by Roselia Grimm
In the upper part of the town there is a school where all the boys wear red coats. The coats are made of thick wool, crimson and soft, lined with black satin and fastened with grey steel toggles down the front. The boys of the lower town shuffle and mutter when a boy wearing one of these coats passes by but they don’t dare do a thing.
So he’s prowling around the edges of the upper town, watching the pretty ladies in their pretty clean dresses, watching the gentlemen in their clean suits. They walk quickly past the line dividing upper town and lower town. They keep their heads turned away. Bad luck to act like you know lower town’s even there.
He watches and waits for one of them to step too close to the line; someone always does and someone always pays for their foolishness. Then he sees him: a boy in a red coat. The red-coat school isn’t near here, isn’t near where the lower town pushes against the upper town. The boys in the red coats don’t come near the lower town, don’t come near the wolves. The boy in the red coat is standing by the shadows, as if he’s waiting for someone. Then he takes a step into them, goes further in deep.
He follows after him, drawn by the red of his coat, like fire, like blood, thick and rich. Speaks. “Are you lost, little lamb?”
“No,” says the other one, calm as he can be, pretty red hood half-hanging off his shining clean hair. “I know where I’m going.”
“Do you know how to get there?” he says, coming a little further out of the shadows.
“That,” says the boy in the red coat, “I might have a problem with.”
“Maybe I can take you there.”
“I’m sure I’ll find my way.”
Takes a step closer, then another one, thinking he can almost smell warm wool and sweet boy. “You don’t belong here.”
“No,” agrees the boy in the red hooded coat.
“Something’s going to eat you up, little lamb,” he says. “Chomp chomp. No more boy in red coat.”
The boy in the red coat looks up at him, cold eyes laughing up at him from behind his eyelashes. “Scary.”
Another step and he’s almost got him trapped. “Maybe I should walk with you,” he says. Waits a second, adds, “Little lamb.”
He follows the boy in the red coat and the others fall back when they see him. Slink away, looking back angrily. Leads the boy in the red coat to where the streets are brightly lit, where people stare at him, wondering what a boy from the lower town is doing here.
“Here,” says the boy in the red coat. “This is where I was going.”
“Don’t I get something?”
Again the boy in the red coat laughs at him with his eyes, sharp and cold, like winter wind. “What do you want?”
He bends down and kisses the boy in the red coat, not softly. He takes his time but he’s still the first to pull away. “See you around, little lamb.”
The boy in the red coat is waiting by the edge of the lower town, holding his bag slung over his shoulder, carelessly.
“Waiting for someone?”
He comes closer, listening to the other boys in the shadows, muttering. “Pack of wolves might eat you up, little lamb.”
The boy in the red coat pretends to shiver. “And here I’ve got to get across Lower Town. What am I to do.”
“Get a Huntsman to see you safe,” he says, watching the boy in the red coat, shifting a little as the boys in the shadows think about trying it, decide they don’t want to mess with him after all.
“Maybe I’d feel safer with a wolf,” says the boy in the red coat, and he thinks, I’m going to eat you up, little lamb.
That night he takes a bite from the boy in the red coat, on the neck. Not hard but enough to leave a mark.
On the third night the boy in the red coat is staring down another wolf, one eyebrow raised, watching the wolf circle around him, too scared to attack but driven by the yaps of his pack-mates. “Don’t make me call a Huntsman,” says the boy in the red coat, sounding bored.
“We’ve seen you,” says the wolf, trying to come closer but unable to, repelled by something like a magnetic force. “You’re his whore, aren’t you.”
He steps out of the shadows, growling softly, and the other wolf turns pale but doesn’t flee. “You gonna fight for your whore?” he says. “He is, isn’t he?”
He turns to the boy in the red coat, ignoring the other wolves, and says, “Are you?”
The boy in the red coat smiles his sharp cold smile. “I’ll let you know.”
The other wolves come closer. He pulls out his knife, spins it around so it flashes and lands open in his hand, the cool steel the same color as the fasteners on the red coat the little lamb is wearing. “Bring it on,” he says.
They’re running through the streets of the lower town. Part of the black satin lining of the red coat has been ripped up and tied around his arm. He’s got the boy in the red coat by one slender wrist, pulling him as they duck through the dark alleys and stinking streets. He doesn’t hear the pack any more but that doesn’t mean much until he gets them back to his lair.
He stops for a second, listens closer. The boy in the red coat is breathing hard but stops when he does, stays quiet. Follows close behind when he starts again. He can smell the boy in the red coat, clean skin, some expensive scent. No fear. The boy in the red coat never smells of fear.
Leads the boy in the red coat further into the shadows, into a place nobody’s ever been before but him. You don’t take anybody to your lair. Even if you’re in a pack, there’s a place only you know of. You keep what’s important to you there. He thinks of it briefly but it’s all right. Put the boy in the red coat with his treasures, keep him there.
His lair is dark, half lit by the flickering neon signs outside. It’s filled with a mattress covered with rags, an old table with a bottle of rotgut, two candles stuck in bottles and an old chair. Things he’s scavenged. Old poster of a pretty lady in a red dress, taped to the wall. He doesn’t light the candles. Squeezes the boy in the red coat’s wrist, hard, lets it go.
The boy in the red coat doesn’t say anything, doesn’t even smile at the magpie gleanings that fill the room. Looks at him, waiting.
He takes a step forward, then another one. Close to the boy in the red coat now, so close he can feel the heat from his body. Smell the clean wool of the red coat. “I fought for you,” he says, growling.
“That’s true,” says the boy in the red coat, not scared, never ever scared.
“Makes you mine,” he says, and brushes his hand over the red coat’s toggles.
The boy in the red coat watches his hand move, smiles his sharp winter smile. Looks up from under his lashes, eyes blue-black like the night sky. Says, “Convince me.”
He’s falling hard and he doesn’t care. Picks up the boy in the red coat’s hand, turns it over so the palm is facing out. Kisses the life-line, trailing his tongue over it, slowly, slowly. No sound in the lair but their breathing, so quiet he thinks he can hear the movement of his lips on the boy in the red coat’s hand.
The boy in the red coat lets out a quiet breath and his hand goes slack. He lowers his eyes, not yielding but submitting, as if to say, Make it worth it.
He bends down and bites at his throat, the tender line there, so delicious. The boy in the red coat arches his neck up, lets him scrape a line down to where the red coat’s collar covers the corner of his shoulder and neck.
Yes, he thinks. Yes.
Boy in the red coat is the boy on the red coat. A feast for the taking. Golden skin from the sunlight the lower town never sees, the muscle that comes from room to move and enough to eat. Tastes of soap and sweat and rut. He almost wants to take his time, be gentle, but the boy on the red coat won’t let him. Bites and scratches, cold winter eyes gone molten-hot. Fire in winter, he thinks, pleased, and bites his nipple to feel the boy on the red coat claw his back and hiss.
Tells him, low and crooning, that he’s his, kissing lower, licking at his navel, feeling muscles ripple. So sweet, he thinks, and it’s driving him crazy. Licks lower, takes just one little bite.
“Say you want it,” he says, lifts his head. Looks at the boy on the red coat, waiting. For a second he thinks he’s going to refuse him but then his eyes turn from winter-ice to blank heat again.
“Yes,” the boy on the red coat says, and “Please” and “Fuck me.”
So he breathes out and then he sucks him in, and the boy on the red coat cries out. Takes him in deep, tasting every inch as the boy on the red coat makes noises like a small trapped thing above him. Writhes and claws, sweet, so sweet. Finally arches, screaming high and beautiful like an angel. Sinks down again, panting. He swallows and licks his lips, still tasting the boy on the red coat.
Boy on the red coat has his hand over his eyes, flushed and trembling, panting hard.
He slides up, kissing, biting, nuzzling; kisses and bites at the boy on the red coat’s mouth, coaxing.
Boy in the red coat makes a sound, low in his throat, purring. Slides one leg up on his, traps his hip in the curve of his knee and thigh. Says, “Do you want me?”
He can’t speak, can’t do anything but lick at the boy on the red coat’s lips and throat, tasting him, breathing him in.
“Bag,” says the boy on the red coat and he forces himself away from the delicious scent of the boy on the red coat long enough to scrabble in the bag and find a bottle there, almost breaks it in his haste. Pulls it open, slickness all over his fingers, slickness sliding over the boy on the red coat’s skin, down, down, lower, lower. Boy on the red coat sighs, half dreaming, stretching out long and slow, pressing against his questing fingers.
Presses deeper, listens to the boy on the red coat’s breath catching sharp and thin. Buries his face in the corner of his neck. Rocks against him, whimpering and moaning, yes please please yes. Boy in the red coat makes another pleased sound, shifts again. Says, “So take me.”
Boy on the red coat, moaning, baring his throat. He’s sinking in deep, slowly, trying to keep his eyes open to watch every moment. His blood is rising to his head, blinding, choking. Instinct shrilling, take him, take him. Now he’s seated deep, stopping, feeling every inch of tightness, heat. Looking down, sees the boy on the red coat, golden-pale on the black satin and crimson wool.
He thinks, clear and shattering, the boy on the red coat doesn’t belong here. A sweet stolen thing. He growls again, deep in his throat, and slams into the boy on the red coat, again and again. Vicious, half angry. Wants to snarl at him, What did you do to me? but he can’t speak, can’t breathe. Can’t do anything but fuck the boy on the red coat and watch him writhe and make sharp broken cries like shards of glass tearing into him.
Slams into him one more time, and the world goes white and electric. Maybe he screams but the universe is exploding behind his eyes so he doesn’t know, doesn’t care.
So he’s lying with his head on the boy with the red coat’s chest. Listening to his heartbeat, thump thump thump. Boy with the red coat is stroking his head, long and slow, fingers going through his hair. He lies for a long while, somewhere between desire and despair.
Says, “So tame me.”
Boy with the red coat curls around him, kisses his forehead softly.
Says, with his cold winter smile, “Yes.”