Kaden's Colors [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Ryan Loveless
eBook Category: Gay Fiction/Romance
eBook Description: The first alien immigrants arrived on Earth long before Henry Mekes was born. Now they're policed by the government, forbidden from attending school, and assigned menial jobs to prevent them from becoming drains on human society. Twenty-two-year-old Kaden, for example, was assigned the job of sex worker. When eighteen-year-old Henry and his friend Ellil meet Kaden in a grotty backroom to avail themselves of his services, alien rights are the furthest thing from their minds. It's not until afterward, when Henry is trying to remind himself aliens can't get enough of sex, that he questions his actions and the rules of the world he lives in. Something about Kaden compels Henry to return again and again--but only as a friend. Soon he and his classmates hatch a plan to free Kaden, but even if they succeed, the world is still full of prejudice against aliens--and those who love them.
eBook Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspinner Press, Published: 2012, 2012
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2012
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Henry stuffed his biology homework into his messenger bag. Another bright F to hide from his parents. Headmaster Dowe had called him into his office three times in the past three months to talk about his dropping GPA. Henry had told him there was trouble at home, which was a massive lie. His parents still acted like they were on their honeymoon after twenty years of marriage, and they doted on Henry. But it was easier and safer to say "Things are difficult at home" than the truth.
The truth was that he was out until three every night sitting beside an alien object of curiosity, that he watched this alien as men thrust into it in the back room of a seedy arcade. He sat with his back against the wall and his knees pulled up to his chest, and the alien watched him back. He knew that it wasn't really watching, not with sentient awareness like a person would. It just happened to orient its head in Henry's direction when it heard Henry's pen scratching in his notebook as he pretended to study. It almost never looked away, though, not while it was being fucked, which it was, constantly, by a stream of men who seemed to think that Henry was a sort of guard.
It had started because Ellil wanted another go. Claiming that Henry's "stupid dreamy face" was making him jealous, Ellil went back to MacDougal's alone. Henry wanted to let Ellil have his fun, but he couldn't concentrate on anything as he thought of Ellil with the alien. Henry went back after that. But he didn't touch the alien. He couldn't think about how he'd touched it that first night without confusing himself with memories of desire and repulsion. He couldn't shake the feeling that he'd raped it or the memory of how pleasurable the alien's mouth had felt around his cock. He watched the other men, probably glaring sometimes when they got too rough. He started feeling protective. Maybe it was his version of the apology he couldn't voice.
Aside from the first time when he had almost unconsciously fucked its mouth, Henry had just watched. He didn't want to get stupid with the drugged effect again. The satisfaction he got now came from being near it, from being watched by it. The alien made Henry feel like he mattered. It was a difficult thing to explain. He knew he shouldn't be getting his worth from something that had no feelings; he didn't even know if its eyesight was strong enough to see him the few feet away where he sat. He felt a connection, though, and it kept him coming back. The first few times he sat for an hour alone. The fourth time, Madsen, the man outside the curtain taking tickets, came in and caught him sitting. After that, he started letting others go in, too, but still took enough tickets from Henry to cover all his hours, so he made double profit. Henry didn't know what Madsen told them, but they ignored him and went about their business. Madsen gave Henry one treasure, though: the alien's name.
Watching Kaden get fucked was fascinating. Its eyes dilated, and Henry could tell that it was trying to spread its legs wider, even though they were tied open. Some of the men spanked Kaden as they drove into it--hard, stinging slaps--and this set Kaden's breath stuttering too. Despite his guilt, Henry palmed himself through the khaki pants of his school uniform, almost erupting when he saw Kaden's tongue drift out of its full lips. Only the punter calling out that Henry should join in snapped Henry back to reality, and he blushed red as he moved his hand back to his knee, even though he wanted to slide his fingers into Kaden's mouth. The fact that he was in a room with a stranger stopped him. He couldn't do something so intimate in front of someone he didn't know.
There was a bit of mesh fencing that had been burrowed under and hidden by a shrub in the back of the school grounds, and this was how Henry let himself back onto campus in the minutes before dawn. Then he had a few hours of sleep until he had to be up for class.
Ellil had had the idea that Henry should take his homework. Ellil had accompanied him a few times since Henry started keeping watch, "to take the edge off," he'd said, but then he'd started dating a girl from the junior class and lost interest in going.
It took some practice to do his homework and watch Kaden at the same time, but he got the hang of it. Some of the regulars even greeted him now, but he put his head down and focused on conjugating his Latin verbs. All kinds of men came in to fuck Kaden. Some were business men who paid with cash, some college kids who played games like Henry did until they earned enough tickets to see the alien, some were men that Henry would cross the street to avoid if he saw them outside, and who proved his fear legitimate in the way they treated Kaden. Some men Madsen made him clear out for, politicians mostly, until Henry became as much a part of the room as Kaden and they stopped telling Madsen to make him leave.
He was in the middle of his Latin homework when he heard a harsh, rasping sound. It took his brain a moment to parse it into speech and then to get decipherable words out of it.
There was no one in the room except for himself and Kaden, but Kaden didn't talk. It never had.
"Did you say something?" he whispered.
Kaden's mouth opened, but before it could repeat what it had said, if it'd said anything, the curtain slid back and Madsen came through.
"Closing time, kid. Get on out." As ever, he spoke to Henry with gentle gruffness. Henry asked him about his daughter's wedding as Madsen took his tickets each night, so they'd developed a bond over place settings and the high cost of hors d' oeuvres.
"Right. Let me get my books." He must have lost track of time. He'd never stayed late enough for Madsen to close up on him. He packed up his books. "Listen, it sounded like it said...."
But Madsen whistled a soft tune to the alien. It oriented its head toward him. Madsen wiped a cotton ball over its buttocks, which were red from the night's hand slaps, and injected something into one cheek.
"What's that for?" Henry said.
"Helps keep him calm when I untie him."
Henry didn't see how it could be any calmer, but right then its left ankle twitched as if putting up a mild fight before it stilled. There was something else that struck him as odd about Madsen's statement, but it was so strange that it took a moment for him to put his finger on it. As he thought about it, Madsen undid all the bonds, taking care to inspect each bit of newly freed skin and rubbing ointment on any red spots. He moved around to Kaden's ass, and Henry thought that now Madsen would take his turn, but instead of fucking it, he spread more ointment on his fingers and rubbed it inside.
"You called it 'he'," Henry said, realizing.
Madsen glanced at him, his expression a mirror of the pained one Professor Duffy used when someone missed an easy answer, and then returned his attention to Kaden. "You got a pet?"
"You call it 'it'?" Madsen patted Kaden's back as he continued stroking his fingers inside it.
"No." Lucy was a part of the family. Henry had got the little dog when he was seven. Of course he didn't think of her as "it".
"Even though it's an animal?"
"I guess...." He'd never thought about it like that.
"Well, Kaden is an alien, not an animal. He's as bright as you and me when he isn't drugged. So, if you can't give him the same pronoun you give a pet...."
"But I always heard that aliens..." were lower than beasts, would die off if humans didn't make sure they took care of themselves.... Henry could rattle off a hundred things he'd heard. There was a reason the government kept them under care and that was that aliens couldn't care for themselves. If they could, they wouldn't have turned their planets into barren wastelands. Granted, Earth wasn't much better, but humankind had come to its senses and stopped the damage before it resulted in its destruction.
"You think I'd stick my fingers up a dog's ass?" Madsen snapped.
"No, sir," Henry said, falling into school protocol for behavior around a pissed-off adult.
"I wouldn't be surprised if most of the men who come in here would--hell, they probably wouldn't even notice if I switched Kaden out for one--but that's a reflection on them, not on Kaden. You get it?"
Madsen grunted an acknowledgment and turned his attention back to Kaden.
With its bonds off, Kaden could wiggle a little, and he--Henry tried out the pronoun--got enough leverage to pull his chest off the table. For the first time, Henry could see the hard cock that had been trapped there all night. It looked as human as the rest of him. With the final question of Kaden's appearance that might distinguish him from humans gone, Henry had no way of knowing what separated Kaden from himself, except that Kaden spent each night on the table and Henry spent each night on the floor beside it. Madsen reached beneath him and pulled him off in a few strokes, sending streams of ejaculate shooting across the table. He caught Kaden and pulled him backward before he could collapse in it. Thinking of Kaden as "he" instead of "it" was strange, but not as weird as Henry had expected. He could maybe get used to it, given time.
"That's my good boy." Madsen talked as if he had forgotten Henry was there, and Kaden acted like it too, his eyes drugged and hazy as he arched backward and stretched his arms up and behind himself to wrap around Madsen's neck and hold on. Madsen stroked his stomach. Henry saw it for the first time. It was pale beneath the freckles and dusting of reddish-blond hair. Kaden's nipples were red from rubbing the table all night long. Madsen dabbed ointment over them.
"You called him a boy?" Henry asked.
"What the hell else am I gonna call him?" Madsen's mood tipped over to exasperation. "You go on back to your school now, before you really get on my nerves." He picked Kaden up, put his feet on the floor, and guided him toward a door in the back that Henry had never seen opened. He'd assumed it was a supply closet. Standing, Kaden was a head taller than Henry. Madsen unlocked the door with a key from his pocket, and Henry caught a glimpse of a mattress inside and a jug of water beside it. Maybe that was where Madsen fucked Kaden. Henry couldn't imagine that Madsen didn't fuck Kaden, but Madsen laid him down and pulled a blanket over him. He turned back to the door and saw Henry still standing there.
"I told you to go on," he said. There was a book in his hand now, something tattered, the binding broken so much that Henry couldn't read the title on the spine. Henry opened his mouth to explain himself, but Madsen closed the door on him.
Henry took off. All the while words echoed in his head: "My good boy" and the ones that he now questioned if he'd heard: "Help me."
Near the end of his shifts, when the sedation began to wear off, Kaden became aware of a boy sitting on the floor. He returned night after night. He seemed familiar, but he never touched Kaden, so maybe the obvious reason for Kaden to know him wasn't the correct one. When the boy continued to come and sit, Kaden stopped asking himself how he knew him and decided it was because the boy came every day. He caught a glance once at the notebook the boy always kept on his lap. He made out a name: Henry.
Henry's hair went every which way. Even in his hazy vision, Kaden liked to watch it. Henry himself was a study in action, never sitting still, always fidgeting, tapping, humming. He didn't seem aware of it, probably didn't notice his humming coincided with Kaden's grunts as men pounded into him.
Kaden didn't know how long he'd been doing this, his assignment. A few other places first and then at MacDougal's, but this was the best place, and he hoped he could stay. Mr. Madsen took care of him, not like the other places. Mr. Madsen took him outside and read to him. Even though he was ambivalent about getting fucked, the drugs helped, and Madsen didn't let anyone hurt him, so Kaden would rather do this than some of the other alien worker assignments he'd heard about. He was sad when Henry left each night if the drugs had worn off enough to allow him to be. But it also meant Mr. Madsen would tuck him into bed and read to him, so he didn't miss Henry much with that to look forward to.
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"I bet he fucks it on the side," Ellil said. "Maybe he's in love with it in secret."
"'He', not 'it'," Henry said, for the hundredth time, even though he was still getting used to it himself. Henry figured he and Ellil could make the change together.
"You're into him too!" Ellil said, looking at him in disbelief.
"I'm not!" Henry fought the urge to hide his face in his hands. He threw a pen at Ellil instead, which wasn't any smarter because then he had no pen.
"Oh, tell that to the guy who doesn't know where you've been every night this semester!" Ellil lobbed the pen back.
Henry dodged it. "I'm not in love with an alien."
Being an alien-lover was the worst thing ever. If you wanted to get ostracized from society, that was your go-to position. He was not an alien-lover... but he couldn't stop thinking about Kaden, so what did that mean? Henry hesitated, scared to ask, but if anyone could reassure him on this, it was Ellil, who never bullshitted Henry, even though he did with everyone else. "You wouldn't think it was weird if I was?"
Ellil shrugged. "Ass like that, I wouldn't blame you."
"But it's--he's not human."
Ellil quirked an eyebrow up. "Well, like Madsen said, he's not a dog, either. Aliens are exotic. Especially the ones on the black market. You know that's why they pick them, right?"
"Pick them?" Henry had the uncomfortable feeling that he was about to learn one more thing about aliens and society that he'd never wanted to know.
"You know, the 'welcome to Earth, here's how to work the hologram player remote, la la Earth culture, hurray!' centers where the immigrants go to learn Earth jobs and how to recycle and shit? They get them from there."
"Is that sanctioned?" Henry knew about the centers' work placement programs, but there was a world of difference between being handed a mop and given a condom... although, from what he'd seen with the men fucking Kaden, condoms were both rare and up to the men to wear one or not.
"Nah. Some guy goes into a center, says he needs X number of aliens for a cleaning crew or some other legitimate shit, then he picks out a group of pretty ones and one or two unattractive ones to throw off suspicion and boom! He's got his fresh shipment for the black market."
"You... you think that's how Kaden...?" He leaned forward and wrapped his arms around his stomach, trying not to be sick. He didn't care that he looked like he was hugging himself. He needed a fucking hug right now.
"Just saying it's possible. Look, don't sweat it if you like him. They're like sex toys that you don't have to plug in. People fall for sex toys all the time."
"They do?" Henry didn't find this reassuring... for himself or society. Anyway, he didn't think of Kaden like that. He hadn't even used Kaden for sex since that first time. He liked sitting beside him. Kaden made him feel warm under those blue-gray eyes (months of staring into them had revealed specks of blue among the gray) that seemed to know exactly who he was. Even though aliens weren't capable of feeling an emotion as strong as love, under Kaden's gaze, Henry felt loved. How sick was he? That had to be worse than anything, right?
"Sure," Ellil said with his "I've solved all your problems, don't you love me?" tone, seeming to think no further explanation was needed.
"Oh," Henry said. "Um. I need to do my math homework now."
"Yep." Ellil left him to it by rolling onto his stomach. In seconds, he was snoring.
Was he really in love with an alien? Was that what the addiction was? Was love driving his need to be next to Kaden every night? It was ridiculous to think so. Kaden was an alien.
He closed his eyes and held himself still as shame gathered into his gut. This was wrong. He couldn't love an alien. He had heard about people who did: they were ostracized from society even more stringently than aliens were. Aliens couldn't help what they were, but alien-lovers... they were a blight, a disgrace, "ought to be banished," his mother said.
He could not be one of those people.
Sometimes, when Kaden smiled, Henry pretended it was for him and not because the guy in his ass had hit a good spot.
He pretended when Kaden flexed his fingers, stretching in his bonds, that he was reaching for Henry's hand.
He was one of those people.
Math was out of the question now. He closed the book, put his shoes back on, and crept out of the room.