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An Introduction to The DANNY Quadrilogy™ by Chancery Stone Published in the UK by Poison Pixie Publishing www.poisonpixie.com All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or recorded by any means without prior written permission from the publisher. The right of Chancery Stone to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Originally published in paperback 2008, this virtual edition 2010 Š Copyright Chancery Stone 2008 & 2010 ISBN 978-0953730735

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

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“DANNY IS THE FUTURE OF THE M O D E R N

NOVEL”


What the fuck is the

DANNY

Quadrilogy? 4


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The Pragmatist Synopsis: The DANNY Quadrilogy is a series of four blockbuster novels starring the Jackson Moore family, a highly dysfunctional Cumbrian farming family with a history of sexual misdeeds and black secrets that makes the average serial killer look sane. Twisted, abusive, sexually explicit, dark, disconcerting and perversely addictive. Not a book for rose-tinted moments.

The Adrenaline Junkie Synopsis: A visceral, acid-in-the-gut reading experience. DANNY grabs you by the seat of the pants and doesn’t let go, forcing you to experience firsthand everything that other books only allow you to witness from a safe distance. From the throes of erotic obsession to the degradation of sickening violence; from delicious excitement to plain repulsion, there is nothing else like it for sheer ‘grunt’ factor – whether that’s a grunt of lust, revulsion or disbelief. The Romantic’s Synopsis: A lush, layered, emotionally-charged epic that provides tongue-licking shivers of erotic tension coupled with forbidden full-on animal passion. Tormented, tortured, brutal, like Wuthering Heights on speed. Complete with its own take on Heathcliff (a deliciously dark-beyond-dark anti-hero) and a inhumanly beautiful ‘Cathy’ – with the added twist that this Cathy is a corrupt (and seriously fucked-up) boy. The Sex Junkie Synopsis: Gay sex, straight sex; forbidden sex, recreational sex; masochistic sex, sadistic sex; voyeuristic sex, exhibitionist sex; orgiastic sex, masturbatory sex; hard sex, tender sex; promiscuous sex, monogamous sex. Deviant, violent, humiliating revenge sex. And no sex at all. Full-frontal, no-holds barred, every perversion and warped taste catered for, including incest – both paternal and fraternal… and even maternal. No clubs, lifestyle or lip gloss, just honest to God, wall to wall sex – and a ‘love‘ affair to die for, of course. The Barrack Room Psychologist Synopsis: Just about every facet of family dysfunction is here – everything from hearing voices to rampant child abuse, all dealt with in painstaking detail and offering an ambiguity and complexity seldom, if ever, seen in a novel. Like a course in Freud, Jung, Kinsey and Masters & Johnstone all rolled into one – but a hell of a lot more fun. The Mystery & Crime Lover Synopsis: DANNY will keep you guessing at every turn as every facet of human maladjustment is paraded and slowly dissected, backwards, clue by painstaking clue. No straightforward locked room mystery here, rather a huge, overstuffed feast of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, David Goodis and Jim Thomson, with some Russian epic thrown in. Add a soupcon of other-worldly fairytale and mythology and you have the complex mind-fuck to die for. The Damn Good Read Synopsis:You want story. Story first, story last. To you, story is everything. To hell with pretty prose, clever writing. You don’t want to be analysing the writer’s style, worrying about his influences. You don’t want the writer intruding on your thoughts, breaking the flow. More than anything you want to escape who you are, what you are, where you are. You want to be someone else for a day, a moment, an hour. It means everything to you.Well, this is the book for you.An engrossing story-line; addictive best-seller page-turning quality; characters that come alive in your head and who refuse to leave you; events that horrify, excite and enthral you; a book that is both deceptively subtle and easily consumable, that will make you think and challenge you without making you consult a thesaurus. DANNY was written expressly for you. Now what are you waiting for?

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Are you an

average deviant?

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“Th e w h o le t wo r ld o f d hing is ne e d le s s ly d if fe re n c e e v ia n t. Th b e t we e n e re’s a Fra n k ly I d a r k and pr u fe e l t h at r a nyo ne w re q u ir ing h o re ad s b ie n t. b o t h h and o ok s s w il l fe e l s t a r ing a t s ome o ne t h e s ame . It ’s li k e e ls e’s p u k e .“ Sean W illiams novelist, Australia

We haven’t got the time to waste on things that don’t meet our needs. So, to answer the question of ‘What’s in it for me?’ here is A Profile of the Average Deviant (not Mr Sean Williams of Australia) who might enjoy DANNY.

I hate glib, one-note, clichéd narratives and prefer long-running left-field fictions that really get their teeth into a story.

I

love rebels, rule-breakers and visionaries because I love being challenged, even feeling uncomfortable. I adore a good villain and anything dark is food and drink to me. I will watch just about anything that comes out of HBO.

I love getting high on other people’s emotions – good or bad – because

extremes are food and meat to me. Obsession is my normal state of being and I like it that way, thanks. I love frustrated love affairs and closeted longing for the wrong people, and messy lives get my adrenaline going. Addiction is something I understand and emotionally damaged people strike a chord in me.

Although ‘bisexuality‘ sometimes feels like a word made up by men to

justify lesbian porn, I believe men are capable of sexual ambiguity too and that they can ‘commit’ homosexual acts without being queer. I think ‘gay’ means a lifestyle and not a sexual taste and that sexual proclivities have Continued on page 6

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nothing to do with grooming, interior décor or clubbing but a lot to do with how we are brought up.

I think women also like porn, and that means porn, not Chippendales.

I believe parents fuck up their children, not Satan, and that fucking

children fucks them up. I think there is no definitive portrait of ‘An abused child’ and the possibilities are as limitless as the circumstances. I think the children are always called liars until the ‘facts’ are so unavoidable we have to call them victims instead – and by then it’s too late.

I think that people have the fond notion that abuse always happens to

others, and that sometimes, even frequently, children enjoy sex and even seek it out. I think that said children never forgive themselves for it – and neither do we. I think that there isn’t a paedophile alive who doesn’t know both these facts and uses them to their advantage. I think that we currently live in a society that neuters child sexuality hoping that will make it go away, but that it doesn’t – it just makes it easier to reassure ourselves about any complicity the children may have had in their abuse.

I think child abuse might make people dangerously self-reliant and hard

rather than weak and broken, and that although I wouldn’t want the resultant psychotic living next door to me, they didn’t choose to be that way, and that people ought to remember that while choosing to look the other way while some sad fuck bends their child out of shape forever.

But more than any of this, I love a life lived on the dark side and have no desire to have my delicious addiction taken away from me. My disease is me, I embrace it, and nothing about me is average.

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cultFICTION DEVIANT

Noun 1. deviant - a person whose behaviour deviates from what is acceptable, especially in sexual behaviour degenerate, deviant, pervert fetishist - one who engages in fetishism (especially of a sexual nature) masochist - someone who obtains pleasure from receiving punishment nympho, nymphomaniac - a woman with abnormal sexual desires child molester, pederast - a man who has sex (usually sodomy) with a boy as the passive partner paedophile - an adult who is sexually attracted to children sadist - someone who obtains pleasure from inflicting pain or others sadomasochist - someone who enjoys both sadism and masochism letch, lecher, satyr - man with strong sexual desires bugger, sodomist, sodomite, sod someone who engages in anal copulation (especially a male who engages in anal copulation with another male) Adj. 1. deviant markedly different from an accepted norm; “aberrant behaviour”; “deviant ideas” aberrant, deviant abnormal, unnatural - not normal; not typical or usual or regular or conforming to a norm; “abnormal powers of concentration”; “abnormal circumstances”; “an abnormal interest in sex”

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Sub·vert (sëb-vûrt’)

THERE’S NO F’ IN GENRE

1. To destroy completely; ruin. 2. To undermine the character, morals, or allegiance of; corrupt. 3. To overthrow completely. Gen·re (zhän’rë)

1. A type or class 2. a. A category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, marked by a distinctive style, form, or content. 10


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DANNY markedly subverts the genre. But what genre?

There’s a temptation to file DANNY under ‘romance’ since there appears to be a central love story at the heart of it. The problem with that argument is I’m not sure I believe in this ‘love’ story. I’m not at all convinced that a love story, as we would generally recognise it, motivates anything in DANNY. Certainly there is no boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back – happy ending. Nor can we class it as a gay romance, as the sexuality of the two key players is a definite grey area.The heroes are not by textbook, self, or any other definition, ‘gay’. Perhaps bisexual then? Perhaps. But if one or both of the heroes doesn’t actually enjoy their bisexuality would they still be bisexuals? Or what if one of them was only ever homosexual with one male partner, but heterosexual with (far more) female partners – would he still be gay? Or even bisexual? And do gay men, or even bisexual men, have heterosexual sex behind their boyfriend’s backs like helpless addicts? Psychological thriller seems the next obvious choice of (mis)nomer. But we lack the usual psychiatrists, police procedurals or, indeed, even the Portrait of a Serial Killer type genre ramifications that are usually de rigueur. Okay, crime then? Yes, it has crimes a-plenty, plenty of blood is spilt: they fight; they swear, they kill, they die – we even have policemen – but there are no SOCOs, no forensics, no sleuths, no whodunit. Nobody really cares whodunit; the crimes are mere irrelevancies in the bigger scheme of what is really going on. Family saga then….Yes, we have dark family secrets, we have inter-generational intrigue, we have the sins of the fathers visiting on…. But there are no real resolutions, no family fortunes to fight over. In fact, nothing substantial to fight over at all.The intrigue and rivalry is not over an heirloom, a house, a business or even a parent’s love.The saga only runs a few years, not a lifetime, or even anything approaching a lifetime. But yes, out of all the genres so far, it does seem to have something of the taste of a family saga, just a very bitter, acrid taste that might not linger so well in the mouth. So what genre is it then? Well, the fact is, DANNY borrows from all of these genres and belongs to none of them. DANNY is that rarest of rare birds – a true, ground-breaking original which one day may be a genre all of its own.

Chancery Stone

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DANNY has been compared by readers, critics and

industry professionals alike to a movie. Some of them think this is a bad thing and others love it. However, what they do all agree on is that it’s more like watching a movie (or perhaps, more accurately, an un-broadcastable soap) than reading a conventional book. With that idea in mind, if the Profile of an Average Deviant was too elusive or uncertain for you, then browse through this list. It is far from exhaustive – I could go on all day offering parallels – but, basically, if you like these aspects of these movies then DANNY is definitely for you:The Age of Innocence. Love all that frustrated desire, tortured passion, telling glances? Then DANNY will give it to you in spades.

Love Me If You Dare. A reworking of Wuthering Heights in modern day France. Just watch these two wound and hurt each other to the nth degree. If their madness thrills you more that it horrifies you then DANNY is just what you‘ve been looking for. Mother’s Boys. Love that mad bitch Jamie Lee? Love the fact that she will ruthlessly go to any ends, including seducing her own son, to get possession of them again? Think she makes the new wife look like what she is – a wet dish cloth? Then you need DANNY, with the ice queen incestuous mother to die for. And talking of… To Die For. Nicole Kidman’s mad, bad bitch and Joaquin Phoenix’s beautiful, besotted man-child – DANNY will give you all this and graphic sex too. The Godfather. Thuggish aggression, sibling rivalry, betrayal, deceit, damaged souls and über-violence. Imagine it all with added sex appeal and you’ve got DANNY. Oldboy. Perversion, weirdness and cinematic grandeur. Check – DANNY‘s got ‘em all. Othello. (1995) The rarely seen, hugely-underrated Laurence Fishburne version. The hell with all the Kensington nancy-boy lovey versions with white men in black-face, this is the only film version that gives full rein to the sexual jealousy, envy and closeted homosexuality that makes up Iago – bless him. One of the best villains ever committed to paper/celluloid and acted with tremendous repressed passion by all involved. Now picture it in Cumbria and you have DANNY. A delight. Dangerous Liaisons. Manipulation, deceit, malice aforethought and enough frustrated passion to burn up a ship, never mind sink it. The Manchurian Candidate. (2004) Oh, Liev Schreiber, tortured by what he can’t remember, striving to rise above himself and failing. Oh, his mother, hard, cold, obsessive and way too close to him. It is but DANNY in another tale. Wuthering Heights. (1992) The Ralph Fiennes version. About the best of a sad collection of disastrous adaptations that all think they’re dramatising Jane Eyre.Very little to commend this version either except for the delicious empty-eyed and coldly callous Fiennes

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suffering in his beauty. Ah, if only he’d been put in another movie, one by me, perhaps. Still, DANNY is in there – buried under the dross. Gladiator. Power politics, terrible consuming envy, incest, and more envy because of the terrible consuming incest. It’s just DANNY set in Roman times. American Psycho. DANNY is compared to the book frequently, but the narcissistic, voyeuristic love affair with the perfect Christian Bale in the movie version has far more of DANNY in it than all the psychosis of the novel. It’s a prose-poem to male eroticism – and not a gay man in sight. Bad influence. More repressed male eroticism, all fucked-up with envy, this time with the delicious James Spader – a man who manages to be creepy, sexy and ambiguous all at once. Just like DANNY. Ballad of Jack & Rose. A father and daughter who are too close, know it, but can’t seem to unravel it, and barely a creepy moment in the whole thing. Like watching Danny and his brother in another, kinder world. Once Upon a time in America. How thugs are made: envy, resentment and frustrated love. Like the Godfather only, somehow, better. It’s DANNY minus the sex. Beautiful Girls. A love affair between ages. One too young for his age, her too old, and again not a creepy scene in sight. Think of it with sex and there’s DANNY again. Bleak House. (TV series) Gillian Anderson suffering austerely under the weight of someone else’s envy, ambition and lust. What he can’t fuck he’ll fuck over. Danny and Ian in a different time.

The Forsyte Saga. (Damian Lewis mini-series) Possibly the one ‘movie’ on this list that most resembles DANNY. Soames’ blind, embittered, desperate desire to possess the unpossessable. You end up feeling more sympathy for him than her, and he’s obnoxious. DANNY to the nth. Birth. A little boy who has sexual desire oozing out his pores. Okay, we’re all supposed to believe he’s a reincarnated older man – but who does? No, we’re all getting off on the frisson of child sexuality. A rare beast indeed. DANNY without the ‘graphic’.

The Bodyguard. Toxic sibling rivalry, forbidden love, and then more forbidden love. DANNY, DANNY, DANNY. The Brotherhood of the Wolf.Vincent Cassel’s barely repressed, itchy desire for his sister and sexual jealousy of any male in her orbit – with a monster of the id lurking in the background. We don’t need to explain the resemblance, do we? Broken Arrow. Sub-rosa homosexuality flaring into violence with nary a shove. Happens far more than men would like you to believe. DANNY just takes the same theme and wrestles it to the ground till it confesses. Cherry Falls. Oh, fucked up, seriously fucked up. So many dodgy threads running through

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an ostensibly ‘ordinary’ horror movie: incest, envy, rape, incest mixed up with rape – even maternal emasculation into implied impotence and homosexuality – if you look for it. King of the subtext, just like DANNY.

Close My Eyes. An obvious choice maybe, but showing how toxic crossing the line into the forbidden can be. DANNY‘s tamer middle England contemporary. The Count of Monte Cristo. (2002) Envy, envy and more envy. But an envy that doesn’t just want what he has, it wants to be him, then destroy him. Hate that deep only comes from one place. And that protracted sword fight says it all. Fighting and fucking – DANNY as an Errol Flynn movie. Cruel Intentions. Incest, pique and manipulation. Oh, and sex of course. Add in some black humour and it’s a close fit for DANNY.

Dangerous Lady. (Jason Isaacs mini-series) Arguably

one of the best dramas on this list and not even available in the country that made it. With a fully-developed understanding of how bad parents make ‘bad’ children, a ‘villain’ who is cold, brutal, tortured and wholly riveting, throw in a soupcon of brother/sister incest and a touch of homosexuality – both in the same man – and you have a complex sexuality that goes hand in hand with wholly understandable violence. Unbeatable and far more like DANNY than it might first appear. Dead Ringers. Ah, Cronenberg in the realms of squeamish sexuality, crossing borders, blurring lines, jumping into narcissism, homosexuality, sibling rivalry and one-upmanship all, literally, melded together. Add in the mystic inseparability of twins and it’s like a deliciously cerebral DANNY. Donnie Darko. Alienation, an inability to remember, make sense of anything around you, seeing things, hearing things, and a story told backwards.The darker, hidden side of DANNY. Mad or not mad? Truth or lie? You don’t know and no-one’s telling you. Dracula. Frank Langella’s definitive and highly-influential, but never credited, version; all smouldering thirst and strangely thuggish sophistication. It’s so mired in decay and foulsmelling corruption it’s in a class of its own – and he was at the peak of his imperfect perfection, hypnotic gaze and all. Danny as mythic creature – repellent and sexy at once. Evil. (Ondskan 2003 – Sweden) Boys will be boys – masochism, sadism, rivalry, shitobsessed humiliation and all. Ostensibly about a boy’s boarding school, it’s a hell of a lot more about male envy and wanting to be ‘Him‘ – with its pervy undercurrent of sexual domination – than any Boy’s Own story. As fabulously warped as DANNY.

Great Expectations. (1998) Forbidden love, sexual

obsession and a twisted, envious little puppet in the background manipulating them all. A prime example of

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get a child young enough and s/he’s yours for life. DANNY with Ethan Hawke. Gossip. Envy (again) and its pernicious effects. Underneath that there’s a lurking, suggested, frustrated, forbidden love which sneaks out in odd little damaging ways. A crafty, subtle little gem as slyly hinting at the hidden as DANNY‘s more elusive plot elements. The Heart of Me. Forbidden love extraordinaire and a lovely example of the idea that the thwarted, badly-treated one often knows exactly what’s going on and is as much, if not more, to blame than those who have wronged him/her. Envy played out passively-aggressively to great effect – like watching DANNY as Brief Encounter. Lawn Dogs. Another one for our censorious modern times. Child and adult relationship – discomfort all round. Not a glimpse of abuse in sight and a wonderful modern fairy tale of salvation from the strangest of sources. What we can only hope for DANNY in the end. L.I.E. Homosexuality without the trappings. Adolescent crushes on your friends, unformed sexuality getting mixed up with hero-worship, and a desire to be as ‘the other‘. Throw in a perversely sympathetic paedophile and you have a film the gay romance girls love to hate. Wonderfully ambivalent and an extremely rare portrait of men as we never see them. DANNY all over again, in fact.

Mission Impossible II. May be contender for the most

unlikely film on this list. An incandescently photographed Dougray Scott (he has never looked so beautiful before or since) with a sidekick who is so besotted with him it’s almost painful to watch. Throw in some seriously vicious (slightly breathless, almost erotic) domination/ humiliation and then watch that tiny fragment of pain when Scott loses him. It has to be one of the tiniest chinks ever shown in cinema history – but how powerful. Macho taken across the line into dangerous waters. And I’m not even sure Woo knew he was doing it. Great stuff and redolent of DANNY’s great unspoken desires. Poison Ivy. I want what you want and I want it now.What’s more, I will do anything to get it. Surrogate incest, child sexuality, murder and envy. What about DANNY isn’t in there? Stargate. A great rarity in cinema – a man who has the sexuality of nothing recognisable, who has an entourage of naked children, who has a inhumanly deep voice and glowing eyes and who is more savage than any wolverine. What’s not to love? Eternally beautiful, indifferent and voracious. DANNY in space. Reality Bites. Let’s all pretend we don’t fancy each other. Let’s do everything we can to hurt each other. Let’s fuck up then find a way back. What we hope for DANNY but we’re not sure we’ll get.

Chancery Stone

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BIOGRAPHY not another fucking Chancery Stone likes wading about in darkness. She always has.

Equally well, she loves the magical powers of redemption, particularly selfredemption. She has a particular fondness for heroes (of either sex) who don’t let anyone fuck with them. This does not involve kick-boxing, vampirism, government agencies or a sociopathic knowledge of firearms. Instead this involves going their own way, in their own time, to their own tune and realising that if God is watching it’s only to see if you’re one of the smart ones. Chancery Stone was born half a lifetime ago in a quaint Scottish fishing hamlet known as East Kilbride, where she would run wild and untrammelled about the hills, picking heather and singing in the Gaelic. In her spare time, between making moss dyes and raising nursling quails, she ran a child sex club. She was a child herself at this time, of course, and therefore has managed to evade the long arm of the law. At least thus far. The Dirty Club had a simple remit: sex, sex and more sex. Limited as it was by her age and ignorance, this chiefly involved urolagnia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, humiliation, bondage, homosexuality, frottage, fingering, nudism, paedophilia, ritualistic power games, domination, bullying, more humiliation and more urolagnia. In fact, altogether too much urolagnia. She was outed several times – by children to other children, and by adults who really didn’t like that sort of thing. Driven underground at the age of twelve she became a sad academic recluse and took up reading savage and horrific literature and absolutely anything with sex in it. Then there was wider reading.And yet more reading.And sick three-novels-a-dayhabit style reading. And a lot of theatre. And then back to sex again – sex and more sex – extended by now to contain the more missionary and conventional forms thereof. Eventually she got sick of reading (but, somehow, never of sex) and decided to write instead, and then all of this life-strangely-lived started to spiral out of her, backwards, onto paper. We expect that once the DANNY Quadrilogy™ is finally done she will turn out some very interesting books in the vein of “Moss Dyeing for Beginners“ and “Quail Baby, Fly Away Home.” And after that there will be death.

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Emily Bronte

and the theory of

RAPE

procrastinated

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At the heart of every romance, be they traditional, trendy or ancient, lies the theory of procrastinated rape. Put simply it means there is always a culminating scene where ‘forced’ sex, either figuratively, metaphorically, or literally, takes place. And the longer it takes to get to that scene, the more procrastinated and long-drawn out the rape is, then the ‘better’ the book. Or at least the more it is serving up the romance genre in its ‘purest’ form.

There is a lot of debate on what the first romance was, romance as a term having had a different meaning as recently as Victorian times. Then it referred to classic tales with ‘romantic’ themes such as castles and knights in shining armour, often with supernatural and fantastic elements. Romantic meant otherworldly, noble, even inspirational.They were usually also melodramatic and often involved thwarted lovers and flowery bowers. It was these parts that were developed and mutated into the romance novel as we know it today. Both the Bronte sisters were, and are, credited as writing the first modern romance, a fact which keeps their books actively read today when (unintentionally funny) gems such as The Castle of Otranto, or The mysteries of Udolpho are read more as academic exercises or amusing curiosities. Just as the Bronte sisters were very different people so are their books very different. Without a doubt, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is by far the more conventional of the two, featuring a now standard – although it wasn’t then – brooding, saturnine hero and a hard done-by little mouse with a feisty streak. Modern romance writers, doing what the world and his dog does with all art, have levelled out this ‘format’ until it is now the classic and universally recognised Mills & Boon style that (unfortunately) pervades not only all romance, but a good percentage of ‘women’s’ books (define, please), films and even ostensibly unrelated mainstream literature. In short,‘romance’ has become a synonym for ‘love interest’ that is applied in all walks of life. Of course, it is easy to forget that in Charlotte Bronte’s day none of this was conventional, and it is always an eye-opener for anyone who has read modern romances first to then read Jane Eyre.They are often amazed by how potent it is, how unexpected, because in fact, to this day, it is vastly superior to the millions of clones it has created. However, although Jane Eyre is a great romance,Wuthering Heights is plain Art, and in no way predictable as a romance. It would be unfair (and inaccurate) to say that Jane Eyre is a watered down version of Wuthering Heights. Nevertheless there is an element of truth to that.

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Emily Bronte was a far less refined woman than her sister, much more impassioned – less user-friendly, if you will – and that difference of character shows in their work. Whereas Charlotte, in her meek way, enters into the world of the refined and privileged, she does so by the servant’s entrance, cap in hand, albeit in a dignified manner. Emily’s Cathy, however, tears into the upper classes, in the shape of the Lintons, rather like a disruptive street urchin dragging her trailer trash tendencies with her. Cathy would never remove herself from the presence of ‘greatness’, while Jane never really feels she can compete. It is this fundamental difference that makes Jane Eyre a story of star-crossed lovers held apart by class and dark secrets while Wuthering Heights is a story of star-crossed lovers held apart by wilful and bloody-minded bad behaviour. Even their romantic heroes are worlds apart. Rochester is truculent, sardonic and bored. He comes across as a tired roué who wants the world to stop so he can get off. At times he could almost pass for a bad-tempered headmaster. Heathcliff, on the other hand, although also sardonic, never comes across as a bad-tempered anything. Heathcliff is not truculent; he’s savage, genuinely scary. Heathcliff could never be bored; he’s too fucking furious for that. And that brings me to DANNY. I don’t know how true the frequently repeated assertions are that it is like Wuthering Heights – although enough people have now drawn the parallel for it not to be dismissed out of hand. Obviously it has as its lynch pin a very similar central character. John Jackson Moore is every inch as savage as Heathcliff (some would argue more so), and is definitely scarier. Whereas you are never entirely sure whether Heathcliff would commit murder, you know damn well that John wouldn’t even take breath to think about it. Not a man to be crossed. Likewise, he is definitely in the tortured mould, but is far less tolerant of anyone attempting to manipulate him. Heathcliff tolerates Cathy being with Edgar Linton where John, I fear, would not. So, yes, maybe he is a kind of Heathcliff taken to the nth degree. I know there are fans who love him for that. But there are others who can’t stomach him, proving that he’s crossed a line somewhere, since Heathcliff is certainly a more ‘popular’ romantic hero. Which brings us nicely back to romance. Is DANNY a romance then?

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Well, certainly there is a love story of sorts at the centre of it. But it no way resembles what is routinely thought of as a love story, breaking just about every convention, and a good few taboos, of the genre. Certainly it has a charismatic, boot-in-the-face, (anti) hero, but he has nothing ‘romantic’ about him, taking the ‘anti’ to levels that leave him potentially repellent. Certainly we have a heroine, of sorts, who just happens to be male and incredibly badly behaved, with barely a trace of victim about him, and certainly no mouse. Danny wouldn’t worry about his ‘place’, he’d just fuck ‘em and leave, laughing as he went out the door. Then there’s the sex, lots of it, hardcore and graphic – not your average romance at all. And lastly, but by no means least, there is the theory of procrastinated rape. Well, here’s the clincher. DANNY both has it in spades, and doesn’t have it at all. There is no culminating rape scene, although there is a staggering 995 pages to really work one up. Instead it happens when you’re hardly into the story, with minimal build-up. So, not a romance at all then? Ah, well, you see, not quite. In DANNY the protracted rape happens all the time, every day, several times a day, over and over again, till you don’t know what’s rape and what’s not, and till you begin to realise that actually, maybe the procrastinated rape is somewhere else, about something else. Procrastinated love, perhaps... And that, in a nutshell, is DANNY. A romance, a mystery, a tale of dark secrets, gothic and violent and highly sexually charged – and none of those things at all. Rather like Wuthering Heights, in fact.

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1

! E E R F

e g a p 24 rom f T P EXCER NY 1 DAN

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cultFICTION

chapter 41

In the event, Danny was at least half-right. She rolled up two days later. Maybe two days was long enough to forget her humiliation at John’s hands, maybe she didn’t care, but she wasn’t looking for John anyway. And in that event she was also lucky. Rab had just come in for lunch. He climbed down out of the tractor as the red Porsche came round the corner of the yard. It was a bright sunny day, cold outside, but the sun through the glass had made the cab warm. He was pulling his sweatshirt back on, chilled by the change in temperature. She saw his armpits as he reached up to pull it over his head. She remembered Jimmy’s description of his hair. It did look dyed, unnatural. He reminded her of those petulant, lean-hipped rock stars, heavy with mascara in ghost-white, night-life faces.What an odd, exotic creature to work in such a place. He looked across at her directly, closing the tractor door. He was attractive, if somewhat predatory looking. He walked towards her. And vain with it, she decided. His hair wasn’t quite as white as Jimmy had described it. He probably had been bleaching it after all. He bent down to the car door. The window slid down with electronic ease. She saw his face quirk with amusement at that. She wasn’t sure if she was going to like this man. “You must be the cousin,” she said. He half-smiled, disconcerting her, his face plainly saying, Yes? What do you want? She was annoyed to feel herself flushing, decided she didn’t like him. And yet her brother seemed to have liked him best. She felt an irrational disappointment in him; he was just another vain little smart-alec.“I’d like to talk to you.” Rab laughed and looked away from her. Like brother, like sister. They even used the same lines. “What’s so funny?” She glared at him, feeling her self-control slip. “Nothing.” “Get in.” She reached over to release the passenger door. Rab stopped smiling. “Go fuck yourself.” She stared at him in a moment’s surprise, then felt her face burn up with anger. “None of you have any manners, do you?” “Yours don’t exactly have high visibility either.” He saw perplexity fighting anger. She beat Henderson for arrogance anyway. “Nobody likes being told what to do on their own property,” he elucidated. “It isn’t your property.” “Well, it sure as fuck isn’t yours, so why don’t you fuck off?” Her eyes hardened just like her brother’s would have done.They were brown, not that clear psychopathic blue of his, but the effect was just the same. “Alright. Both your cousins seem to think they can afford to ignore me – you too. Well, we’ll see.” She revved the car up, looked behind her, preparatory to

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reversing out, then abruptly stopped. Rab looked at her face, then tried to peer through the car to see what she’d seen. He straightened up. Danny had come out of the tractor shed. He was crossing the yard, head down, lost in thought. He looked up, saw the car. Rab saw his mouth set. He moved purposely towards the house. He was going to ignore her. Rab grinned, bent back down to her. “Looks like Danny doesn’t like you either.” “I’m going to take it to the police.” Her voice was low, intense. “I don’t care who knows. You had something to do with his death and I’m going there to tell them so, right now. God help the lot of you.” Rab stopped her quickly. “Wait...” She was fuelled up with her own indignation and he realised he had pushed her too far. He wasn’t sure he could placate her now. “You wouldn’t want me in your car. Smell that.” She frowned then sniffed. She hadn’t really noticed it, but he was right; the place stank. “I’m spreading muck. Believe me, you wouldn’t want it in there. I’ll talk to you if you like, but not here.” She could see the tension in him. Now he was trying to be ‘nice’. Did he think she was stupid? She felt an overpowering urge to tell him where to go, just the way he worded it, wipe the condescending smile off his face. “No,” she said and had the pleasure of seeing his face slacken, pale slightly. “I think I want to see Danny.” Rab felt an urge to laugh. He could feel it tugging at the corners of his mouth. “I want to see Danny tonight. You tell him that. And he can bring himself; I’m not running a bloody chauffeuring service.You tell him that too. Eight ‘o’ clock. Or he can go to hell.You can all go to hell.” She slammed the car into reverse and backed out of the yard. “I hope John isn’t on his way in,” Rab muttered, frowning, expecting to hear a crump. But nothing happened. He saw Ian watching him from the shed doorway. When Rab moved towards the house Ian followed him. Rab went in to give Danny the good news. “What did she want?” Danny’s face was angry. Rab smiled, enjoying it. He didn’t know why, didn’t try to analyse it.“To see you, tonight, at eight.” “She can get fucked.” “I expect that’s what she intends.” “I don’t see anything funny in it.” “Don’t you? She threatened to go to the police. How about that for amusement factor? Whatever you said to her you haven’t made it any better. If you don’t go to see her...” Ian came in, undoing his jacket, looking at them both; Rab turned back to Danny, shrugged “...I’d say we’re fucked.” Danny turned away. “Fucking cow.” Rab laughed and sat on the table. “You do like her, don’t you?” Danny was saved the bother of replying by John coming in the door. “What

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did she want?” “Question of the day. Who knows the secret of the woman in the red Porsche?” John frowned. “What did she want?” Rab took out his tin and extracted a cigarette. “She wants to see him,” he used it to point at Danny, “tonight.” “Why?” Rab shrugged and began patting his pockets. Mrs Ostler came in, effectively silencing the conversation for the full ten minutes it took her to explain the lunch arrangements, the laundry, and half a dozen other things. Rab watched John’s impatience grow. He smiled some more. She went eventually. “Someday I’ll wring her fucking neck,” John muttered when she’d barely closed the door. Ian began serving up food like some well-paid butler. It was as good a way of blending as any: a lethal, silent eavesdropper. John sat down with a thump, saying, “She threatened to go to the police.” Rab laughed. “How did you guess?” “There wasn’t anything else to threaten.” “And she knew she’d have to?” John looked at Danny. The look was speculative. “I expect so.” Rab was surprised to see the spark of anger in Danny’s eyes. John’s face was bland. The two of them looked at each other the way they always did, precluding the rest of the world. Rab felt a sudden urge to shake them up, drag them back into the real world. “Don’t go.” John looked at him. “Don’t talk stupid.” “Why not? Leave it, see what she does.” “You fucking mad or something? You know what she’ll do.” Danny piped up. “So now you want me to go?” “What I want doesn’t enter into it.You have to go.” John fixed his eyes on his face again. Danny stared back at him. Rab looked at them both, suddenly confused by the animosity between them. What the fuck was going on? Ian handed him a plate. He took it absently, burning his fingers. He watched John take his then push it away. He got the feeling he’d like to push it right off the table. He watched Danny take his and got the feeling he’d like to push it in John’s face. Rab began eating slowly, watching the by-play. Danny began to eat, head down, ignoring everyone. John sat and looked at him and did not make any attempt to eat. Rab realised he had lost even more weight. Perversely, it made him look bigger, showing his bones, paring him down. Suddenly he attacked his food, wolfing it down in the time it took Rab to eat two or three forkfuls. Equally suddenly he pushed it away, cutlery on top. Finished. He had not cleared his plate. No other reference was made to Henderson’s sister. John drank three cups of tea in rapid succession then went out without speaking.

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When Rab spoke to Danny he received a monosyllabic answer. He saw Ian studying him, smiling. Suddenly Rab realised he was waiting for him to leave. He got up, unsettled. John wasn’t that nuts. He went out and climbed back into his tractor. Was he? Ian cleared the table, leaning against Danny’s shoulder as he lifted his plate. Danny tugged away from him. Ian laid his hand on his hair, feeling the tangles with his fingers. Danny squirmed from underneath him. “Don’t do that.” His temper was in shreds, his face white with it. He could feel his heart thumping. Ian licked his lips. Danny’s emotions had long associations. Hard and happy, they were tattooed into the palms of his hands. “Touchy,” he said, picking the plates up again, aware of his own erection as he moved towards the sink. He put them in and filled up with hot water. Danny watched his back, wondering how long it was going to take the greasy little bastard to make a move. He got up and put his jacket on. “I’ll be out in a minute,” Ian said, smiling at him. Danny zipped it violently. “You can stay here all fucking day, for all I care.” Ian’s smile broadened. He turned back to the sink. The pans on the rack rattled as Danny slammed out the door. John was waiting for him in the shed. He hadn’t expected that. He didn’t even see him. He was thrown against the tractor with a force that nearly broke his back. John was dragging him back into an upright position only to bang him back against it again. Danny made an ugly grunting sound as John dragged him up again. “Get up.” He pulled Danny up, pinning him, panting, against the machine. “Now you listen to me.” Danny’s face was turned away, scrunched up with pain. John spoke in his ear, teeth bared, lips bloodless. Ian slid in noiselessly through the open door and moved silently into the dark. He could hear Danny’s breathing, hoarse, rasping. “I want to feel nothing in you, Danny. When you come back you better be pristine.You hear me?” Danny nodded. John punched him back again. “I asked, did you hear me?” Ian could see Danny’s face now, white and sickly. Even his lips looked pale and pained. This was their ultimate intimacy, hidden from everyone. Ian squeezed himself through his pocket. John pulled Danny’s head back by the hair. “Yes.” Danny’s voice was thick. “I hear you.”

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“I’ll kill you, Danny – that’s a promise.” Ian saw Danny push himself upright, palms flat against the tractor, bracing himself. He dropped his head back exhaustedly. Ian watched him do it, could see it even from where he was, could feel it even though it wasn’t directed at him. He squeezed himself tighter, enviously, offering his soul to anyone who would listen. But he stayed where he was, only a fixed point in their distant orbit. “You bloody heartless little thug...” John’s voice was low, pained. Ian watched him hesitate, start to say something more, and then he bent forward, breathing the words into Danny’s mouth. The kiss changed, grew. There were surreptitious fumblings which became feverish movements. John never stopped kissing him. It only lasted a couple of minutes. Danny made no noise, but Ian saw his hands clutch at nothing on the side of the tractor, saw the urgency of John‘s movements, then it was over. John pushed up off him. Ian waited in a pitch of excitement to see how he would finish it. He didn’t. He stood back, watching Danny get dressed, obscuring Ian’s view. Danny moved slowly, pulling his trousers up, picking his jacket up off the floor. He put it back on. John dried his hand on a tissue, scrunching it into a ball and throwing it onto the floor with a savage energy. It was as if he had only skimmed the surface of his temper off to leave the heart of the fire still raging below. “I meant what I said.” Danny just watched him, saying nothing. “You come back here intact…” his voice changed, sounding just as violent as before, “or I’ll slit your fucking throat.” “Alright.” Danny’s voice was hard, unexpected in that silence. Ian saw John move forward to kiss him again and then slap him hard across the mouth. He heard Danny’s head bang on the door of the tractor.“Just to fucking remind you.” And he turned and went out. Ian stood there a moment, aware of his own raging pulse. He watched Danny slide down the door and crumple on the step. He could see the flare of red on his face where John had slapped him. He took a breath and let it out slowly, then moved towards him out of the gloom. Danny looked up. He was holding his ribs as if they ached. “Been bad to you?” Ian wasn’t smiling. “Get lost.” “Why do you put up with it?” “Why don’t you mind your own business?” “You’re just a possession. Droit du seigneur.” “Leave me alone.” Ian came over to him, stood by his side. He began stroking his hair. Danny pulled away from him, but Ian simply followed. Danny lost the energy to struggle and lay still under his hand. “I could love you.” Ian’s voice was rough with excitement. He felt his face burn. “Leave me alone.” Danny pulled his head free again. Ian followed relentlessly, letting his fingertips delve slightly into the red silk of his hair, rubbing it between finger and thumb, feeling the soft illusory heat of him

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against his skin. “I’ve always taken care of you. What’s he ever done?” Ian felt the change in him, as if he was becoming unravelled. All his magnetism seemed to leave him. In that moment he became human, something vulnerable, weak. Ian coaxed his head in against his leg. Danny lay there, cheek against his thigh, unresponsive. Ian wiped the warm tears with his hand. He could feel the fine stubble on Danny’s skin, the bone of his cheek. He stroked Danny’s hair, pressing him tight, encouraging him, murmuring to him. Danny suddenly buried his face in his leg, wrapping his arms around it. Ian looked down at his head, held it gently in both hands, rubbed Danny’s shoulders. He could feel himself aching with it, but his hands remained gentle, his voice soft, consoling. Danny clung to him like a man drowning, desperately alone. Ian’s hands soothed on. The evening meal was strained. It was obvious to Rab that Danny and John were not friendly. Danny picked at his food a little and then left to get washed. John, perversely, ate everything in sight, even attempting two portions, much as he had done in the old days. But Rab saw that he couldn’t manage it any more. He pushed the second plateful away half-eaten. Danny was ready promptly at twenty to eight. He obviously intended to arrive on the button. “Take the Rover.” John threw him the keys. Their eyes met momentarily then Danny went out the door. Danny stood outside, watching the clear peppermint moon above his head. November always seemed to be like this, still and bitterly cold for a week or two, and then the winter gales started. The buzzer sounded. He pushed in and went up the stairs. He had to knock for admission when he got there. She opened the door and looked at him. He looked back, his face hard and unfriendly. He began to wonder if she was going to let him in at all when she suddenly stood back. He went in and stood there. The hall was in darkness. She closed the door. He felt her pass him and the hall became light. She was holding open the living room door. He went in. The room was half-lit, very warm. The other sofa was still missing. She had moved the framed poster of the man and baby. The blinds were gone. Instead, thick velvet curtains hung there.They were drawn, making the room even darker, redder. She had placed a long, low table in the centre of the room. There were bottles and glasses on it, and what looked like an ice bucket. She was wearing a red silk dress, very ostentatiously feminine. She looked like an advert for five star brandy. She came over for his jacket. He took it off and handed it to her.

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She felt the residual heat of him as she took it out to the hall; the faint animal smell from it. He was wearing an old grey sweatshirt, jeans. Clean work clothes. She felt sure he’d done it deliberately. She smiled dryly to herself. He was wasting his time. He was the male equivalent of Marilyn Monroe: he’d look good in a potato sack. He watched her come back into the room and felt sure she wasn’t wearing a bra. He looked away. “What would you like to drink?” “Nothing.” He didn’t look at her. She stood there, trying not to be angry. “Be friendly,” she said, keeping her voice level. This time he did look at her.“Why?” She forced a smile. “Because it’s pointless being enemies.” “You blackmailed me into coming here; that isn’t exactly friendly.” “Would you have come if I hadn’t?” He shook his head. “Well then.” She smiled again, a little warmer this time. “What would you like to drink?” He looked at the table, saw the rum, looked up at her. “Rum.” His eyes had that same vindictive glint in them she’d seen before. She made up his drink, trying to ignore the feel of them on her. “Want anything in it?” she asked without looking up. “No.” She shrugged and handed him the drink. She saw that he kept his hand well away from hers when he took it. She felt a spurt of irritation. “I’m not planning an assault, you know.” Infuriatingly, he stared at her, saying nothing. She poured herself a whisky and drank it. She poured herself another and felt the warmth hit her stomach. She sat down beside him, curling her legs beneath her and looking at his profile. He looked dead ahead, like a surly schoolboy waiting for the lecture.“Why do you dislike me so much?” “Why should I like you?” That seemed unanswerable. She was silent a moment then tried again. “Look, we don’t need to be friends, but you could try to be civil.” He turned and looked at her quite suddenly. He didn’t speak. Instead he took a long drink of rum. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “What do you want?” She felt as if he’d pushed half a grapefruit in her face. She opened her mouth but nothing came out. She looked at her glass. Danny drank the rest of his drink. He had to get this over with. He put his glass down. She watched his hands, long, white. She saw the fine red-gold hair on his arms. “You’re causing me a lot of grief. My brother doesn’t like this.” He could see her faint outrage at the words, and the faint interest, the sly, tell-me-more urge to hear all the dirty little details. “He doesn’t like me being here.” She found her tongue quickly enough. “Are you saying he’s jealous?” He could hear all the petty morality in it – and the hot, itchy crotch. “I’m

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saying that he doesn’t like me being here.Tell me what you want and I’ll do it.Then I’ll go. This has got to be the last time because...” Danny stopped, looking for the right way to phrase it and realised there wasn’t a right way. He knew it wasn’t going to work. She was used to getting everything her own way, just like her brother was. Nobody ever said no to them. She would no more understand than he had. “I don’t want anything.” Her voice was frosty. Danny wanted to slap her. He wanted to slap the lying, devious little bitch into next week. “You can’t just say it, can you? Think your tongue will shrivel up? Think I give a fuck what you want or why?” She was shocked to see he was raging angry. It seemed to have come out of nowhere. She felt panicked by it, fearing he would get up and stalk out like he did last time. She reached over, held his arm. “Please, don’t go.” She sat there holding him. Danny looked at her, wondering how much it would take to keep her quiet. Abruptly he relaxed. She got up. He watched her making up new drinks. If he walked out on her now she’d pester them to death. If he gave in she might do the same. She sat down again, looked at him cautiously. He took some of his drink then surprised her by asking, “What do you do?” “Do?” “Yes, do… for a living.” “Oh,” she said as if she had suddenly grasped an ornate problem. “I don’t work.” She looked at him and smiled. “Family money. Didn’t Jimmy tell you?” He shook his head. “Jimmy liked being a policeman. He didn’t need to do it.” “Did you find him?” She looked at him, momentarily confused, then her face tightened. “Yes.Why?” “Must have been a shock.” “Yes,” she said again and he noticed this time she had paled a little. He let it drop. He looked at her long red nails. “Are you wearing red underwear as well?” He smiled at her. She looked up, startled, then she smiled back. “As a matter of fact, yes.” “Just like your brother.” “What?” “He liked his underwear to match as well.” He couldn’t keep the contempt out his voice. She looked at him and he knew what was coming. “You really don’t look queer.” “You said the same about him.” She tilted her glass, looked into it as if she expected it to tell her something. “Yes...” She stopped, picking her words. “But in retrospect... the moustache, the job. And he was always very anti, overreacting if it came up in conversation. I don’t see any of that in you...” She paused again.“Or your brother.” She didn’t meet his eyes.

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Danny looked at her. I’ll bet, you dirty bitch. She looked at him now. “Did you really have sex with your brother?” “Wouldn’t you like to know?” Danny smiled at her. “I think Jimmy just wanted to believe it. It was his excuse for taking you away. I think he was justifying himself.” She paused, went on, “You’re not really queer at all, are you?” Danny shrugged. “Don’t you care what people think?” “You mean, what you think.” “Alright then, doesn’t it bother you if I think you’re queer?” “No.” “Not even if you aren’t?” “No.” She laughed without humour. “So I’m back to square one, none the wiser, and that’s the way you intend to keep me.” Danny drank a bit more. “It makes no difference what I say to you. If I say yes, you won’t believe me. If I say no, you can’t really trust me, because the diary will always be there, at the back of your mind, calling me a liar. Either way you’ll never know for sure.” He lifted his sweatshirt and rubbed his belly with deliberation. “Will you?” He let it drop again. He saw her eyes flick quickly over him. “Tell me anyway.” He smiled and tossed back the rest of his drink. He licked his lips and looked at her levelly. “Yes, I am, and women don’t interest me.” He watched the words sink in, could feel her balancing them up. “I don’t believe you.” He handed her his empty glass. “See?” She got up and refilled it and handed it back to him. He felt pleasantly drunkish. Just warm, happy, relaxed. She was amusing him.The whole thing was amusing him. “I can’t believe you.” “Why not? Why should I lie to you?” “I don’t know.” She looked genuinely perplexed. She looked at him suddenly, her face lit by something almost like cunning. “Is your brother a homosexual too?” Danny felt a fresh surge of anger, spoiling his mood. Oh very crafty, Miss Muffet. Armed with prior knowledge, WPC Henderson makes a daring foray for information. “No.” Eat your heart out, you devious bitch. She looked disappointed. Danny wasn’t sure if it was because she would have preferred the thrill of having seduced a homosexual or because her ploy had failed. He felt happy again, enjoying her discomfort. She was looking at him again. “Have you ever had sex with a woman?” “No.” Her face lit up, just as he had expected. “How can you be sure then?” Then in a lower tone, “You’re a virgin.” “Technically.” “You are.” “I said yes.” “You can’t be sure then.” “I am.”

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She shook her head. He looked into her eyes, holding them. “Why is this so important to you?” She didn’t answer, tore her eyes away. “Do you want me?” “No,” she said, looking up at him too quickly, pink as a picture. “Why shouldn’t you? I’m not that bad.” “You’re gorgeous. As you damn well know.” “Thank you.” Danny heard himself in surprise. Quite the polished performer, Daniel. It had the desired effect. “No seriously, you are.You must know that.” “Must I?” “You must have been told before now.” Danny shrugged. “You’re beautiful, quite unreal. I’ve never met anyone so attractive.” She was warming to her subject. “I think you’re embarrassing me.” She laughed. “I suppose it’s too late now to admit that I do fancy you a bit.” “Go ahead, admit it.” Danny’s voice was doing it again. He could no more stop it than stop the dumb seduction lines. “I think you’re very sexy...” She stopped. “And?” “And I wouldn’t mind making love to you.” She laughed and drank some of her drink. “I thought you didn’t want me?” “I lied.” She looked at him, face suddenly intent. He shook his head. “I couldn’t do it.” “You could try.” “You’ve wanted this all along.” She didn’t answer. She slid along to him and slid her hand inside his sweatshirt. He could smell her perfume, strong as Henderson’s aftershave. She kept her head down. Her hair was thick, jet black. She pressed against him. He felt her breasts, full and warm, against his arm. She lifted her head suddenly and pressed her lips to his mouth. He could feel the fervid excitement in them. Danny closed his eyes, but did not kiss her back. He had not yet decided. He knew pleasing her would be a mistake, but he must be unsatisfying in a way that she would not want to try again. He simply did not know her well enough. He didn’t know how to fail her. Maybe, God willing, he’d fail anyway out of sheer ignorance. She was getting frustrated at his lack of response. She unbuttoned her dress. He looked. He was right, no bra. She had huge dark red nipples. She had intended to lift his hands and put them on her breasts, but she did not need to. Danny took hold of them. His cock came up like there was no tomorrow. He let go, but she put them back, moving his hands over them, showing him how to rub the nipples. He knew she was afraid to touch him, afraid he would be flaccid, unmoved by her. He was careful not to look at her face. He tried to slow his own breathing. She pulled his sweatshirt off, rumpling his hair. She pushed her breasts in his face, straddling him, pulling her dress open.

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He took a nipple in his mouth and clutched her backside, pulling her against him. What the fuck was he doing? He felt her excitement at his sudden interest. She held his head, clutching at his hair, feeling it in fascination like they all did. She pulled her breast from his mouth and unexpectedly sat down on his lap. He met her eyes, like Perseus and Medusa, not thinking, and saw her hunger for him. She saw his face change and knew suddenly that somehow she had the upper hand. She pressed her mouth onto his, felt him invade it. She reached down quickly, grabbing at him as if he might disappear. It was there, huge, beautiful, hard as iron. She kissed him feverishly and felt herself lose it. She felt him push her dress off, push her back on the couch. He climbed onto her, pushing his hand inside her knickers. She felt his fingers in her, not trying to do anything, just exploring, curious. She undid his trousers, pushed them down. He was exquisite, sculpted, smooth, just as Jimmy had described him, just as he’d looked in that brief moment in the kitchen. His cock was long, carved, beautiful in the deep red hair. And big. She felt herself surge at the thought. The second one in so many days, both brothers. He was pushing between her legs. She looked back up at his face. His eyes seemed deeply, unnaturally green.“I want to fuck you.” His voice was incredible, so deep as to be... She stopped. What? Supernatural. He was. Everything about him was. He was a fantasy: the corrupt angel – exquisite, vicious, irresistible. She opened her legs wide. “Go on,” she urged him. She helped him guide it in, yanking the leg of her knickers to one side to give him entry. He pushed it up slowly, his face strained, intent, as if he was practising something difficult. She pushed down on him, thrusting him up. He looked outrageously surprised. She laughed. He looked down at her, then smiled too. He lay still. “I never guessed it would feel like this.” “How does it feel?” She wanted to hear him praise her. “Like a vast blow-job, sucking me all over.” She laughed again. He looked down into her face and began to move, slowly, tentatively. She was smiling. Slowly he began to thrust into her. Her smile slid off her face. He was burying it deep, encouraging her to lift her hips. He watched her face. She knew what he was doing and wondered if he had lied to her. He was so knowing, so slow and strong. “Will you come?” he asked, further disconcerting her. “Not like this.” “Can I do it so you’ll come?” “Yes.” She closed her eyes She couldn’t bear to see his face. “Show me how.” She took him out and struggled onto her knees. Again she helped him in. “Gently,” she warned and began fingering herself.

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He was gentle. She didn’t want him to be gentle. Suddenly she was up there. She pushed back against him. He pushed in harder. “More,” she said. He did it again, pulling her hips onto himself. She pushed back, wriggling, feeling it hard against her insides, as if it was pushing into her stomach. She thought she was going to wet herself. He started to drag her onto it. She heard herself whimpering and couldn’t stop it. He groaned. She felt him stiffen slightly, then he started to pump into her furiously, his “Jesus....” coming out long and grindingly. She came, her fingers sliding off herself, soaking wet. He almost lifted her bodily onto himself. He threw his head back, arched into her. She kept coming, every thrust a new wave. She felt her bladder let go a little and set herself off again. She said, “Please…” over and over again, begging him. She didn’t know what for. He marvelled at the way she came: so long, so intense, so different; the smell pungent, so unfeminine, nothing delicate about it, like an animal in a cage: strong, hot, feral. He wanted to stay here forever, buried in her cunt, drowning in her smell, feeling her orgasm clutch at him. He reached forward and felt her breasts, lying on her back, spent. She moaned at the feel of his hands, squirmed on him. “I love you,” he said, feeling the incredible release of the words. “I love you.” John sat in the living room. He had the fire built up high, blazing in the darkness. He had been trying to read but had abandoned it. He put out the light and lay watching the firelight dance on the walls. He didn’t know where the others were and cared less. He felt the same way as he felt when he’d first seen Rab and Danny together, that same blind, head-aching hatred. The thought of food made him sick. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t read. He couldn’t even think. The door opened and closed again. He felt a hand on his hair. He frowned, trying to look round. “Is he fretting then?” Ian moved round in front of him. “Your hair looks just like Danny’s in the firelight.” John stared at him, willing him to go away. Ian toasted his backside at the fire, letting his eyes roam up and down John’s body. “Very seductive.” His voice was treacly, unpleasant, as if it might stick to your skin. “Isn’t it a bit late to take a crush on me?” Ian shrugged. “You just look good.” “You spastic little queer.” “Couldn’t agree more.” Ian was smiling. He looked almost pleased by the insult. John turned back to his meditation. “Go away.” “He wants to be alone.” John ignored him. There was a long, warm silence. John had almost forgotten he was there when

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he spoke again. “Missing him?” “I told you to go away.” “Hurting?” John closed his eyes and re-crossed his ankles. He rubbed the bridge of his nose, put his arm back behind his head. For some reason he could see vividly the way Danny undid buttons: a strange little lift and push, always one-handed. He couldn’t chase those buttons from his head. “What are you thinking about?” Ian asked. “The way Danny undoes buttons.” John felt the dangerous build-up of it, a longing to confess, to unburden – in the darkness, over a phone, to a face you couldn’t see. Ian wasn’t the man for it, but John couldn’t raise himself. It was like being doped. “What about it?” “He has an odd quirk, one-handed.” Ian nodded. “He always watches you while he does it.” John thought about it. “Yes...” “He’s a natural performer, our Danny.” “He’s a whore.” “Uh-huh,” Ian agreed, satisfied with that, happy to hear John say it. He sat down on the fender. John felt the anger run up behind the thought. He wanted to dirty-mouth him. He wanted to sit here and spew out his hate. “He’s a lying motherfucking little whore. He’d mount any stinking bitch that pushed her crack in his hand. He’s a rabid, stinking little goat, a festering, degenerate little...” He ground to a halt, tripping over his own emotions. He could feel tears pricking at the corners of his eyes. His throat was a single convulsive lump. He couldn’t swallow. He couldn’t breathe. He opened his lips to suck in air as if he’d been crying. Ian watched his face working, was stupefied to see the intensity of his emotion. Something more than anger. Loss? God, even grief? Ian hugged his knees quietly, saying nothing. “He’s been putting on the performance of his life, saying he doesn’t want her, pretending he doesn’t even want to see her. He’s dreamt about this one for years. He’s been biding his time and now the first bit of cunt he sees and I can...” He stopped, hearing himself almost voicing it. And you can fuck off, Ian thought. Big bad John is scared shitless, like the elephant and the mouse. Ian laid his head on his knees and hugged his happiness into himself. John lay there feeling the cold sweat on his skin, his guts churning. He put an arm over his eyes, blocking out the light, hiding himself. Ian crawled over to him, put his arm across his chest. John pressed both arms tighter across his face, like a saint penitent under the extremes of guilt. “He isn’t worth it.” Ian’s hand soothed up and down his ribs like a woman easing a child’s colic. John let the words wash over him. They were telling him what he wanted to hear. He let the hand ease him, giving him what he wanted to feel: a little pity, a little love. Ian luxuriated in the hard feel of him under the thin shirt. His body had the

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flavour of everything destructive about it. If death was a man with a scythe he looked just like John, no skinny skeleton, but big and powerful, destroying souls without either pleasure or pain, just soaking up numbers – ugly as sin and twice as enticing. Ian could see his mouth under his arms like a fetish, like the lips in the credits of that spoof horror film: the only visible part of him, full, broad, the edges of his teeth showing, his breathing harsh. He watched the lips, waited to see them speak. John’s tongue moistened them. Ian felt his cock swell. He wanted to kiss him. If only there was a way. Without being punched in the mouth. Time was fragile. Ian could feel it trickling through his hands as he kept one hand moving on John’s chest, lulling him, easing his pain, knowing it would ease out of him entirely soon, be replaced by sleep or irritation before he could do it. There must be a way. “He doesn’t love you.” He heard himself murmur the words, so softly, saw John move his head, burying it deeper under his arms. “He isn’t ever going to love you. He doesn’t know how to.” Ian leaned over him, running both hands up over his chest. John’s hand came down suddenly, clutching Ian’s, holding it. He’d fucked it. Time had shat on his head. John lifted his hand and pushed it down over his crotch. He held it there a moment, his face still hidden by that one arm, then he let go and covered his face again. Ian was afraid to move. Did he actually want him to...? He wasn’t erect, just a little warmed-up perhaps, vaguely desiring, nothing more. Ian squeezed him tentatively. John didn’t move. He was still breathing through his mouth. Ian knew that all he wanted was the sensation of it, the consolation, something to take his mind off the pain. He wasn’t going to ask, and he wasn’t going to allow any talk. Either Ian did it with his mouth shut or he wouldn’t get to do it at all. But John would owe him. And John would know he owed him. Ian unzipped him carefully, one eye on his face, waiting for any sign of displeasure. He undid the buckle of his belt, equally slowly. John did not move. Ian could see the rise and fall of his chest. He pulled John’s jeans open, saw the thick brown hair of his belly. He pulled his shorts down. He was coming up under Ian’s gaze. He knew he was being looked at, knew he was going to be touched. Ian took the weight of it in his hand. He looked at it minutely, pulled the soft skin down, squeezed the head, feeling the way it stuck to his fingers. Ian was so stiff it was hurting him. He stroked it slowly, soothingly. He thought of everything he could to give him pleasure. John stayed deep inside his arms, only the speed of his breathing giving away how he felt. He grew massive. Ian marvelled at the sheer mind-boggling dimensions of it. The veins stood up in heavy relief. He seemed to be overfilled with blood. It looked almost painful. Ian took longer stiff strokes, squeezing the blood out, only to let it swell up again.

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John began to push up into his hand and Ian knew he was near. “Love me.” John’s voice was a whisper. Ian looked at him, wondering if that was what he’d said. He said it again, clearer this time. “Love me.” He began to thrust up into Ian’s hand. Ian’s grip was so greedy he felt it come up from his balls, watched fascinated as the first spurt struggled out. He felt it, hot and glutinous, slide over his hand. “Love me,” John urged with each ejaculation, and Ian knew he wasn’t talking to him, knew he wasn’t even with him. He was seeing something else in the red darkness of his buried arms, seeing someone else, talking to someone else, urging someone else. Ian didn’t need to ask who because John told him. His voice died on a whisper.“Danny...” Ian put a hand firmly down over John’s mouth, held it there like a hand pressing a pillow over his face, while John’s body twitched under his suffocating hold. Finally he went limp. “Good boy,” Ian murmured then pressed his mouth thirstily to his belly.

Danny went into the mirrored bathroom to wash. He washed without soap. He stood under the shower and let it wash away the perfume, the sweat, the smell of her. He had locked the door. He didn’t want her in with him. He felt trapped. Intact... He closed his eyes, washing his face under the water. He could smell her off his hands. He took the soap from the dish and scrubbed his hands twice. He rinsed them, ran them through his hair. He stood under the shower till he felt like a prune. Eventually he got out. He wrapped himself in a towel. JH was here. He went out. She was waiting for him in the bedroom, standing opposite him when he looked up. The black satin was still there. She smiled at him. “I thought you’d drowned.” “You’re hard to wash off.” She stopped smiling. She didn’t say anything. Danny went into the living room and found his clothes. She followed him through. He turned his back to her, not wanting her to see. She looked at the long white lines of him. He was so beautiful it almost hurt to look at him. No wonder Jimmy had wanted him. “Are you going?” “Yes.” He didn’t turn to her, but she knew he was aware of her, uncomfortable. He wasn’t his brother; no ice-cold detachment here. She crossed to him and put her arms around his waist. She kissed his shoulders. He was still damp from the shower, his hair dark with water, an outrageous burgundy red. “Why don’t you stay?” He stood still, tense under her kisses. “I can’t.”

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“Why not?” “I just can’t.” He took her hands and prised them off, stepping away from her to get his sweatshirt. He pulled it the right way out. “Your brother, right?” He didn’t say anything. “What’s his problem?” Danny pulled the sweatshirt on. “I’m talking to you.” She came round in front of him. “Why don’t you answer me?” Danny looked at her for the first time. “He doesn’t like you.” She wanted to say, Oh no? Well he was fast enough getting into my knickers. But she knew she couldn’t. How could she tell him she’d slept with his brother only two days before? How could she convince him it was him she wanted after that? He sat down and began pulling on his socks and shoes. “You really are going to trot off back home.” Danny tied his left shoe. “Just because big brother says so.” Danny tied his right shoe. “What’s wrong with him? Is he afraid someone’s getting what he isn’t?” He smiled suddenly, a little thing. It looked odd on that tense face. “You could say that.” She frowned, twice as irritated by that smile as she had been by his silence. What the hell did that mean? He moved to get his jacket. “Your hair’s wet.” He froze. She said slowly, “You can’t let him know, can you?” Danny stood undecided, only half-hearing her, wondering what the hell to do about his hair. “You’ve been a dirty boy and now you’ve got to keep the awful truth away from him. Isn’t the washing a bit much? Just a tiny bit paranoid?” “Have you got a hair dryer?” She nodded, tight-lipped. “Well, could I use it then?” “So you can leave.” Danny didn’t answer. There was nothing he could say. “Can I or can’t I?” She went out of the room without answering him. He picked the towel up and rubbed his hair. She came back in and plugged a hairdryer into a socket beside the settee. “Come sit down.” He sat down. She started to dry his hair, running her hands through it. “I can do it myself.” “God, do you never comb this?” “There isn’t any point.” He was enjoying the soporific feel of her hands in his hair. “It just tangles up again.” She ran her fingertips through the soft corkscrew curls at the back of his neck. “You’ve got natural ringlets.” “So?”

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“Most women would give their eye teeth for hair like yours.” “I’m not a woman.” “No, you’re not.” She pulled his head back against her stomach while she worked on the front. She felt him tense then saw him close his eyes. She looked at the lashes on his cheek, the smooth white skin. “Stay with me.” He opened his eyes. “No.” She pushed his head to one side. “Please.” “No, I can’t.” “You could if you really wanted to.You needn’t ever go back to him.” Danny pulled forward, tugging away from her. “Don’t start that; you’re as bad as he was.” “What?” He was struggling up onto his feet. “Your fucking brother.” He impersonated his voice, “Stay with me; you’re so lovely.” He turned on her. “He made me fucking sick to my stomach.” “And I do too, is that it?” “Yes.” Danny nodded. “That’s exactly it.” “I see.” Danny turned suddenly and went out into the hall. He pulled his jacket off a peg then realised it was one of Henderson’s. He almost dropped it. She put the light on. He hung the jacket back up with unnatural care and put on his own. “When will I see you again?” Never, Danny thought. “I don’t know.” “I see.” Her voice was hard. “What do I have to do, buy you each time?” “Probably.” “And should I see your brother? Does he do the arrangements?” Suddenly he was tired of it all. “Yes.There isn’t any point in asking me because I don’t have any say in the matter. You deal with him.” He was yanking his jacket on. Now he turned to the door. “I wish you luck.You’re going to need it.” And he slammed it shut behind him. John pushed his head off him. He kept his eyes covered, almost as if he were ashamed or couldn’t stand the sight of him. “Get out.” Ian wiped his mouth, could taste the odd bitterness of him. “Don’t I get anything?” “I said, get out.” Ian got up slowly. John was still hugely swollen. Ian knew it hadn’t satisfied him, only left him wanting more. It had been little more than solitary masturbation for him and now he was regretting it. He stood there looking down at him. Let the great ugly bastard come out of there. Let him look him in the face. If he wanted him out he could get him out. John’s arm came down finally. His eyes blinked in the half-light. He looked at Ian’s face but would not meet his eyes. He pulled his shorts up, not bothering to dry himself. Not that Ian had left him much to dry. He pulled the zip up. Ian watched him still. “Last time, Ian, get the fucking hell out.”

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“Enjoy it, John?” Ian was back in front of the fire, out of distance. John looked at him this time. “You putrid little creep.” “Did you enjoy being wanked by a putrid little creep?” John swung up, feet on the floor. Ian got ready to move. But John didn’t stand up. “Out.” Just the one word. Ian went. Smiling all the way. John sat there, unmoving, looking into the fire, remembering the feel of Ian’s mouth on his stomach. Like a leech. He stood up to fasten his clothes. He sat down again. He lit a cigarette and closed his eyes. Danny looked at the house. It was in darkness. All in bed. Unless they were sitting in the kitchen. He drove the car up into the yard and switched off the engine. He sat for a moment, listening to it ticking, then got out. He locked the door.The yard light had been left on for him. He went and closed the gate then went into the house. He felt for the kitchen light. The dog wuffed and got up to greet him. He scratched its head absently. He felt suddenly ravenous. He stuck his head in the fridge and found a piece of leftover pie. He took it out and ate it with his fingers, washing it down with a swig of milk from the bottle. He threw the last bit of crust to the dog and wiped his hands on his trousers. He put out the kitchen light and went into the hall. The living room door was open and John was standing in the doorway. He was backlit by the dull red of the fire. “Come in.” Danny walked down the hall and into the room. John caught him to him and buried his face in his hair. He smelt of the night – damp, cool – the night and cold leather. John kissed his hair, inhaling him, then pushed him into the room. He closed the glass door. Danny could hear the clock ticking, the sound loud in the stillness of the house. John came over and slid his hands inside his jacket, buried his face in his neck. Danny knew what he was doing. Under the lips, the feel of his mouth, he knew what he was doing. John came up for air and suddenly pushed him backwards. Danny sat down on the settee with a thump. “Tell me everything you did, everything you said.” “What?” “What did she say when you went in?” “Christ, I don’t know. Hello or something.” “And when you fucked her, how did that feel?” Danny looked at his face. Zero to sixty in four seconds. He was livid. “I...” But the denial dried up in Danny’s mouth, evaporated under the heat in

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John’s eyes. It was as if the fire emanated from him instead of a source behind him. “You what?“ John’s voice was scraped across the floor like dogshit off a shoe. Danny shook his head hopelessly. “You know what I’m going to do to you, Danny?” Danny shook his head again. “I’m going to kill you.” “John... listen....” John didn’t reply. Danny sat there, looking at him, transfixed by despair. “John... don’t.” “Don’t what?” “I didn’t...” Danny stopped again. “Don’t fucking lie to me. One lousy look at her rabid little face and you’d have been out there like a poker.” John came for him suddenly, grabbing his sweatshirt. “Out there like a fucking poker, aching to get it up her hole.” He dropped him again, pushing him back. “How did she do it then? She sit on you? I could see her, the pushy bitch. Not quite old enough to be your mother but old enough to teach a sweet virgin like you what it’s all about. Daniel loses his cherry. Ha, bloody, ha.” Suddenly he sat down in the armchair. His voice changed. “Take your clothes off.” Danny looked at him, not sure what to do. “Get them off.” Danny bent down and undid his shoes, pulled them off, his socks. He took off his jacket, stood up. His legs were shaking. He pulled off his sweatshirt. “Stop.” John looked at him, wearing nothing but his jeans, the firelight on his hair, his chest, turning him molten. “Go on, the rest.” Danny unfastened his trousers. He pulled them and his shorts down together, pulled them off. The room was warm, the fire hot on his skin, but he felt terribly icy cold. John studied him intensely, as if he’d never seen him before, as if he was memorising him. The thought made Danny want to puke. Memorising him for what? “Lie down. Full out.” Danny lay down on the sofa. “Hands behind your head.” Danny did as he was told. He felt naked to his bones, like a man on the rack. He had never felt so vulnerable in his life. “Right, now tell me what you did with her. I want it all. Don’t skip a thing.” Danny told him. His own voice sounded alien to him, flat, dull. He sounded like someone reciting bad verse, uninterested, uninvolved. He heard the fire slide down once. He paused but John said, “Don’t stop.” John wasn’t interested in what he did; John was listening for how he did it, little pointers, the give-aways. John was reading him for signs of excitement. Danny was careful. He did not tell John about his asking her how to make her come. He told him that he changed position, nothing more. Danny was afraid, so afraid his teeth felt as if they were glued together. Eventually it ran out. There was a tensile silence then John said, “That it?” Danny nodded.

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“And you washed it all away, so that I wouldn’t know.” Danny nodded. “And she wants to see you again.” Danny said nothing. “And you want to see her again.” “No, I don’t.” Danny heard the frantic note in his voice and tried to bite it down. “Fucking liar.” “I don’t.” “Get up.” Danny sat up, looked at him, couldn’t see his eyes, only blackness. “Come here.” Danny got up, crossed to him. John didn’t move. He jerked his head. “Kneel in front of the fire.” Danny knelt down. “Closer.” Danny moved in closer. John looked at the beauty of him, finely etched in the firelight, so perfect. No matter what you did to him, always so fucking perfect. John pulled himself slowly upright and picked up the fire tongs. Danny watched him uneasily. John put them into the heart of the fire and lifted out a small glowing coal. Danny moved quickly, but not quick enough. John had his hair, pulling him forward. “Just sit right where you are.” Danny dragged against his hand, trying to twist away, but John held him until Danny felt as if his scalp was going to be torn off. “John, don’t… don’t.” “Sit still.” Danny stopped struggling. John tugged him back. The coal had lost its glow. He threw it back in the fire. Danny continued to watch him uneasily. John reached into the fire again. “Open your legs.” “No!” Danny almost shouted it. He started to struggle again. John dropped the tongs and back-handed him. Even sitting, it came at him with force, breaking his lip against his teeth. “I said, fucking sit still.” Danny started to cry with an inevitability that made him sick. He didn’t want to cry and still he did, as if his body was crying without his permission. “Now open your legs.” Danny closed his eyes and opened his legs. He knew that when it touched him he’d wet himself. He knew that he’d be lucky if that’s all he did. John took another coal from the fire, looked at Danny’s face. He could see the tears dripping off it, two long tracks of silver down his face, his eyelashes sparkling with it. “Open your eyes, Danny.” His voice was a whisper. Danny opened them. John held the coal inches from his cock. Danny could feel the heat of it. Its colour was dying but it was still very hot. “Please...” he begged, the word coming out in a desperate hiccup. “Please don’t, John.” John brought it closer. Danny tried not to move.

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“I’m tired of sharing you.” Suddenly John put the coal against his lower belly, just above the hairline. Danny screamed, twisted. He could smell his own skin burning. John pulled it off again, clamped his hand over Danny’s mouth. Danny squirmed underneath his hand, whimpering in pain, almost ripping the sleeve off John’s shirt. “Shh....” John got down on the floor beside him, pulling his head against him. Danny was crying in earnest. The sobs went right through John. He began to feel sick. “Danny, Danny...” He rocked him, stroking his hair. “Don’t cry.” But Danny went on crying, and Danny went on struggling against him. It was like trying to hold an unwilling cat. The door opened. Rab saw the two of them sitting there, Danny naked, struggling fiercely, John glaring up at his interruption with that same mad dog look. “What the fuck goes on here? Who screamed?” Danny gave a sudden convulsive lunge, breaking free and scrambling to his feet. “Danny!” John roared. But Danny was already out of the room. John got quickly to his feet but Rab barred his way. “What’s going on?” “None of your fucking business.” John made to push past him but Rab caught his arm. “I’m getting tired of this.” John looked down at Rab’s hand on his arm, waiting for him to move it. Rab kept it where it was. “Even if he isn’t, I am.” John’s look was black and dirty. He enunciated every word clearly. “Take your fucking hands off me.” “I mean it.” John mimicked him. “I mean it.” He pushed Rab’s hand off and shoved past him. Rab stood there seething, watching him disappear upstairs into the darkness. He followed him up but John didn’t even stop outside the bathroom. He didn’t try the handle or knock on the door. He went right past it and slammed into his room. Rab stood in the hall a moment then tentatively tried the bathroom door. Danny hadn’t even locked it. Rab went in quickly and locked the door behind him. Danny was the colour of oatmeal. Rab saw the mess on his stomach. “Jesus, how the fuck did he do that?” “Coal… hot coal.” Rab realised he was in shock. He was shaking like a leaf, his eyes darting about. “I don’t know what to do,” he said helplessly. Then he said, “It hurts“, and his face fell apart. Rab sat him on the stool and put two towels round his shoulders. “Sit there, I won’t be a minute.” He went into the old man’s room and clicked on the light. He saw himself electrified in the mirror, stripped to the waist, ghostly white. He opened the wardrobe.There were still half a dozen bottles in there, untouched. He took one and went back to the bathroom.

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Danny was still sitting there. Rab twisted the top off and poured some in the tooth mug. “Here.” Danny held the glass in both hands, trying to stop it shaking. He drank it down, coughed. Rab heard John’s door opening. He crossed the floor and locked the door quickly. John tried the handle. Danny’s head shot up. “Fuck off, John. Leave him alone.” There was a silence. Danny’s eyes were huge. Rab said, “Drink up.” Danny drank it, but Rab saw him watching the door. “Let me in, Danny.” “You heard me the first time, John. Why don’t you?” The door buckled suddenly with the impact of John’s shoulder. Danny’s hand jumped, spilling the whisky. Rab looked at the tiny bolt. No way. He crossed the floor and unbolted it before John could hit it again. “No…” Danny said. But John was already in the room. Rab hit him, with an intense and satisfying pleasure. John’s eyes widened with surprise. Rab hit him again, once more in the stomach. This one backed him out into the hall. Rab kneed him in the balls. John crumpled up, still managing to wheeze, “You fucking bastard.” Rab lifted his head by the hair and punched his face. He felt John’s mouth spread under it, felt the hardness of his teeth, realised he’d grazed his knuckles. He could do this all night. John was leaning against the wall, holding himself around the middle. His mouth was bleeding, his eyes were like coals. If he could breathe I’d be mincemeat right now, Rab thought. “Had enough, John?” John went on glaring, his breath coming in harsh gasps as if every one hurt him. Danny was standing in the bathroom doorway, looking at John. His face was unreadable. Rab spoke to him. “Want to sleep in your own room?” Danny looked at John again. Rab wondered what was going through his mind. Danny shook his head. Rab felt as if he’d kicked him in the mouth. Danny looked at him. “I’ll be alright.” Rab shrugged, turned away from him. He felt suddenly superfluous, as if he’d interrupted a domestic quarrel. John was still staring at him. Rab could feel Danny behind him, waiting for him to go. Rab crossed the hall and went into his room. He locked the door. Fuck him. He dragged off his jeans and climbed into bed. Fuck the stupid little bastard. He heard John’s bedroom door close. He punched the pillow savagely, buried his face in it. That’s probably exactly what he is doing. Fucking the little bastard. Right now.

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cultFICTION John covered Danny’s legs and fetched a bottle from the cabinet above the bedroom sink. He poured some directly onto the burn, not handling it, not using cotton wool. It smelt like sour wine. Danny felt a slight cooling, but the pain was so intense it didn’t seem to matter. He had never felt pain like this. “It’ll help.” Danny wouldn’t look at him. “It’s going to mark me.” “This’ll help.” “You’ve scarred me.” “I’m sorry.” Danny looked at him now. “ No you’re not.” “It’s better than dying, isn’t it?” “Is it?” John brushed the hair off his face. Danny pulled away from him. “Don’t touch me.” John got up and soaked some gauze in the same liquid. He taped it loosely over Danny’s burn. It made it hurt worse to be covered. “You won’t be able to sleep unless it’s covered.” John was looking down at him. Danny pulled the blankets up and closed his eyes. It raged. His whole body felt alive with it. He could feel muscles jumping in his legs. He kept an arm along his side, turning slightly to keep the blankets off himself. John got in beside him, putting the light out. They lay there in the dark, awake, knowing the other was awake, not speaking. Danny felt as if his whole body was made of pain. John touched him. Danny flinched away from him. John came over against his back, kissing his shoulders. “Leave me alone, John. For once just leave me alone.” “Let me ease your pain.” John’s hands ran over his hips. His mouth kissed his neck. Danny felt him hard against him. “Danny...” his voice was hopeless, “ease mine.” Danny felt the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. John was rubbing against him. “Ease mine, Danny...” He had one leg over Danny’s. Danny was tense, afraid he would brush against the burn. John clung to him. Danny had never felt him so desperate. He felt the faint curl of his own excitement feeding off the hunger in John’s voice. He tried to prise him off. “Please, Danny.” “Go to Rab.” Danny felt pleasure just saying the words. “He can’t help me.” Danny hugged it to him. He can’t help me. John pushed against him. “Just lay your hand on me.” Danny pushed the blankets off, turned over. John rolled onto his back, lay there waiting. “Jut put your hand on me,” he

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whispered again. Danny palmed his cock with his hand, knew he’d had sex, could smell it. Danny was startled to feel his hand on his face, John’s thumb moving over his lips. “You hate me, don’t you?” “No.” John’s fingers traced his face in the dark. Danny lightly traced the outline of his cock. He could feel his own growing heavy against his thigh, his stomach on fire beside it. Pain and pleasure. All John ever gave, pain and pleasure. “Love me, Danny?” Danny felt the veins, thick, painful under his fingers. “You’ve got a fucking cheek.” “Don’t leave me.” John’s hand came round the back of his neck. He was tight as a spring. Danny could feel him holding himself in check. “Don’t ever leave me.” Danny lightened his touch. He felt a muscle jerk in John’s arm. “Danny?” Danny squeezed him, peeled him back slowly, “What?” skimmed him gently. “When you were young...” John pulled in a sharp breath, stopped Danny’s hand with his own. They waited a beat or two. A board clicked on the floor. John lifted his hand, kneaded Danny’s neck with his other. “We did some things...” Danny didn’t say anything. “Do you remember?” Still Danny said nothing. “We shouldn’t have…” Danny began to masturbate him with a sudden determined strength, like some kind of frantic displacement activity. “I didn’t mean it to go so far, I swear.” Danny’s movements became savage, constricting. He was hurting him now. John moaned, took it without a word. Suddenly Danny swung upright, guided John’s cock up against his arse and impaled himself on it, all in a second. John grunted a fierce negative, but he pulled Danny down hard onto himself. Danny took his own barely-hard erection in his hand, felt it pull agonisingly tight on the burn, didn’t care. He worked it determinedly, trying to encourage it beyond the ferocious pain. He thumped up and down on John’s penis with no thought for his discomfort or injury, riding it wildly. “I don’t forgive you, John.” His voice scraped out of him, breathless and harsh. “You think all you’ve got to do is ask and I’ll forgive you. Well I don’t.” John pulled him down, trying to still those mad movements. Danny pistoned his cock fiercely. “I hate you. Understand?” “You’re right…” John gasped “…hate me.” He seemed suddenly oblivious to the pounding Danny was giving his body. Out of nowhere he was using Danny, like an overgrown sex toy, something he could plunge into until he was delirious, something he could finish all on his own, with no help from Danny. Danny jerked himself frantically, knowing John had somehow turned the tables on him, icily determined not to be cheated by him yet again, not sure he could

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make it through the pain. But John’s erratic jerking fervour, his sweating determined up-thrusts into Danny’s worn-out body, were doing things he couldn’t have explained.When it came it came suddenly, and he cried out with the strength of it. John heard it through an odd disembodied shimmering of almost pain-like cramping. It wasn’t an orgasm, it was his body telescoping, folding itself so small every last hair was buried in Danny’s flesh. He wanted to die. He wanted to die right now and never have to explain himself again. “I love you...” His hand was buried in Danny’s hair, Danny who was bent over him, head down, trembling. “I’ve always loved you...” He pulled Danny’s mouth down to his own. “Little brother...”

© Chancery Stone 2004 The right of Chancery Stone to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

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Why You SHOULDN’T Read DANNY

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is t th a e Eve, lanc ry g Dear o s r cu very foul . a ease d t pl rm X ha ks it is u b nt fo thin u wa ursory o y and c if look he most a Have e it t e have. giv r w just ion lette t rejec J. Thx!

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cultFICTION Too many pages. Moves fast enough and well-paced, but not easy, digestible read. Too heavy for bath or beach. No recognisable literary figures or style, no empathic characters. No reassurances. Length allows for far too much complexity. Reader subject to too much uncertainty and ambiguity. Contrary and intrusive and takes up too much head time. Emotionally disturbing. Far too much sex. More than just about anyone I can think of – except maybe the Marquis de Sade. Even his sex becomes a catalogue when he gets tired. Not here. Unpleasantly inventive, always pushing limits of good taste, until no stone is – unfortunately – left unturned. Sex is too peculiar. Well beyond man in the street. Or indeed anyone sane. Uncomfortable and ugly, certainly embarrassing. Not suitable for reading publicly or even in front of family. Second volume has an erection on front cover – on a dog! Too accessible. Despite perverse sex, and deviant behaviour, not literary or artistic enough to be excusable. But not trashy or ‘erotic’ either. Sits uncomfortably between two camps. Pornographic, repellent, complicated, tragic and sinister – even funny occasionally – completely unfathomable mix. What is reader supposed to make of graphic sex and uneasy laughter but no shopping or marital infidelities? Not even a good honest threesome in the Jacuzzi to leaven it out. Too far-fetched. Full of gay sex but paints the men involved as heterosexual ( even shows it occasionally). Reader might believe in female bisexual storyline leading to lesbian relationship then a return to straight, but not for men. Aberrant fantasy. May interest homosexuals, and minority of women who believe they are “Gay men trapped in a woman’s body”, but not suitable for straight men – 49


too threatening. No interest for anybody else. No recognisable gays, gay lifestyle or gay positive image, so who is book aimed at? No genre. To repeat, who is it aimed at? Can’t be summed up in tag line or neatly pigeonholed into a recognisable slot. No market. Too cultist. No potential for spin-off TV series. Or movie. Will not be picked up by Richard & Judy or readers’ groups.

Allegedly about child abuse, but no empathy or sympathy. Not a single tear jerked. No-one is beaten with a leather strap, locked in a cupboard or sent to school with a wooden schoolbag. ‘Victims’ seem to relish their abusive lifestyles and indulge in them with an enthusiasm that is completely inappropriate. Reader too familiar with profile – female, unstable, emotionally overwrought, usually an alcoholic and/or drug addict who turns life around with a book deal from Random House and an appearance on Oprah, without being unnecessarily explicit – for this to be believable. Men are rarely abused. Simply does not leave same lasting damage. Just too strange. Doesn’t look, sound or read like anything else – mainstream or otherwise. Confusing, disquieting and distasteful. Beatings, and worse, hand-inhand with bestial sex and highly implausible family dysfunctionality. Fails to deliver what you expect at every turn, defies literary – or popular – traditions without compunction. Leaves more questions unanswered than it answers and expects readers to do all the work. Barely resembles a novel. Summing up, NOT a light, racy read where reader can escape into a familiar world with not too much bad language, and just enough twists to keep her interested, 50


cultFICTION but that doesn’t overtax her. Just plain foul. Recommend you go with the latest outing from R.J. Ellory instead – A Quiet Belief in Angels? That’s a good psychological thriller. Yours,

X

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cultFICTION WEB SITES YOU’LL LOVE

www.poisonpixie.com The publisher‘s web site & bookstore where you can find full details of The DANNY Quadrilogy™, read a free excerpt from Volume 1 and discover Poison Pixie’s art books. You can also e-mail the publisher with any comments, questions, praise or suggestions at marketing@poisonpixie.com Danny-is-god.com The official DANNY ‘Wikipedia’ site offering everything you need to know about the books, from articles and reviews to photos of the original manuscripts and excerpts from Volumes 2 & 3. If it’s not here it hasn’t been written yet! Chancery-is-god.com Chancery Stone’s blog. Get regular updates on what’s new in the DANNY world, read more than you want to know about the writer’s life, and laugh (or cry) over Chancery’s take on popular culture. Guaranteed to be outrageous, funny and pertinent in equal measure. www.chancerystone.com Presently a large photo gallery of author-pics-witha-difference, plus what the author describes as “my long autobiography”. Lastly, there is an unofficial fan site & discussion board run by fans for fans at http://community.livejournal.com/cstonesdanny/

WHERE TO BUY DANNY DANNY can be purchased directly from the publisher (the cheapest way) at www.poisonpixie.com. It can, of course, also be ordered at any book store simply by title or by using the following ISBNS: DANNY Volume 1 ISBN 978-0954611507 DANNY Volume 2 (Personal Jesus edition) ISBN 978-0954611514 DANNY Volume 2 (I’ll Be Your Dog edition) ISBN 978-0954611521 and CULT FICTION ISBN 978-0953730735 It is also stocked by Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and on Amazons throughout the world, as well as at Barnes & Noble and many other online book stores.

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Cult FICTION