Since ancient times, humankind has looked into the night sky and wondered: Are we alone? Are there other civilizations beyond the stars? Will we ever encounter these beings? Who are they, what are they like, and what might they want with us?
These questions are about to be answered, but those who discover the truth might wish they had never asked. On the other hand, some might find salvation in visitors from other planets. For while some aliens are hostile, others are benevolent. Some have little in common with humans, but for others, the need for love and acceptance is universal. Lives will intersect and otherworldly passions will ignite as four acclaimed authors of gay romance explore first contact—and where it can lead.
Gothika Vol. 5
The authors are giving away your choice of any one of the previous four Gothika eBooks – for a chance to win, just comment on this post with your email address.
My breath caught in my throat and my heart pounded away as the rain pounded away at the roof. It took me a moment to realize that in the blog I’d mentioned chucking my phone into the barn a bit of comic relief. “Ohhh, it’s laying faceup next to the tractor, please.” I stood up and stretched, my fingers reaching for the ceiling, feeling pretty proud of myself.
Outside the rain was coming down in sheets and even though my phone was still out in the barn as he’d said, I wasn’t heading out there to retrieve it. There was a bunch of hay on the floor, and the roof didn’t leak, so…. “Fuck it.”
I walked into the bathroom, stripped out of my clothes, and turned on the shower. The hot water immediately poured out and steam billowed steam upward. I adjusted the cold water and when it was safe, stepped in to wash off the day. As the water ran over my body, I couldn’t help but grin a little. I was pretty proud of myself. “Two guys in one day, George. You ole heartbreaker.” I grabbed the soap off the holder, lathered myself up, and began to hum to myself—something cheerful as I scrubbed myself down.
I shaved using my little mirror, washed my hair, and turned the water off. As I pulled the curtain back and saw the steam in the bathroom, I felt a shiver crawl up my spine. A feeling of déjà vu left me standing there, naked and dripping into the tub, while the thunder crashed outside. “He’s got you spooked, dude. Calm down,” I said to myself. Elijah’s “very well” felt ominous, and as I dried myself off, I thought about going downstairs and locking up. “George. You’re out in the middle of nowhere.”
The lightning flashed outside my window, and the lights flickered in the bathroom. So I wouldn’t be stuck in total darkness if the lights did go out, I opened the bathroom door. The steam rolled upward and outward as the lights flashed again. “What….?”
That feeling was upon me again, lighting my skin with gooseflesh. In the mirror I saw my naked body, my face looking back at me, my eyes. I shook my head. “Elijah’s words got you weirded out.” Very well, he’d said. It sounded like You left me no choice.
The bed I was lying on seemed to be made of something like memory foam. It conformed to the shape of my body and was very comfortable. My head was propped up on some kind of pillow, and I was covered by a thin blanket. When I moved under the blanket, my hand brushed against the skin of my hip. I was stark naked.
I sat up and swung my feet out of the bed to rest on the floor. It was hard, perhaps made out of metal, but not at all cold. If anything, the temperature in the room was a bit warm.
Where the light was coming from, I couldn’t determine. The room wasn’t dark. The ambient light was similar to afternoon sunlight coming in through a window, except that there was no window, and the shadows my body cast on the bed and the floor were diffuse and indistinct.
The doorway dilated like the iris of an eye, and I grabbed the blanket to make sure my crotch was covered. God knew why. My captors had stripped me and ogled my private parts to their hearts’ contents when I was unconscious. Of course, that didn’t mean I had to give them a free show now.
It didn’t matter. As soon as I saw the two creatures entering the room, I scrambled backward on the bed in fear to cower naked and terrified against the mesh wall. I was no longer even vaguely aware of the blanket or what it might or might not be covering.
They were tall, though not particularly taller than some human men. I couldn’t tell if they were naked or clothed in leatherlike suits, but I wasn’t really looking at their bodies. I was looking at those horrible faces. Their heads were larger than any man’s, and they had two enormous eyes, black and as featureless as glass orbs. Between these, where a human nose would be, there was a slight bump with a small horizontal slit near the bottom. A bit lower there was a “mouth” that likewise was nothing more than a small slit.
“What… the fuck… are you?” I managed to say, my voice quivering.
“Wee… weel… noht… hoort… yoo….”
I blinked at them for a long moment. Then I realized what I’d heard wasn’t an alien language. It was English. Sort of. It sounded like someone from Eastern Europe trying to pronounce English words, very slowly and carefully, and not quite getting the vowels right. There was also a vaguely electronic overtone to it.
His—was it a he?—companion gripped his shoulder briefly and then stepped forward.
“Do you understand me?” the second one said. His voice was much clearer. Still accented oddly, but definitely understandable. Like the first, his voice sounded slightly electronic, as if he were talking through a speaker.
“Yes,” I replied.
“We will not hurt you.”
“Glad to hear it.”
He tapped his companion on the shoulder again and said something I didn’t understand at all. The latter nodded, and with a slight nod toward me, he turned and left the room. The door silently constricted, leaving me alone with the one who spoke English more coherently.
He—his voice sounded kind of male, so I decided to go with that until I learned otherwise—made a gesture with his hand, as if he were lifting something, and the floor in front of him bulged upward, forming a sort of stool. He moved in front of it and sat down.
Then he took off his head.
It wasn’t actually his head, or I would have pissed myself. As it was, I gasped when he gripped it on both sides, and I heard a crack like the breaking of a seal. Then he lifted it up to reveal a very ordinary-looking head underneath what I now knew to be a mask or helmet.
I gaped at him. “You’re human!”
As soon as I’d spoken, I knew I was wrong. For one thing, his eyes were a shade I’d never seen in a human eye—sort of a gunmetal blue. His features were more or less human, but his skin was mottled in an odd way. The overall skin tone was what I would have called “olive”—kind of Mediterranean—but he had indistinct mahogany spots forming lines down his face. One in the center, down the bridge of his nose, and two trailing down under his eyes like lines of tears. He was bald and had no eyebrows, but his features weren’t unattractive. In fact, once I got over my initial surprise at his appearance, I could acknowledge that he was fairly handsome.
A rounded boulder hulked invitingly, so Walter ambled over and scrambled to the top. It was less than five feet high and covered in moss, and it made a pleasant perch. He sat for what felt like a long time, simply breathing.
This area was quieter than the woods near the road. He didn’t see or hear any birds, and the only insects were a few gnats and several wandering ants. It was as if even forest creatures were hesitant to disturb the stillness of the space. And God, it was peaceful. Deeply so, like a long drink of water on a hot summer day or a thick mattress after a hard day of toil. He thought that if he dropped dead right here, right now, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. He’d seen firsthand what became of corpses when they returned to dust, and if his flesh became a part of this tranquil place, he wouldn’t very much mind.
It was a good thing he didn’t have his revolver with him, although he probably wouldn’t have wanted to disturb the silence with a gunshot. Probably.
Walter had stopped thinking—was just letting the stillness seep into his pores—when he heard the quiet fall of footsteps. He hadn’t even realized he’d closed his eyes, but now he opened them, blinked a few times, and saw Martin walking toward him. Martin moved slowly and carefully, less like an animal stalking its prey than a parent wanting to avoid disturbing a sleeping child. He wore khaki trousers again with a light blue shirt and tan jacket, and his lips were set in a hesitant smile.
“I’m sorry to interrupt you,” he said quietly when he reached the rock.
Walter slid to the ground. “It’s all right. I was just sitting here.”
Martin nodded. “It’s a good place, isn’t it? I come here sometimes when I need….” He let his voice trail off, then gave a small shrug. He continued to smile, but his eyes were sad. “Were you comfortable in unit three?”
“It was great.” Walter couldn’t explain the sense of ease he’d felt last night.
“I’m glad,” Martin replied, looking relieved. “Will you stay longer?”
“A few days.” Walter hadn’t even realized he’d made a decision until the words left his mouth, and he didn’t regret it. If he could actually afford it. “Um, you haven’t told me the rate.”
“Four dollars a night. But I can give you a discount, seeing as you’re staying more than one night.” He seemed to consider for a few seconds. “Two fifty?”
Walter did some quick calculations in his head. If he ate at the café for breakfast only and fixed the rest of his meals in the cabin’s little kitchenette, he could safely afford a week before his funds became too thin. “That’s fair,” he said.
Martin held out his hand for a shake, and Walter took it. But instead of letting go when the shake was over, Martin tugged with surprising strength, pulling Walter flush against him. Shocked but also instantly aroused, Walter stared into those astonishing blue eyes. And then Martin touched his lips to Walter’s.
F.E. Feeley Jr.
Hello there, I am F.E. Feeley Jr, author of The Haunting of Timber Manor and Objects in the Rearview Mirror. Thank you for coming to view my page. I was born and raised in the city of Detroit where I graduated from high school. Afterward, I joined the military and now am a published author here at Dreamspinner Press. Married to the love of my life (John) who lets me write horror novels. I write about ghosts and things that go bump in the night. Well, the other things that go bump in the night. So, if you’re not too scared of the dark, check out my books, I’m sure you’ll like ’em. Website: soulfultroubadourdotcom.wordpress.com.
Jamie Fessenden is an author of gay fiction in many genres. Most involve romance, because he believes everyone deserves to find love, but after that anything goes: contemporary, science fiction, historical, paranormal, mystery, or whatever else strikes his fantasy. Jamie Fessenden set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple short pieces in his high school’s literary magazine and had another story place in the top 100 in a national contest, but it wasn’t until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest.
With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie wrote several screenplays and directed a few of them as micro-budget independent films. He then began writing novels and published his first novella in 2010. After nine years together, Jamie and Erich have married and purchased a house together in the wilds of Raymond, New Hampshire, where there are no street lights, turkeys and deer wander through their yard, and coyotes serenade them on a nightly basis. Jamie recently left his “day job” as a tech support analyst to be a full-time writer. Website: jamiefessenden.com.
Kim Fielding: Authentic voices and unconventional heroes.
I have lived in Illinois, Oregon, Nebraska, and Croatia, but for a long time now I’ve called the boring part of California home. I have a husband, two daughters, a day job as a university professor, and a passion for travel. I write in many genres–contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, historical–but no matter when and where my stories are set, I love complex worlds and complicated characters. I think that often it’s a person’s flaws that make him stronger and more beautiful. Website: kfieldingwrites.com.
B.G. Thomas lives in Kansas City with his husband of more than a decade and half, and that marriage has been legal since 2014! They share their home with their fabulous dogs, Sarah Jane and Oliver. He is lucky enough to have a lovely daughter as well as many extraordinary friends.
B.G. loves romance, comedies, fantasy, science fiction and even horror—as far as he is concerned, as long as the stories are character driven and entertaining, it doesn’t matter the genre. Since he’s gone conventions since he was fourteen years old, he’s been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers, many of whom inspired him to pursue his own writing dreams.
Excited about the growing male/male romance market, he decided to begin writing for the first time in years. Gay men are what he knows best, after all. He submitted his first story in years and was thrilled when it was accepted in only four days, and since then has had over thirty short stories, novellas and novels published.
“Leap, and the net will appear” is his personal philosophy and his message to all. “It is never too late,” he states. “Pursue your dreams. They will come true!”
Visit his website and blog at bthomaswriter.wordpress.com. You can contact him there and he is always happy to hear from his readers.