingdom, number Ten.” He stretches out his flaming arms and consumes me within his embrace.
Together, our bodies burn gold.
A light tapping at the window above my head tugs
Against the glass a brown moth bashes its delicate body, determined to escape the cabin.
I wrap myself up in the scratchy sheets, a reminder that this isn’t home, and turn over to
face Gabriel’s unoccupied bed.