QSFer Fiona Glass has a new MM gay time travel romance out: “Just Visiting.”
Can love follow someone through time itself?
When non-caste dock worker Madoc meets Josh, a man from the future, he little realizes it will be the catalyst to change his world. Madoc is typical of his kind, with red hair and a fiery temper to match, and everything that makes sense to him is forbidden by the castes. Josh seems to be the perfect caste with his pale skin, dark hair and self-confidence, but his tales of another time fuel a fire in Madoc – a fire to change everything that’s so wrong with his life. But the fight comes at a price. Too soon, Josh returns to his own time, and Madoc is left to follow his love as best he can. Will he find Josh in a brave new future of his own? Or will he have to accept that Josh was only ever a visitor?
This bittersweet short story was originally published in ‘Queer Dimensions’ by QueeredFiction and has now been rewritten, expanded and published as a standalone book.
The traveller, though, had other ideas. Maybe he wasn’t lost at all. Instead of stopping and looking around or even calling for help, he headed straight for the spot where Madoc stood. He had his mouth open—to ask for directions, perhaps, or more likely to yell at Madoc for not moving out of the way. Whatever it was, Madoc never knew, because at the last minute the man tripped over Madoc’s discarded broom, wavered on the dock edge, then swooped arse-over-elbow into the greasy waters below.
Madoc didn’t even stop to think. That was a caste member floundering around down there. A caste member who’d tripped over his discarded tools. If anything bad happened, guess who would get the blame? And the penalty for causing the death of a caste member? He couldn’t remember offhand, but it wouldn’t be good. He kicked off his boots, laid his glasses on top of them and leapt straight in. The water was freezing. The cold cut through his clothes so fast he could feel the shock setting in. He couldn’t succumb to it, though. He was used to these conditions. The stranger might not be so hardened to the elements. He took a deep breath, thrashed his way to the man, then supported his head while he paddled both of them awkwardly back to the dock.
By the time he got there the overseer had hurried over to help. Between him and Madoc they hauled the stranger out onto the dock, where he stood dripping and shivering so hard Madoc could hear his teeth knocking together. The overseer took one look at him and ran, mumbling something about alerting the proper authorities. Knowing the way things worked, Madoc thought it was more likely he was putting as much space between himself and potential trouble as possible. Something he himself would quite like to do. It was tempting to simply grab the broom and hide out in one of the store-rooms until someone else took control or the stranger took care of himself. For once, though, there was nobody else about. The stranger’s lips were turning blue. If he didn’t want a disaster on his hands, he’d have to deal with this now.
‛You’d better come back to my room. You can warm up and clean yourself there.’
‛It’s nothing. Just doing my job.’ Or not doing it. If he’d been paying attention… if he hadn’t left that broom lying about… The fewer people who knew about that, the safer he’d be. ‛This way.’
He led the way to the blockhouse by the dock gate, aware that the stranger was following but not really watching him. Through the main door, along the corridor, up the clanging metal stairs, he made sure he stayed a few steps ahead. That way if he was challenged he could claim the man was nothing to do with him. A defence mechanism learned the hard way from his occasional encounters with other men. At least at this time of day the place was deserted: the day shift were all at work, the night shift snoring in their bunks.
His room was a mess. There never seemed to be much point tidying it; there weren’t enough hours in the day, and no one else saw it anyway. He swept a few things off the chair and made a half-hearted attempt to straighten the covers on the bed. ‛Sorry, wasn’t expecting guests. The shower’s through that curtain. I’ll see if I can get your clothes dry.’
Unlike most caste members the man was at least grateful. Standing dripping on the rag rug Madoc had inherited from his grandmother, he held out his hand. ‛Josh Tanner.’ He wiped slime off his face with a rueful grin. ‛Th-thanks for coming to the rescue. I can swim but that w-water’s really cold.’
‛It’s nothing,’ Madoc said again. Unease prickled between his shoulder blades. Normal caste members didn’t even acknowledge the non-castes’ existence, let alone seek them out and talk to them. So why was this man treating him differently? Was it a test? A trap? Would he be suckered into saying or doing something forbidden, and marched off to the punishment cells? And yet… the man was smiling at him. Not a superior, look-down-his-nose kind of smile, but one that held genuine warmth. There was even a twinkle in his eye. It was enough—almost—to keep the demons of fear at bay. ‛Madoc Owen. Nice to meet you.’
The twinkle turned into an outright grin. ‛You too, although the circumstances weren’t exactly what I’d planned.’
An odd way of putting it, Madoc thought; almost as though Josh was saying he’d engineered the whole thing. He couldn’t have done, though. Nobody would make that much effort just to talk to him. It was so unusual he wanted to make it last. ‛You, er, staying long?’
The smile vanished like the sun going behind a cloud. ‛I can’t. I’m just visiting.’
When she isn’t being a pane in the glass, Fiona writes darkly humorous paranormal romance, often featuring gay characters and almost always with a twist in the tail. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and magazines including Mslexia, Paragraph Planet, and The Library of Rejected Beauty. She currently has two books available: gay vampire romance ‘Echoes of Blood’ on Kindle, and paranormal romp ‘Got Ghosts?’ from Fox Spirit Books. You can find more about both at her website, www.fiona-glass.com.
Fiona lives in a slate cottage within stone-throwing distance (never a good idea in Glass houses…) of England’s largest lake with her husband, several pot plants and a vast collection of books. She enjoys history, gardening and photography, and rarely has her nose far from the pages of a book – or a cup of tea.