After hours of deliberation, Justin made the difficult choice of returning to the apartment he shared with Hunter. It had been over a week since he was last there, refusing to return after the death of his boyfriend and the painful memories that resurfaced when walking through the door. Learning Hunter's dirty little secrets, or at least one version of them, Justin felt able to re-enter the place he called home with the love of his life. Now, it didn't seem so painful.

The apartment was still in pristine condition. The surfaces shined the beautiful façade of what was a happy home, glistening in the sunlight that radiated through the closed window. The first thing Justin did was open it, letting the clean air pour in to drown out the stuffiness. It felt like a huge relief, both to the apartment and to Justin.

It wasn't that long ago since Justin had been here but the place felt more alien to him than ever. He was beginning to see things in ways he never saw them before. By taking a step back and examining the objects around the room for the first time without rose-tinted glasses, he realised just how sickly the place really was. The counter-tops. The clean dishes on the rack. The leather sofas. The bed.

The apartment was all one, big room. It was like a luxury penthouse, something that Hunter could afford; Justin was ashamed to say his boyfriend paid most for the rent each month. Justin had refused to take money from his parents while Hunter revelled in it. His parents may not have supported his lifestyle, but they sure supported his bank balance.

The eating area bled into the kitchen, making a picturesque space for wining and dining. The living area took up most of the apartment; the sofas surrounded a large window with a widescreen high-definition television by the side of it. The light in the area was overwhelming. Justin rushed over to the window, throwing his rucksack on the sofa on the way there, and pulled down the blinds. By closing them most of the way, the light drained out enough to allow Justin to still see everything while surrounding himself in some form of darkness.

The clueless boy walked from the living area into the bedroom. These areas complimented each other with a matching colour scheme of black and white with the bed as the focal point of the entire apartment. Justin realised how sexually based his relationship with Hunter was. Night after night, morning after morning of hot passion with very little to remember in terms of thoughtful memories. While Hunter certainly swept him off his feet, did Justin really feel love for him, or lust?

Emotions surfaced that Justin wanted to supress due to his kind nature. He spotted a small black velvet box next to the pillows on the bed – something Justin almost missed due to it blending in with the duvet. Justin opened it impatiently and found a small engagement ring inside. It was beautiful. It made Justin angry.

Tears broke their barriers as the confusion deepened inside him. It was a devastating blow to learn of a boyfriend's scandalous past but to also learn that he might be the only person to ever love him messed with his head. Hunter may have had plenty of lovers in the past, but Justin had only had one. Him. And now he's gone with new questions threatening the legacy he left behind.

Justin collapsed on the bed. He remained there, lying perfectly still, oblivious to everything around him as time started to slip through his fingers.

A noise roused Justin from his temporary catatonic state. It took a moment to register, but he realised it was the clicking of the computer turning on. What should have been a freak occurrence was actually quite normal. It wouldn't be the first time the computer turned on by itself, and Justin knew who it was.

The person who wants him to find the answers as much as he does, his reliable ghostly friend, Joseph.

"Where have you been?" Justin asked the bloody little boy. He felt genuine in missing him, feeling like he was the only friendly ghost he had ever come across. He is certainly the only one who has shown himself to want to help Justin, not kill him.

Ashes of the Innocent (Abyssal Sanctuary #2)Read this story for FREE!