Every family has its black sheep, and the Claus family was no exception. But families also stick together, no matter what color their members are. That is why Travis Claus, a first cousin of the big man himself, had a job in the family business, even though he didn’t like following rules. He was working in the transportation department, which was a fancy way of saying that he was taking care of the reindeer. But, like every other member of the Claus clan, he also had full access to the company’s computer network, including the lists of who was naughty and who was nice. One hot evening in July, after mucking out the stables, Travis was browsing the long lists of all the boys and girls that his cousin would be visiting during that magical night in December. He was paying special attention to the naughty boys and the naughty things they had done. Every now and then, he copied one of the entries into a text file. Eventually heContinue reading »

*** ~~~ Bobby ~~~ *** “I think he’ll be the perfect addition to our family, Dad,” I said to my father on the phone. He and I had been discussing what we’d need to do if we chose to make Trevor’s adoption final. “Don’t you worry about it, Bobby. If this is what you want, I can make it happen. I’ll cut through all the usual bullshit and we’ll get it done,” he said, confidently. “Nick is showing him around the house. I think the boy actually has a puppy-love crush on my husband. Maybe I should be jealous!” I laughed. “Bobby, even though I had my priorities all out of whack, I’ve come to realize that Nick is a very desirable person. He’s honest, kind, compassionate… all of the things your mother was…” He started to choke up saying this. “Dad, I miss her too. When would you like to come over and meet Trevor?” I asked. “Well, how about I come by tomorrow morning about eleven. We canContinue reading »

The next few days were as busy as all get-out. We knew our teachers and parents would accept a ‘B’ rather than an ‘A’, but we would never get away with a ‘C’… even though it’s still a passing grade. We just finished our midterms in March, so really we were just trying to extend our Spring Break a little longer – no such luck. *sigh* With all the school activity picking up, we had to put The Portals on hold during the week, although we managed to take a day trip to Los Angeles on Saturday and then another to Miami on Sunday. This was unbelievable!  We rode our bikes a few blocks from home and spent Saturday on the west coast and Sunday on the east. It was kind of hard to come back to the rain and clouds of Chicago after spending the weekend in the sun.  We were kinda surprised that we didn’t see Chuck over the weekend. Disappointed is more like it. Neither Danny norContinue reading »

Jordan was watching the little rabbit hop across the snow-covered ground toward the fir tree in the dark corner of the fenced-in area. He had come here with his dad to get their family Christmas tree, and his old man would surely be mad because he had wandered off, but at this moment Jordan didn’t care; he was mesmerized by the cute little animal, just a few steps in front of him. The rabbit – or maybe it was a bunny, Jordan didn’t really know the difference – stopped and wiggled its nose, sniffing the air for a few seconds before hopping on, closer and closer to the tree. It sniffed again at a low hanging branch, its soft little nose barely touching the dark green needles. Suddenly the bunny-rabbit let out an eerie shriek and hopped backwards – or at least it tried to. Somehow its nose was stuck to the branch. Jordan supposed it must be because of the sticky sap, even though it was hard to believeContinue reading »

For most of the year, I am locked up in a dark attic. It’s actually not as bad as it sounds; I sleep in a comfortable bed made of cotton wool, inside a cardboard box. Sometimes there are mice scurrying around in the dark, but they usually leave me alone. Only occasionally do they steal a piece of my bedding for their own nests. But when the seasons turn, when the days grow shorter and the leaves outside start to change colors, I always grow anxious. I know that the dark days are coming again. Then I wait in fear for the trapdoor to the attic to creak open, and when I hear the heavy footsteps on the stairs, I know that my torment is about to begin anew, and that there is nothing I can do about it. It usually starts with a violent shaking of my box; they want to make sure that I didn’t somehow escape during the long months when they completely ignored me. Once theyContinue reading »

This particular short tale is based on one Christmas day back in my childhood. Part fiction Partly true. Other names besides my own have been changed.

By Chad Blackman Prolog “I’m here,” Chad announces. He swings his backpack off his shoulder and into the seat on the opposite side of the table where Vitani and Josh are sitting in the Libretta café, before taking a seat himself. “I’m really sorry I got here so late, you guys, but I’m still gonna have to leave in a few minutes anyway. I’ve got a ton of extra work to do since I missed those two weeks of classes. You know, when I went out of town with Rick.” “The nerds never get a break,” Josh teases, earning an elbow in the side from Vitani. “None of your teachers are going easy on you, huh?” Vitani sympathizes, as she slides a milkshake she made for him earlier over to his side of the table. “Not even my new chem teacher, Miss Kelly, and according to the letters Rick forged, I was absent due to some family emergency out of town,” Chad sighs deeply, “It’s just funny because they willContinue reading »

  I don’t remember when it started.  My tinnitus, that is.  Some say it’s like a ringing in the ears, but in my case, it’s more of a high-pitched tone.  Sometimes it’s annoyingly loud and others it’s so quiet it almost disappears…  almost.  But it’s always there.  I remember having it as a child.  Sometimes I would embrace it when it blocked out the incessant droning of a teacher.  Other times I could almost control the volume and lower the intensity to enable me to listen to a lecture that I found interesting, or a television program or film in which I was totally absorbed.  But the tone was always with me. Some say the cause is listening to loud music, or working in an exceptionally noisy environment, but neither of these was the cause of my tinnitus.  If that were the case, it would have happened to me before I could remember.  What parent would have been that irresponsible? Please don’t feel sorry for me, though.  It’s more ofContinue reading »

It took some serious will power to hold out for longer and longer periods of time between calls. Something about the way Alex was worrying about his folks just made me worry a little bit more about my own. I was super happy to be connected with Cain again, but as the hours passed me by, I started wondering if maybe my short conversation on the phone with my parents the other night was a bit of red herring when it came to our family being reunited the way we were hoping. I should be more patient though, right? Maybe I should just relax a little? My mom did say that it would take a few weeks for the military forces to get things settled in. I guess the rescue mission is the most important part of the process for right now. They can switch schedules and transport people to be with their families once everybody has been documented and checked out for bites and scratches and the like. I’mContinue reading »

As they say “And now for something COMPLETELY different”. This book is Literature with a capital L. It’s so prestigious it won the Man Booker Prize, one of the most significant awards for novels in the world – only the second book by a New Zealand author ever to do so. And it’s a complicated beast. The story is set in the gold rush town of Hokatika on New Zealand’s west coast in the 1860s. Walter Moody has just got off the ship convinced he’s seen a ghost. And he stumbles into a meeting of 12 different men from around town, who have gathered to compare notes on various strange goings on. The books copies the concept and style of a popular Victorian novel format, to the point where the style can seem positively archaic. For example, there’s a common axiom is screenwriting “show, don’t tell” when it comes to action. This is a novel that does a lot of telling. By the sixth or seventh I had met aContinue reading »

Saturday morning I woke Danny by jumping on him and smacking him repeatedly on his forehead while singing ‘Purple Rain’. He tried to get me off of him, but his arms were under the blankets and he couldn’t get them out. When he noticed that I was already dressed, he asked, “How long have you been awake?” “Long enough to get washed up and ready to go. Now let’s get going, we have a lot of stuff to do today.”   = = =   After we downed a couple of bowls of Froot Loops, Dan and I took off on our discovery tour. The weather called for light showers, so we double checked that our ponchos were still in our backpacks. We had a number of places to go, so we decided to take our bikes. I gave Danny a ride to his place so he could pick his up. Yeah, I know – we’re 16 and in high school and we’re still riding our bikes. But it reallyContinue reading »

When I was in high school, you couldn’t find many Young Adult books with gay themes. When I was at university, some hard-working librarian in New Zealand put together a bibliography of basically all of them at the time. It ran to about three pages. And most of them revolved around the “Am I gay?” question, with lots of appropriate teenage angst. Times have changed. Thanks to authors like David Levithan and others, there are not just more books out, but a wider variety of books. Books that are actually… fun. Seventeen year-old Jonathan Parish is out and proud, and obsessed with Kylie Minogue. But his senior year takes a left-turn when in a drunken haze, he sleeps with a girl at a party (he hums “Mmmbop” during the act), and suddenly all the girls in school are flirting with them. And then the richest girl in school makes him an offer he can’t refuse – pretend to be her boyfriend and she’ll fly him to London to see KylieContinue reading »

I was cursed twice when I was born.  The first of which was my name.  My parents thought that Bobby Jay was just the cutest name they could give their new bouncing baby boy, oblivious o the fact that I would someday be a man.  Officially and legally, it’s Robert Jay Somtmers, but nobody ever calls me Robert.  I’m good with Bobby, but not Bobby Jay.  I think my middle name, especially paired with my first name is babyish and embarrassing.  The second curse was my sexuality.  See, I’m gay, though I wouldn’t realize this for a number of years.  Maybe it’s that baby name that made me gay.  Who knows why these things happen.  The name thing was fairly easy to handle.  I just never told anyone my middle name and hoped to God that nobody would discover it.  But, my sexuality?  That was a problem. My earliest recollection that I liked boys was when I was 10 years old.  I can still remember his name after all theseContinue reading »

“Come on, you guys! Get in on this! Come here!” I smiled, trying to get my friends to crowd in together for another selfie photo at this lonely looking gas station by the side of the road. “Come on, Mike! David! Duncan! I wanna get a shot of this!” David groaned, “You want to get a shot of everything, Brian. Seriously, I’m all ‘selfied’ out, dude.” “What?” I asked. “TELL me that you don’t want to document every last detail of this trip, dude! This is amazing! It’s our first time going out to the cabin alone, I want to remember this!” My friends and I practically grew up together. We’ve known each other since we were ten years old, and even though it’s been almost ten years since we first started running around the fifth grade playground… we never lost that kind of closeness that we had when we were little. Even if we tend to bitch about it a little bit more. “I can’t believe that you guysContinue reading »

It was a typical British Summer’s day. It was pouring it down with rain and the clouds were a murky grey in colour My mood matched the weather outside just the same. A boy, fifteen, forced to endure a shopping trip with his mother on a Saturday afternoon no less, when I could be back home, out with friends making the most out of the weekend break from school. She insisted that I go. That I needed some new clothes for the summer, and also for our upcoming vacation to Spain in just three weeks, once school had finished for the year. I agreed with her, I did need new clothes. I had grown quite a lot so far this year. A couple of inches in height actually and I had also broadened out quite a lot too. My school shirts were now straining to fit around my broadening shoulders and my pants were steadily inching their way up my ankles towards my knees. My mother had to make sure thatContinue reading »

*** ~~~ Bobby ~~~ *** It was about eight o’clock in the evening and Nick and I were just sitting down cuddling on the couch starting to watch ‘Queer as Folk’ on television when we heard the doorbell ring. We looked at each other trying to see if either of us were expecting anyone. I could see by his expression, and he probably could from mine that neither of us were. I got up from the couch and went to the door to answer it. When I opened it I was in for a complete surprise. Standing at my door, almost literally hat-in-hand was my father. We stared at each other for a moment before he spoke in a tone I don’t think I’d ever heard from him before. Almost as if he were unnerved by me. “May I come in?” He asked. “Sure Dad, Please.” I replied. Once in the door he did something else that I don’t remember him doing since I was very young. He hugged me.Continue reading »

This month we’re bringing a new author to Imagine Magazine. His name is Chad Blackman. For Chad’s series of stories, dubbed “The Auranade Series”, the chapters are presented in an episode format, essentially to mirror watching any regular TV series. So you’ll find that each episode often seems to contain a complete story, while the background of the main characters grow from episode to episode. The series follows the main character, eponymously named Chad Blackman, who with the help of the school café waitress, Vitani Layne, and a basketball jock, Josh Trent, discovers he is an “auranade” when he enrolls at Syndicate Academy. In following the events with his first boyfriend Rick Hayes, amidst the determination of school reporter Rita Allen and his special connection with football player Ray Torres, Chad begins an interesting journey – while fighting alongside his friends, against the supernatural evils of Westpoint City …  Episode 1: Pilot by Chad Blackman Prolog “You have a promising future ahead of you, Chad Blackman,” Professor Hayes states with a smile, before he walks over to the nearby windows and stares outside, “Even if youContinue reading »

[ ** Haven’t read Shelter: chapter 1? Check it out here: http://www.gayauthors.org/story/comicality/shelter  **] Waking up the next morning was a breeze for me. In fact, I was so excited to reconnect with Alex again that I’m surprised I got any sleep at all. Not that the discomfort of trying to adjust to the idea of sleeping in this makeshift hostel of ours was going to allow me much of a good night’s sleep anyway, but it wasn’t hard to ignore the sore and stiff limbs for a while as I prepared to be bathed in the glow of his golden presence once again. My big brother, Cain, had already gotten up and wandered off somewhere by the time I was able to rub the fatigue out of my arid eyes. I looked down and saw a small wet spot on my pillow. I have a tendency to drool a lot when I’m uncomfortable. It’s embarrassing. I wish I had a mirror so I could check my face for chalky white droolContinue reading »