Title: Rusty Knob
Author: Erica Chilson
Genre: M/M Romance, New Adult
Release Date: August 25, 2015Summary:
The townsfolk of Rusty Knob, West Virginia, see the Gillettes as ignorant wastes of space– worthless drunk sponges. As the youngest, Wynn may be a Gillette, but he doesn’t act, nor think like one. At only seventeen, he studies hard, plays basketball harder, and works the hardest.
Wynn is numb to his core, no longer feeling the hits that keep knocking him down to the ground. He’s unable to see the bright future laid out before him. Royce Kennedy, a distant relative, tries all he can do to save the youngest generation of Gillettes from the dark shroud of bitter ignorance infecting them via their neglectful upbringing.
Wynn’s studying is to the backdrop of drunken chaos, his relationship with friends and family are tainted by a narrow world view, and his life is filled with more questions than answers. His every dollar earned is bled dry come payday, only to have his parents piss it down the toilet or blow caustic smoke to billow in the air.
A warped sense of loyalty forces Wynn to be his family’s enabler, and he’s paying the ultimate price. With the support system of Royce, the mentor of the school district’s LGBTQ online community, and Wynn’s friends, they try to prove to Wynn he deserves anything he needs, whether he earns it or not. Growing up in an ignorant wasteland, he never learned love, friendship, and respect are unconditional, can never be purchased, and should never be abused.
Wynn Gillette is at a crossroads. One thing’s for sure, he cannot continue on this destructive path. Wynn has to end the only life he’s ever known, breaking the bitter legacy passed down from one generation to the next. One way or the other. Permanently.
“I get how hard this is for my friends and family now.” I lean forward, resting my elbows on my thighs, feeling hopeless– lost –and for once it’s not about me. “I can’t imagine… I can’t imagine the world without you in it.” My throat goes tight on me all of the sudden. Whether it’s a glare or a grin, I look forward to just being around Kade. Always have. “Jesus, this is hard. Why’d you do it, Kade? Why’d you try to kill yourself?”
Voice taut with painful emotions, “Grief mostly,” Kade breathes the words. “I lost my mom when I was real young, and my dad stepped up. I don’t think I’m capable of loving anyone as much as I loved him. He was a kind and gentle giant. Soft-spoken and patient. He was my daddy, my momma, and my teacher. Dad was my best friend– my hero. He was my world… and one day he was gone.”
Voice changing from soft to harsh, Kade gruffly grits out, “Logging accident at work. He was felling a tree, and the chainsaw kicked back. The tree fell in the wrong direction, and it landed on his chest– pulverizing everything beneath it.”
Tragic, there are no words, so I simply rest my hand on Kade’s knee like he had for me earlier.
“For hours on end, I would just sit and stare at the door, waiting for Dad to come home. Only thing was, he was never coming home again.” With a deep breath, Kade looks up and away, and then his eyes settle on Suicidal Tendencies again. “Still to this day, I’ll lay in bed, trying to remember the deep timbre of his voice, remember the way he smelled like sawdust and pine sap, or the way his eyes would crinkle up in the corners when he was smiling.”
Kade rests his hand over mine, twining our fingers together, seeking comfort. “Dad reminded me of a big bear. He was taller than I am now, with a wide chest and shoulders. But I was never afraid of him, even when I barely came up to his knee. He wore flannel, jeans, and huge work boots, and sometimes I dress like that to remember him.”
“I can’t imagine how comforting it would be to look in the mirror and have someone you love staring back at you.” I gaze at Kade, instinctively knowing he looks exactly like his father. “I want to punch my reflection sometimes, hating how perfect Gillettes look when we’re broken in every way that matters… but this isn’t about me. Your hair? Did your dad wear it long?”
Kade’s deep laughter stuns me stupid, causing a sensation I’ve never experienced to slither up my spine. “Dad shaved his head, hating how people would comment on his hair. My grandfather made some shitty homophobic slurs, so I started growing it out when I was seventeen as a way to spit in his face. When I visit him, I make sure to wear it down.”
“Rebel,” I mutter with a smirk.
Kade squeezes my hand, signaling the happy portion of our conversation has met its end. “When I talk of suicide, I tell everyone it was because my grandfather was a drunk bigot who abused his faggot grandson. But that’s not the entire truth. Three months after Dad passed, I woke up so terrified I had pissed the bed. I couldn’t remember… I couldn’t remember my father.” Kade’s voice is lifeless yet panicked, as if he’s nothing but a ghost of himself.
“I could remember nothing of him. Not even what he looked like. I was so distraught, I didn’t realize I could just reach for his photograph. Instead, I took my grandfather’s hunting knife to my forearms.”
I gaze at the zombie gnome, and its name hits me so hard I recoil backward. “You’re not tempted to do it again, are you?”
“Sometimes,” Kade admits the truth like it doesn’t wound me. He leans back upright again, and rests an elbow on his thigh, keeping our hands connected on his other leg. “I miss Dad to the point I feel alone in this world.” Kade’s voice hitches, forcing him to pause. “But I know he would be furious at me for trying to kill myself.”
“He’d blame himself,” I mutter, another realization dawning.
“Just like Warren is blaming himself right now. Royce too, ya know?”
“I get it,” I gulp out. “Sometimes I want to kill myself because I was so goddamned stupid for trying it the first time. I know it makes no sense, but I have to punish myself somehow.”
“There’s a reason you’re alive. It’s best you deal with that fact,” Kade orders. “We all have a reason for existence. I’m still here to save others like me. It’s why I became a teacher, but I’m waiting for the guidance counselor position to open up. When I applied, all we had was first grade available. I was qualified.”
Erica Chilson does not write in the 3rd person, wanting her readers to be her characters. Therefore, writing a bio about herself, is uncomfortable in the extreme.
Born, raised, and here to stay, the Wicked Writer is a stump-jumper, a ridge-runner. Hailing from North Central Pennsylvania, directly on the New York State border; she loves the changes in seasons, the humid air, all the mountainous forest, and the gloomy atmosphere.
Introverted, but not socially awkward, Erica prides herself on thinking first and filtering her speech. There are days she doesn’t speak at all. If it wasn’t for the fact that she lives with her parents, giving her a sense of reality, she would be a hermit, where the delivery man finds her months after expiration.
Reading was an escape, a way to leave a not-so pleasant reality behind. Reading lent Erica the courage she gathered from the characters between the pages to long for a different life. Writing was an instrument of change, evolving Erica into the woman she is today- a better, more mature, more at peace thinker.
Erica has a wicked mind, one she pours out into her creations. Her filter doesn’t allow all of it to erupt, much to her relief. Sarcastic, with a very dark, perverse sense of humor, Erica puts a bit of herself into every character she writes.