On the Divide – Part 12 ~ Outside the Margins with Freddy MacKay

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Freddy MacKay OtM

Welcome to the Prism Book Alliance Blog today! Freddy MacKay here, one of the contributors to Outside the Margins. For my part, I am writing 500 – 1000 word flash fiction pieces. These are not professionally edited but I do try to catch my mistakes. I hope you enjoy.

On the Divide – Part 12 by Freddy MacKay

From his viewpoint, everything had gone on its side. His TV floating as it hovered in the air. The stand had tipped to one side but had not crashed. Somehow, they miraculously held together. Really strong glue? Or Something? His bookcase seemed to be in the same predicament. What that really meant, though, was he was sideways, not his furniture. It took a few moments for Cooper to realize he was laid out on his futon.

Cooper tried to remember why.

Several slow, purposeful breaths later, the world didn’t seem so big and bright. The buzz in his head had finally started to clear but the day itself, when he tried to recall it, came up as a murky fuzz. Feelings—deep, dark, twisted things that hurt his chest—crowded around him. Shit. When was the last time he’d hurt so bad?

A chill set into his bones. Memories. Ones he’d rather not hold onto crashed in waves over him. Nausea settled in his gut. The world pulsed.

Tabitha. She’d been the only one to make him feel this way. But she’s not here.

There had to be another reason for it.

He’d come home. Something at work… something happened and he’d come home.
Yes. Home. To recover. From a panic attack. One not caused by Tabitha.

Then why was he on his futon? Normally Cooper just crawled in bed to recoup from the ordeal. Maybe he hadn’t made it that far? He focused on the blank wall behind the TV and went through the breathing exercises his therapist had given him.

It was then Cooper smelled something good. Really good. The aromas wafting in from his tiny kitchen weren’t familiar. Well, they were, but Cooper never had the money to really cook anything nice anymore.

He sat up, inhaling again.

The faint scent of garlic bread tickled his nose. The mouth-watering smell of chicken with herbs was right underneath it. The air tasted salty, like someone had boiled water for noodles. A peppery cream sauce coated it all.

Cooper felt pretty certain he’d remember putting together such an elaborate meal. Noodles. Yes. Chicken. Sometimes. Together? Not often. Meat was bought sparingly. Only used with curries usually, and those he served with rice.

Which meant… which meant… a chill whipped through Cooper. Someone cooked for him.

Someone?

His heart thudded hard. The sound echoed in his ears. Made it his chest explode with pain. Like an ice pick got shoved inside—over and over and was tearing him up.

That’s right. He’d come home, recovered, then stuck his head into his living room with Harlan standing outside the door to the apartment. Which resulted in Cooper… passing out. Yes. Not faint. Passed out.

Cooper gulped. Shit.

Harlan had shitty timing.

The whole scene with Harlan played out in Cooper’s head.

How he hovered in the door. How he looked genuinely concerned. How he asked if he should call someone.

Harlan had not come in without permission. At least, Cooper didn’t think he had. The door had probably been left open by him in his attempt to get home and crawl in the sheets. Harlan had also offered to call someone else. To ask someone over for Cooper. That had to count for something.

Maybe Malik was cooking in Cooper’s kitchen area. He slid a glance toward the bar/counter area. Right behind it stood Harlan, cooking, with headphones in his ears.

It was at that moment Harlan glanced up and saw Cooper. Shit. Harlan had the worst timing in the world.

Harlan popped the buds out of his ears and hung them around his neck. He didn’t smile. No jokes came. He did kinda sway, like he was shifting from foot to foot. Like he wanted to move but couldn’t.

“Sorry. I know you don’t want me here, but we thought someone should be here when you woke up, and Mabel had to get back to The Jolt.”

So that meant, supposedly, someone knew Harlan was in Cooper’s apartment with him.

“There is a note from her on the coffee table.” Harlan gestured in its direction. “She says to take tomorrow off and recoup.”

There indeed was a note. Cooper reached for it, blinking to focus on the words. Mabel’s chicken scratch did, in fact, say to not come in tomorrow, and that she left Harlan with dinner.

“I’ll get going once everything here is finished up,” Harlan said, his voice tight.

Cooper nodded, then sat up slowly. His body felt heavy. Like the whole world was crushing him.

Panic attacks sucked. Two in one day sucked worse.

“Cooper?”

He glanced back over to Harlan.

“I really am sorry.”

It sounded sincere. It also made humiliation sting Cooper.

“I had thought…” But Harlan didn’t keep going. He looked back down at the stove. After several minutes ticked by his voice, quiet and steady came back out. “I’m not sure what I thought. But you’ve obviously been through some stuff for it to effect you like, like that. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry. You won’t have to worry about me anymore. Okay? I’ll get out of your hair permanently.”

That right there thawed Cooper’s hurt. Maybe he’d jumped to some of his own conclusions about Harlan. But… but he just didn’t know. He swallowed hard. The jittery bird fluttering in his chest still flapped its wings, but not so hard he couldn’t stand it.

Cooper saw one place setting on his coffee table.

A step. One tiny step. He could do that.

“Harlan?”

“Yeah.”
“Would you like to stay for dinner?”

~Freddy MacKay


TttSQ2-4x6

Title: Travels Through the Scarlet Equinox
Author: Toni Griffin, J. Scott Coatsworth, Angel Martinez and Freddy MacKay
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Publication Date: 11/18/2015
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay
Genre: Bisexual, Drama, Fantasy, Gay, M/M Romance, Romance, Science Fiction

Blurb:

The Autumnal equinox—when the trees dress in their formal scarlet and gold and the crisp air whispers of chance and change, when bright days turn into sudden storms and the veil between reality and imagination thins. Join the Mischief Corner authors as they share stories evoking this often unpredictable time of year.

A Bear’s Bear by Toni Griffin
Matthew Warner’s been a Chicago Bears fan as far back as he can remember. What other team was a young bear shifter from the Smokey Mountains supposed to root for? When his college friend gets tickets to the next home game, Matthew jumps at the chance for a holiday. It’s his favorite time of year and Nic promises him pumpkin carving and a visit to the world’s largest corn maze, what more could he want?

What Matthew doesn’t expect is finding out the defensive tackle for the Bears is his mate. Between fainting at the realization, meeting family, and dealing with the media fallout of his mate’s coming out Matthew is in for a hell of a rocky Halloween.

The Autumn Lands by J. Scott Coatsworth
Jerrith is running. Kissed by an elf, he can’t remain in his hometown of Althos anymore. Not that he wanted to stay.

Caspian still hasn’t figured out why he kissed Jerrith, but he’s running too. Since he was exiled from the Autumn Lands, his past has been hazy, and his future uncertain. But when a stray memory brings things into focus, the two decide to run toward something together. What they uncover will change how they see the world, and themselves, forever.

Beside a Black Tarn by Angel Martinez
When Shax stumbles across rumors of an experimental house that responds to the occupant’s brain functions, creating scenarios to please and delight, naturally he wants to steal it. But with the return of a troubled and hunted Julian Parallax and an overabundance of Poe references, even Shax’s scheming may not be enough to get the Brimstone crew out alive this time.

Eternity in the Tides by Freddy MacKay
Autumn has always been Zak’s favorite season for hiking and camping. Not to mention breathing in all that crisp fall air and sitting around toasty bonfires. That all changed year and a half ago when a rich prick high on prescription pills sideswiped Zak while he was out biking.

Now his days are filled with pain and limited mobility. No more camping. No more trails. Zak’s life as he knew it is gone forever.

Back at his beloved stomping grounds, Zak is ready to say hello and goodbye one last time. But when a cry from the frigid Lake Superior waters throws him into the role of a rescuer, more than just his life hangs in the balance. Little did Zak know how much one person giving a damn mattered to him.

Genres: Gay Paranormal Romance, Gay Science Fiction, Gay Fantasy, Gay/Bisexual Urban Fantasy

Excerpt

From “Eternity in the Tides”

What the fuckery was the sun doing up so early? Zak groaned and squirmed farther under the covers. He did not need this shit. His body fucking hurt all over, like his physical therapist had done a fucking number on him—laughing the entire time with that giggle-snort of hers. Rita needed her head fucking checked.

“Stupid fucking PT.”

Zak rolled over, knocking into something warm. Mmmm, yeah. He cuddled close, breathing in the scent of sweat, water, and grass. Odd, but maybe they got it on before getting in the tent. Besides, when was the last time he got some?
Maybe a nice morning blowjob to start the morning, yeah? Zak tried to pull his company closer, but his arm wouldn’t respond.

Huh?

He tried again. And again his arm wouldn’t move. Fuck the what? Wait… wait a minute. Mornings were never Zak’s best moments, but something in his fuzzy head started pinging. Rita, his physical therapist. PT. Pain. Zak paused.

Fuck. The accident.

Then what…? No. No. No. No. No. No. Definitely no.

Not since the car wreck had Zak bedded anyone. His guts were nonexistent in trying to find someone to date or fuck, afraid of rejection or the pity fuck he might end up with. Even when his ex tried to get back together out of some self-imposed guilt, Zak had sent him away. Things… things didn’t work right anymore. Having a rough tumble with a guy during a camping trip or on a hike or, well, wherever didn’t fucking happen anymore.

Zak cracked open an eye, startling because a dark brown gaze was already pinned on him.

“Shit!” He wiggled away. A sharp throb woke inside him. What the fuck? Since when did he pick up twink Asian dudes?

The man frowned, then rolled his eyes. Was that a sneer?

Zak frowned too. Had that been out loud? Okay. No, this was salvageable. Just greet the dude like any other fuck who’d spent the night.

“Hello.” See? Not hard.

Links

Travels Through the Scarlet Equinox on Goodreads
Mischief Corner Books
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

About Freddy MacKay

I grew up and went to college in the Midwest where I currently reside with my family. I spend most of my time playing sports and running around outside. And honestly, that much has not changed since I was little, except who is included my activities. I also have a healthy geocaching addiction. It’s so much fun! I enjoy spending my time traveling when I can, and I hold the view that a person should continually to learn about new things and people whenever possible.

My contemporary LGBTQ book, Incubation: Finding Peace 2, won 3rd Place – Best Gay Erotic Fiction in the 2012 Rainbow Awards. In 2013, Internment, won 3rd Place – Best Gay Fantasy in the Rainbow Awards. Feel Me (The Marduck Expanse) was a Gay SF Finalist and Honorable Mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards.

Email: freddy.m.mackay@gmail.com
Website: http://freddysstereograph.weebly.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FreddyMacKay
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/FreddyMacKay
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Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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