Tony has been taking care of Jake for a year, ever since his partner became sick. It's clear to him that it won't be long, so when Jake asks to go to the ocean, Tony leaps at the chance to do something to make him happy.
But when they get lost in the fog after wandering farther down the beach than Tony has ever gone, a deserted cottage beckons them by the water.
There's magic in the little house by the sea, and it will change them both forever.
Note: This short story first appeared in the MCB Quarterly
The boardwalk was almost deserted this time of night, and there was no one on the beach save the fishermen watching a half-dozen lines apiece for the jerk of a catch. The moon was full above the lake, casting over everything a silver-blue light.
Jake was awake, lucid for once, though he said nothing. Tony just pushed the chair slowly, not feeling the silence but only the timelessness of the moment, of the two of them together in both body and mind.
The seagulls cried endlessly high above, wings catching the moonlight like sails. A chill wind blew up from the water, but Jake seemed not to mind. To the left, the bluffs loomed black against the starry sky.
Everything felt right, if only for a moment. Tony lost track of time, of everything but the connection between himself and his lover. When Jake smiled, it was with the knowledge of himself and his surroundings, not with his usual vacant stare.READ MORE
The fog must have crept in suddenly, for it caught him unawares. He didn’t think he’d ever been this far down the beach before.
He turned the chair around and realized they were no longer on the boardwalk. That was odd. When had it ended? The wheels sat an inch deep in sand.
He pushed the chair forward, but the going was difficult in the soft sand. The wheels seemed to dig in deeper with each push, and he had to keep lifting the chair up out of the sand. Where was the boardwalk? And how had he gotten them into this mess?
The fog parted, and he saw an amber light up ahead. He knew they should stop and ask for help. Jake was shivering now, visibly shaking in the chair. “Hold on, buddy,” he whispered. “I’ll get you somewhere warmer.”
Note: This short story first appeared in the MCB QuarterlyCOLLAPSE