QSFer Martha Allard has a new urban fantasy book out:
Los Angeles, 1983.
Trace Dellon knows exactly what he wants: the white heat of the spotlight. When his band Black Light is offered a record deal, Trace grabs for it. He will do anything to make it.
Bass player Asia Heyes knows what he wants, too. It’s not fame or the adoration of groupies. It’s Trace. It’s always been Trace. Though it’s been unspoken between them, Trace’s other lovers—his audience—push Asia aside.
With the record contract, Albrecht Christian comes into their lives. He has everything but what he needs to live: the energy that runs just under Trace’s skin.
When everything crashes with a bullet, they all learn the truth. Rock and roll requires both love and sacrifice.
1983, Los Angeles
Trace Dellon stands in the wings backstage at the Refugee Club, a narrow shadow. He lights a cigarette, shielding the flame with his hand to protect the dark. In the full house beyond the curtain, he counts dozens of reflections of himself. Boys or girls, hair cut spiky with spaghetti-o colored dye-jobs, all waiting for him. Every night there’s more, but it’s not enough, not yet. He exhales a lungful of smoke.
“Trace.” Asia Heyes, Black Light’s bass player calls him from the doorway to the basement dressing room the band shares. “Weird’s real sick.”
“No he’s not.” Trace turns.
“Yeah. He is. He’s not gonna be able to play tonight. He should be–”
“He should be shootin’ the hell up, Asia. He’s the guitar player, and this isn’t fuckin’ Charity’s Place back in Ann Arbor anymore. It’s the Refugee Club where somebody important could be listening.” Trace moves farther backstage, past Asia, down the rickety stairs. He smells it, bitter on the air before he hits the bottom step. Then he hears Weird choking.
Asia is right behind, protesting. “He’s almost clean. Don’t fuck it up for him.”
Trace doesn’t answer. Instead of going down the short hallway to the bathroom, he heads into the dressing room. Weird’s guitar case is propped against the broken down leather couch that sags in one corner. Trace flips it open. Tucked inside, along with the instrument are Weird’s works, just like Trace knew they would be. He grabs the pouch and steps around Asia to cross the hall. Without knocking, Trace opens the bathroom door.
It’s a re-modeled storage closet, too small for three people. Tommi, their drummer, hovers outside, worry lining his pretty face.
Weird’s on the floor, back against the wall, arm draped around the toilet seat, like it’s his best friend. In the buzzing fluorescent light, he looks ancient, every one of his thirty-seven years are etched into his face. His skin is the color of spoiled milk. His long red-blond hair is stringy with sweat. He wipes a hand over his beard, looks up at Trace through slitted eyes and grins. “Hey Dellon, you gonna hold my hair while I puke some more?”
“Are you’re gonna? I mean, you are gonna be okay, aren’t you?” Tommi’s face turns even paler as he squeezes himself against the sink to let Trace all the way in.
“Oh sure.” Weird groans, sucks in some of the sour air. “Yeah, I’m great.” Then he looks up at Trace again. “Gimme my damn smack.”
“No.” Tommi gasps. “No, Weird.”
Weird stares hard at Trace. “Gimme m’ works, Dellon. Neither one of them will.”
Trace nods. He hands the pouch over and turns away.
Asia is leaning against the hand railing of the stairs, shaking his head as Trace exits the bathroom. “So let him go back to killin’ himself?”
“You think he can play clean, Asia?” Trace says. “You gonna take that all away from him?”
“That’s such bullshit.” Asia laughs. “You don’t even care as long as you get what you want and that’s all that matters.”
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Martha J Allard is a writer of contemporary and dark fantasy. Her short fiction has appeared in magazines like “Talebones” and “Not One of Us.” Her story “Dust” won an honorable mention in “Year’s Best Science Fiction,” 19th edition, edited by Gardener Dozois and her story,”Phase” was nominate for a British Science Fiction Award. They are both collected in the echapbook “Dust and Other Stories.” You may also find a selection o her previously publish works on Wattpad.com. She was the editor of “Nice Tattoo, the Magazine of Shadow Fiction.” Her nonfiction has appeared in the anthologies “Lend the Eye a Terrible Aspect” and “Deaths Garden.” Her first novel, “Black Light,” a tale of love, sacrifice and rock and roll in the 1980’s is out now. You can find her on her blog, marthajallard.blogspot.com