A space pseudo-pulp story where a trio of astronauts discover an alien artifact that brings out the beast within…
“What are we looking at, Nichols?”
The voice echoed in Kareem’s comms; all communications, be it between astronauts or from the Bellua, were echoing, staticky things. Modern technology was a joke on a planet like this; suddenly they all sounded like retro-radio shows, the kind that Kareem listened to as a kid. Digital shows made to sound like something from a far-gone era.
Those old shows had nothing on planet G9-3X. G9 wasn’t a callback to the 20th century. It was a callback to the age of dinosaurs. Flora as big as Kareem’s arm was the average, and while they hadn’t seen much fauna, Kareem hadn’t even wanted to fuck with the herbivores they had encountered. Strange, many-legged and brightly furred, or even the eerie gas whose color defied description (Javier insisted it didn’t count as a creature, but Kareem wasn’t so sure, not with the intelligent way it moved, not after the thing stared back at him as he recorded its movements)…
And still, Kareem Nichols was at a loss. “Hell if I know, Ruiz. You wanna lick it and find out? Maybe grill it?”
Check out my story “The Last Exorcist” in the third issue of FIYAH! This issue’s theme is Sundown Towns. In this story, a journalist profiles the last exorcist in America as the legislature makes his life’s work illegal…
Author’s Note: This piece was commissioned and then declined by a prominent magazine. The only information that has been altered/omitted are locations, as those have been deemed a national security risk. Re-post and share at will.
Naheem is our last great exorcist.
When you point this fact out to him, he barely blinks. It is a title he accepts, not with humility or even resignation, but with frustration. “We should have dozens like me out there on the streets,” he argues, “hundreds. It’s why we’re in this mess.”
But I still wrote. I’m still writing. This is where I gained my coping tools, and so I’m going to talk to you the way I talked to myself, and hopefully it’ll help motivate you for the bumpy road ahead.
Don’t let someone take this from you.
I participated in the Gay YA blogathon this summer, and wrote a piece on managing to still write words after the 2016 election results (and everything that came afterwards)
You can read the rest of the piece here, at Gay YA. Let me know what you think!