Hey all! Tonight, I thought I’d share another chapter from The Swarm and the Flyer. I’m looking to get any and all feedback on my work thus far. I’ve really enjoyed blending gay romance and post-apocalyptic horror into one story, but I know that there are always elements that I can improve upon. If you see anything at all that you feel could be tweaked, fleshed out, or dropped, please reach out and let me know. That’s the only way I’ll get better as a writer 🙂
Before jumping in, I thought I’d share a few paintings by the late Polish painter, Zdzisław Beksiński. I found his art online earlier today, and his dystopian surrealism has really given me fuel for reimaging the monsters of The Swarm and the Flyer and The Wrath and the Base. Check out just a few of Beksiński’s otherworldly paintings below.
Talk about warped dreams…I didn’t want to sleep tonight anyway.
Steeped In Uncertainty
You still feel the same way about Josiah.
I’m slouching in the loveseat as Josiah completes his last cat-cow on his yoga mat, watching the way his shoulder blades move and roll. We still have work to do before we turn in for the night, but it’s already ten past 10:00. My eyelids sag and plead with me to get to bed.
Remember what you and him talked about. The 18-wheeler’s the next goal. Find that CB radio, get in contact with someone. Anyone.
But I like watching Josiah do what he’s most passionate about. There’s something peaceful about seeing the pulse thrum in his throat after a good yoga session. I’ve been scrawling out lists, routes, and pros and cons to leaving the Tri House, but at the end of the day, Josiah’s the one who seems okay letting the planning go, if only for a couple of hours.
“Ufff, that one really stretched my back out,” Josiah says, plopping down on his butt and gives a hefty but satisfied sigh. His smile is kid-like and glimmers. I bow to him like we used to do at the end of yoga class. “Namaste.” Then I grin as Josiah presses his forehead to his mat and repeats the same affirmative yoga mantra. “Joking aside, I’m glad you’re still doing yoga.” I toss my legal pad onto the table and rub the back of my head. “Keeping your dream alive and all that.”
Josiah folds his legs so that he’s in butterfly position, then furrows his eyebrows and looks intently at the hardwood floor. “Same goes for you. I know it’s more important now than ever. Carrying on like this… it helps both of us stay grounded.”
“That’s all we can try and feel,” I murmur. Josiah doesn’t look up at me, not right away. So I take that as my cue and head to the kitchen, where I study the cabinets. Plates and bowls that are still so unfamiliar to me, former possessions of the most recent owners of the Tri House. I run my hand through my hair and close my eyes. Yes, it’s reality that just four months ago I was packing up my things and helping Tim and Kim clean up this very same kitchen on our move-out day.
The pantry door is still misaligned and needs a sharp upward jerk to pop it open. Another flashback to the good times of the Tri House, one that bowls me over shortly after I give the doorknob a solid jerk. I step back and and study the two rows of canned beans, peas, sliced carrots, and tongol tuna on the shelves. The newest owners of the Tri House had probably watched all the news reports and taken the stories of the first few isolated freak of nature deaths seriously.
I sure as hell did. So did Adam.
I snatch up my yellow notepad and run another tally: eleven cans of veggies, nine one-liter bottles of water, six cans of tuna, another six of mixed fruit, and four boxes of Ritz crackers. Zero big jugs of water. Doing the math, I figure that we have another two weeks left before we run dry. Before we have to make good on our word and get ready to head out to find Josiah’s family. He says he’s willing to take the risk to drive those nine miles back to his parent’s house in Argyle, the town just south of Denton. “I know my family’s waiting,” he told me a couple of days ago, “They’re gonna be okay.”
Two more weeks of surviving here at the most, and that’s if our batteries and the boarded-up windows hold out.
I take the broken yellow radio that Josiah left on the counter and toss it in the trash can, then looks up at the lone branch of the lowest tree outside as it bobs and sways in the wind. I figure it’s just my imagination, seeing the faint purple swirls that recede into the dark the second my eyes adjust to the oppressive darkness out there. Then I unclench my hand and close my eyes.
We can’t stay here.