by Eric Del Carlo
O Gods of Speed and Shadow! The imminence of the great, glorious calamity is present in the air, vibrating the particles, giving every edge a razor keenness, forcing the deepest colors from all surrounding objects. The thrill. The thrill! It is like nothing else, nothing in the universe, with all its splendors, its baffling wonders, its soul-searing beauties and mind-shattering horrors.
The being who calls himself Yorn breathes in this new vista, the next setting for yet another spectacular ending. Reality is his playground, all the myriad worlds, all the places where life has spawned and clung and evolved and thrived, and made some paltry or grandiose contribution to vast galactic resplendence of culture, of livingness.
Nothing is of greater importance than the flourishing of life on the multitude of scattered worlds.
And nothing, for Yorn, is more gorgeous than the final crash, the sudden and cataclysmic expiration, the death.
Having jumped to this new world, he basks momentarily in the ambience. Each place has its unique vibration, its tenor, the pitch which is the collective whir of its inhabitants. It is the music of the people, whatever those people might be.
He reaches out, his consciousness and perceptions expanding. It is a vertiginous feeling, a standstill free fall. Waves of sensation wash over and through him…but he has it. Yes. Yes! The sense of this native life, the shape, the configuration, the blocks of organic substance which make up the beings. Ah. Ah. Adjustments, a further delving. He is altering; he is becoming. Ah. There. Yes.
Yorn blinks open his eyes—thin fleshy lids over the sight orbs! Charming. He has come down in a place of growth, of greenery. The flora surrounds him, and he knows now the local words. Tree, shrub, grass. His transformation has brought with it this new knowledge.
Waning sunlight slips through cloud cover above. The day is ending. How appropriate. There are rustlings in the nearby brush, twitterings in the air; animal sounds, lesser creatures, not the dominant inhabitants. He looks around, face automatically stretching into a grin. This place of planted things is an isolated patch. He can see structures looming up all around it, beyond the trees’ branches and foliage. Buildings. Towers. He is in a city. This is a…park. Wonderful.
Perhaps he will meet a native before the end comes.
* * *
Josh Visconti was cutting through Hennessey Green, the strip of park that separated one neighborhood from another, when he came upon the naked man. It was twilight; he’d worked all day. All he had in mind was getting back to his apartment where he could open a bottle of wine and maybe soak away his troubles in the tub.
Instead, here he was, coming to a sudden stop, leaves crunching underfoot. He was off the path, taking the quickest way. And now—naked dude. He blinked, some part of his mind offering up alternative suggestions: this was somebody in a skintight leotard, this was his own cock-starved brain throwing up a cruel mirage. It had been months since his breakup with Kashif, and in all that time he hadn’t found the will to even try to get laid again. Yet his body knew what it wanted—that was damn sure—and even now, even under this super-weird circumstance, his base physical self was responding. His flesh rippled. His balls tingled. His cock started to get—
The naked man saw him. He was grinning. It was an extravagant grin, but not, Josh thought, a crazy person’s grin. Rather, it was exuberant in a way almost beyond describing. In fact, a strange crackling joy radiated from this male, even in this first stunned moment. That wondrous ecstasy further stirred Josh, somehow. His breath had grown short. Warmth suffused him, that seemingly long-lost erotic drive.
The nude stranger had seen him, was meeting his shocked gaze; was now…walking toward him! Fear tried to bite Josh—maybe this guy was a dangerous loon after all!—but the carnal intensity had affected the atmosphere all around him. The air caressed him sensually, seemed to even pluck at his clothes. By now his cock was uncomfortably erect in his pants.
He looked the approaching figure over: tautly defined musculature, but a trim body, not grotesquely gym’ed-out, lovely bodily lines, dusky nipples, dark hair in a loose mop, a sublime face, but an ease to his basic handsomeness, an accessibility.
And, yeah, no denying, that was a yummy-looking cock on him, bobbing enticingly as he neared Josh.
He hadn’t come to the park to cruise. Who did that anymore? But somehow here he was, in a secluded patch, hemmed in by trees and undergrowth; here with another man, the grinning man with dancing eyes, whose own cock was twitching and rising, signaling as clearly as possible his own arousal, his desire, his need—
The naked man opened his arms, and now it was Josh stepping forward, crossing the final space between them. Instinct had seized him. This was nuts! Of course it was. But he’d been down so long, bitter and bleary, and this was just the sort of thing he no doubt needed—not that this happened every day or any day. But—fuck! Look at this guy, so hot, so ready, so—
They were together, the bare body against his clothed one. Oh, the firm lovely feel of him! Their mouths collided, a searching hungry kiss, tongues immediately deployed, no coyness here, no preliminaries. Passion rose behind Josh’s eyes, a blazing heat. He frenched the naked freaky park man, and set his hands to roaming his flesh. The hard stalk of his spine, bracketed by muscles, the round roll of his shoulders, the sweet swells of his ass. Josh felt and groped and clutched, and he gasped, even as he tried to keep up the delving kiss. His heart hammered. Clothes—he was burning up in his clothes!
He started to strip, not even looking around, trusting in the isolation of this patch of parkland or else not caring who got a peek at him. The man helped him lose his clothing. Josh kicked off shoes and pants, and peeled away socks, and his shirt was gone; and now he too was insanely naked, out here, in the free air, as night was falling on the city. He pressed his nude self to his imminent lover, their cocks rubbing together, the other’s hands roving him in the same eager exploratory fashion. All was want. All was necessity. Josh needed this, what he’d pointlessly denied himself too long.
He went to his knees, crunching the carpeting leaves. The man’s cock, jutting before his mouth. Josh’s mouth opening, hunger in his throat…
* * *
Yorn feels the engulfing heat of the mouth, the slipperiness of the tongue which has so recently been in his own mouth. This being is magnificent. So full of zest, energy. His desire is a nearly visible inferno. Yorn gazes down in wonder as the head bobs enthusiastically, sucking the entire sensitive shaft which has grown so tumescent. So much sensation! Incredible. Beautiful.
It is a fantastically pleasurable act. He has inhabited other bodies on other worlds, ones invested with extreme senses, with receptive and perceptive capabilities far beyond what this form can muster; and yet there is an exalted charm to this skin, these bones, these nerve clusters. The act possesses him, wholly. His hips begin to move, as if with oiled sockets. He thrusts into the consuming mouth, and his lover takes him, takes all of him, swallowing.
The bliss rises, and Yorn almost fears it, then, grinning still, he gives in and feels himself catapulted forward, into the lush abyss of ultimate release. He jets. He spews. Panting, he finishes.
But he is not finished. He too goes to his knees, pushing the man, making him lay down on the ground. Yorn is between his legs, in a position that feels so very correct. Without hesitation he drops his mouth onto the staff. The texture is amazing. The taste stings his tongue. He does as was done to him: raises and lowers his head, lips cinched around the vibrant member, sucking him all the way.
The man moans, a good sound. Yorn increases speed and pressure, but within what he senses are the boundaries of comfort. This is a violent act, but also somehow a delicate one. He sucks until the man is thrashing on the ground, and sucks until he is erupting, and Yorn is drinking the outpouring. Such a lively flavor, swimming with life. Life. Life!
He sits up. He looks up. He hears the sonic boom in the darkening sky. The asteroid is about to blindside this world. This, then, is the precipice. The brink. He must jump now, but o Gods of Speed and Shadow, what a visit this has been!
Eric Del Carlo is a longtime contributor to Circlet Press anthologies, starting with 1997’s Wired Hard 2. His works of erotic speculative fiction include the novels Raise the Red Flag and After the Hell. His mainstream science fiction has been published in Analog, Asimov’s, Clarkesworld and other venues.