David Massengill

Walls of Reading Gaol, 1895

The angels crept through the prison and sat on the cot where Oscar slept. They took turns letting saliva drop into his ear. "He still worries that what he writes is against what we wish," one said. The rest grinned with the certainty that Oscar could only use words he received.

Bosie lurched into consciousness amid dead pet portraits and halls that twisted toward boudoirs of family friends. The solitary 25-year-old only knew the precise locations of two creatures--the pheasant he'd shot in the drive and the 41-year-old who'd received hard labor for consenting to his sex. Bosie woke tonight because of Oscar, or rather the need to utter something that would give him that man's size. As stars withdrew, he fretted that strangers would measure him by action alone.

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