Hello, everyone! I’m here as Holly today. A few days ago, A Drop of Moonshine was released. It was supposed to be a quick story I wrote to celebrate National Moonshine Day, which is observed on June 5th. It didn’t turn out that way.
What I ended up with is a 51k long dark, dystopic story.
Sid is a potato farmer who makes moonshine on the side to make ends meet. He does his best to keep his head down and not get noticed, but when the people running the black market start losing customers to Sid, they decide to deal with him.
At first, the plan was to scare him, but it quickly escalates, and Sid has to run for his life.
The reality they live in is one where every person has one government-sanctioned kill. They say it’s to give power to the people, so they can remove anyone who threatens them, but instead, it has everyone scared senseless.
As soon as someone applies to have someone killed, a liquidation agent is sent out to do it. Thorn is a liquidation agent.
He and Sid grew up in the same area, and while they never were close, they recognise each other. Sid turns to Thorn for help and soon they’re on the run together.
This is dark, and at times it’s pretty bloody, so be aware before diving in!
In a world where the government controls everything, and every citizen is given one government-approved kill, Sid Barker is doing his best to keep his head down and not get noticed. At some point, he must have failed. Being a potato farmer doesn’t generate enough income, and Sid is making moonshine on the side to keep himself fed, but one day a liquidation agent shows up at his farm, not to kill him, but to blackmail him into giving away his moonshine for free.
Thorn Hull is a liquidation agent. Every time someone hands in an application to have someone terminated, he or one of the other agents has to perform the kill. It’s a well-paying job, but no money in the world can fill the void in Thorn. He regrets ever becoming an agent, but no one has ever quit the agency and lived to tell the tale.
One night in a bar, Thorn runs into Sid, who’s far from the dirty little kid he’d been the last time Thorn had seen him. Sid remembers Thorn from his childhood and asks him to help him talk sense into the agent who’s blackmailing him. Things soon escalate, and Sid and Thorn find themselves on the run from the liquidation agency. How will they be able to deal with the blackmailer at the same time as they’re on the run from the government’s trained killers?
M/M Romance: 51,713 words
Sid Barker tapped the airlock on one of his demijohns hidden in the old barn behind his house. The bubbles had slowed considerably, maybe stopped altogether. He crouched and stroked Cognac’s head. Cognac yawned and rolled over on his side.
“You lazy beast.” Sid pushed at him, but it was almost impossible to move an English Mastiff who didn’t want to be moved.
He stayed there, patting Cognac and watching for bubbles in the airlock until his legs grew numb. “Come on, boy. We need to check the canisters too.”
Cognac growled. At first Sid laughed, then he heard footsteps on the gravel outside. His heart jumped to his throat, and he hurried out of the room. The lock clicked into place, and he pushed a hay bale in front of the door. The canisters were in a second room closer to the door.
“Sid, you in here?”
Sid almost sagged in relief as Jeb’s voice echoed through the barn. “Yeah, I’m here.”
Jeb appeared in the doorway and Cognac, the traitor, trotted over to him. “Sorry to come unannounced.”
Sid raised his eyebrows and watched as Jeb spoke to the dog.
Sighing, he stepped closer. “He’s a lousy guard dog.” He wasn’t. Sid couldn’t imagine his life without the big brute, but when it came to Jeb, Cognac was a lousy guard dog.
“Nah, he’s such a good boy.”
Sid nodded, but his heart didn’t calm down. Jeb coming without notice didn’t happen, Jeb coming after dark without calling ahead made his gut knot. There wasn’t a curfew exactly, but the government advised against going outside after sundown. The likelihood of any agents spotting Jeb out here was small, but he had to go back into the city at some point. If they saw him, they might think there was a need for a questioning—Sid would have to keep him overnight.
“What can I do you for?”
Jeb stood and pushed at Cognac—successfully pushing him away was rare, but this time Jeb managed. “I… It’s business-related.”
“I don’t want to push you into anything. I know you’re on a dangerous level as it is, but I could use some more… and more often.”
“More? Christ, Jeb, if they catch you, you’re dead.” If they caught Sid, he was dead too. He drummed his fingers against his thigh. His gut turned hollow and his ribcage shrank.
“I know. And if they catch me, you’ll go down too. I have no illusions of being able to withstand torture for any length of time, not even for you.” He winked but most of the color had left his face.
“Goes both ways, babe.” Sid tried to make light of it, but they were both aware of what they were facing, and the Death Squad was nothing compared to it.
Cognac gave a small whine and came to push lightly on Sid’s leg. “It’s all right, bud.” Sid rested a hand on his head—one of the things he liked best with having a huge dog, apart from it keeping people at a healthy distance, was that he didn’t have to bend down to pet him.
“I… erm… I have a new client—it’s best you don’t know who—but they’d heard of the West Oak Moonshine and approached me.”
“They’d heard of it?” The concrete under his feet shook. While it was good his products were liked, he didn’t want the name—which he’d given as a joke—to be known.
“Yeah, I don’t know how. I’ve never written it on the bottles. I draw the oak tree, but it’s not a name I say in mixed company.” Jeb’s dark eyes searched the joists, his black hair curling around his ears, and the stubble on his cheeks darker than most days. Sid remembered what he looked like in the morning, how he looked when he was worried, tired, sick, when he climaxed, when he was enjoying the afterglow. The images left an ache in his heart. What he was seeing now was somewhere between scared, stressed, and exhausted.
“Come on, I need to scrub some potatoes before I can take you to bed.”
Jeb grinned, but it wasn’t the carefree grin Sid was used to. “You’re sweet to offer, lord knows I could use the stress relief, but I can’t stay.”
“It could be an offer of a place to sleep, we don’t have to fuck.” Though Sid’s cock gave a disappointed shrug as he uttered the words.
“Scott would cut my balls off if I didn’t make it back.”
“Ah… Still seeing him then?” Sid wasn’t jealous. He and Jeb had been down that route, and Sid loved him as a friend, but no amount of fucking would ever make Jeb something other than a friend. A friend he cared a great deal about, a friend he’d be willing to go through a lot of trouble for. And while there was plenty of tenderness, there would never be the right spark. They were good in bed or had been back when they went to bed together, but what they did there didn’t deepen their emotions for one another. Sid loved him, but not in the way someone loved a spouse, and the feeling was mutual.
Jeb grimaced. “For a while. I don’t think it’ll last more than a few months.”
Sid wrapped an arm around Jeb’s shoulders and walked them toward the door. “No happily ever after?”
“Is there ever a happily ever after for guys like us, Sid?”
“One day. I’ll buy a farm, a real one—not a hut about to fall on my head, and I’ll sweep you off your feet.”
Jeb chuckled and leaned his head against Sid’s shoulder in a resigned manner. “If I’m alone when that day comes, I might let you.”
Sid guided him to an old, scarred table in the small kitchenette in the corner of the barn. It was nothing more than a bench and a small sink, but it was where he scrubbed all the potatoes and apples for his brews. “Sit here and talk to me while I work. What’s this new deal about?”
Jeb sighed and started talking. Doubling his production would be near impossible. Where he’d get the ingredients without bringing attention to himself, he didn’t know, but could he afford to say no?
The water was cold, and it didn’t take long before his hands ached from it, but he kept on scrubbing. One potato after the other, then he went about shredding them. Jeb sat quietly at the table, his head resting in his hands, and Sid suspected there was more going on than he let on.
“Are they threatening you?”
According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.
Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.
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