As those of you hungry for more stories have noticed, Ohio Stray went up this morning, on schedule (yay, Django!). This was one of the very first Yowler stories, and it's surely one of the better. The notes I collected had a gigaton of extra things-- details on 4H in Ohio in 1904, how the county in which the story is set was electrified (and why-- it wasn't for lights or pumps, it was to run fans in the summer), even the names of members of the local Masonic lodge.
Just to let you know, this story has the kind of ending you'd expect for a story about two young, gay men set in the Midwest in 1904. I jokingly referred to this story, when it was In Progress, as Catboys of Brokeback Mountain. And yeah, that's mostly where it goes. Minus the tire-iron. A brief excerpt:
"Matt," he said, "Do you want me to lie?"
"Lyin's a sin."
"So is being a queer," Nico said softly. They sat side-by-side on the bed. Matt dared not look at him. "I didn't hate what Mr. McCannick did. I just hated him. Because of what he did to my mother, of how he kept her– and me– long after we were supposed to be free. Long after we were supposed to be let go." He sighed. "McCannick had the ears of senators and he used his money to keep her a slave. He tried to keep me too."
Matt said, "So you did run away."
"It's like being in a cage. The food is good, the water's clean, even the toys are good. McCannick wasn't too bad, I guess, as keepers go. But it's still a cage."
Matt nodded. He understood being in a cage. He could feel his own pressing in on him, bars wrapped around his heart, squeezing so hard it felt like his eyes hurt. What could he tell Nico, what could he say? "Do you... do you like girls?"
Nico sighed. "Yes. Just as much, maybe. I've known fewer of them, I guess. They're a mystery. Boys are so much easier to understand."
Matt gulped hard. "We are?"
Nico put his hand over Matt's, the touch of his palm, free of the hard callouses of farm work, so different from anything Matt had ever known he'd remember it for the rest of his life. Nico's hand was soft fire. "Yes, you are."