Miah’s always had something to prove—to himself, his family, and all the people who thought he’d fail. It doesn’t matter that he has to do it all alone, he won’t give up on his dream. On the cusp of a new beginning that could mean the difference between success and failure, he decides to finally enjoy a night out at a city bar with his roommate before he leaves for the bleak interior forever. He never expected to catch the eye of two unusual men there, but are they even human?
Sure, he knows aliens sought sanctuary from the Earth Unity Coalition, but he’s never met any before… that he knows of. After all, the aliens can take human form, so it’s impossible to know them on sight, but the mystery of their kind has always interested him. When they take matters into their own hands and decide to court him in their tradition, things go horribly wrong.
Now Miah’s hurt, his dream is on the verge of disappearing forever, and the life he always saw for himself is no longer an option. They’ll have to find a way through the wrong turns and dead ends to have any hope of a new path for the three of them.
Three years of never taking my eyes off my goal finally caught up to me. I stood and shoved my blanket into the last open cube and sealed it shut. I put on my coat and slipped the ident strip back into my pocket. Folding the cubes down manually took nearly an hour, but my decision to have one adventure to remember hadn’t wavered.
If this strip took me to a bar, I was actually going to have a drink for once. I’d always heard the classic hop brew was to die for, even if it was made with engineered grains. Dropping off my cubes took less time than it took to compress them for transport, and before I was really ready, I was sitting on the bench in a personal tube car.
I clenched my hand around the strip. This was it. An adventure so I could say I once did something spur of the moment. Other people did this sort of thing all the time. I carefully fed the ident strip into the intake slot. The car took it, even though it wasn’t on a plastic card like usual.
My tube car took off, but I didn’t enter the aboveground system. The travel map was static on the transfer station page, not showing my path through the city, and the windows went black.
Where the hell was I going? I held on to the arms of my chair as the transport car zipped along, the speed making my stomach turn over. The trip didn’t take long before my car came to a halt. The door slid open, but I couldn’t hear any sounds—no traffic, no people.
Destination reached. Please disembark.
Like the lack of motion hadn’t already alerted me to that.
Please insert strip or credit chip if you wish to return to your origination point.
Is that the story I wanted to have? I went for a transfer ride and chickened out before I even knew where I was? No. I stood up and strode out of the car before the niggling doubts could change my mind. The car zipped away the second I stepped out.
This was not a bar. The ident strip destination was apparently an enclosed room filled with clothing, survival gear, and weapons. A lot of them.
I spun, looking for an exit.
There wasn’t one. The entrance to the transport tube was gone, like it had never been there. A smooth glass wall was left in its place. I ran my hands over it, to see if it was a holo, but it was solid.
“Hello? Anyone here? Where the heck am I?” I shouted. My voice was muted, deadened by what must be a sound dampening field inside the opaque walls. Maybe the stuff would have some clue as to where Keon had sent me, probably as a final practical joke on his rube roommate. This was what I deserved for wanting an adventure, apparently. I strode over to the jumpsuits hanging on the wall. I plucked one off the rack, holding it up. Then I saw the tag inside the collar.
I dropped the jumpsuit. Oh shit. No. Just no way.
“Hey. Let me out!” I pounded on the wall where I thought the transport entrance had been. I wasn’t going to be anyone’s prey. What I was going to do was pay precious credits I couldn’t spare for a tube car so I could get back to our room. Then I could begin the process of hunting my roommate.
Keon was going to pay.
“You have ten minutes before the dome opens. A reminder for the Hunt; the rules are as follows: One—no outside clothing or gear is allowed during the hunt.”
I jerked around. A hidden holo camera projected a written list of the rules on the wall as the voice kept talking. Where was it coming from? It didn’t sound automated; was someone watching me?
“I don’t want to be a part of any hunt!” I looked around to see if there were cameras or monitors. Surely there were monitors around. No inch of the city was unmonitored.
“Two—prey receives a thirty minute head start.” Prey gets a head start? Oh hell no.
“I am not prey!” I pounded on the wall. “Somebody let me out. I didn’t sign up for this!”
“Three—prey must remain inside the agreed upon boundaries of the hunt area at all times.”
My hands were beginning to hurt. “Screw just making him pay, Keon is going to die.”
“Four—once prey has entered the dome, the hunt cannot be ended until they are caught or successfully elude capture by reaching the neutral zone. This ends the rules. Please enjoy your hunt planned by Nature’s Wrath.”
Green beams shot out of a grid in the ceiling of the dome and began to lower.
“Now what?” I eyed the lights, biting my lip. No one seemed to hear me, the holo wasn’t responding to my voice, and now the green lights were only a few feet above me.
I fought off the constriction in my muscles and sank into a crouch when they were just above my head. They didn’t stop. I dropped to the floor. “Oh Jygp, oh Jygp,” I gasped as they touched my head. Tingles turned into chills as every hair on my body stood up. I shot up as the ground lit up under me.
My clothes had disappeared.
The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing.
Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.
Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com