“It’s still snowing!” “Flakes” is a guys’ love serial novel with romance, intrigue, snow, chocolate, and a dash of Italy—start with episode one—and scroll down to read the latest episode.
This already written novel will be posted in 12 parts. This story is being polished as it is being posted, so please, feel free to use the comment section to point out typos, what you like, and what needs a bit more polish. As always, each episode opens with a quote to tempt you to read on.
“Flakes” will only be appearing on this web site. It will be our little web secret, but you should feel free to share it with your friends. You can support “Flakes” by buying an “Inky Flesh” story, see below.
Flakes, episode 2
So many men, so many eyes, so unnerving.
The snow continued to fall, as the tall stranger, who carried Cristoforo slumped over a shoulder, moved quickly through it. Coming to sudden stop, he planted both of his feet before the snowy façade of a building. As the winds created a clearing in the snowfall like a pulled curtain. This revealed a set of roughly hewn steps. These steps, which had either appeared suddenly or were already familiar to the stranger, led to a subterranean space below. Either way, the stranger quickly descended while still carrying the barely conscious young man.
They descended deeper and deeper into the darker space beyond and below. With a slight bend of the knees, like a sudden graceful curtsy, they passed through a small doorway, which the figure kicked open. The door opened on to a small entry way that served as a passage way to a cavernous space beyond.
As they entered, Cristoforo, feeling more groggy than conscious, could not help but notice the rush of warmth against his frigid body. He had been very cold, cold enough to hurt, so the warm air was very welcome. Wherever they were going, it was decidedly warmer in here than it was outside, so Cristoforo felt himself consenting to wherever he was being brought and to whatever it led. Besides, what choice did he have slumped over the stranger’s shoulder?
Having entered without hesitation, the tall figure walked along a brick wall before bending to unburden a tired shoulder from the weight it bore. Cristoforo unfolded over the stool he found his body deposited upon. This movement roused him, but before he could pick up his head to see where he was, he heard voices everywhere. They were engaged in very curious conversations. “Where’d he come from?” “Never seen him before.” “Are they together?” “Cute!”
His eyes popped open when heard—before feeling—the stranger’s hand slap his face. This was immediately followed by a stern command. “Wake up!” The slap prompted several rounds of gasps and giggles from the various watchers and listeners beyond, who must have been craning their necks to see.
Cristoforo’s face flushed with anger and surprise. “You slapped me!”
“You need to wake up so your blood will warm.” The stranger replied.
Despite the sting of embarrassment, Cristoforo was not surprised by what he saw, for he had heard the crowd whispering before seeing the chorus.
The cavernous room spread out before him. It gave way here and there to additional rooms, others hallways, and even more stairwells, which led further down. The exact relationship of the various rooms eluded him, for there was a vibrant tapestry of men before him. Their movements obscured his view of this or that detail or corner. The sea of men was varied, and while there were too many men—and too many kinds—to take in all at once, Cristoforo could tell from first glance there were men of all ages, sizes, and shapes within it. They stood watching, whispering and wondering about him and the young guy that had just slapped him, for he could see that his companion now resembled a man, at least the stranger did here under this light. All the men were talking and carrying on about them. Cristoforo was certain of this, and his face flushed with red heat under the scrutiny of such attention.
His hand was also reddening once again, and it was surely still hurting. He looked toward it, and it was only then that he noticed the stranger was already holding his hurt hand within his own. He stood staring at Cristoforo’s wound with wonder yet concern: “You are still bleeding. Let me get you a bandage. I’ll be right back with one. I’ll be back before you know it.” Then, he disappeared into the crowd as quickly as he had appeared through the snowflakes on the street.
Cristoforo could not tell what made his head swirl more the suddenness of the stranger’s help, the abruptness of his comings and goings, or the sea of faces still staring at him from every nook and cranny he could see—and from a few he could not—or so he felt. So many men, so many eyes, so unnerving.
He could still hear them carrying on and whispering. Their voices rose within yet quickly fell from his ears like a will-o’-the-wisp daring him too venture further forward to listen. One voice rose from the others before landing like an invading spider in his ear. “Want a drink, cutie?”
Filling with fury, Cristoforo could not help but shout an angry response: “No!”
Despite the rage within himself, he managed to contain the rest of his fury to his thoughts: “How dare one of these men speak to me like that? I’m boy, yet he speaks me as if I was a girl! I may not know where I am, but I know who I am. I am not a girl!”
Having to figure out who you were was work enough, but now, Cristoforo found himself trying to figure out where he was—and why there were so many strange men in this place. The tall stranger said his name was something that sounded like Angel, but Cristoforo wondered if he was lying or if he really meant to say devil—or worse, for why would an angel bring him into a place such as this?
His anger led his confusion in a frustrating dance of questions. “Where am I? What kind of place of this? Who are these strangers? I’ve never seen so many men before. Why are they all here?” Question after question raced through his mind, but he soon found his mind seizing on one. “Where is that man’s shirt?”
Moving from within the midst of the crowd of men yet appearing to have nothing to do with the others, there stood the tallest, broadest, and most unclothed man Cristoforo had ever seen before. Was that legal? He was not wearing a shirt, yet even his feet, bulging calves, and thick thighs threatened to burst out of his clothes. Cristoforo’s face reddened, for he was embarrassed for the man—and for himself. “Where was his shirt?”
One question after the next once again raced through his mind, for there was so much to figure out. “Wasn’t that man cold without his shirt?” Cristoforo thought he must be, for his chest stood up with a most indecent attention to the air. The rest of his torso appeared to be wet. How had he gotten his chest wet? He wondered if a water pipe might be actively leaking somewhere above. He looked toward the ceiling, but he found himself blinded by a suddenly illuminated large revolving ball, which hung high over the crowd.
He could not tell through the glare, but the ball looked broken. Its surface looked cracked, like it was about to shatter into shards, but these shards yet held. They appeared to reflect every light, every color, every face, and every movement in the room. He was nearly blinded by the rainbow of this brilliant illumination. So much so, he could no longer see as well. He feared if he moved he might trip, and he worried he might be going bind. This panicked him, but before he could further worry, he was distracted by a distinctly feminine laugh. Somewhere in the crowd, there was a girl here.
Cristoforo could hear her giggling and squealing with glee. She sounded delightful. His ears rejoiced in the sounds of her happiness. She sounded so mirthful, so free, so very much the opposite of how miserably lost and upset he felt. He wanted to see her, so he strained his eyes to find her. Wasn’t that her hand there? The hem of her dress just below there? Wasn’t that the flow of her hair above—no, just behind the shirtless man? Had she been dancing with him? Why was he smiling so? And, why did she seem familiar? Had they met before? Did he know her?
Cristoforo wished to find her, so he might ask if they had met before. He suddenly wished to ask her many questions—to discover all her secrets. Maybe they could be friends. In his position, he needed new friends, so he thought to introduce himself, but just as he looked for her face, she disappeared without a trace. He could no longer even hear her giggle, no matter how hard he tried. Who was that girl? And, why was she was the only one here—in a roomful of men?
Distracted by this swirl of sights, sounds, and thoughts, Cristoforo had not noticed the man who was staring at him the most, the one who made no apologizes for his staring. The other men would, at least every now and again, look away or blink, but not this one. His stare was hard, constant, and eerily accented by the inner third of his eyebrows, which were silver while the rest of them was black. He had not seen him, but as he noticed him now, a chill flowed out from his soul and ran over his skin. “Where am I? What kind of men are these? What kind of place is this?”
His face took on a look of fearful concern, but the staring man remained unmoved. Cristoforo could not help but notice him now. The attention he received from his eyes was so strong Cristoforo could almost feel it pushing against his body—no, not pushing—pulling. He could almost feel his body being pulled in by the man’s unyielding attention.
Cristoforo tired to look away, but he could not. He strained to notice something, or someone, else, but he could not. He tried to blind himself by looking directly into the broken ball of light above, but the more he tried to look away, the more he noticed this man’s attention. This made the man’s face seem larger and closer with each next passing second until it was all Cristoforo saw—that and his silvery accented hard staring eyes.
Reflexively, Cristoforo’s eyes took on a look of fear as his hands began to shake. Had the eyes moved just a step closer?
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“Flakes” © MJ Isola
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