QSFer J. Scott Coatsworth has a new gay sci fi short out: “Eventide.”
What if you woke up in a strange place that was as familiar as your own home, but also completely strange and different? What if you opened your curtains to find the universe looking back at you?
Welcome to Eventide.
I felt a little sick. Okay, a lot sick—like something had wrenched my stomach out of my gut and pulled it halfway to Mars.
Not far from the truth, as it turned out.
I reached for my stomach. My furry belly was a little thicker than I would have liked—too much processed sugar, Peter said. That and the whole no exercise thing.
What did I eat this time? My memories were a bit fuzzy.
I remembered bright lights and a sharp antiseptic smell. And a keening whine.
I opened my eyes. The light above dimmed of its own accord.
That’s weird. And the smell…kind of antiseptic?
I sat up, and my fingers sank into the soft blue mat beneath me, leaving an impression when I lifted them up which just as quickly disappeared.
I was naked. What the hell?
Alarmed, I looked around as my eyesight cleared.
I was alone in a plain white room. White walls curved into a white floor and ceiling, and only the “bed” had any color—a bright blue pad on a raised pedestal. There were no doors or windows.
I pushed myself up and my head spun. My stomach clenched, and I felt sick.
The room swam around me, darkening, changing.
I’ve been sick. I was certain of that, but the details were vague. I fell back, cushioning my fall with my left hand. “Hello? Peter?”
“Hello, Tanner Black.” The reply was warm, cordial. Feminine, maybe? Hard to tell.
“Hello.” My head ached. “Where am I? Who is this?” The walls continued to flow.
“I am Sera. You are in an awakening room. Welcome to the Seeker.”
“Welcome to where?” None of this made any sense. Where’s Peter? He must be looking for me. I tried to get up again and a searing pain clenched my gut.
“Please lie down, Mr. Black. You have not fully recovered yet, and your room is not ready.”
Recovered from what? I wanted to argue, but suddenly resting seemed like an eminently sensible idea. I was tired, and my head hurt.
Maybe just a short nap.
I pulled my feet up and lay down, wishing for my comfy feather pillow.
The foam conformed to my body, hugging me. So comfortable.
That thought faded as sleep took me, and the light went out.
Scott lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were.
He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.
A Rainbow Award winning and runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, Liminal Fiction, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).
Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com/
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