The main character of “Seeking Hearts,” our short story for the Torquere Press 2013 Charity Sips Blitz, is at home in his body and comfortable with his own sexuality. It’s fun writing a character who has very little angst, because then the angst has to come from the storyline itself – in this case, a mystery intruder.
But first, when we introduce Rik, we got to have a little fun with it. Check it out:
Heinrick Schenkel heaved the door into the track to lock it and shot the bolt. The sound echoed in the sail dock, with nothing to stop the reverberations but bare stone and sand.
Landing, what a mess! The sands lay churned and rutted from the several sandsails and two corsairs that had left in a hurry yesterday and this morn. But all things end, and Rik sighed with contentment. One whole Daymonth, all to himself except for Opa and Oma.
Even in the deep shade of the sail dock, the sand radiated warmth. The thick walls of the hostel would shield him and his grandparents from the intense heat of an entire month without nights. Rik’s eyes fell on the pile of insulated strips. Only if he reinforced the edges around the shutters. He tried to remember how many windows the hostel had. Why did he promise Opa that he’d do them all? But they had seemed so tired after doing all the dishes from the morning meal.
Oh well, they wouldn’t get done with him standing here. He strode to the pile and grimaced at the sand in his boots. After the shutters were done, he’d run the rake to smooth the sand channels. He gathered a few of the strips and cursed as they caught in his flowing daysilks. Winds, this was going to be a job!
He glanced around the yawning expanse of the empty dock. Sitting down, he stripped off his boots and socks. He grinned, wiggling his bare toes. Standing, he shrugged out of his daysilks, leaving them in a pile of green fabric. Clad only in his short trous, he scooped up a few of the strips.
He strode to the two large windows in the dock’s waiting area. As he sealed the shutters, polka music flooded the dock. He grinned. One of the more recent upgrades his grandparents had installed was a full intercom system. It sounded like Opa’s favorite music disc.
The jaunty tunes would make his job go by quicker. On his way to the next window, Rik improvised a few dance steps. Holding the weather strip in front of him, Rik made it sway and dip to the music. He spun and caught a glimpse of darker black in the shadows of the dock.
Rik let out a high-pitched squawk that would have done his kid sister proud, if he’d had a kid sister. The heat flamed into his face as he turned.
Winds! A Seeker stood before him.