Today, we spotlight two more of the creators contributing to our current crowdfunding project Aether Beyond the Binary (a collection of 17 aetherpunk settings starring characters outside the gender binary): Em Rowntree and Kelas Lloyd!
Cadillac’s Bus by Em Rowntree
About Em: Em Rowntree’s first foray into the world of writing was with a story called The Magic Land that featured a unicorn and a flying carpet the size of a country, and they’ve been chasing that high ever since. They’ve been sharing their writing online for almost nine years, and have had poems and short stories published in anthologies. They live in the UK.
This is Em’s second contribution to a Duck Prints Press anthology; they also wrote a story for Add Magic to Taste.
Title: Cadillac’s Bus
From their vantage point, the kid couldn’t see the rally racer inside. Couldn’t see the black gloves with one white star of pure aetherlight painted on each fingertip. Couldn’t see the curled mess of long grey hair. Couldn’t see the steely, hungry, fiercely joyful look on their face as their vehicle plunged on through the moorland. But the kid could picture it all, down to the last detail.
They put their hands in the air.
“CADILLAC JONES!” they yelled, loud enough for the cow to hear them a few hundred yards away and lift its head – but nowhere near loud enough for Cadillac Jones themself to know their name was being screamed as they disappeared out of sight, away down the track. “CADILLAC JONES FOREVER! YES! THE BEST –” The kid turned to left and right as though looking for someone to tell, but there was no one beside them. “THE BEST! CADILLAC JONES FOREVER! YES!”
They stood, overwhelmed, keeping the moment alive as long as they could. A few minutes after the rally racer had turned the next corner and gone out of sight, another vehicle came hurtling round the bend after them. The kid lifted their arms again – and this time turned their open hands into raised middle fingers.
“YOU SUCK!” they screamed in delight, a smile of joy splitting their face.
True by Kelas Lloyd
About Kelas: Kelas is a disabled, trans, bi author and artist currently (unfortunately) living in Texas. They graduated from the University of Central Florida with an English degree and love cats, tea, and all things speculative fiction. A lot of their writing features magic or disability or both, and they’re often found in Star Trek, Mass Effect, Babylon 5, and Untamed spaces. You can also find them in a lot of bead and resin spaces, because they love making sparkly jewelry of all sorts.
Previously published pieces include an article on disability in The Last Of Us, short stories in two publications by Shacklebound Books, a pair of poems about being trans, an essay on disabled life, and a whole bunch of pieces about San Diego Comic-con. They’re single, an Ernie looking for their Bert, but they have a found family that stretches around the globe and some of their birth family accepts them for who they are.
You can find out more about them at kelaslloyd.com
This is Kelas’s first time writing with Duck Prints Press.
Tags: character study, foster family, found family, friends, genderfluid, magic use, non-binary, present tense, self-esteem issues, teenager, third person limited pov, transphobia (mentions of)
“Oh,” Eva says, trying to recover. “Yeah, okay. So what’s the procedure? Are you gathering up all the ducklings and then herding us over?”
Paul looks at them as if they can see through the joking tone Eva’s adopted. “You’ve got a map in your booklet. I’m here, so I introduced myself, but there’s a schedule in there too. Everyone here is old enough to herd themselves; I’m here for support.”
“So you catch us in the trust-fall exercises,” Eva says, opening up the booklet to find the map and schedule.
“No, I make sure to drop everyone during those.”
Eva’s gaze snaps up to catch Paul’s grin just before it turns into a faint smile.
“You’re here because you’re struggling with aether,” Paul continues. “Most of the time a teen is struggling, it’s because they don’t know themselves well enough yet to let it flow through them the way as it’s supposed to. That’s what I help with.”