Join Prism Book Alliance® as Freddy MacKay goes Outside the Margins today.
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 for a story called On the Divide. These are not professionally edited but I do try to catch my mistakes. I hope you enjoy.
On the Divide – Part 17 by Freddy MacKay
Evelyn’s bright smile said she knew exactly how she affecting Cooper. Not only that, she was enjoying it. Tabitha had nothing on this bitch.
“You need to leave, Evelyn.” Wow. His voice didn’t actually shake when he said that.
“No, actually, I don’t. It’s a free country.”
Cooper sometimes hated America. This moment was one of those. The entitlement people felt because the could, when were people going to start asking if they should? She knew—knew—she was overstepping, but she felt the right to be able to do so. She had been wronged. Lied to.
“Are you here to make any purchases?”
Cooper pointed to the shop door. “No loitering. Sorry.”
“Wha?” Evelyn’s forehead creased, her confusion at being thwarted giving Cooper some satisfaction.
“This isn’t a coffee shop. If you’re not here for business related stuff, then I have to ask you to vacate the premises.”
Evelyn huffed, but then her scary smile broke out. “Fine.”
Fine? What did fine mean? Cooper knew dread when she headed toward the vinyls. Great. Just great. How stupid did he have to be to give her the exact information she needed to stay?
Stupid. Fucking stupid.
That’s what he needed to be, because there was no other explanation.
Sweat beaded on his lip. His palms were wet and clammy. His stomach revolted at the idea of having to spend more time with her.
“Are you going to be okay?”
Cooper turned to Harlan.
“You look like… Like you’re going to have a panic attack,” he continued. “Do we need to get you out of here?”
Yes. No. Kinda? Cooper didn’t want to leave. Evelyn already chased him out of The Jolt. It’d kill him if she took Band Rescue away from him.
He looked at Harlan, at a complete loss as to what the right answer was. All Cooper knew, somehow, some way, he needed to get Evelyn out of his life.
There were ways to do it, but… Cooper winced. A restraining order would take time, and to prove it, that would take even more. He wasn’t sure he had the money for a lawyer. He could get a temporary one, maybe, but that still had its issues.
Harlan moved closer. He lifted a hand but put it back down. A move Cooper appreciated. Touching was not high on his list of things he wanted right now.
Harlan shrugged. “What do you want to do?”
“Stay? For now.”
“I can do that.”
“Thanks. I need to get Jesse out here, let him know what’s going on.”
Maybe his boss had some ideas.
“Excuse me, miss?”
Or Jesse could be the one to help her. Cooper turned to find his boss hovering near Evelyn, looking none too friendly. Maybe he heard something?
“Just browsing,” Evelyn finally said, her mouth scrunching into that annoying duck look.
“Well, do you know which classics you like?”
“I just like looking at the covers.”
“Looking at—if you’re not wanting to make a purchase, can you not touch the vinyl. They’re expensive,” Jesse replied, sighing with annoyance.
“They can’t be that much.” Evelyn waved a The Mamas & The Papas record—This Precious Time—around.
“More than one of your paychecks, that’s for sure, young girl.”
Evelyn carefully put the vinyl down, her nose turned up, doing her best impression of someone of stature.
“If there’s nothing else,” Jesse said.
Harlan stepped closer to Cooper, the two of them had been completely wrapped up in the exchange. They gave each other a smile. Harlan chuckled and leaned in. “Is he antagonizing her on purpose?”
“Maybe? He knows about her.”
“Yeah… I wanted to warn him. In case—” Cooper motioned to Evelyn arguing with Jesse. “In case she happened.”
Harlan nodded. “Understandable.”
“What are you doing?”
Harlan and Cooper looked over in time to see Jesse grabbing her elbow.
“Jerk. Let go!”
“I really must insist,” Jesse said. “If you’re not here for serious business, try a Barnes and Nobles or something. I think they still exist. They have CDs. Though I’m surprised someone as cultured as you doesn’t have an iTunes account.”
“Do you treat all your customers this way?”
“No, just the ones who loiter.”
Jesse had Evelyn out the door and on the sidewalk faster than Cooper could spit.
“He’s good. Really good,” Harlan said.
“Yeah.” As far as Cooper was concerned Jesse was a miracle worker.
“Think she’s going to cause problems?”
Copper shrugged just as a howl went up outside. “Who knows how she ticks.”
The door chimed, Jesse walking back in looking rather smug with himself.
“What did you do?”
“Banned her from the shop.”
That explained the furious howl.
“Hey, if she comes back in, we can call the cops for harassment.” Jesse continued toward the back room. “That would give you a record of her behavior, wouldn’t it?”
“Yeah, it would.”
“Good, I hate bitches like her.”
They all agreed.
“She gives the good ones a bad name.”
“That is true,” Cooper said. Though, his problem was girls kinda screed him at this point. They shouldn’t, there were plenty of nice ones out there. But he’d had his share of obsessive girls over the past few years and was a little burnt out.
Harlan nodded as well, adding, “My sister’s pretty cool. Runs her own climbing facility.”
“Just your sister?” Jesse asked, smiling.
“No, but she’s the best one,” Harlan answered.
“I can live with that. Be good.”
Jesse ducked into the back room without a backward glance. There was something about his nonchalance Cooper didn’t like, he just wasn’t sure what. He had a feeling he’d be paying for it later. Somehow. Jesse’s humor was twisted as fuck.
“So,” Harlan said, he swayed nervously from one foot to another. “Want to show me the shop?”
Cooper smiled. “Yeah, I’d like that.”
“Is it all right? I mean, I know I showed up uninvited.”
“Yeah.” Yeah, it was. Kinda. “Thanks for asking now.”
They walked toward the sheet music, Cooper watching Harlan out of the corner of his eye. Why had he shown up?
That nervous voice, the one in the back of his head, questioned the timing. Was it really coincidence Harlan and Evelyn showed up at the exact moment? Cooper wanted to believe so, but his head was telling him otherwise.
“Why are you stopping by?” Cooper finally asked, flipping through the music nervously. The books and sheets rustled in his hands.
“I wanted to see you.”
Harlan smiled, sighing. “Yeah, either it was lousy timing or great timing. Haven’t figured out which yet.”
“But I figured you’re more comfortable in open spaces with me, so… Yeah, dropping by your work.”
Cooper turned sharply, eyeing Harlan.
“I want you to get to know me.”
“Why are you trying so hard?”
“Maybe because I can see how good you are.” Harlan picked up a jazz book, hefting it thoughtfully. “I see a lot of crap at Stubby’s. Lot of different types of guys. You, my friend, are an exception to pretty much everything I thought I knew. And I can’t help I think that’s a good thing. That you are a good thing. And I want good in my life.”
The vulnerability in Harlan’s dark blue eyes hit Cooper hard. A part of him wished he didn’t see the nervous tick in Harlan’s hand, or how he hunched over and paid more attention to the books than Cooper when he finished talking.
Maybe there was more to Harlan than Cooper realized
Title: Marionettes on the Mist
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth, Toni Griffin, Angel Martinez, Freddy MacKay
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay
Genre: Bisexual, Gay Romance, Urban Fantasy
A fugitive skinwalker, a down-on-his-luck phoenix, a goblin rock star, and a wild dragon ranger have nothing in common except the sudden violence that tears their separate worlds apart. With wildly different motivations, each sets off on his own journey to try to solve the puzzles left in the wake of murder and mayhem.
When these four meet, the hints and clues begin to point them to something bigger, and toward answers that might make them wish they’d all stayed home.
**MARIONETTES IN THE MIST is a weekly serial, chapters posting on Monday and Thursday, written by Toni Griffin, Freddy MacKay, J. Scott Coatsworth, and Angel Martinez**
Sore, more than a little tired, Nootau shook himself and picked his bundle back up. The weather decided to turn cold again. Sleet pelted him from every direction. Soaked him to the bone. One paw had to go in front of the other, and each step stung the space between his pads. He had to reach the reservation despite how badly his hindquarters and chest hurt. Blood matted down his fur. He’d formed a limp. But Nootau kept going. He didn’t have a choice in the matter.
Not if he didn’t want to end up in one of the walker camps like Ahanu.
His stupid attack on the camp nearly undid everything. He couldn’t let that happen. All the sacrifices Ahanu made for him would’ve been all in vain then. Nootau wouldn’t be able to redeem Ahanu if he got caught.
Anger and fear had driven his transformation. His wolf brother had been brave, allowing him to borrow from his hide to call on the spirit. Nootau’s intention had been to poke around the camp, but when his body changed the feelings inside him let the animal take over. In his rage he attacked.
Mistake. A huge mistake.
Once Nootau had woken in his hiding spot, his mind was clear and memories flooded him. The rush of the endorphins. The satisfying crunch of bone. All of it came back with a vengeance, as did remembering getting shot multiple times.
Now the exhaustion from the transformation rode him hard, not to mention the bullets inside him. Each step tore the muscles, made fresh blood seep from the wounds. More than anything Nootau wanted to lie down and close his eyes.
That would be giving up, though, and he couldn’t do that. Not yet. There was no doubt in his mind Ahanu had been murdered at the camp. The men would pay. Nootau just had to be smarter about how he was going to do it.
Nootau stumbled, collapsing on the ground. He nearly dropped his bundle of clothes and box. Gods it hurt. He hurt. Everywhere. But he didn’t have time. He scrambled to get back on his paws.
Move. Must keep moving.
On the reservation Nootau could move more freely, but he still worried. No one had followed him after his escape from the camp, not that he knew of. Didn’t mean they weren’t searching for some rabid wolf. Hopefully the sleet would let up, or at the very least turn to snow. All the wet meant his tracks had gotten buried–maybe. That much gave him hope the camp hadn’t pieced together his attack into something more than a random wolf.
A tall totem loomed in the distance signaling the reservation lands. It also meant Nootau hadn’t much farther to go to get to their medicine man. He picked up speed, concentrating on the totem.
Once in front of Waban’s door he scratched at the bottom. No one answered. Nootau dropped his bundle, scratched again, and whined. Please let the medicine man be home. It was late, or early, depending how one looked at it. Unless some emergency came up, Waban should be in bed.
Nootau tried again, howling low. He bumped the door with his head. It shuddered underneath each bang.
Answer. Please answer. Need answer.
About Freddy MacKayI 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.
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,
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