• I don't even remember what it was that made them come after me. It wasn't like I looked at them in any provocative way or make any hints at attraction to them. I just remember the sound of the first hit to my ribs. That first initial, deafening crack of bone. And at that point, I wish that they would have just killed me. It would have been better than lying in a pool of my own blood, barely breathing and unable to call for help.

    The sound of my ribs breaking was followed by one hell of a sharp yelp of pain. s**t, if you were kicked in the ribs and felt them break, you'd be yelling too.

    "There's no place in this world for your kind, queer!"
    Goddamn, I wish I could remember his face. But I can't, because when I tried to look up, one of his idiot companions dropped his elbow against the back of my neck, and that dropped me to the ground. I don't get why people get so pissed off when a person is gay. It's not their life.

    "Mechanics is not a line of work that a queer boy like you busies with. It's a manly job. You," the voice begins again as it deals a second kick to my already busted up ribs, "Should be carrying around dogs in a purse and shopping for thongs in the mall with your girly-friends. Like a normal fairy!"

    I feel myself being lifted up from the ground by my shoulders, and being supported by two other forces. And that's one of the things that pisses me off about hate crimes; the fact that they're never performed alone. Unless it's a murder kind of thing, but I could just be naive in that case.

    That's the sound of his fist hitting my jaw. Right now, I really want to die. Who would have thought that a gay man trying to make a living in something he's good at would be such a wrong thing to do? I feel the blood from the punch fill my mouth, but I don't spit. I can't, because I'm afraid of the repercussions of this. Instead, even though I don't want to, I swallow the coppery-tasting fluid. Again, he hits me in the jaw.

    This continues for a little longer, alternating between brutal punches and painful kicks. After what feels like the longest few moments of my life, I manage to at least curl myself up to alleviate some of the pain I'm feeling.

    You ever feel so alone to the point where you think no matter who comes your way, you're always gonna be alone? That's the way I was feeling as I was lying there on the cold pavement. The worst feeling I think I've ever felt next to a spider on my bare flesh, is laying in a pool of my own blood. Coughing harshly, I hear a pair of heels clicking down the sidewalk. God, please find me.

    "Help..." I manage to spit out, but it's barely a dull gasp. The heels stop clicking for a moment, and I feel my heart catch. Maybe, I've been heard.

    "Hello?" the voice calls, pausing for a moment. Again, I feel my heart catch.

    "Over... here..." I say, though it's broken up. ********, it hurts to breathe.

    "Ohmigod! Paul!"

    I recognize this voice. It belongs to Gemini Phillips. A few days before, I'd helped her change the battery in her car because she was having trouble with it. I inhale slowly, and hiss. "You have no clue how glad... I am that you're... he-re..."

    I hear her heels move towards me again, and see her drop to my level. And then I feel her hand against my cheek.

    "Ohmigod, Paul... What happened?"

    Her voice is calm, and almost motherly. Her hand's warm against my skin, and goddamn does it feel like a comfort. "It's... a long, long story..."

    But instead of letting me finish, she hushes me up.

    From there? All I remember is being lifted onto the stretcher, the needle in my arm, and Gemini holding my hand. That night, I made a best friend, in the form of an angel.

    I was lucky she came for me.