The Quarterly is an eMagazine of LGBTQ fiction – of all kinds. This volume features five short stories:
Under the Moonbow by David Sharp
Deleted by Elliott S. Mundy
Jellybang by Jake Hostetter
The Purpose of Ife Leighs by Aldous Mercer
Out of Air by Albert Nothlit
It also includes an Interview with Vance Bastian talking about “The Road to Audio”, and a Featured Artist section about Adam DeKraker. And our very own Kevin Matthews offers an Op-Ed on “Face It”, a trans* commentary.
From Out of Air: Two men are stranded on a hostile alien world. They’ve been there for months, waiting for the rescue that they believe will come, clinging to their shreds of hope. It takes time to travel through space, though. Rescue, when it comes, will be slow – and careful. Particularly since their original ship was brought down by something in this new planet. Something hostile, that might just have discovered that the two men are helpless, easy prey…
The shelter at the top of the seaside cliff was barely worth the name, but Jacob Till was forced to call it home. It stood on its own atop a jutting promontory of rock that overlooked the dark waters of the alien ocean. A narrow path led from the shelter downwards, snaking over the tops of other cliffs as it descended until it reached a plateau that allowed one to walk further inland. Jacob had made that path himself through hundreds upon hundreds of fruitless journeys looking for other signs of intelligent life. He had scoured every square kilometer of land available to him, hoping to find anything that might signify the presence of sentient life forms. So far it had been a fruitless search.
He could see far away at the very edge of his circuit perimeter, and sometimes he would sit on a rock for as long as his timer allowed him to, looking, hoping to find any kind of help for himself and Hank. He would sift through the polarizing visors in his helmet or input different search parameters for the small computer embedded in his suit, with no success. In the end it was always the alarm that brought him back, alerting him that his air was halfway gone, and then it was a race back to the shelter.
He was almost there now. He had waited for longer than usual before returning, and the alarm inside his suit had changed from amber to red as it indicated that he had just a few more minutes of air left. Jacob did his best to ignore it, wishing he could turn it off. Instead he concentrated on placing each foot in front of the next, careful because of the treacherous terrain that led up to the cliff and the sudden gusts of wind that could destabilize a man if he wasn’t paying attention.
The sun was setting on the alien world. It seemed to burn the sky itself as it went down, transforming the drab aqua and gray of the day into swirling clashes of orange and crimson. Jacob had to stop for a moment to admire the untamed beauty of the new world. He glanced right, towards the ocean, and he knew that if he took but half a step to the edge of the cliff he would be able to look down and see the dark waves crashing on the rocks below. To his left the sky still glowed with sunset, but he was still a few minutes away from the shelter when the glorious display ended and night fell.
A flash in the distance. It could have been the last dying glow of the setting sun, but Jacob had been in the alien world for many months and he had never seen anything like that. It had been a wink of deep violet light, gone before he could make sure he had really seen it. The flash had come from the wild expanses that were beyond Jacob’s search perimeter, behind the alien hills he had glimpsed on clear days.
He gasped and felt the thrill of vindication in his relentless watch. Finally, after months of waiting, something. He wanted to go there immediately, but it was nighttime already. The shift in temperature was so intense that Jacob felt a chill even through his suit, and the alarm that had been glowing with maddening insistence suddenly went quiet. There was a hiss of air betraying the suit’s last supply of unbound oxygen, and there was no more.
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