by Megan May
Emotional, touching story of a troubled young gay man's journey to find love.
My name is Luke Thomas Johnson. I am sixteen years old. I live with Adam, who loves me. I must always do what he tells me. He usually makes me stay in his flat in case he needs me. Sometimes though, he allows me to leave the flat to get things for him. When I'm outside, I'm scared. I wonder what will happen if I don't go back. But I always go back because I know he loves me. Sometimes I'm scared of him. Sometimes he gets angry with me and hurts me. But most of the time, I'm simply allowed to sit on the floor and draw or write. He doesn't like my drawings, and he usually throws them away, but I hide my writing book because I need it. Writing makes me feel good. Sometimes he chains one of my wrists to the bed, so I can't write.
I have no clothes. I must not sleep on the bed unless he asks me to do so, which is when he wants sex with me. I don't like it. It hurts. Not just physically, but in my mind and in my heart. I know it shouldn't hurt because he loves me. He makes me do lots of things and some of them feel good but most of them don't. I don't like it when he ties my hands and feet and I can't move. I don't like it when he bites my neck and scratches my chest, and I don't like the tastes and the sounds of sex. But I do like it when he kisses me and lets me sleep on the bed with him because it's warm. This is how I know that he loves me. I never tell him when I'm scared or hurt, because he would just tell me I was weak. I want so badly to please him, to be strong for him, but sometimes it's just too difficult.
I'm not sure how long I've been here. I've kind of lost track of the days. I guess it's been a few weeks. I didn't start writing this diary until I'd been here for a while, and I haven't written the dates on any of the pages. Adam sent me to get his drugs from Spike today. It was nice to be outside. It's summer, so it's really warm and bright outside, especially in comparison to Adam's flat. I wonder why he likes to keep it dark in there. Curtains always drawn and lights always off. Always. I always wonder things like this when I'm outside.
Spike was quite friendly today. Sometimes he's not. But today he greeted me with his weird smile as he led me inside his flat. Once inside, I handed him the money Adam had given to me. I looked around the dark, messy room as Spike left for a minute. It was quieter than usual; only a dark, silent, shadowy figure in the corner and someone asleep face-down on the sofa were present. Usually when I came here there were more people around. I was too nervous to ask any questions, so I kept quiet as Spike returned and gave me a small, tightly-wrapped package, which I put safely in the inside pocket of my borrowed jacket. Borrowed from Adam, of course, as all my clothes are. I have none of my own any more. I thanked Spike quietly and left, practically running back to Adam's flat. It was too warm to be wearing a jacket or running really, but both were required for my safety. I got back to Adam's flat fairly quickly, and stood anxiously outside the door waiting for him to let me in. He opened the door and dragged me inside, ripping the jacket off me and checking the pockets. He made me remove the rest of my clothes and give them back to him, then let me sit in my corner of his bedroom 'to draw a shitty little picture or whatever it is you do'. But I didn't draw, I wrote this.
The police came to the flat last night and arrested Adam. When they came I was led naked on the floor. Adam was asleep in bed. I wasn't allowed to sleep on the bed with him because I hadn't behaved well in bed that evening. Without thinking, I had tried to resist him when he forced me to do something I didn't want to do. He hit me for that, and I had to sleep on the floor.
There were two policemen and a policewoman. One of the men and the woman came and sat on the floor with me and the policewoman asked me some questions.
"What's your name?"
I curled up in a foetal position and refused to answer.
"You need to tell me. It's important."
"My name is Luke," I whispered, keeping my face hidden from her.
"And how old are you, Luke?"
"Jesus Christ," the man muttered. I looked up at them. The woman frowned at the man before turning her attention back to me.
"Okay Luke, we're going to get you out of here, okay?"
I nodded, feeling suddenly scared. What was going to happen to me?
"Good. But first we need to find you some clothes." I blushed and looked down again when she said this. The fact I was naked had barely registered with me before this point, I was so used to it.
"It's okay," she said with a patronising smile. The policeman stood up and went over to the wardrobe. He found a pair of jeans and a black shirt. "These okay?"
I nodded silently.
When I was dressed, the policewoman asked me if I had any belongings to take with me. I silently prised up the loose floorboard and retrieved my writing book. "That's all," I said. They took me out to a police car and said they were going to take me somewhere safe for the night. They needed to interview me about Adam. I tried not to think about it as we drove slowly through the city. I looked out of the window the whole time, the tears in my eyes making the streets outside blur into a surreal world of light and colour. Everything looked beautiful like that, I thought. I have no idea where they took me. It was just a room in a building to me. It was like a hotel room, with its own bathroom and a double bed. I felt a little bit of excitement at the thought of being able to sleep in that bed by myself. But it seemed like that wasn't going to happen any time soon. The policeman who had brought me to the room said, "If you'd like to just take a quick shower and get comfortable,"he gestured to a towel dressing gown hanging on the door, "We'd just like to get a nurse in here to check you over. You look like you may have been hurt." I nodded dumbly, wondering if I should be feeling something. I felt nothing; I wasn't sad or happy. I was just existing, really. Floating about from here to there, being told what to do and doing it. I was okay with that. It meant I didn't have to think about anything.
I could have stayed in that bathroom forever. The shower was comforting and warm and welcome. I didn't realise how long my hair had grown until I was washing it; it was well past its usual jawline-length. When I had finished in the shower I looked around the rest of the bathroom. I was tempted to cut my hair a little shorter but couldn't find any scissors. The mirror above the sink told me I also needed to shave, but neither could I find a razor. I remembered that the policeman had said to take a quick shower, and not wanting to annoy him by taking too long, I gave up looking for scissors or a razor. I hid my face from the mirror as I left the bathroom, not wanting to see myself when I didn't look like me. The policeman was no longer in the room. I sat cautiously on the edge of the bed, wrapping the comfortable dressing gown more tightly around me. My writing book was on a table beside the bed. I reached over to pick it up just as there was a knock on the door.
"Luke, are you okay in there? Can I come in?"
"Yeah." My voice sounded strange, quiet. I cleared my throat and tried again. "Yes. You can come in."
The policeman was accompanied by a male nurse, who was introduced to me as Nurse Greenlaw.
"I know you're probably really tired and fed up, but it's really important that we check you for any injuries and illnesses. Are you okay with that Luke?" the nurse asked me.
I nodded, not really caring what happened to me any more. The policeman quietly left the room.
"And how about this bruise on your face? How did that happen?" I felt like the nurse had been examining me for hours. He'd asked too many questions already, questions I didn't know the answers to and questions I didn't want to answer. I tried my best though.
"He hit me yesterday. No, earlier. Before the police came," I said quietly.
"Okay," the nurse said gently. "Do you feel well? Are you in pain at all?"
"I feel…I don't know. I'm not in pain though," I shrugged, weirdly feeling close to tears.
"It's okay mate, we'll get you all the help you need." The nurse patted my shoulder in what was supposed to be a reassuring gesture. I flinched at his touch. He apologised for touching me and I shrugged.
"It's going to be okay," he said to me gently. I shrugged again. I felt like I couldn't speak. I didn't know what I wanted to say anyway. The nurse smiled at me as he left the room. I made eye contact but couldn't return the smile, no matter how hard I tried. I sat back down on the bed and reached for my notebook once more. I realised I didn't have a pen. I contented myself with flicking through the book and looking at everything I'd ever written, not really taking in the words. I was just looking at the patterns they made on the paper, noticing for the first time how neat and perfectly formed my writing was. I had no idea what time it was, but I was tired. I thought I'd try and sleep, as I was seemingly going to be left alone for now. I put my notebook back on the table just as there was another knock on the door. I sighed as the door opened and the policeman from earlier came in, alone this time.
"Sorry to disturb you again Luke, I know you must be so tired. We were wondering if you'd like us to bring you some food?"
I nodded. "Thanks." My voice still didn't sound right.
"Is there anything in particular you'd like? We don't have a lot of choice, I'm afraid."
"Anything," I shrugged. "I'm a vegetarian," I added after a pause. I'd almost forgotten.
"Okay, I'll see what I can do," he smiled. Again, I tried to smile back but I couldn't.
The policeman returned about ten minutes later with a tray of food and some water in a plastic cup. After he had gone, I noticed that the cutlery and plate were also made of plastic. I sat and wondered about this as I ate my meal. I eventually worked out that it was a safety thing, like not having scissors or a razor in the bathroom. It was in case I felt like killing myself. Should I feel like killing myself? I felt completely bewildered. It wasn't until I was lying in bed a while later and the words started rushing through my head - kidnap, imprisonment, abuse, rape - that I realised that perhaps I should be feeling something. I think in the back of my mind, I always knew these things were what was happening to me, but it never concerned me too much. I felt sick; a combination of the food I had eaten earlier and the realisation that my life would probably never be normal again. I stumbled to the bathroom in the dark, but I didn't quite make it. I sank to the floor, a vile acidic taste in my mouth. My eyes were watering. It was dark. I was quite happy to stay where I was on the floor, but the forces-that-be had other ideas. After a few minutes, or it could have been hours, I don't know, a light snapped on and a voice called, "Are you okay in there?" A shadow appeared in the doorway. Nurse Greenlaw. He crouched down on the floor beside me.
"What happened, Luke? Do you remember?"
"Yeah," my voice sounded even worse, almost like I was being strangled. That's how it felt, too. "I felt sick so I came in here, and I…fell," I told him, confused. "I don't know how I fell, I just did."
"Okay, it's okay," he reassured me. God, I felt so useless. Everyone was fussing around me, helping me and cleaning up after me, while I just sat and caused more problems. Nurse Greenlaw handed me a tissue. I wanted to hide my face in it, to never been seen again. I wiped my eyes and composed myself.
"I think we might have to take you to a hospital," Nurse Greenlaw was saying now, as a woman I had never seen before entered the room. "It'll probably only be for a day, just so we can keep an eye on you. Do you know why you were feeling sick?"
I nodded. "I think it was because I haven't eaten much for a while until just now. And because…because…" I could feel myself beginning to cry again.
"Alright, alright," he said soothingly. "Do you think you could come back into the other room with me so we can clean up in here?" The moment he said this was the first moment I realised I had actually been sick. I felt so disgusted and degraded by everything that I was almost sick again. I nodded in response to his question and let him help me off the floor and into the other room, even though I didn't really want him to touch me at all. My whole body was shaking; I couldn't stand up. I sat down carefully on the bed. I was about to ask how anyone knew that I was even out of bed, but I noticed a tiny camera, well-concealed in the corner. Keeping a close watch on me, in case I did manage to find a way to kill myself. As if I'd do that. It was too much hard work.