QSFers Chisto Healy and J. Scott Coatsworth have stories in a new spec fic charity anthology: Post Apocalipstick.
We all know what it’s like to be completely overwhelmed, to feel like the world is ending. We all know what it’s like to feel alone. So many people in the LGBTQ community face these struggles daily.
We decided to honor this struggle and support one of own who felt like 2020 was going to end her world, by compiling post apocalyptic stories from some of the best in the business.
These are stories of survival, of strength, of mistakes and misguided good intentions. These are stories of hardship, of loneliness, of perseverance, and love.
The proceeds for this book go to helping the beautiful, talented, and amazing writer S.A. Hunt who deserves nothing but the best… but the book is also for you. Yes. You. Whoever you are. It’s for you.
When you feel like you’re alone in a dying world, put on some lipstick, hold your head high and journey with us through these epic tales of Post Apocalipstick heroes. We’ll see you there.
From The Last Human Heart, by J. Scott Coatsworth
I run the lipstick over my still-human lips, staring at myself in the creased metal gas station bathroom mirror. The protective balm is a titanium blue, a radiant silver flecked with colors of the rainbow that accents the metallic skin of my cheekbones. Wrinkles line the edge of my lips where skin meets metal. You’re fucking perfect. Like a goddamned Monet.
I snort. I used to care about such things once. Matching my clothes for a night at the clubs with Erik. Choosing our elaborate costumes with care—exposing a bit of muscled stomach or a flash of ass with our tight, waist-hugging jeans. Sometimes bringing another guy home with us for a threesome.
The memories are cracked and faded around the edges. The upload to my quantum brain did something to me, changed me into this Frankenstein of man and machine.
I would have made a hell of a scene on the club circuit.
What the hell? Wary, I slip the little jar of the moisturizing lipstick, snagged from an old department store, back into my satchel and swing it over my shoulder. Inside my titanium rib cage, my human heart beats faster—too fast.
I grasp the sides of the old porcelain sink and breathe slowly, calming myself until my heart slows again. Then, silent as a cat, I pull the door open and peer outside through eyes I wasn’t born with.
It’s almost dark, the last bits of evening fleeing across the empty countryside.
Another noise, this time a long, drawn out squeal. My eyes whir and focus. There by the gas pumps.
I breathe a sigh of relief. Just a scavenger bot. Their kind rule the world now, traveling through the rubble and recovering materials on a schedule only they know, stockpiling them for humanity’s return. I laugh bitterly at the thought.
I slip out of the bathroom to watch the little thing. It’s a third the size of my own cyborg body, and it’s working away at one of the old gas pumps, using a laser torch to cut it into pieces.
“They’re not coming back.” It’s a whisper, and an admission. Something I don’t like to think about for too long. You’re being morbid. Erik would tell me that with a flash of his bleached white smile, before leaping at me and pinning me to the bed for a kiss.
I bite my lip with metallic teeth and sigh.
The scavenger stops and turns as if to look at me. I can feel it scanning me for parts. Then it whirs, a disappointed sigh, and turns back to its work.
I’m worthless. I laugh ruefully, a sound more like pistons firing than a human laugh. Even this little metallic vulture has no use for the likes of me.
For the author photo, we were all asked to send in a picture wearing lipstick: