My new Torquere Sip We Are Such Stuff is now on sale here. It’s a short, vaguely cyberpunk-themed thing I wrote on a bit of a whim, and while there’s not much complicated about it, I feel like it goes to some interesting places and plays with some interesting imagery. It’s being marketed as romance but I’m not sure it falls entirely comfortably within that category–there is no happily-ever-after and not even really a happy-for-now. It’s not exactly erotica, either, though there is sex and it is explicit. I’m honestly not sure what the hell it is, except for the story of a momentary connection between two misfits in a world where connections rarely happen anymore.
Reyes is bored. A young man in a bleak future city of endless rain, he finds his entertainment in packed clubs, one-night stands, and the occasional drug. But when the mysterious Ethan catches his eye, he is led on a chase through a nighttime world of dreams and dreamers, a chase that could end in frustration–Or a truly new kind of pleasure.
Excerpt under the cut.
Reyes jumped, startled, and instantly embarrassed by his reaction. He turned and there, standing a little behind him and shifting with the shadows of the rain and the moving light, was a strong figure, colorless hair that was taking on the sickly gray-green of the rainlight, eyes lined and glittering at the corners.
Reyes blinked. “Yeah. I’m– Sure, I’m fine.”
“People who use that word don’t usually mean it.” The figure moved slightly, though whether it was real movement or just an illusion was hard to say. Out here, everything wavered like something out of a fever dream, or glass streaked with water. Reyes squinted into the dimness.
“Well, I do.”
“Well, that’s fine.” The figure stepped forward and the first thing the light caught full on was his mouth, turned up at the corners, full and thinning into a sardonic smile at either end, a mouth that might always be laughing at you. And the rest of the light caught him, filling him out before it moved on and left him half blanketed in shadow, and Reyes saw the powerful build of him, the angles and the strong lines, and the curves in unexpected places, curves that extended into delicacy and stopped just short of feminine. Reyes swallowed.
The man blinked and the gems at the corners of his eyes glittered softly. “What?”
“You’re lying. You were looking at me.” Another smile was offered, wider, confident, almost cocky. His lips pulled back and revealed a line of white teeth. “You touched me. I felt it. Don’t lie.”
Reyes laughed, incredulous. The Sharper still had him lightheaded and oddly detached, but that was beginning to change and he was slipping back into himself like a hand sliding into a glove, twisting and stretching as it found its place.
It wasn’t even a question of lying. Reality didn’t feel static enough for that.
“Okay. What the fuck.” Reyes turned his face up to the sky and let some greasy, spitting rain spatter onto his cheeks, running down his face like tears. “I touched you. I wanted to. I saw you dancing and I wanted to. Happy?”
“Very.” The smiling man stepped forward again, closer, and maybe it was the Sharper and maybe not, but Reyes could feel the heat blasting off him, like the man was a furnace and carried a coal in his ribcage. Reyes glanced down at the man’s hands; they were long and moving as though the man intended to do something with them, and when the lightning let off another silent explosion they seemed to twist and contort, young and ancient both at once.
“I had to chase you out here. Do you like being chased?”
“I didn’t know you were chasing me.” Reyes paused, shifting from foot to foot. He wanted to go somewhere else, wanted to get out of the rain, somewhere where he could see this man properly. “I think maybe I like being caught.”
“Okay, then.” The man stepped beside him, flashed another white smile, turned and slipped into the rain. He moved so nimbly, he almost seemed to dance between the raindrops, pristine and untouched. Reyes stared after him and hunger flared in his chest, his gut, between his legs.
“Chase me for a while,” called the man. Through the rain there waved a pale and beckoning hand, disappearing down the alleyway. The fluorescents cast pools of light on the cracked pavement, freezing the drops in their cold beams. Maybe Reyes could pass under them and remain untouched, perfect as the man gone into the night. He moved forward and it wasn’t true, but he didn’t care.
The city was lit and brilliant, but it was an illusion; the streets were filthy, dark, mostly deserted. The lights flickered and danced above it all, like a tantalizing and unreachable heaven. There were people down here, huddled in doorways, skinny and dressed in ragged patchwork clothing, watching Reyes with hollow, blank gazes as he moved past them. He didn’t look at them. Ahead of him, there was that strong shape, those lines that caught and drew the eye, and the soft glitter of twin gems like stars, like the mirror-glare of an animal’s eyes at night.
Chase me for a while.