Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week.
I’m continuing the story of Willem and Torrey, who are being torn from each other on an alien world. This week the prompts were: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" or "anchors aweigh" or "I want to have my way with you" or use a scale in some way or make a reference to any old TV doctor (eg Marcus Welby, Dr. Kildare, etc) or have a character break into song unexpectedly or use a horseshoe or use an unexpected flash of boobs or use a beautiful sunset/sunrise. I was tempted by another beautiful sunset (symbolism and all that) but opted instead for using a scale in some way.
Sealed in Stone #5
Torrey drank the hot dark tea his mother poured for him. The drug lacing the liquid passed bitterly over his tongue but he choked it down anyway and welcomed the dulling of his mind that followed. The drug was the only escape allowed him. What came after was a haze of people in motion, his body being arranged and rearranged. Women stripped him and bathed him with scented water, followed by rubbing every inch of his naked skin with rough cloths, then honey-scented oil. They even handled his cock, fitting it with a jewel-encrusted sheath so that it glittered like a luminescent larva.
They gave him names to remember. He had heard most of them before. Sovesa, Cyrrhi’s Voice. Kirugu, a young queen the kumbh feared. Hari, Cyrrhi’s svadu slave, about whom they knew little. And the Kumbh’Kasarim, the goldworkers, suspected of having poisoned Arton so they might place one of their own sons in Cyrrhi’s bed….
He was being thrown into an ant lion’s lair.
By the time the leading women of his kumbh brought him forth to meet the Queen’s Voice, Torrey was draped with crimson silk, cloth woven from gold threads, and a diadem of copper and sea pearls upon his head, holding the veils all human males must wear outside their kumbhs, was so heavy he had no choice but to walk slowly. The garments felt unreal, as though he moved within a dream. So too was the nomari queen awaiting him in his mother’s chamber. A queen, not the Queen. A female who might reproduce sexually… but never had.
A sharp face, angles hardened by age, presented high cheekbones beneath deep, tired eyes as gold as the metal in his robe. Black pupils fixed on him. Sovesa, he recalled.
“She will be pleased.” He flinched from her nomari speech, though he understood the words. “The male must be erect. He can achieve erection?”
Jayn bowed. “Yes, High One.”
Thin lips tensed beneath flared nostrils. “The sight of me has not produced that effect. Yet I must present him in that condition.” Sovesa extended a vial filled with white powder. “Will you see to his presentation or shall I?”
Torrey couldn’t tear his gaze from the nomari queen’s hand. Too many fingers held the tiny bit of glass. Six fingers, he reminded himself. Only six. As if from far away, he saw another—human—hand take the vial, felt his robe being moved aside, the sheath encasing his cock withdrawn so powder could be sprinkled, then rubbed, on his glans before the adornment was worked back in position.
Excitement engulfed his organ and it filled, straining against the sheath as it rose beneath his robe. Sovesa grunted satisfaction, then arranged the panels of fabric by tucking them into his belt, leaving his presented member visible to all.
Please be over. Torrey had never wanted anything so much in his life as for this day to end. It was every bit as horrible as he had feared. Please be over soon.
Within moments, she released the crown’s veils so they covered his face. Torrey wished for light again.
“I release Her gifts to your kumbh.” Sovesa clicked twice and squat workers came forward to lower their yokes to the floor. Torrey listened to the clink clink of metal bars being added to the tray of the kumbh’s massive barter scale. Copper, most likely. Maybe iron or gold. His mind was too fuzzy and he couldn’t quite tell from the sound what the metal might be, just that there was a lot of it.
After the counting was done, Sovesa led the way out of the formal hall. Torrey followed, his mother guiding him. The veil not only hid his face from onlookers but prevented him from seeing individuals in the crowd that filled the courtyard as a dull roar filled the space between his home’s stone walls.
The sounds bore no resemblance to human voices, though he knew them for cheers.
Was Willem among the crowd? As he walked down the steps, Torrey saw only a red haze. Tears clotted his throat as he envisioned his lover standing among the onlookers who watched him depart to Pesht’s Queen with an obscenely erect, bejeweled cock.
Had he told Willem he loved him? He couldn’t remember. They’d tapped amulets. He’d packed his necklace his among his possessions… hadn’t he? The missing weight of it devastated him and the tears flowed at last. The veil stuck to his face.
Let it be done. Please, please be over.…
As the Queen’s Voice, Sovesa entered the palanquin first. Torrey paused, his foot on the lowered step, and then his mother grasped his elbow to hand him up.
“Go with the blessing of the First Mothers, my son.” Her low voice spoke human words that pierced the haze that was on him and ignited panic in his heart. But it was already too late to do anything but bite his lip in silence. “I and your kinswomen will follow you into the nom, to witness to the Ceremony of Yavnath binding, but you are Hers now already.”
The curtain swung closed to block all but stray light and air.
* * * *
“She will not eat you.”
Torrey had not expected Sovesa to speak directly to him. Until now she had spoken only to the women. He looked toward her voice, though he could not see her through the intervening veils and shadow.
“You may speak to me, ri’m.” She used the nomari word for a male of his kind.
“I am Hers, not yours.” He had reached deep into his drugged brain for that response. To speak now was a great risk.
“Obedience. Yavnath males are chosen for many reasons. Obedience was your kumbh’s reason. You will serve them better by learning Hers.” Sovesa huffed back on her cushions. “You are a pretty man, but your beauty will not be enough. I hope you are not depending on it.”
Thanks for reading! If you’re looking for more fun, free fiction, use the links below to visit the blogs of the other Wednesday Briefers.