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Uncaged

By Wes Leigh featuring the contributions of Rob the Scribe

 

This is a work of fiction intended solely for the entertainment of our readers; any resemblance to any real people or places is purely coincidental. Readers who would like to chat are encouraged to contact us at weston.leigh@protonmail and ail.

This story is the property of the authors and is protected by copyright laws. The authors retain all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the authors” consent.

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Chapter One

 

“Hello, little one.”

Roderyk carefully lifted the bird cage from the hook that held it swinging from its stand. He carried the cage to the window of his apartment and set it on the ledge.

He sat in the chair next to the open window and studied the pale blue colors on the feathers of the bird inside the cage. They matched the blue in the sky outside. Perfectly. And the pale blue of his eyes, or so he imagined, for he couldn”t see his own eyes at the moment for comparison.

He turned his head and glanced at the mirror hanging on a nearby wall. Yes. Pale blue eyes stared back at him through the wire framed glasses he wore. Pale blue like the bird. Like the sky. Beneath dark, curling hair. Dark like storm clouds in a pale blue sky.

And a long, straight nose. A German”s proud nose. His heritage from parents who were long gone.

Full lips. As a boy, he remembered being told he had lips like a girl. Full and kissable lips.

Thin cheeks. Thinner than they”d ever been. Matching his body. He”d lost so much weight, working out, building up his body. It was a strong body now, lean and powerful. No one bullied this body, not anymore.

He turned back to the cage. The bird stared at him, turning its tiny head from side to side. It chirped briefly.

He chuckled.

“Do you know what is happening, little one? Have you any idea?”

He shifted the cage slightly, turning it so the door to the cage was facing the Bamberg Hainpark with its lush greenery spread out below. He”d always enjoyed sitting at this window, staring out at the park and the families strolling about, enjoying the lovely weather and the sights and the botanical gardens. Today would be the last day he saw them wandering about in the Hainpark, laughing and playing. Yes, the last time.

“Little one, I want to tell you a story. Not about events that I have experienced, not about isolated memories, not about sins that have been. The story is about feelings, about thoughts, about fear. The story is about secret longing, about loneliness, about sadness. The story is about a man, a man who never had a choice, a man who was never allowed to be himself.”

Roderyk scooted the birdcage back an inch on the ledge.

͠ ͠ ͠

Thirteen-year-old Roderyk Jan Meyer stumbled as he climbed the steps into the school building. The other boys laughed as one boy hastily pulled back the foot he”d shoved out to trip Roderyk. It wasn”t nearly as funny as it would have been had Round Roderyk fallen on his fat face, sending his books flying, but it was still hilarious.

“Watch your step,” one of the boys mocked. “Clumsy oaf.”

“He can”t see his feet with his fat belly. How can he watch his step?” another asked.

They all burst into laughter at that comment, though it was completely unfair. Roderyk was overweight, but not excessively so. No more than some of the other boys. But he was different in other ways.

He was poor. His school uniform was worn, shoddy, old. It was all his mother could afford.

He was autistic, or so they said, not enough to be shuffled off into special classes with kids who could barely function in the real world, but enough that he was marked by the others as someone to avoid, to pick on, to bully.

He was intelligent. He did well in all his subjects, but amazingly so in Composition, where his soul was set free to write about the bondage of his heart and the torment of his soul.

Some teachers failed to recognize his brilliance. They were inpatient with him and his inability to focus during class. They made up excuses for why he was the way he was. “He”s ADHD,” they”d say. “He needs medication.” Or, “he”s autistic; he shouldn”t be here, not in this school.”

And thus the labels they so easily attached to his life gave them a convenient reason for writing him off as hopeless. And when he drifted away into another world … a world where he saw visions of heaven and angels, a world where music was painted in vibrant colors, a world where emotions set the soul free of earthly bonds … they scolded him and demanded he be caged once again in their natural realm.

Then the teachers, though they couldn”t complain about his performance on homework or test papers, complained about him in subtle ways, sometimes izmit escort demeaning him in front of the class, giving his peers more ammunition to use against him.

He had no friends. He had no father. He had no one to talk to. He had nothing to lose.

He turned his head cautiously, checking to see if the other boys were going to try to trip him again. They stood back, still laughing, but giving him space. He continued up the steps, his books clutched against his chest, one foot carefully placed in front of the other until he reached the top of the steps and the door. He turned his head and looked back at the smirking boys.

One jumped at him and shouted, “Watch out!”

Roderyk wasn”t startled. Something in his heart had warned him the boy would try that, so he was expecting it. He often knew when things were going to happen. It was one more reason they hated him. One more reason he was different, and despised.

He walked inside the school, leaving the chortling boys behind.

͠ ͠ ͠

Roderyk unlatched the door to the birdcage, but left it shut. He bent down and whispered, “Little one, I had nothing to lose, so I did something bold and perhaps brave and definitely foolish. I told everyone I was gay.”

Roderyk leaned forward with his nose inches from the cage door, studying the songbird on its perch.

“I discovered early not to be like other boys, discovered not to be into girls, discovered to be sultry. Gay was a bad word, a word with many things attached, a word that was an insult. Gay was what I was. Today I don”t understand how it was so easy for the young boy I was back then to accept it. I was thirteen. It was easy to tell myself, but not so easy to tell the others.”

͠ ͠ ͠

They stood in the hallway, surrounding him.

“What did you say?” one boy asked.

Roderyk lifted his eyes from the floor and whispered, “I”m gay.”

Sudden laughter erupted from the other boys.

“We knew that, you fucking poofter!” one boy exclaimed.

“Ya, but now he”s admitted it,” said another. “What a piece of shit, he is.”

“A gay piece of shit. A cock sucking piece of shit,” said yet another.

A glob of spit landed on Roderyk”s cheek. He turned away and a fist connected with his eye. A foot slammed into his groin, sending him to his knees. More spitting. More laughter. More foul curses.

Then the boys scattered and ran off.

A man”s voice called them back, but not with any force or serious intent. The man”s feet walked into Roderyk”s view as he knelt on floor, clutching his aching balls, gasping for breath.

“What”s going on here?” the man demanded, but Roderyk couldn”t breathe, couldn”t explain.

“Answer me,” the man demanded, disgust now apparent in his voice.

Roderyk moaned and tried to look up, but when he saw the teacher”s face, twisted with revulsion, Roderyk looked back down at the floor, shaking his head slowly from side to side.

“Well, if you won”t tell me what happened, I can do nothing,” the teacher said. His uncaring feet moved away. His mocking footsteps retreated down the hall. Roderyk was left alone, kneeling on the cold tile floor, tears slowly gathering in his eyes. He had known how the other boys would react.

The night before, he”d seen a vision of fierce lions surrounding him, tearing at his flesh, trying to reach his heart, but failing. His vision had prepared him for what the boys did. And though he knew how they would respond, he had felt an obligation to speak the words that would make the vision come true. “I”m gay,” Roderyk whispered to the floor and to his own heart, making his admission all the more real.

Slowly the pain in his balls abated. He gathered up his books and stood shakily to his feet. He tugged his pants down on his hips, giving his tender balls more room. They hurt, but he had to leave, had to go home, where he”d be safe. No. No place was safe. But the lions wouldn”t be there, so it was where he needed to go. That was where the vision told him to go, not to escape, but to heal before suffering once more.

He stumbled out of the school and saw the others standing around, watching. Some giggled. Some sneered. Someone shouted, “Fucking queer!” They all laughed.

He hurried down the sidewalk and crossed the street.

“Don”t come back, faggot!”

“We”ll kill you next time!”

They laughed again, though someone shushed the last boy, worried that a teacher might have overheard.

Roderyk didn”t care. He kept walking, groaning with each step. It hurt to walk. It hurt more to stay.

͠ ͠ ͠

“Little one, I made my way in life, but I failed,” Roderyk explained to the bird, who seemed to be listening carefully to every word he spoke. “I did drugs. I was destroyed, and I got back up. I rebuilt my life.”

Roderyk turned his head and glanced once more at the mirror. His trim, muscular body was testimony to the hard izmit otele gelen escort work he”d put in, rebuilding his body while rebuilding his life.

He turned back to the bird and said, “I just wanted to be myself, yet I was never allowed to do that. A child does not choose what it will be one day. If only this choice were possible; life could be so much easier. I would give anything for it. But that”s not how I was born. I was born a man. I was born a man who doesn”t love women. I would be born a man who doesn”t love men.”

Roderyk swallowed hard, but spoke clearly, if only to himself and the caged bird. “I was born a man who loves boys. I was born a man not allowed to love.”

His eyes filled with tears. “Damn, I never got to say that before. It feels good to say it. It”s indescribable.”

͠ ͠ ͠

Roderyk peeked behind him. Hans was still following him. Eleven-year-old Hans. Blonde haired Hans. So sweet and kind. When all the other boys mocked and hated him, Hans still played with him. They had been friends for as long as Roderyk could remember, and even when the other boys called him the horrible names, Hans refused to join in.

“You”ll get in trouble hanging out with me,” Roderyk said, looking back over one shoulder.

“I don”t care,” Hans replied. “You”re my friend.”

Roderyk walked faster. “I don”t want them to hurt you too.”

Hans began running and caught up to Roderyk. He grabbed Roderyk”s arm and pulled him to a stop. “Look at me, Roddie.”

Roderyk stopped and stared at Hans” feet.

“Look at ME!” Hans demanded.

Roderyk looked up and stared into Hans” glittering green eyes.

“You are my friend. I don”t care if you”re gay. We”re still friends.”

Roderyk tried to stop the tears but couldn”t. “You don”t understand, Hans.”

Hans shrugged. “What”s to understand? Those guys are jerks. Ignore them.”

Roderyk shook his head in frustration. “No. No. Not that. You don”t understand the rest of it.”

Hans stared at Roderyk in confusion. “The rest of what? What are you talking about, Roddie?”

Roderyk blinked away the tears and stared back at Hans. Lovely, precious Hans. So innocent. So sweet. Hans was slender, his body that of a boy still, his muscles undeveloped, his voice delightfully high-pitched, his skin unblemished. A pure and flawless creature. Roderyk leaned down and kissed Hans on the nose.

Hans giggled and pushed Roderyk”s chest playfully.

Roderyk leaned down a second time, kissing Hans on the lips.

Hans stopped smiling and asked, “Why did you do that, Roddie?”

Roderyk kissed Hans again. “Because I love you, Hans. I love you with all my heart. I don”t know what it means to be gay, and I don”t care. I only know that I love you and want to kiss you and hold you in my arms.”

Hans backed away, frowning and confused. “You want me to be your … your boyfriend?”

“Yes,” Roderyk replied. “We”ve been friends all our lives, but I want more, Hans.”

Hans stepped back and turned and ran off. It was the last time he talked to Roderyk.

͠ ͠ ͠

“I learned a lesson that day, little one. I learned there are some things better not to say.” Roderyk sighed and fiddled with the door of the cage. “A year later, I fell in love with a cute boy. He was only ten, and I was fourteen, but I adored him. I told him I loved him and wanted him to love me back. He told his parents, and they visited my mother, demanding I never bother their boy again.

“When I was fifteen, I fell in love with a boy who went to my school. His name was Tym. He loved me too, and we did … we had … we had a wonderful night once …” Roderyk shook his head in frustration as the memories of that night overwhelmed him. He swallowed hard, forcing them back into their hidden place in his mind.

Turning to the bird, he said, “Tym and his family moved away and left me heartbroken. I was hurting so much I did something very stupid. I found another boy, a year younger than me, and told him I loved him. He said he loved me too. He let me hold his cock and stroke it until he was hard. He pulled down his pants and asked me to suck him, so I did. His cock was large, almost like a man”s, and he begged me to massage his balls while he thrust his cock into my mouth. It hurt when he banged it into the back of my throat. He could tell it hurt, but he kept going until he squirted out into my mouth. Then he pulled up his pants and hurried away.

“I thought that was the end of it, but he kept coming back to me for more. It was always the same. He would let me fondle him until he got hard, then he”d drop his pants and demand that I kneel in the floor and suck his cock until he came.

“I sucked him a dozen times, maybe more, and then one day, we were caught together. I was sucking him when some other boys opened the door and saw us there. I jumped away from him and darıca escort stood to my feet. He didn”t act surprised. Neither did they. He told the other boys, `See. He”s a cocksucker. He even swallows. He”ll do you next.” I stared at him in shock, too angry to cry, but he simply laughed in my face.

“I ran out of the room and never talked to any other boy at the school for the rest of the time I was there. When I graduated, I tried guys my own age. There was one who meant a lot to me … Dominik … until … never mind. I don”t want to talk about that right now. All you need to know, little one, is that it never worked. I couldn”t figure it out. Something inside me longed for the boys from back then.

“These feelings arose in me, these images in my head, these sensibilities�but these were not allowed to be. I repressed what I was feeling, trying not to let it happen and damning myself for not succeeding.”

He gripped the birdcage, his knuckles white. “The whole world says people like me are demons. I felt like a demon.

“The world tells a boy that loving other boys is wrong, that it is only a childish attraction between boys that must stop once you become a man. As a man, the world tells us who we can love and hates us if we don”t do exactly what we”re told. The world tells us that we need to grow up and stop enjoying being a boy, stop doing what boys do, stop playing with other boys. If he refuses, the world tells the man he is no longer an angel but has become a demon. The truth is … he is neither one. He is simply a boy.

“He loves other boys because he never lost the love he had when he was young, he never grew out of it, never stopped relishing the hug of a friend, never became too grown up to think of it as a childish game.

“To him, it”s not a game. It is pure love, as love was meant to be, as only a child can love, unconditionally.

“The world says the boy is wrong to feel as he does. The world tells him to grow up and leave behind his childish ways.

“But the world is wrong.

“The boy is more grown up than the world will ever be, because he remembers the love of his childhood and doesn”t want to let it go because it is a pure love, sweeter than the false love the world wants him to taste instead.”

Roderyk shifted lower in the seat until his face was below the the cage and he could look up at the songbird. The bird shifted nervously on its perch. “You don”t understand the world of humans, with its many confusing loves. You simply know what it is to be caged and sing. You and I have this in common, little one. I also do not understand what love is, only how to be kept inside my cage. But that is changing …”

Roderyk pulled the letter from his shirt pocket and opened it, reading it again. He smiled and held the letter up for the songbird to see. “Do you see this, little one. Auntie needs me. She has a farm. In America. And no one to help her. She can”t afford to pay me, but she said she”ll feed me well and someday, the farm will belong to me.”

He laughed softly. “Auntie is like me. She has visions. People say she”s strange, but she says her visions guide her and tell her what must be. She had a vision of me coming to her, where I would be finally set free of my chains.” He laughed again. “I want to be free. I don”t know if I want to own a farm someday, but I suppose Auntie has no one else to give it to. I”m her only kin. She wants me to leave Hamburg and come live with her and help her. In return, I will have a new start. A fresh start.”

Roderyk tapped the door on the cage. It swung down and left the cage wide open.

“I have no option, actually. You see, I must leave. Why, you ask? Isn”t it obvious? It is because of the kids.” Roderyk sighed. “I just want to be a good role model for the kids, nothing else. But they come to me, try to take my hand, try to hug me, try to be liked by me. They don”t understand what it is like for me. I must keep my distance. I cannot return their love.” Tears formed in his eyes and began rolling down his cheeks. “Do you know what it”s like, little one? They see far better than their parents do. The children feel my insecurity. They feel this distance, and they feel the emotional coldness, but of course, they can”t understand it.”

Roderyk wiped away the tears with one hand. “Don”t you see, little one? In the end, it”s fear that robs me of everything. Of an honest life. Of a fulfilled love. Of a chance to stand up for myself. Of a path worth taking.”

Roderyk paused and tapped on the side of the cage with one finger. The bird looked at him quizzically, turning its head from side to side. Then it hopped from its perch to the open cage door. It chirped and tilted its head, looking around, perhaps astonished at the opportunity it now had to escape, uncaged. It spread its wings and darted out the open window, flitting away, headed for the trees of the Hainpark.

Roderyk refolded his Auntie”s letter and returned it to his pocket, next to the airplane ticket she”d sent him. He closed the cage door and hung the now-empty birdcage back on the hook where it swung gently in the breeze coming through the open window.

 

The end of UNCAGED, Chapter One

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