Mysterious Skin

Two eight-year-old Little League teammates, Neil McCormick and Brian Lackey, both experience life-altering events during the summer of 1981 in Hutchinson, Kansas. Neil, the son of an irresponsible single mother who is already discovering his own homosexuality, is sexually abused by the Little League coach, who leaves town after that summer. Brian, whose parents are often neglectful or busy working, only remembers that it started to rain during a game. The next thing he remembers is being in the crawl space of a house with a bloody nose, having no memory of the intervening five hours.

Neil views the coach’s abuse as love and becomes attracted to “bearish” middle-aged men. He begins prostituting himself at the age of 15, and continues doing so three years later when he moves to New York City, where his best friend, Wendy Peterson, now lives. In New York, Neil has an emotional encounter with a client, Zeke, who is dying from AIDS and (instead of sex) only wants to feel another person’s touch. Afterwards, Neil begins withdrawing from prostitution and takes a job as a cashier with assistance and encouragement from Wendy.

Brian suffers from chronic nosebleeds, blackouts, and bedwetting for years after entering the crawl space. He also has recurring dreams about being touched by a strange, bluish hand, which eventually lead Brian to suspect that he may have been abducted by aliens. Another boy wearing the same Little League uniform begins to appear in these dreams later on. At 18, Brian meets a woman named Avalyn Friesen who also believes that she was abducted by aliens. They start to form a friendship, but when she makes advances towards him, he panics and refuses to speak to her again.

Brian sees a photo of his Little League team as he tries to untangle his confused memories, recognizing a young Neil as the other boy from his dreams. Meanwhile, after a john brutally rapes and beats him, Neil returns to Hutchinson to spend Christmas with his mother. There, Neil and Brian meet for the first time in over a decade. After breaking into the house that was previously rented by the Little League coach, Neil tells Brian what happened that night: the coach offered to drive Brian home with Neil after a baseball game was rained out, as Brian did not have a ride. Instead, they all went to the coach’s house, where the coach performed sex acts on the boys and made them perform sex acts on each other. At one point, Brian collapsed face-first onto the floor, giving him a bloody nose, while a nearby porch light caused the atmosphere to have an eerie blue color. Having finally learned the truth, Brian breaks down crying and is comforted by Neil as Christmas carolers sing ‚ÄúSilent Night”.