Picture it. A dark, quiet space with only a pale blue light for illumination. Thick ropes tied off on a long, metal bar, each peg numbered with the rope extending into the darkness above. The wooden stage shrouded with black curtains suspended from metal bars. This is my favorite part of the theater. While many actors ran their lines in the dressing rooms or peered into mirrors framed in light bulbs and adjusted their hair or makeup, I found myself seeking the cool sanctuary of the rigging before the curtain opened, the spotlight turned up, and the show commenced.
In that solitude, interrupted only when a stagehand rushed by or the actors took their places just before the grand drape parted, I imagined the stories the space held secret. The trysts on the catwalks, stolen kisses while waiting to pull ropes or setting lights. Gossip and secrets shared or confessed in the darkness. It was the perfect place to escape for a few fleeting moments from the ten hour rehearsals for ten straight days before running the show for two weekends. As the shows ran, the next series of ten hour days began with rehearsals for the next show of the summer season.
Summer Stalked incorporates that sense of solitude in the rigging, as well as the drama happening behind the curtains, at a summer theater. One of the main characters, John-Michael Wolfe, seeks sanctuary on the catwalks and ropes as the other main character searches for him. Though I never pined for one of the other actors as John-Michael did, writing this story brought back many memories and experiences of waiting for opening or taking a deep breath in the pale blue light after the curtain closed before heading backstage to change and get ready for the next rehearsal.
You can read about Luke and John-Michael in Summer Stalked here.
Disappointed he didn’t find John-Michael, Luke returned to the room he shared with Brayden at the small cluster of cabins by the theater. Brayden was changing into fresh clothes as he entered. Though not Luke’s type at all, he considered his friend an attractive guy with a work-in-progress body. Luke’s gaze roamed over his roommate’s hairy chest and noticed new definition both on his pecs and his arms before settling on Brayden’s caramel eyes. “You’re starting to show your work at the gym. Nice pecs, dude.”
With a smile, Brayden tugged the shirt over the slight roll at his sides and smoothed out the fabric over his stomach. “I’ve got a long way to go.”
“You’re not ripped like me,” Luke said as he pulled up his T-shirt. “You’ll get there if you keep it up, though.”
“I’m not going for the stick-thin anorexic look.”
“Ha. Ha. Ha.” Luke let his shirt drop and plopped down onto his unmade bed. “Why are you putting on nice clothes? You got a date or something?”
Brayden looked himself over in the mirror. “You could say that.”
Luke puzzled at Brayden’s words before realization dawned. “Booty call?”
With a smirk, Brayden turned to face him. “Maybe.”
Jumping up, Luke’s arms flailed into the air. “Dude! Who is it?”
“Well, since you’re stroking your dick for John-Michael, I need a little somethin’, so I got a date.”
Wrinkling his nose at an unpleasant thought, Luke dropped back onto the bed. “It’s not Colton, is it?” The mere idea turned his stomach.
“Good God, no.” Brayden frowned. “I’m not that desperate.”
With a shake of his head, Brayden crossed to his own twin bed and slipped on his shoes. “You’re not getting it out of me, so stop asking.”
Eying his friend, Luke furrowed his brow. Brayden usually told him everything, most of the time in gory detail. “What gives? Is it on the down-low?”
“Definitely. Look, all you need to know is that I’ll be back about midnight.” Brayden stood and grabbed his keys from the table. “You got time for a quick drink at the pub?”
Luke brightened up. “Always time for that. You meeting your mystery man there?”
Brayden rolled his eyes and crossed to the door. “No, but it seems a good place to ditch you while I go and get me some.”
With a chuckle, Luke stood. “Okay, man, let’s go.” As Brayden strode out the door, Luke couldn’t help but worry about who his friend was hooking up with.
About the Author
Brent Archer began writing in 2011 at the nudging of his cousins. His first story sold, and he was hooked! The second story in his Golden Scepter Series, Pennington’s Conquest, will release in the Summer of 2016 with MuseItHOT Publishing. Stay tuned!
Visit his website to keep up on upcoming releases, and follow him on Twitter: @brentarcherwrit.