The sound was growing louder with each beat of his heart. He could feel it coming towards him, knowing it would soon envelope him and his home. Once again he felt the terror plucking at him as he heard the roaring sound thundering towards him. His body began to tremble as it came closer and closer. With his eyes tightly shut he waited, knowing without doubt that the end was approaching.

A single shrill piercing scream made him sit up as he opened his eyes to stare into the darkness. The room was still & empty as he heard the pounding of his heart. Sweat was rolling freely off his forehead and his body felt clammy as he tried to control his rapid breathing.

Slowly Peter felt his heart slow down, the gulping for air became less and the terror inside subsided somewhat. He sat upright feeling the air chilling his sweat soaked body and he knew that soon the shaking would start. It seemed to be the pattern these nights as he waited, pulling the single sheet up around his neck, his legs twitching now as he realized that the nightmare had once more overtaken him. It wasn't getting less either like everyone told him it would but right now all he could think of was that night, that horror when everything he believed in seemed to simply vanish.

The chills made his body tremble now. He could feel himself shaking as he realized he had made it through another night and now the images began their endless repetition. There was the shaking of the walls, pictures flying off that had only recently been hung up. Bookcases long since fallen littered the floor as weird flashes of light illuminated the darkened room. Everything was out of place as the thunderous noise of the wind increased its howling in his ears.

Peter simply stared out at the room, seeing nothing but the horror of Mother Nature on a warpath, aimed at him. He shook now realizing how close death had been to him. It was as if he had held it's hand briefly as he turned his head to stare at his shaking hands. They were wet & clammy from his fear but he couldn't make it go away. It lingered and gnawed at him like a dog chewing on a bone.

The sound of the door opening made him turn his head. Peter stared at the open door, seeing the slender figure framed within it. The soft hallway night light casting an eerie glow around the figure which made him shake a bit more. The memories of that night still flashed around his mind but his eyes now locked on the worried face of the young 18 year old in the doorway. The beat of his heart was less painful as it recognized Sam standing there.

Sam: You okay? I uh…

Peter took a deep breath as he tried to control the shaking a bit so as to not freak out Sam anymore than he already was. It was strange, trying to put on this brave act when all he really wanted to do was scream out 'No' . He felt the unease as the silence hung over the room as he tried to find his voice, to find his nerve.

Peter: Yeah, sorry it was just a dream, I guess I uh…

Sam: That same one again?

He looked away from Sam, feeling the tightness in his throat. Everyone in the house seemed to know about his dream. Sometimes he was certain that when the others looked at him they were thinking of him as some sort of crazy person. Even Sheila looked at him funny in the morning, but he couldn't help it. The dream wouldn't leave him alone.

Peter: Uh huh

Sam: It isn't going away is it?

Peter: No, doesn't seem to

Sam walked further into the room, his eyes never leaving Peter's face. For a second he thought he saw a strange glint in Sam's face but he couldn't be certain. All he could think of was trying to ease Sam out, so he could not pretend to be this strong person that he didn't feel like. It was all an act but he couldn't help himself, it was what everyone seemed to expect. Rarely did anyone mention the fear, the terror that held them in check or maybe it simply was that they weren't cowards like him?

He watched as Sam came to stand by the side of the bed. Maybe in another time or mental space he would be excited by the presence of Sam. The guy certainly was worth more than a glance but that part of his life seemed long past. Peter felt nothing anymore and he feared the idea of returning to that life. Too many doubts existed for him though he knew it was still who he was.

His mind wanted to make sense of it all but all it could do was tell him that this shit happened which was no comfort. Things like this didn't just happen or so he believed. Maybe those asswipes who called themselves religious were right, maybe it was indeed God's punishment for his lifestyle though he found it hard to accept. It just didn't make sense and the uncertainty of it all made the nightmares more painful for him. There wasn't an answer or at least not one he had found yet.

Sam: Took me about a year or so…

Peter: Huh? You? I mean…

Sam: Uh huh, didn't anyone tell you?

Peter: No, I never, I mean no one said a word, but I thought that…

Sam: That what?

Peter: I don't know, I guess I just thought you were either Sheila's or Barb's

Sam: I wish, though I guess in a way I am now, just like maybe you are too.

It wasn't what he said but at how Sam spoke that made him look up at the young man. The voice was soft, almost in a whisper and yet each word seemed to have more than just a simple meaning to it. He could feel the pain in each word but he also noticed the defiance in them too. A contradiction maybe but one that only made him sit up a bit straighter in the bed as he thought about it all.

Peter had always just assumed that Sam had been from either Sheila's or Barb's past life. Not for a second he thought that Sam was another survivor that had somehow found his way to these two women's home. It seemed eerie to think that maybe in Sam there was someone who could understand his own pain, his own fears.

Peter: When, I mean how long ago?

Sam: How long? I dunno, at times it feels like just yesterday but I guess its going on to 4 years now.

Peter: 4 years? Shit that would mean you came here when you were 14, fuck.. what about your… I mean… uh…

Sam: My folks?

Peter: Yeah… sorry I shouldn't have… I mean I guess they uh…

Sam: No they are fine, rebuilt the home too I hear.

Peter: What? Shit… but if they are okay, I mean, uh, why are you… sorry, guess I should just keep my mouth shut.. I am sorry, I didn't mean to, uh…

Sam: It's okay, not sure which is worse, having gone thru the hurricane or them telling me not to come home. Kind of fucked either way, but then Sheila and Barb have more or less made it a bit easier to take.

Peter didn't know what to say or even do. The idea that anyone would have to face not just the wrath of Mother Nature but then be rejected by your own parents? It didn't make sense and he realized that for the first time since he had come here that the shaking had stopped. He no longer trembled from his own fear as he had listened to Sam talk.

Peter: Wanna tell me about it? I mean, if you want to, if not its okay, just that…

Sam: Not really much to tell.

He waited as Sam seemed to be looking at him but not. Peter recognized the look as it was one he constantly saw when he looked in the mirror. He just waited and eventually Sam lowered his head and then stared at peter for a second or two.

Without saying a word, Peter moved over a bit on the bed and waited. Sam stood there for a second or two then he leaned down and crawled under the open sheet that Peter held for him. Peter waited uncertain at what would happen next. His own thoughts were racing as he tried to fathom why anyone would not want their own kid back, why they would abandon him after something as horrible as a hurricane.

Sam seemed uncertain as he stared everywhere but at Peter. It was like he was trying to make up his mind as to what to say or not. Peter waited, knowing instinctively how difficult it had to be for Sam. He could feel the fear, almost smell it even as he lay there, next to Sam under the thin sheet. Finally he heard the soft voice begin to speak and he turned his head to see a small tear trickle down from the corner of one of Sam's brown eyes.

Sam: They hadn't wanted to leave, ya know? They figured it would be okay so like most around we boarded up and everything and just waited it all out. Course they hadn't figured on the storm hitting us square on, and I guess, well I don't know guess they didn't understand that it wasn't so much the wind that was a danger but the water it brought. Man it was freaky enough with the wind tearing at the joint, but it was the water that I remember the most. It stank Peter, a strange and weird smell I had never smelt and never want to again, but it won't leave me, not even now.

Peter: Yeah, I know.

Sam: Sorry, maybe I shouldn't, I mean you just came through this…

Peter: It's okay, I can manage. Go on if you want.

Sam: You sure?

Peter: Yeah

He could feel Sam's eyes peering at him but he couldn't face him. The mere mention of the smell made him cringe, because it was a scent he didn't think he'd ever forget. The dank odour still came to him almost constantly. It was a smell worse than death or maybe it was the smell of death? He didn't know which but it was something he wished he would forget, knowing he never would.

Without realizing it, he had moved his hand under the covers and found Sam's own hand. He could feel the fear as his fingers touched Sam's and then clasped it in his own hand. The touch gave him a strange calm as he waited for Sam to start once again.

Sam: Guess it really never changes. We were forced to the roof and had to sit out there till this Coast Guard helicopter found us. It felt so unreal, I mean to sit on the roof of your house while all around you was dark stinking water. Stuff was floating around too, like broken trees, chairs and stuff. It felt so strange, sitting there wondering if anyone would ever find you or come for you. My folks were there, huddled together and things weren't bad actually.

Sam: We had moved some stuff up into the attic, which made things not seem quite so bad. I mean we could see other's on the block on their roofs & they had nothing. Guess we were lucky but there was no way for us to get to them, or them to us which was maybe the worse. Kind of hard to sit there, eating or drinking some water when the neighbour had nothing, but they never said a word, and neither did we. So when the copter came for us, well it felt good but I can remember, watching the face of our neighbours as the basket lifted me up to the copter. It didn't feel right, sort of like maybe I should have waited, or refused to go but it wasn't up to me, ya know?

He didn't know what to say to Sam. It wasn't the same for him as he couldn't see anyone that night. It wasn't like he even had time to figure out how to get onto the roof, it had all hit him so fast. Peter had barely managed to hang on to the floating cushion wondering if the water would soon cover him.

Sam: They put us in some shelter, we were at least together which I guess was better than many of the others in the shelter, and it was there that we met Barb. She had been one of the pilots that had rescued us. It isn't easy to be thrown into a building with strangers but least you are alive, right? I mean my folks were bit put off but shit, we had survived and we knew the house was still standing, filled with water but it wasn't totalled like others. Strange, but you sort of feel lucky, least I did.

Peter: Maybe just relieved, least that is how it was for me at first. Just relieved but that changes.

Sam: Yeah, it does but I figured we at least had a place to go back to. There was this guy next to us, he had lost it all. His place had caved in from the wind & they had picked him up hanging onto some tree limb. All he could do I guess but he had nothing left. His wife was missing but you could see it in his eyes, the way he looked that he blamed himself, that he knew she wasn't going to be found.

Mentally he was thankful that at least he hadn't lost anyone. He couldn't imagine how he would have handled that, losing someone in such a way. It made his heart ache as he tightened his grip on Sam's hand. Strange how the hand held onto him as well. It was, well like they were both using the other as a life preserver.

Sam: We stayed there for a few days before they told us that we could go back to our neighbourhood. They were letting some go home and I felt happy even though I had to stay behind while they went back to check on the place. Guess I didn't really mind and besides, Barb had promised to take me up when things had cooled down a bit. Was kind of looking forward to that though I kind of thought she was just saying that to make me feel better.

Peter: She meant it I think.

Sam: Yeah, I know that now, hell if it wasn't for her I guess I wouldn't be here, or anywhere…

His voice had trailed off, making Peter feel suddenly very frightened for the 18 year next to him. He knew exactly what Sam meant by that and a chill went racing up through his body. He moved a bit closer and his own body touched Sam's as he held his hand even tighter.

Sam: They came back two days later. The shelter was pretty well empty now but when they walked in I could see something was wrong. They looked so angry and when I went running towards them they just glared at me. I didn't get it until I was about, I don't know maybe 10 or so feet from them when my father started shouting at me. I didn't understand at first but then the words made me stop moving. The whole place was silent except for my parents yelling at me, calling me a dirty fag, a stain on them.

Sam: They had found my gay magazines. Guess the water had gotten to them and strewn them in the house, but he held them in his hand, waving them at me shouting and cursing. My mother was just as angry too and well, I don't know, suddenly I was being pulled away from them and I saw that Barb had hold of my hand and was taking me away from my parents. They didn't stop screaming at me Peter, it was, I don't know unreal and as Barb dragged me away, I saw my Father toss the magazines at me, shouting that he wished I had drowned in the flood, that because of me God had sent the hurricane. No one there said a word, it was all so silent as Barb stopped and turned to my father. She told him that God hadn't sent the hurricane to get me or anyone else, but if he had sent the hurricane, it would be to get assholes like him.

Peter had noticed how tense Sam's body had become. It was as if he was waiting for Peter to reject him, just like his parents had. God how could they do that? He didn't understand it but all he could think about was how much Sam had gone through.

Impulsively or out of some unknown reflex he found himself reaching around to gather the lanky body of Sam into his own smaller frame. He held him against his body feeling the small tremors of pain that raced within Sam's tortured soul. He could feel it and suddenly his own pain no longer seemed as hurtful. He might have faced death, might even have held briefly to death's hand but he hadn't had to face the rejection of his own parents like Sam had to. It wasn't fair as he realized how lucky Sam had been that Barb had been there at that time.

Sam's head rested briefly on his shoulder and he could feel the arms reach out and go around his own body. It felt rather comforting in its own way. Peter realized that Sam was no different than him, that he was as frightened about tomorrow as he was.

 Peter: How'd you get here? I mean…

Sam: I don't know, I mean Barb took me off to some motel, where I spent the night. Then the next day, guess it was afternoon, she showed up, told me to get my stuff together. She told me that I was going out on a bus, that I wasn't to worry as she had arranged for a friend of hers, Sheila, to meet the bus and take me to her home. I could stay there until this all got sorted. Been with Sheila ever since.

Peter: Your parents never, I mean they didn't try to…

Sam: No, I don't know what all went down, but Sheila and Barb have a paper that makes them my guardians. Guess Barb somehow got my parents to sign off on it. Thing is I didn't care what happened back then, and well since, I guess I just don't want to know. Besides I am 18 now so nothing my parents can do.

It wasn't all that simple, least he was fairly certain it wasn't but whatever had happened least Sam had a couple of people who obviously did care for him. He had naturally assumed that he was a son of one of them, the way both of them fussed over him and scolded him too. He felt a bit sad that he had intruded on that. It was clear to him that both Barb & Sheila cared a great deal for Sam and he felt a pang of jealousy.

Listening to Sam had taken away the shakes, and as he thought about it he realized that the room didn't look quite so dark, so empty. Sitting there with Sam leaning on his shoulder made him feel alive or at least think about it a bit more. The terror still held him but feeling Sam's flesh against his own made him feel different, feel more human than maybe even before the storm had come into his life.

Peter: Thanks Sam.

Sam: For what?

Peter: For telling me.

Sam: Wasn't much to tell.

Peter: Yeah, there was… uh, why? Why did you tell me all that?

Sam: I dunno, guess I didn't want you to think you were alone.

Peter: How did you know? I mean that I was…

Sam: I didn't, I guessed, but I have heard you at night, and well, I just figured that it might help if you knew I had gone thru some of that too.

Peter: It does help, but you went through much more, how'd you get through it? I mean how did you put that behind you?

Sam: Shit I don't know if I have even now, but I guess maybe it was how Sheila & Barb pushed me, making me go back to school and making this seem like a home. I don't know Peter, I guess just time…

Peter: And you being gay, uh didn't they… uh, didn't they say anything about it?

Sam: We talked about it, a bit anyhow, but it makes no difference to them.

 The answer was enough though in the back of his mind he felt like maybe Sam was holding something back from him. Still it didn't matter and he felt himself relax just a bit. He hadn't talked about himself or told anyone really much about his life. It suited him for now though to know that at least he hadn't winded up with a bunch of rednecks. He had seen enough of those back home and since.

Laying there with Sam he felt comfortable, at least the doubts where held in check and he could feel his hand running aimlessly thru Sam's dark hair. His fingers played slightly with the strands of hair as his mind absorbed all that Sam had told him. Yet even as he felt the sense of peace he wondered if Sam knew about him? He hadn't told anyone, not even Barb yet Sam had come out to him. Did he sense it or was he maybe testing him?

Peter: I don't know if I can ever be that… I mean… you seem so at ease about all that happened to you… I don't think I will ever…

Sam: You will, in time I suppose. I guess part of what helped me was knowing that Barb & Sheila cared about me, and well… no offence but you need to know that they care for you too, and well… so do I.

Peter: You do? Why?

The silence was awkward as he waited, unsure if he should have asked even. Maybe he had read Sam wrong, or maybe he was hoping for something that wasn't there. He didn't know as he felt the knot in his stomach begin to hurt him. His hand stopped caressing Sam's hair as he waited, growing uncertain as to what might be happening.

Sam: Do you mean why do care what happens to you or why I am laying next to you wishing you'd keep on touching me?

Sam had sat up now and rested on one elbow. Peter's hand had slipped down between them and he stared up at Sam's face. He could see the eyes boring into his own as the guy waited for his response. Panic touched him because he hadn't really thought about Sam that way and yet maybe subconsciously he had? Confusion was taking hold as he struggled to find the right words, knowing that maybe there really was hope, that perhaps the future wasn't as bleak as he had been thinking?

Peter: Sam I don't know what to say…

Sam: That's okay, guess that answers me…

Peter: NO! No it doesn't Sam.. shit I don't know how to… I am not like you…

Sam: That's okay Peter, really it is…

Peter: No not that, shit… look, I didn't mean I am not gay… okay? I am… it is just that I am not… I am not as open with who I am or how to say the things like you… I am scared.

Sam: Scared? Of what? Me?

Peter: No, not you. I just… I haven't talked to anyone about me, not like you just did, I guess I am afraid you won't still… won't like me like you do now.

Sam: You like me? I mean that way…

Peter: Fuck Yes… yes I do Sam… hell I just haven't gotten past… all that happened just sort of, well I guess you'd say I am gun shy.

Sam: But you were rescued… doesn't that…

Peter: Not that… though I guess that's part of it, or maybe I am letting it be part of it. No, I mean all that happened before. I never really told anyone about it.

Sam: Why not? Is it, uh… I mean is it that bad?

Peter: I don't know, not really I suppose. Hell sure isn't as bad as what you had to go through, that's for sure. And I don't mean that in how it sounds either, I guess I just never had anyone who wanted to hear about that stuff.

Sam: I do

Peter didn't have to look at Sam to know that he meant it. In some ways it was what he had hoped Sam would say but hearing the words now made him nervous. He would have to say something but what could he say? It wasn't like he had been beaten as a kid or even taunted.

His parents had died in a car crash when he was just a kid. His Uncle had taken him in and been good to him as if he was his own. Hell when he had turned 16 his Uncle had bought him a small beater car and he had known too.

It wasn't like they had talked about it, but Peter knew his Uncle had known about him. He didn't fuss about him dating or even try to suggest girls for him to date. Hell he even left out brochures on the coffee table about gay things, like AIDS prevention & such. There were always condoms & Vaseline in his bathroom's medicine chest from when he was 15 or so.

His Uncle had even left him little hints too. Like the phone number of the free clinic that did HIV testing. Notes telling him to check out certain websites that dealt with Gay Teens and no, not the porno sites, but the one's where gay teens met and shared. They just never said the words which now made him feel sad.

It wasn't anything like what Sam had endured but for some reason he felt ashamed of himself. He couldn't put it into words even and when his Uncle had died suddenly from Cancer there was no one left for him. With what little he had, he had come to the Big Easy to start a new life. Music had always interested him and he just couldn't stay back in Atlanta with all the memories.

Going to visit his parents grave was hard enough, but to have to visit his Uncle's grave was just too much for him. His Uncle had left him everything in a trust which wasn't huge, but enough. He supposed that maybe he wasn't as bad off as he had been thinking, but he felt so alone, until now. But how did he tell all that to Sam?

Peter: I don't want to be alone Sam… I just…

It was like Sam had been waiting for just those words. Before Peter could even say more he felt Sam leaning further into his body and reaching to bring him into his own body. He felt the warmth of Sam's bare chest against his own and then the touch of trembling lips on his mouth.

Jolts of electricity seemed to suddenly run through his whole body as he felt the sweet taste of Sam's lips on his. His lips parted and the hard raspy edge of Sam's tongue darted inside to flick and tickle inside Peter's mouth. It all overwhelmed him as his own hands flew around the slender 18 year olds body. He pulled him in to his own chest, feeling the excitement inside begin to well up.

They drank deeply of each other for what seemed eternity and yet not long enough. As they finally let their ardour cool a bit and sat apart from each other, Peter felt the growing lump between his groin, and he knew that his nightmares were soon to be banished from his memory.

Peter knew as the welling up of his penis became a roaring ache in his mind that Sam's own torment, own pain would soon also be eased and erased from his conscious memory. It was more than he had thought possible when that light had first flickered around his flooding home so many weeks past.

It had taken him minutes to realize that help had come to him in the dark of the night. It had taken him all this time to realize that nature was nature, not some divine force sent to punish him or eradicate him but was, just nature.

The ache in his body reached in to his very soul as he felt Sam's hand gently pulling at his boxer shorts, gradually easing them down his trembling legs. No more did he shake from terror but he felt his legs quake from anticipation, from hope of what was about to come to him. At last he felt alive, for maybe the very first time since his parents had suddenly stopped coming home to him.

He lifted his hips upwards as Sam pulled the shorts down and off his legs. Peter lay there as Sam squirmed and pushed his own shorts off and tossed them off to land somewhere out of sight. His eyes glazed over as tears begun to form at the corners, giving him a cloudy look at Sam's face as it hovered near his.

There was a hungry look in Sam's eyes as they locked with his. He could feel the desire delving deep into his body as he stared back with the same intense need. His body grew rigid as he licked the edge of his lips, urging Sam to come down to him & he wasn't afraid anymore as Sam's mouth crushed down on his. The press of lips only heightened the desire between them as this time his tongue flew outwards, pushing aside Sam's mouth so it could explore all that was there.

He reached and dug his fingers into the soft warm flesh of Sam's body and brought him down hard onto his naked body. He felt the hard press of Sam's cock into his belly, his own pole sliding between the legs and under the full taut balls. He could feel them brush past his blood gorged pole but all he could think of was the joy that begun to fill his body.

Peter felt the sticky ooze of pre cum smearing across his belly as Sam lay on top of him. Their bodies became entwined in a passionate embrace that made them both tremble. The heat was unbearable as rivers of sweat poured through every crevice and furrow of their skin. It only added to their desire as they moved together now, holding and touching each other in ways both had longed for.

The kisses and the union of their spirits made them both groan loudly into the room. It was like together they were chasing away all that had happened. All of the pain, the memories of rejection of sorrow were being swept away by their cries of desire for each other. Their bodies grew taut, as they felt the passion embracing them in its powerful arms.

Neither would yield and as they held each other, the power of their passion exploded from both of them. They could feel the hot splashes erupting between them and all they could do was hold tightly to each other. The shaking of their bodies was immense as they felt the release of their bodies and yet it was more than that. Peter could feel it deep in his soul and in Sam's too as their bodies continued to unburden itself of their milk and oh so much more. It was like being reborn in a way that no one could understand who hadn't gone where they had.

Nature may have brought about horrors and intense pain but it had also brought them together for just this moment. The gradual easing of their bodies didn't alter their passion as they clung to each other, rolling slightly to & fro on the bed. The sound of their joy still echoed in the room that suddenly seemed bathed in light even though dawn was still a long ways off. They had beaten back the darkness within their hearts. For one it had rested there for years and the other only for a short time but now it fled from them, no longer welcome as their passion continued to embrace them both.

Sam felt the light that you couldn't see with your eyes, as did Peter. Together they slowly let the ardour cool as they knew that they had more than just this night, that they had an eternity to be together. It happened, they couldn't explain it if pressed but in that one night, they had come together as they had been meant to. It had taken two hurricanes, a length passage of time, and one Coast Guard pilot, but at last they were as they were meant to be, together as one.

Sheila closed the door to Peter's room without them even knowing she had been there. Quietly she walked out to the back, and stared up at the stars overhead. A thin smile crossed her face as she stared off into the sky, knowing that far away, a white with orange coloured stripes helicopter was moving around, plucking more people from the grips of hell on earth. A prayer from deep within her heart leapt outwards as she closed the patio door and went back to her empty bedroom.

Keep em coming Barb was all she could say as she lay down on the bed, satisfied that despite the fears, despite the pain she knew would eventually come if anyone found out about her and Barb, that life had a way of working out, somewhere, somehow. Sleep came to her even as she could hear the muted sounds of love being made in the room down the hall.




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