Faeries are part of mythology the world over, past, present, and future. Called elves, brownies, the fae, and more, they evoke a sense of wonder and a little danger. Faery has its own rules, and humans enter at their peril.
In this spirit, we bring you the first book in the Myths Untold anthology series—four stories from the land of the Fae: a homeless man in Cardiff and the luck that could destroy him; the trans man in future San Francisco who falls for an elf; the village boy who has always been a little different; and a faery prince whose birthright was stolen from him.
Welcome to Faery.
My story, Through the Veil:
In the not-too-distant future, San Francisco has been swamped by rising sea levels caused by global warming, and has only survived by building a wall to keep the water out of the heart of the City.
Colton is a trans man barely getting by on the canals outside the wall. Tris is an elf who has come to the human world on his journey to become a man.
Fate brings them together, and everything changes for Colton when he sets out with Tris to find the elf's missing brother, taking Colton behind the Wall for the first time.
Colton sat at the old, salvaged mirror in his wreck of an apartment, high above the Main Street Canal on San Francisco’s drowned waterfront. Not that San Francisco didn’t still have its pride. As the Capital of Pacifica, she was still a center of commerce and politics.
But canal rats like Colton didn’t matter much anymore.
The bed behind him, salvaged from another abandoned apartment, was a mess of sheets, a reminder of the trick he’d brought home the night before, someone who’d been paid enough to overlook Colton’s shortcomings.READ MORE
Colton took out a vial of testosterone—his last one, bought at a dear price from the Pharmacist. He pulled out a clean syringe and took off the plastic top, pulling out the stopper to 5 milliliters. He inserted the needle into the bottle, and pushed the air in, an act familiar to him from long practice. Then he pulled out the last of the drug, flicking the syringe twice and pushing out all the air bubbles.
He replaced the needle with a smaller gauge, dumping the larger one into an old caramel corn can he kept for his medical waste.
He used a piece of cotton and a bottle of cheap liquor to wipe down the injection site on his thigh, sterilizing it as best he could. Once it was dry, he took a deep breath, pinching his muscle and pulling his skin to the side. He inserted the needle into his leg, drawing the syringe back a bit to make sure there was no blood. He had to be careful to avoid injecting the hormone directly into his bloodstream.
It hurt a little, but he was used to it.
He dumped the used syringe and the empty vial into the can. He had friends who weren’t so careful to use clean needles, for their hormones or recreational drugs. Some of those friends were now dead, or worse.
Next, he took the medical bandages that he carefully washed every day, and wrapped them around his chest, binding his breasts tightly.
He didn’t look at them. He hated those reminders of his female body—he’d been running from that accident of birth for years.
He wrapped the bandages around himself three or four times, holding in his breath. Once he had his breasts secured, he adjusted them to the side to make his chest as flat as possible.
He looked at the results in the mirror. It would have to do.
He wished he could afford to be re-sequenced. To truly make his body match his gender, to not feel counterfeit in his own form.
Colton glanced out through the broken window. The lights of the City were starting to come on over there as dusk approached. He lived in a no man’s land, the part of the City where the water encroaching from the Bay had reached the old first and second floors. Toward the heart of the City, on the other side of the Wall, the rich still carried on as if nothing had changed.
Those with money called the drowned parts of the city the Canal District. It ran from the old Levis Plaza down to China Basin along the City’s Bay side. There were a number of tony restaurants on the roofs and higher floors of the City behind the Wall that offered views of this supposedly “romantic” neighborhood. For a fee, you could even take a ride through the ruins on a gondola.
That was Colton’s “day job”. It brought in enough money to afford food, hormones, and little else, at least, when he was able to pay Mason his overdue boat storage fees.
So at night, he haunted the drowned streets, looking for those he could help, or sometimes relieve of their excess cash.
It was time to get going. The hours between 6 p.m. and midnight were his prime business time. If he could make enough money shaking down tourists that night, he might be able to get his gondola out of hock. But he had to visit the Pharmacist first.
Molly Lolly on Molly Lolly wrote:
I need to preface this review by saying I have little experience with any original faery stories. Oh I know all about the tricksters and the darkness and the questionable moralities, but I have always stuck to the happier, Disney versions of the tales. This anthology was not modelled after the stories I am used to…
What a fascinating combination of science fiction, dystopian society, and fantasy. This world was dark and dangerous and great! I am so glad this anthology ended on a happier note than it started.
I loved Colton, a man trapped in a woman’s body who was given a glimpse of perfection but chose to stay as he was. And Tris brought forth new ideas and possibilities. Their soul mate bond was instant and yet they did not simply jump into bed and live HEA. They had adventures, even if they were forced upon them.
This world was so interesting. The way the author combined contemporary structures, futuristic ideas, and magical elements was very creative and well done. This was by far my favorite world in this anthology. I want more. I want to know more about the flood. I want to know more about Faery. I want to know more about those people living below the radar waiting to rise up against the horrible government. I want to know more about this coming war.
This anthology was fabulous. I enjoyed all of the stories and how each author took faeries and the Feary realm and made it their own. It’s a smaller anthology but it had pretty much everything I could want since I’m such a huge fantasy, faery and magic fan. Many of the stories had me wanting more from the characters or ended in a way that made me think there could be sequels and that would definitely make me happy!
I really enjoyed the world Mr. Coatsworth created with a future San Francisco that is very different than how it looks now. I also like how he explained that future came about. It was logical but wasn’t a huge deal to the overall world or the characters since it had happened far enough in the past to not matter as much. Colton was an amazing character. He was so courageous going up against the unknown each time something new came his way. I loved Tris. He was so sweet and innocent yet also selfless. The journey these two go on to find Tris’ brother brought a wonderful depth to the world. You’re immersed almost immediately and you don’t realize the place you’re taken to isn’t actually real. I love the way Mr. Coatsworth can effortlessly build a world and pull you into it as if you’re really there. This felt like the start of a series and ended in a way that makes me want to know what happens next. I really hope there will be more stories in the future in this world so we can find out more about the upcoming war and which side will triumph.
Rating: 4 Stars
Author’s note: I call this my elf plus trans man meets global warming story. It’s set in San Francisco, and Mark and I had a great time researching the setting…