Prompt submissions can be tough for me. So many prompts or themed submission calls are geared toward contemporary romance that I tend to skim through quickly, with a little frown of concentration, looking for anything that might fit. Chef - nope. Football player - nope. Bartender, firefighter, class reunion, beach vacation...none of this really works for me. But Amber Allure has had a number of prompts designed to snag the eye of a genre writer. Dragons. Paranormal Cops. And then there was the Time Travel one...
Time Travel? Hey, I can do that. But for many months, I had no idea what the "that" would entail. When Vikash and Kyle stormed into my brain (and yes, they stormed, there was not waltzing or sauntering involved) in Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters, I suddenly knew what sort of time travel story I needed to write. No machines, no intrepid time explorers, no Morlocks, dystopias, or misplaced interstellar travelers.
It's just a wee bit different. But then it's Kyle and Kash. Everything they do is a wee bit different.
"The Pill Bugs of Time" is part of the Reeling Through the Years AmberPax, a set of five very different and intriguing time travel stories written by a group of talented authors. Buy the stories individually, or you can buy the Pax in one big chomp and save a little cash. ;)
The Pill Bugs of Time
Offbeat Crimes 2
by Angel Martinez
Vikash Soren, the perfect police officer except for his odd paranormal ability, never seems to lose his temper. Always serene and competent, he’s taken on the role of mediator in a squad room full of misfits. But on the inside, he’s a mess. Unable to tell his police partner that he loves him, Vikash struggles silently, terrified of losing Kyle Monroe as a lover, partner, and friend.
But life in Philadelphia’s 77th Precinct doesn’t leave much room for internal reflection. A confrontation with a stick-throwing tumbleweed in Fairmount Park leads to bizarre consequences involving pill bugs, statues, and...time travel?
If Vikash manages to survive the week and stay in one point in time, he might be able to address normal things like relationship problems. He just needs Kyle to have a little more patience. Maybe a few centuries worth...
by Vivien Dean
Freddie Valek is a dreamer. He dreams about the fantastic as a means to escape, about finding the perfect man, about anything his imagination can conjure. When he falls asleep after work one day and finds himself in pre-Civil War Louisiana, he can’t say that he’s surprised. The only part of the dream that shocks him is that it’s taken him ten years to have a dream about the history of his most prized possession—a water-logged portrait of a man named Ezekiel.
All he knows about Ezekiel is what the woman who gave it to him said. That Ezekiel was the son of a plantation owner and a slave. That nobody ever found out what happened to him. Freddie’s dream thrusts him into the parents’ lives and their demands that he’s been brought to them to find their runaway son, a mission he is more than happy to accept.
But the closer Freddie gets to finding Ezekiel, the more he’s convinced that none of this is actually a dream...
Right Place, Right Time
by K. M. Mahoney
London, January 1349. One lone apothecary engages in a futile battle against the rising tide of death brought on by the Great Pestilence. But there is something different about this man. In fact, Dr. Drake Stilson is there for a very specific purpose: find Henry and ensure he survives the worst of the epidemic sweeping the Western world.
Now if only Drake knew which Henry. This is far from the first time Drake—an employee of The Oracle Group, a military and scientific organization dedicated to correcting the damage done by people messing around with time travel—has been sent to a distant time and place, expected to do the impossible. Yet this is the first time he’s felt as if the battle is lost before it has even begun. Surrounded by fear and loss, Drake is on the verge of surrendering to the inevitable when disaster strikes.
Despite being partners in work and life, Jens rarely sees Drake. He would love to ask Drake to quit his job, but can’t bring himself to be that selfish. This latest assignment, though, is stretching them both to the limits. And when Drake runs into trouble, Jens’s world begins to crumble. Now he has to figure out how to get himself to the right place and time to save Drake and bring him safely home.
Cricket and Biscuits
by A. J. Llewellyn
Dance choreographer Michael Makris has the chance to go back in time to find his recently deceased husband, John. Encountering his lost love is magical and romantic, but Michael soon bounces back to the last place he wants to be—the present.
Clementime, the gifted witch who sent him back to the moment he first met his husband, tells Michael that John wants him to move forward, without him. Clementime also cryptically reports that John said, “Life isn’t all cricket and biscuits.”
But can Michael give up the love of his life, or will he find a way to go back and fight for it?
by D. J. Manly
Selected at birth, the Consigners, with their extraordinary powers, have no choice but to live their lives vicariously through the final wishes of the dying. But this one Consigner feels too much, internalizing their pain and their regret, lamenting the fact that he can’t change the past, only revisit it. Then one day, everything changes for the Consigner, the one without name or identity, when he visits another of his kind, prepared to grant his final wish.
But something unexpected happens, which leaves the Consigner trapped in another time, in a house of pain, where the world has somehow gone terribly wrong.
There he meets Number 1, a pleasure slave being primed for the man who has purchased him, and the Consigner is named “Jace,” a murderer sentenced to servitude in a sex slave training facility. Awakened by feelings of love and bewilderment, the Consigner is about to find out that his presence in this strange time is no accident, and will lead him to his true destiny.
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around queer heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.