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Short Stories 365/41 | N.S. Beranek

“Hair Like Fire, Blood Like Silk” from Trysts: A Triskaidecollection of Queer and Weird Stories by Steve Berman, (Lethe Press, 2001).

The last and, to my mind, also the best of the Fallen stories included in this volume.

Zane is a newcomer to the Fallen Area, and he’s had a rough few nights trying to make it on his own. He’s befriended by Saj, an older boy who takes him in and shows him the ropes. They quickly fall into a pattern of scrounging up things to sell and then crashing at Saj’s place, taking comfort in one another’s arms.

But Zane came to the Fallen Area seeking adventure, and he pushes Saj to help him find some. In doing so, he unintentionally hurts the other boy and triggers a terrible event that can only be undone by someone he’s heard of but never actually met: Caleb.

Again, I’m left wanting more installments of these stories. Allow me to now quote the author, writing recently on Facebook about the work of Alex Jeffers. The sentiment certainly is applicable here as well: “Another in the series of stories about the fey Liam — Alex Jeffers started the series in the pages of Icarus: The Magazine of Gay Speculative Fiction. Alas, he has no where else to sell these marvelous gay fantasy tales. Maybe you should read them and ask for a whole book of them?”

Hmmm. In the meantime, we’ll just have to search. I’m wondering if there might be more in Red Caps: New Fairy Tales for Out of the Ordinary Readers (Lethe Press, 2014), which releases on Valentine’s Day, as I understand it. (Release dates, it turns out, aren’t as cut-and-dried as they appear.)

Thankfully, I know for certain where at least one more of the Fallen Area stories can be found, and that’s in Second Thoughts: More Queer and Weird Stories by Steve Berman (Lethe Press, 2008).

I’ll see you there. But first, speaking of release dates….