<><><> Future imperfect <><><>
"Once I had my fortune told."
Chris was leaning against the pod door, his palms flat against the glass, his muscled arms supporting his weight; peering into the emptiness outside.
Em City was quiet now; the uproar had died minutes ago -twenty minutes of hundreds of hands and feet pounding against the glass walls, yelling, until the inmates had no voice and no strength left. Ten days of lockdown -one shower every five day, cold food, regular shakedowns- had made a ritual of it; another kind of a riot, every day in the middle of the afternoon, when the tension came to a point where any insignificant detail would've set the prison on fire; when every guy in every pod would've strangled his podmate with his bare hands, the uproar started, exhausting display of anger to let go of the tension.
On the first days the hacks had dragged the most agitated guys to the hole, some others to solitary; but the hole was full and there was no place left anywhere now that even UnitB had joined the fun. So now the hacks just waited for the uproar to die, deaf to the insults and the screams.
Chris turned to him.
"Stupid motherfuckers; all we'll get will be a longer lockdown."
"It's a good way to let go of the anger and the frustration."
"Yeah," Chris said, and smiled. "Poor frustrated angry fucks; they don't have our luck."
His mouth against Toby's neck "They don't have you!" and his hand under Toby's shirt and their breath catching, desire burning. Chris flipped the finger to a homeboy who was making suggestive gestures in a cell nearby, kissed Toby deep and slow, was kissed back the same languorous way, moaned in satisfaction then walked to the door.
That's when he said it with a dismissive chuckle.
"Once I had my fortune told."
After his unexpected statement he fell silent again. Toby rose from the bed and walked up to him, stood there, beside him, their shoulders touching.
"You? You did that?"
"Bonnie dragged me there, stupid fun fair with an old scenic railway, she loved that; I was high, we'd been celebrating; she took me inside a rusty mobile home, it was dark and hot, and the woman took my hand..."
"How was she like?"
"The fortune teller."
"Does it fucking matter? Ok," Chris said, sighing at Toby's look "OK, I'll tell you. Around 50, skinny, strong nose, dark eyes like coal nuggets, dirty black hair and enormous golden earrings, hand with long claw-like nails painted a shiny red. Frightening in the usual way I guess, regular freaking witch."
Toby stood silent, just nodded, looking funny all of a sudden.
"What did she tell you?"
"Bitch took a long look at my hand and snorted. She said 'that's something I rarely get to see' and Bonnie asked her what she was talking about. I thing she didn't want to say it; she muttered some stuff about a change and a fucking cage and the dangerous aura I was carrying, then she told me that a smart man would be my death. Yeah, the fucking judge was a smart man, I suppose. Mainly, she was right."
Lost in his own memories he didn't notice the shadow in Toby's eyes, the strange look he gave him.
Chris didn't know why he'd been so fucking angry but recalled grabbing her, shoving her against the wall, cunt who'd dared bullshit him, he was gonna kill her. Bonnie had been trying to pull him back, stop him from hurting the old bitch and in the end she'd dragged him outside, still yelling insults at the woman. He'd got his fucking money back, though.
He fell silent again and sighed before adding "Anyway I got a little wary after that; you'd never know, after all maybe she was right. I'd forgotten about that; completely. Strange how memories come back at unexpected moments."
Toby's voice when he spoke was a quiet whisper.
"Think it could be me? I could've been. Your death, I mean."
Chris gave him a long thoughtful look and came back to him, framed Toby's face between his long fingers, and smiled.
I could've been yours, Beecher, he thought.
"Nah, c'mon, I'm fine, we both are... Think she was a fucking lying bitch; probably wanted to make me cough up more money."
He dragged Toby to the bed, pushing him against the frame and kissed him again.
He was right, Toby thought, they didn't need to be part to the daily uproar; what they had kept them safe and sane, and maybe even -happy? Made the lockdown bearable, the prison bearable. Those days, hacks didn't give a damn about guys sleeping in each other's arms, they were tired of this endless lockdown too and ready to turn a blind eye on all that wasn't life threatening.
After lights out, they made love; long, almost painful love session. Sometimes sex with Chris was scary, Toby drawn to a point where he felt about to disappear, dissolved in too much pleasure, too much intensity. He'd stopped Chris twice, holding back as his lover tried to push him over the edge, until he couldn't wait any longer, forced by his own need to give in to the call of pleasure, an endless breathtaking fall, and he had to bite Chris' shoulder hard to stifle his screams -Chris never complained, didn't care about the mark; Toby loved him for that too, his public and shameless acknowledgement of their love.
Rising from sleep for a moment, Chris asked "Did you ever have your fortune told?"
Toby's snort echoed in the pod.
"Yeah, right, Keller! I never even went to a fair! A fortune teller! No, thanks."
And now as he was awake in the dark wrapped in Chris' arms, wondering why he'd lied. Why did you lie, Toby? Why didn't you tell him about the day you got drunk in a lowly bar before Holly was born and that woman came to you and asked you if you wanted your fortune told? You were so far gone, you laughed and said yeah why not and she grabbed your hand in her filthy claws, staring at your palm for a whole minute, then letting go of it with a dry chuckle.
"I saw a man last month, his hand mirrored yours, very strange, really... I'd beware of dark haired men if I were you; and play fair with them. And in the end there'll be no winner; just losers. Remember that, just losers!"
And she'd vanished, leaving him clueless, half-amused, half-repulsed. He'd forgotten about that, too.
It was stupid to lie to Chris but something held him back. He pulled him closer and kissed the offered smooth shoulder.
"I love you," he whispered, and from the depths of his sleep, Chris let out a satisfied groan and hugged Toby stronger.
Yeah, Toby thought, I don't believe in that crap, anyway.