Barbara Adair – Researcher and Writer

Walking the Tightrope – Lethe Press

by on May.18, 2016, under Published Novels and Short Stories

Walking the Tightrope: (Poetry and Prose by LGBTQ Writers from Africa) Lethe Press. 2016

Mark feels ill; he knows this feeling well, it always happens to him. He stands outside the building and looks up at the unlighted windows. I must have eaten something that is causing this pain. He walks forward to get a better view of the steel gate that cars use to get in and out of the unit. To the right of the gate is a pedestrian gate, it too is made of steel. He turns his head to look at it. Walking people who have keys to the padlock use this gate, and he has a key, the man he will meet sent it to him a week ago. In front of both gates, the pedestrian gate and the long steel motor gate, is a parking lot, he remembers the instructions that came with the key; after the lot has been crossed one can either turn left and walk up the stairs of the fire escape, or turn right and enter the lift. It is dark and the night air is heavy with humidity, he is afraid that the gate will make a noise. Mark turns his head so as to enable his eyes to see around him, there is a grey cat on a window ledge, its yellow eyes stare at him. He walks to the gate and puts the key into the padlock, he turns it to the right, there is a slight whine, he takes the padlock off the gate and opens it, he enters, then he turns and closes the gate but this time he does not lock the padlock. He walks around the parking lot staying next to the wall that surrounds it, if he walks straight he will be visible as the lot is open, there are no shadows only the spot lights shine down into it. At the end of the wall he quickly crosses the lot; he chooses a place that is the least open and the least lit. He turns left and takes the stairs. At the top of the first flight he stops and breathes heavily. I must be ill if after one flight of stairs I am already out of breath. After a minute he continues up the stairs, the second floor, the third. Mark looks at the man who stands at the top of the final staircase; he is unable to make out his features for his face is in shadow. Mark walks towards the man, the man does not move until Mark is close to him, then the man soundlessly reaches towards him and unzips his jeans, they fall to the cement floor, he takes Mark’s cock from beneath his underpants, it is hard and ready. The man kneels down, his knees, as they make contact with the concrete make a loud crack that reverberates around the hollowed stairwell. He takes Mark’s cock into his mouth, he licks the hairy balls with a rasping tongue; Mark can hear his own breathing, or is it the others? Mark finishes quickly. Several drops of blood make a river and run down the first step, then they continue to the second and then the third, here they stop. Mark wipes his red stained hands across his stomach, he leans forward and pulls up his jeans, he refastens the zip. I am still feeling ill. He walks back down the three flights of stairs; he walks across the parking lot in the shadow of the wall. Mark pushes the open gate; he walks outside onto the road. He leaves the gate open.