Echoes, Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Amber Allure
Genre: Gay Horror
Tags: Addiction, Contemporary, Dark, Fantasy/Paranormal
Rick and Ernie have found the perfect loft apartment on Chicago’s west side. But before they are even settled, Rick begins having strange “dreams” that seem all too real. A young man, emaciated, with sad brown eyes, appears to him, frightening and obsessing him.
From their next-door neighbor, Paula, Rick learns of the gay couple, Karl and Tommy, who lived there before them. Paula had been close to them and Tommy’s mysterious disappearance still pains her. When she shares a photo of her with Tommy and Karl, Rick is shocked and troubled. Tommy is the man who has appeared to him in his dreams.
The dreams and the revelation put Rick on a quest to discover the truth about Tommy’s disappearance. It’s a quest that will lead him to Karl, Tommy’s lover, who may know more about Tommy’s disappearance than he’s telling, and a confrontation with a restless spirit who wants only to, finally, rest in peace…
Rick has been passing a specific apartment building in Chicago’s west side on his train ride home from work for awhile. Something about the big, glass building calls to him. When he notices a FOR RENT sign on the outside of the building he can’t inquire fast enough. In practically no time at all, he has rented a vacant apartment and he and his partner of nine years, Ernie, are moving in and getting settled. Almost immediately Rick begins having dreams about a small man. Only Rick is convinced that these are not mere dreams. They are too real. The man who plays center in these dreams is emaciated, there are sores on his body and his teeth are in bad condition. All the classic signs of drug addiction and abuse. Each dream (or vision) has the man inside the apartment seemingly unaware that Rick is in the room. The dreams are so real to Ernie that they begin to consume him during his waking hours. With each vision, Rick learns more and more about the emaciated man. Only after meeting his older female neighbor does he really learn about the couple, Karl and Tommy, who rented the apartment before Rick and Ernie did. What he learns is a sad story about love and addiction.
Tommy disappeared the previous year without a trace. His clothes and other personal items also disappeared and poof! … gone into thin air. Seeing pictures of Tommy confirms that he is the man that Rick sees in his dreams each night. Only by finding out the real story behind Tommy’s disappearance will Rick be able to live peacefully with Ernie in the nice loft apartment. With a little help from the neighbor and even Karl, Rick finds this peace as does the lost Tommy.
This is a haunting story and one that I know is repeated day after day in places all over the world. I’m obviously not referring to the “hauntings” or whatever you would call Tommy showing up in Rick’s dreams. I’m referring to the horrors of drug addiction and what happens to those you leave behind. Unfortunately, I am all too aware as I lost a very close family member to addiction. Not meth or any other type of recreational drug. I lost one to alcoholism. While not the same, the addiction is and this story touched me on a deeper level as a result. The only difference is that I believe my family member went in peace when she passed. Seeing those who Tommy left behind by disappearing left a void on all those he held dear. Did he die and is trying to find his way? Or is Tommy lost somewhere now in need of being rescued? Or is he, as is suggested, stuck away in some rehab somewhere? All these questions are answered and Tommy does, in fact, find that elusive peace and Rick is able to get on with his life as are the neighbor and Karl.
I adored Rick and Ernie right off. Ernie is not in the story much but when he is, the love and commitment that he feels for Rick is obvious. Rick just wants to help a lost soul.
Another great read by Rick R. Reed, one that will make you think long after getting to THE END.