Call to Arms Anthology

Call to Arms at Manifold Press or Amazon

Modern LGBTQ+ fiction of the Second World War

Seventeen stories, thirteen authors, a second war. Once again Manifold Press’s writers explore the lives of LGBTQ+ people and their war-time experience in cities, towns and countryside across the world.

Amidst war and peace, in the thick of violence or in an unexpected lull, these stories of the Second World War take the reader far and wide: through Britain, Europe, Asia and South America, from loss and parting to love and homecoming. As for home, it may be an ordinary house, or a prison camp, or a ship: but it is, in the end, where you find it, however far you have to go. Read this book, and make the journey yourself.

An anthology edited by Heloise Mezen.

All proceeds will be donated to the British Refugee Council.

We’re out of hero fabric by Andrea Demetrius, a contribution to Call to Arms Anthology.

 

Before dawn, on the morning of August 23, 1944, Camil registered a change in the air. A musty whiff, just a tad cool enough to make it noticeable, sneaked beneath his bedroom door.

His heart skipped a beat.

But a reluctant glance at the clock put a swift end to his hopes. It was just the old housekeeper sent in to check up on him.

He made himself remain in bed for a few more moments: to erase the longing from his mind, or to delude himself that, any moment now, the doorknob would turn, and some other person would enter his rooms.

But, of course, over the years, he’d cultivated his reflective nature too well to be able to go back, or to make good use of any kind of pretence for long.

With a weary sigh, he admitted defeat. He was, had been for a while – hours, or maybe two months, the last two years? – all too wide awake.

Camil got up, raised his chin in a defiant challenge to the air above him – or maybe to the direction of the royal palace – aware of the whimsical ritual he’d fallen into, but too stubborn to part with it, and he whispered to himself, once, “Perhaps this is the day”.

He shook himself, afterwards.

He owed Sebastian a reply to his letter, anyway. It had been on his desk for more than a week already.

Sebastian couldn’t easily spare the time, or the resources, to send word from whatever part of France he’d lately managed to find his way to, so Camil should have attended to the correspondence post-haste.

Camil had attempted, unsuccessfully, to justify his failure toward his friend. One such justification lay in the fact that he’d made a habit of keeping an eye on Sebastian’s properties.  The newly assigned ‘owners’ of the house seemed, at least, to take proper care of it; but sadly, the situation at the once-renowned gentlemen’s outfitters hadn’t changed one bit in the year since it had been broken into. There was no sign of anybody willing to step in, not even to ensure its proper protection to avoid further weather damage. People dared not even let themselves be seen walking near places such as this.

As for Camil’s lack of involvement, well, ever since the war broke out, he had had to accept the knowledge that the world hadn’t given birth yet to the tailor capable of making the hero battledress that would suit him.

Thus, in the absence of new happenings of enough worth to be passed along, Camil had put off writing back.

It stood to reason that, after Sebastian had to flee abroad, and the subsequent limitation of their correspondence, what with the crafty way they had to bend every word and Sebastian’s ever-changing return address, Camil had to deliberate carefully over what once had been such a quotidian, almost careless endeavour.

It was a quite valid argument, all told.

Despite that, there had been far less of an upheaval or lasting scrutiny concerning his friend’s whereabouts than any of them had expected, considering that Sebastian was known to have participated in reunions in Paris and Brussels ever since 1934.

End of the excerpt.

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