News: the Medecins Sans Frontieres benefit anthology I’m in is out.
My story, Starcrossed, features Ying, who is a secondary character in the sf novel that I’ve co-written. Ying is a healer, and as the story begins she has just crawled out of her crashed ship. She didn’t just crash; she was shot down, and her attacker is in even worse shape than she is. What happens next tests whether they can trust each other at all, and brings some painful truths to light.
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Have an excerpt.
Injured animals are the most dangerous. Ying was taught this, too, in the course of her training, but it’s the kind of thing that life teaches on its own if given half a chance. Injured animals are desperate, terrified, confused by pain, liable to bite.
She gets a fire going with the emergency kit she’s brought with her, the compressed, sticky block burning a low blue in its little stone circle. She can’t do much with it without wood, but she’s seen no evidence of it in her walk here, and doesn’t think she wants to go out looking now. The light is fading. Night is coming on.
It will be cold.
She has a little food, dried meat, dried fruit and nuts, a canteen of water–but she’s trying to save that. He’ll need it more than she will, when he finally lets her get close enough to give it to him. She allows herself one swallow with a handful of nuts and fruit. Protein, sugar, moisture. She looks down the embankment again, the man’s white suit looking ghostly and strange in the twilight.
“I have water,” she calls. “And food. I can bring you some, if you like.”
“Fuck off.” He coughs again. He’s been doing that more in the last hour. “Don’t need your dirty food.”
“Suit yourself.” She packs the rest away. To be saved, like the water. It’s another thing he’s likely to need more than she will. “But what are you going to do, then? How long do you think before you’re seriously dehydrated? Factor in the blood you’ve lost. You could let me help you.”
“There’s survival gear in the ship.”
“Go get it, then,” Ying says wearily. It’s occurred to her to wonder why he hadn’t done that in the first place… but injured, panicking, losing blood, he might well have stumbled out of the wreck and then discovered that he didn’t have the strength to make it back inside.
The stars are coming out. In the thin air, they don’t glitter, and they look almost as static and cold as they do offworld. Ying tilts her head back and whispers to them. They pull, they tug, they fling away. Have they sent her here? Is this an accident, or an event with a purpose? Ixchel would know. Only a few months as an Aalim, but she already seems to know an unsettling amount. But Ixchel is very far away. And Lochlan, little Tommy Lock, not so little anymore, but he’ll be waiting for her to come home–and she’ll be very late indeed, at this rate.
And she has to come home. She can’t leave him alone. Not now, not after everything.