The darkness calls to us all…haunting, seductive, and dangerous. What makes you shake with fear can sometimes make you shiver…with desire.
Call of the Dark is a collection of supernatural, erotic stories from your favorite authors.
|Lynn Ames||Patty G. Henderson||Cyntia Glinick||Therese Szymanski|
|Crystal Barela||Peggy J. Herring||Ariel Graham||Jane Vollbrecht|
|Victoria A. Brownsworth||Lynne Jamneck||Heather Osborne||Vicky ‘Dylan’ Wagstaff|
|Rachel Kramer Bussel||Barbara Johnson||Joy Parks||Julia Watts|
|Maria V. Ciletti||Karin Kallmaker||Radclyffe||Kristina Wright|
|Amie M. Evans||Alison Laleche||Nancy Sanra||Laura DeHart Young|
I chose excerpts from my stories for this site so that I don't have to worry about pissing off some other writer or violating copyright. This doesn't mean that my story is necessarily the best, just the only one I can excerpt from.
by Therese Szymanski
“Oh no you don’t,” Nikki said to me when we entered the bar. “No moping about the past. Cori is evil and deserves to die. And with any luck, she’ll be here tonight when some gorgeous butch sweeps you off your feet.”
I gave the doorman my cover charge. “I’ve never met a woman worth dating in a bar, and I really don’t expect that to change suddenly tonight. As for Cori, if she’s here, then I’m leaving—no matter who I have to pull you off of.”
Just then a woman jostled into me. “Excuse me,” she said in a deep, rich voice. Her eyes were dark and hypnotic. “Have we met before?”
“I . . . I . . .” I tried to remember who and where I was.
“ID please?” the doorman asked.
“What? Oh, yeah, okay . . .” I pulled out my driver’s license and handed it to him, then turned back toward the woman. She was gone.
“Who was that?” Nikki asked after the doorman gave us back our IDs and stamped our hands.
“I don’t know.” I gazed around the bar, searching for the woman and not finding her.
“Well c’mon then, let’s find her.” Nikki grabbed my arm and led me through the crowd. “Just remember not to look for her. You can’t try too hard or it’ll be obvious.”
Nikki led me on a circuit of the bar, smiling and saying hey to friends we hadn’t seen in a while. I didn’t see the woman anywhere. She had disappeared like magic. But I kept looking over my shoulder anyway because I felt as if someone was watching me.
“I just don’t know what you ever saw in that androgynous vanilla wafer anyway,” Tracy was saying to me, “C’mon, girlfriend, somebody like you can easily find a nice butch who’ll take care of you.”
“Oooo, speak of the devil,” Brenda said, nodding toward the railing near the dance floor. I turned to see Cori watching me. She looked away as soon as she realized she was busted.
“Hey c’mon, no getting all down now,” Nikki said, grabbing me by the arm and leading me right to the dance floor.
“I told you I’d leave if she was here.”
“Not when such a great song is playing. Besides, she’s gained weight and you look fabulous! So it’s time to rub her nose in it!”
I would’ve just left, but I kept hoping I’d see that butch again. So I danced. Nikki was a good dancer, and we’d danced together ever since high school, so I soon lost myself in the beat . . . and one song drove into the next and the next . . . I felt as if I could dance all night, but Nikki stopped moving mid-song.
“I’m parched,” she said, “I’ll be back in a minute.”
I wondered why Nikki had suddenly fled, then became aware of a presence behind me. It was the mystery woman. I just knew it. I slowly rotated my hips as I pulled my hands up through my long red hair, shaking it out. I ran my hands down over my halter top and denim-clad hips. Her hands slid under mine as she pressed up behind me. She ran her hands up to my just-exposed middle, then down to briefly hook her thumbs into my low-riders. She grasped my hips and yanked me back against her.
We moved as one, with her guiding my every move. I wanted to see her, to look into those amazing eyes again, but she was the one in control, and she was making me know it. Her lips were on my exposed shoulders, teasing me. Her teeth gently nibbled my neck.
She could’ve taken me right there on the dance floor if she wanted to. I would have let her.
Hell, she could’ve shown Cori how it was done.
Finally, she let me turn around. She pulled me up close, her well-muscled thigh lodged between my legs on my already aching wetness. My hands found her hips, enjoying the feel of her welloiled leather pants.
She moved quickly and surely, leading me into a stream of sophisticated dance moves, including lifting me up off the ground and spinning me around her as easily as if I was only a bottle of beer. Her arms were reassuringly thick with a bit of definition, but not so large as to destroy the feeling of a sleek and sinewy black panther. She wasn’t much taller than I, but her strength and sureness made her feel much larger.
I was almost afraid to look into her eyes again, afraid they’d freeze me again, especially since I now wanted so much to appear smooth and sophisticated. It felt almost as if the entire world had disappeared and it was only the two of us, the beat of the music guiding our hearts, making them beat in time together.
The music went into house-mix, transitioning to a new tune. She pulled me in close and whispered into my ear, “How about a breather, gorgeous?”
I nodded and allowed her to guide me to the table a Cheshirecat grinning Nikki had commandeered. I glanced down and saw the woman wore heavy biker’s boots and could only wonder how she could move so gracefully in such shoes.
She pulled out a chair for me, then leaned down to ask what I’d like to drink. She leaned across the table, picked up Nikki’s drink, sniffed it, and headed to the bar.
“You go girl!” Nikki said to me.
I could only stare after her until she faded into the crowd. Above her tight, black leather pants she wore a slightly loose, black V-neck T-shirt that complemented her short, mussed-up black hair.
“So what’s her name?” Nikki asked, bringing my attention back to her as my mystery butch disappeared into the crowd by the bar.
“I don’t know. We were dancing.”
“Yeah, I noticed, and so did almost everybody in the bar. I’m surprised no one told you to get a room.”
“I wouldn’t have noticed if they did.”
“So you don’t know anything about her?”
“She’s a great dancer, hot as hell, and a damned good dresser. That ain’t some Fruit-of-the-Loom T she’s wearing.”
“Nobody knows anything about her,” Nikki said. I turned to look at her. She shrugged. “I checked around while you two were out there tripping the light fantastic. I wonder what she does for a living?”
Nikki was very big into money. She realized her dreams of a sugar butch to take care of her were only dreams, but she hated that the ones she really fell for usually slept on a smelly mattress in the middle of the floor of some roach-infested room. She also hated getting ripped off when she asked them to spend the night with her. “I don’t know. She’s gotta have a decent job to dress like that.”
“You’d be surprised. Some spend all their money on clothes, jewelry, their wheels, and drugs. But I think you’re right about her. I bet she’s into computers. Maybe a hacker of some sort.”
“Hackers don’t have arms, and style, like that.”
“But look at how pale she is, she must be inside all the time.”
I had noticed. All the black made it that much more noticeable. “You were the one telling me to flaunt it in front of Cori. I think I’m doing that admirably. So don’t piss on my goddamned parade!”
Suddenly a heavy leather jacket landed on the seat next to me. “Here you go,” butch said, placing a drink next to me. She put a drink next to Nikki, “Slow Comfortable Screw, I believe?”
“The bartender remembered, huh?” Nikki replied. “Thank you.” Nikki changed drinks every night. The bartender hadn’t remembered; somehow butch had known from a single sniff just what she was drinking.
The butch sat down with her jacket and hefted her Miller-Litein- a-bottle to her lips. She placed a pack of Marlboro Lights on the table, along with a gold Zippo engraved with a devil with a horn, halo and fangs.
I picked up the lighter, flicked it open and inhaled. I don’t know what it is, but I really enjoy the smell of lighter fluid. I flicked it shut and studied the engraving. “Interesting design.”
“Some folks have an angel on one shoulder, a devil on the other. They’re combined in me.” She had a truly devilish grin.
“And the fangs?” Nikki asked, leaning forward. She loved getting the scoop on anyone new to the scene.
Butch turned and looked her right in the eye. “I don’t get out much during the day.” She shrugged. “It’s made some of my friends refer to me as a ‘vampire.’ “ She raised an eyebrow as a dare. And then a teasing grin wound its way across her lips.
Nikki was my best friend. I trusted her with all my innermost thoughts and feelings. But I didn’t trust her with a woman I was interested in. I could trust her with my girlfriend, my butch, but until that “my” was attached, I couldn’t trust her. We had the same taste, after all.
I put my hand on butch’s, bringing her attention back to me. But then I had to come up with something to say. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”
“That’s because I didn’t throw it.” She took my hand in hers, which was strangely cool and dry, stood, and bowed slightly. “Allow me to introduce myself.” She looked into my eyes, and I was lost. “My name is Daron Silvers.” She kissed the back of my hand. “And you are?”
I was mesmerized by those eyes. I had to force myself to reply. “Victoria. Victoria Hayes.”
She took my hand in both of hers, and then ran her fingers up my naked forearm. “The pleasure is all mine.” Her hand found my exposed shoulder, sending chills coursing through my body. She touched my cheek, and lifted my face so my lips met hers.
I met her lips with mine open. Hers were soft and gentle, but her tongue was forceful in my mouth. I lifted my arms around her neck, trying to draw her in, wanting to share our heartbeat again, wanting to share the air I breathed with her . . .
She pulled away far too soon, leaving me breathless in my chair. She took a long draw on her beer, and a short one on her smoke, which she held like a joint. She picked up her jacket and put it on. She put her smokes in her pocket, then took another long draw from her beer, draining it. She knelt beside me, ran her thumb over the side of my face, down my neck, and across my breast.
Then she yanked my head to the side and put her mouth next to my ear. “Next time, wear a dress,” she whispered into my ear.
She picked up her cigarette and left.
I still couldn’t move when Nikki picked up the lighter. “She left this.”
“She meant to.” I took it from Nikki and ran my fingers over the engraving, not looking at it.
“Cori’s staring right at you.”
“I don’t care,” I said, standing. “It’s time for me to leave.” I kept the lighter clasped in my hand the entire way home.
“Are you okay girl?” Nikki asked when we pulled up in front of my building. I nodded. “She really got you, didn’t she?”
I turned to her and smiled, still holding onto that lighter. “Yeah, she did.” Then I turned and walked into the two-bedroom apartment I shared with my sister. I knew Nikki watched me until I went through the front door. I locked it behind me, and flicked the light twice, knowing that was the sign people always gave when they were home safely. And I was home safely.
But I didn’t want to be.
As it appeared in the book.
What do you do in the dark?
Why is it lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people seem to be so attracted to the supernatural? Could it be that because of the way we have been portrayed in mainstream culture—the 50’s pulp evil-lesbian temptress with blood-red nails; the vampire-like predator seducing innocents; the monsters who hide in plain sight but are recognizable through intense scrutiny—we feel a certain kinship with these creatures? Is it their intrinsic otherness which makes us relate to their separation from the normal world? Is it because our culture’s value on youth is so over-amplified that we exalt the immortal? Or are we fascinated with vampires, werewolves, ghosts and succubae (oh my!) because of their speed, power, might and strength?
At times, that kind of invulnerability could come in handy. Honestly, who wouldn’t want that added oomph to maul foes who seek to cage you like the wolf you become when the moon is full? Who couldn’t use a little shape-shifting magic when a mob of angry villagers is at the door?
If this is the case, then how to explain the contradiction presented by the enormous gay fan base of shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer? If we really do relate with or want to be like the creatures of the night—powerful, immortal vamps and demons—then why do we pop some corn and let the machine take our calls one hour each week so we can watch our otherworldly comrades end up dusty, bloody, beaten and dead? Is it because we know that even supernaturals can be good, and normal people can be evil? Or does it just mean we like beautiful people in really cool clothes (especially if said clothes are black and/or leather)?
Shortly after having knee surgery, I was following my sister up a mountain in the lower Sierras with a fifty-pound pack on my back, trying to think about anything that would keep my mind off the pain, heat, bugs and sun, but mostly upcoming writing deadlines that had compelled me to drive across the country in the first place. All that avoidance must have stirred up an odd assortment of thoughts, because I looked at my straight sister, and said, without apparent provocation, “I really need to edit an anthology of sleazy lesbian supernatural stories.”
She pretty much ignored me, even though she uttered a few interested-seeming words. She was being polite.
I know that feeling of otherness. I’m the only gay kid in a family of five. I’m the only writer in a household of engineers. But the truth is, most folks are other in some respect or another. And despite technologies and other developments that give us more ways to come together, we seem to go out of our way to find evermore new things to distance ourselves from each other and create new categories of otherness. Want an example? Just look at the laundry list of self-identifiers in our own community.
Why we need to create these divisions is beyond my comprehension, since we’ve already got enough people willing to take a stand against us. It’s why I focus on making women happy instead of writing political manifestos.
In fact, anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not really big on lofty sentiments, profound insights or deep thoughts. I live to give pleasure. And that’s exactly what this collection is all about. Besides, ghosts, mummies, daemons and other beasties are severely overlooked in the realm of erotic lesbian fiction. I think it’s time they had a chance at equality, starting here.
Okay, first, for those reading through everything on this Web site, this is the story I talked about when going behind the book for Stake Through the Heart. My vampire here is the same one as in that novella.
Next up, I think I’ve mentioned that I did a lot (most?) of Bella’s/Spinsters/Beanpole’s typesetting. Some books are a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. This is one of those. I think I did a lovely job with some of the elements of it (and Linda Hill helped, btw. I sometimes overdo things, so we compromised so the running headers wouldn’t be in the distracting, over-the-top font featured in the titles and such. I went with her thoughts on such after. For the most part, I think.)(BTW: I’m not replicating the fonts and such on this Web site.) I think, in fact, I did a pretty nice job typesetting all the anthologies and New Exploits books.
Next… As I’ve decided what to excerpt for the Web site, I’ve decided to go ahead and give a bit more of my stories for the anthologies, since I can, and since the idea is to sell the entire book.
BTW: If you don’t like my stories as shown here, or even if you don’t like my writing, no problem. Remember, anthologies comprise a lot of different styles and such, and even if my work doesn’t appeal to you, I’d be surprised if someone in one of my books doesn’t make your list of someone to look for in future. Anthologies can often act as a sampler—you taste a lot of different writers and end up with one, two, three or more you say, “Hey, I like this!” about, and then you search out other things they’ve written. That's one of the beauties of anthologies that I think a lot of people overlook—they can be little sampler platters so you can find some new favorite writers to look for in the future.
I always smile when Bella forwards me e-mails from folks who have read an anthology and are looking to read more of a particular writer. These people e-mail Bella asking if the writer has more works, or of how to get in touch with the writer. And those e-mails usually come to me and I respond and also send them along to whatever address I have for the author.
And I smile. 'Cause it's nice and I know it might make the writer's day.
And sometimes, reading about folks who either started with me, or got back into fiction with me, or something else notable… well, it’s all right nice for me, y’know?
Oh, anyway, this book in particular. Well, you see, the story I was shortlisted for a Spectrum for would’ve fit into this book (the story, “The Morning After,” was a ghost story) quite nicely. I’ve written quite a few supernatural stories along the way, and they’re published around in a bunch of different volumes, so if you like my work of that ilk, you can do a little Easter egg hunt for those tales.
And you can buy the book from your local independent/feminist/LGBT or rockin' lesbian bookstore, or any really cool store that might sell books like mine.
Oh, and of course, you can buy it/find out about its availability and such from my terrific publisher, Bella Books.
My books are also available on a veritable plethora of online booksellers, including
all the Amazons in the world:
And a whole lot of other places.
|Check out all the incredible
anthologies on this site: