Marked – Branded for life (coming Jan 5th)


Bo Tran stared at the face in the mirror. Purple and black bruising colored the left eye, fairly dark now after three hours had passed. The nose, equally puffy and bruised, one nostril ringed by dried blood. It was a little crooked too. Broken? Or just cracked?

The battered door swung open, revealing the bustling waiting room outside. Sound swelled, crested—the laughter of kids, the squalls of babies, the mumbling speaker system, the rattle-beep of nearby vending machines—and crashed over him like a rogue tsunami. A wide-shouldered form briefly eclipsed the view outside as the new arrival crossed the floor on his way to the urinals.

The door stuttered shut on a gasping-wheeze of hydraulics. The click of the latch seating into its housing was loud in the bathroom, a counterpoint to the drip-drip-drip of leaky faucets. His shoulders tightened as the figure moved out of sight. The hiss of a zipper, the rustle of jeans and briefs, the sound and smell of piss pooling against porcelain allowed him to relax.

Just some guy a taking a piss, not The Fucker cornering him.

Bo examined the busted lip with a cautious finger…and winced. Fuck, that hurt. He bared his teeth and realized why. The Fucker had chipped a tooth with a lucky punch. Another punch had smashed his mouth against the tooth’s jagged edge, tearing it open. That leak might have been the one to get The Fucker off of him for the second he needed to bail. Or maybe it had been his nose spraying blood over his attacker’s face and clothes.

Whatever the reason, he’d managed to get the hell out of there. The Fucker hadn’t bothered to get Bo undressed before he’d started in with the fists. That mistake had saved him from a brutal rape and maybe being murdered. The streets had been busy talking about a rapist/murderer for the past months.

Just his piss luck to connect with that fucker.

But that was truth on the streets for the disposable people like him.

Bo imagined the back page news article: Bohai Bradley Tran, age 23. Murdered. Another unfortunate victim of the gay-on-gay violence targeting Portland’s Northeastern Rent Boys.  


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