A dead body.
A suicide note.
And a secret love.
For sixteen year old Levi, one summer day will change his life forever.
When Levi climbs a mountain to escape his alcoholic father and discovers a dead body, he’s forced to confront the truth about who he really is, and his life will never be the same.
With razor-sharp focus and clarity, Lionshead builds a lightning-fast story about life, death, and what it means to be gay.
I’d never seen a dead body before. My uncle Martin died when I was ten but my mother said I was too young to attend the viewing.
The man slumped before me on the rocks looked very dead, and when I moved closer I could see a hole in the side of his head. A small slick of still-wet blood ran down his neck and had stained the collar of his shirt a deep red.
“Hello, are you okay?”
It was a stupid question. How could anyone with a hole in their head be okay?
His lifeless face stared back at me. I waited, expecting some kind of response, but the only sound was the creaking of trees rubbing gently together in the forest.
I’d heard the gunshot ring out twenty minutes before. A smart person would have turned back, but none of my teachers had ever called me smart. Instead, I’d continued the climb up the muddy trail to my secret hiding place. It was nothing more than a few sandstone boulders overlooking the little valley below, the place I’d go when I wanted to be alone.
But someone had found it. Someone who’d left the pieces of their life in little drops of blood splattered among the rocks.
There was a gun in his right hand. His slender fingers were still wrapped around the dark metal grip and a single brass bullet casing lay on the ground beside him.
A flash of light from his left hand caught my attention. It was a plastic zipper bag reflecting the late afternoon sun, the same kind of plastic bag my mother packed my lunch in before sending me off to school.
I lowered myself to the ground and eased it from his grip. As I write this years later, hunched over my desk in a San Francisco apartment, I still couldn’t tell you why I took it. Perhaps it was nothing more than curiosity. But something told me it contained a secret I was supposed to find.
Time has a way of distorting itself in such moments. Was I there a few minutes or a few hours? I can’t remember now. The only image that remains, still burned forever in my memory, is the sun lowering itself in the sky as I turned for one final look at the place that had once been mine.
It wasn’t mine any longer. A man had come there to die.