QSFer Odessa Silver has a new free gay historical fantasy duet out: The Tale of Kami and a Desperate Man.
Under the moon’s gaze even the strongest of loyalties are tested. What consequences befall a lovesick fool?
In the world of Yamato, humans live alongside beings of strange power: kami, who see to the world, and fickle yokai that can bless or trap even the most wary of humans. Hotaka follows the guidance of the kami Tsukuyomi, but even kami make mistakes. And Tsukuyomi’s eyes aren’t the only ones that watch that night. Will Hotaka escape with his life, like he has before, or finally fall to kami whims? Only the moon has the answers.
Writer’s note: This ebook is two short stories which will be part of an anthology I am currently writing and aim to have published later this year.
Get It At Book Funnel
I started to run, stopped by the throngs of people heading towards me. I weaved around children jumping around excited, trying to get as far away as I could. Just a little further. It was hard not to feel the energy of the town as the festival began, even from here it lured me in, the beat wrapped around my soul. Such pure energy from humans, I couldn’t resist it. I felt my body protesting, wanting to follow everyone else and join the festival. We hadn’t seen one in so long, surely just one night would be fine. Summer always had the best festivals, the electric atmosphere nothing like anything else I’d felt in the human world.
I stopped. Again voices were calling dokkoisho! Dokkoisho!
The taiko struck harder, in time with my heartbeat. What if I needed this?
I let the next wave of people drag me away from my path to the ryokan, pushing me towards the market. My feet followed effortlessly, hurrying closer to the forming crowds. I could hardly move within the crush of people, but it wasn’t suffocating, I enjoyed the closeness. I felt part of something bigger than myself.
Mesmerised with everything around me, my voice joined with the return call, “dokkoisho! Dokkoisho!”
Now in a wider street, a new light surrounded me as bamboo poles filled with hundreds of lanterns passed us by. To the beat they were suddenly hefted upwards, swaying as the men carrying them rested poles on their shoulders. With another call they were raised higher, new poles adding to the bottom, the lanterns sailing higher into the moon-hidden sky. The words slipped from my mouth. The sight of the golden lanterns struck me deep, each one like a moon of it’s own. Three, four times they were raised again until they hid the moon.
I called from my soul: dokkoisho! Dokkoisho!
Heave ho! Heave ho!
The feeling was a balm for my heart. I’d been so caught up in magic I forgot why I wanted to be around humans in the first place. Their lives were short and they made use of time. I needed to forget about Tsukuyomi, for a short while at least. Humans would provide as they always had. And if Tsukuyomi still doesn’t want to listen after… I would find a new god with warmth for me. I’d done everything he said, I’d killed, I’d hunted down his enemies, and now he ignored me. Perhaps I would call for Ukemochi instead. They hated Tsukuyomi for murdering them at a feast. I could offer information for advice, for help, for helping keep this body alive at all costs.
Allegiance counted for nothing when survival meant everything.
And I always survive.
“Do you hear that Tsukuyomi?” I growled. “I always survive.”
A new beat, the taiko and oodaiko drumming booming deeper. My soul wanted to be free once again, I could feel it fluttering in my core, loosening from the body. The spell of the night wanted to free my true self to all the people, to undo all that I’d worked for. How would anyone want to be around me if they knew the truth? I wanted their company not their fear. I’d spent too long watching them from afar for this to happen now.
They cannot see me.
I started to panic, I needed to escape, but I was caught in the dizzying trap of people and voices and the continual beat. It lulled me side to side, the vibrations resonating in my chest, warming my soul. There was no escape. My vision blurred. All I could see was swaying lights going back and forth then back and forth. I can’t escape.
Let it take you. I always survive.
Odessa Silver is a fantasy author from the UK who is inspired by her love of Japan, the natural world, and the human mind. Always a dreamer, Odessa pulls ideas from the many thoughts which dominate her awake or sleeping mind. She has been writing since she was a young child, needing to get down the stories crafted in hours of daydreaming and has always written under the fantasy genre, finding it most freeing and able to explore each idea to it’s fullest. Odessa lives with her Bengal cat Phoebe, who tries her hardest to steal her attention from writing when possible.
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