Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday Briefs: Useful Things #9

Welcome back to Wednesday Briefs. For this week’s episode of “Useful Things,” I used one of the visual prompts… and also an animal. Majak believes he is making strides, but Rasvim is just getting more confused. Believe it or not, there is romance in the air… it just doesn’t look like it yet.

At the end of the post you will find links to more free blog stories by the rest of the Wednesday Briefs authors.  Enjoy!


Useful Things #9

The darkening of the solar shields upon the habitat presaged another cycle of night. Even after millennia in space, the Aeth remained diurnal, bound physiologically to their home system and Nin’s longer rotation. Majak watched new colors blossom as the wavelengths filtering into the room shifted.

Each day Majak spent time in private with Rasvim.  The young human continued to progress in small ways, revealing facets of a personality. Rasvim took correction docilely, but it was only appearance. He had learned at the knees of cruel masters that docility bought freedom: freedom from pain, from suffering… from death. That docility had the polish of a mirror; it reflected back what Rasvim’s keepers wanted him to be. Majak sought quietly for clues as to what waited under the shell.

They had made much progress with the illustrated book, though the land of Oz remained puzzling. Upon being shown a map, Rasvim had pointed to the land known as Kansas, which was situated in a location favorable to large-scale food production. Surveillance showed nothing at all like the pictures in the book. The planet, perhaps, had changed too much since its occupation. But the topography interested Majak less than what the pictures revealed: humans interacting, apparently as equals, with several other species and what looked like a robot. Rasvim, however, did not appear to grasp the importance of locating the other species.

“Where are these flying ones? In Kansas?” Majak asked. He touched the depiction and was pleased to see that Rasvim no longer tensed at his every movement.

“The flying monkeys?”

“Mong-keys.” His poor pronunciation earned a slight smile he treasured. These brief glimpses of Rasvim pleased him more every day that passed. “We have not seen the winged ones.”

“They don’t exist.”

“The species is extinct?”

“They… never lived. They are not… real.”

Majak considered. Rasvim possessed at least a rudimentary understanding of such concepts. This in itself was exciting. He paused, reluctant to yield on the matter. If the monkeys did not exist, how had the humans known to illustrate them in such exquisite detail? Qatiyya was new to the Var Sareem. Exploited, yes, but little known. One of Majak’s goals was to prevent further erosion of the planet’s lifeforms. To do so, it was helpful to catalogue those lifeforms, seek out their habitats, and protect them. Could he trust a child—for Rasvim had been captured young—to know the truth about every species native to his world?

“Enough for today,” he said, still thinking about which xenobiologist he would assign to the task of tracking down the flying monkeys. Majak was about to take the book from Rasvim’s hands when he caught a new hesitation in the way Rasvim relinquished the object, his slender fingers releasing the worn cover with suppressed longing and remaining extended for a moment. Majak continued to hold the book between them. “Would you like to keep it longer? Read the book alone?”

Their eyes met and Rasvim did not look away. This too was new. A swallow bobbed the supple line of his throat. “Yes, Ver Majak.”

Good. It was the opening Majak had hoped for. “I like this book. For security, and other reasons, it must remain in this room. But you can read it here. I will prepare an alcove for you—like the one Enir uses when he stays with me.” He had not yet found an occasion to have both young humans in his quarters together. Alaksu had kept him abreast of their interactions, however, and he was confident Rasvim would refrain from interference in Enir’s training. “You can read the book tonight while I spend time with Enir. I will not require that you serve me.”

Rasvim nodded and continued to meet his gaze so that they shared a tenuous but important understanding. Majak released the book to him, pleased by the exchange. It had been his design all along to move Rasvim from the slave quarters into his chamber.

* * * *

Rasvim curled against the cushions of his alcove, not sure how he was to behave. He had grown accustomed to the stark comfort of the slave quarters, where he had been given a tiny cell and his own mat on which to sleep. This alcove in Ver Majak’s private suite was… luxurious. Alaksu had programmed a half moon concavity into one of the walls and laid down a thick mattress upon which he now reclined. The front of the alcove opened to the bedchamber, but the low ceiling had lighting and the walls behind him were smooth and secure. He had a fine blanket and cushions and a book, but none of these things held his attention.

He could not take his eyes away from the way Majak held Enir.

The other human had run into the room and all but leapt into the Aeth male’s arms. Now, clasped by powerful gray limbs, held close to Majak’s chest, Enir gazed up at his master with clear adoration. Majak was petting the pale youth and speaking words too soft for Rasvim to overhear. It didn’t look like Enir was afraid, or in danger.

Enir had said Majak didn’t hurt his humans. Rasvim forced his eyes away for what felt like the hundredth time, but he was gripped by unreasoning terror. Always before when he had watched an Aeth enfolding a human in its limbs, the human had died. Osvith had never embraced him. The sexual use had been straightforward. Bend over… offer hole… pretend to enjoy it until it was over. And pray his master wasn’t in the mood to beat him or test his endurance.

He looked up again, drawn to what he was witnessing. Majak stood, looking relaxed, while Enir unfastened the collar of his formal robe. The robe and its underlying garment opened, revealing a broad chest rippling with alien muscle. And still Enir smiled, unafraid of what was to come.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this bit of flash, why not stop over at the other Wednesday Briefs authors’ blogs and check out their stories?

Lily Sawyer 
MC Houle     m/m
Elyzabeth VaLey      m/f
Michael Mandrake     m/m
Cia Nordwell    m/m
Elizabeth Morgan    m/f
Victoria Adams   m/f


  1. I think that watching Enir will have several results, not the least of which will be interest and jealousy. Rasvim wasn't exactly 'abused' by his description but the emotional neglect that will be highlighted by Enir and Majak's intimacies will be a shock, I'm sure. This flash story goes by so fast when reading! Can't wait for the next installments.

    1. Rasvim has never experienced sex as a loving act, and has had intimate emotional contact since childhood. He's stunted, poor soul. :( But I think there's hope. Might have to wait 'til after the holiday, though. I've got a hot Christmas flash on my hands for next week. :) Someone provided some great prompts.

  2. Torture, ending it there (and don't give me that "I was out of words" excuse, either, my dear!). Oy! Can't wait for more. And not winged monkeys. ;-) -Shira

    1. Well, you're in luck. The winged monkeys don't exist, at least not in this story. :) But I really was out of words!

  3. I love this story. I. Also love that it is challenging to me. As a reader I start to feel emotions that I have to remind myself that Rasvim doesn't know. And then trying to explain the concept of imagination? Just delightful. :o) can't wait to see how this plays out. And if it changes Majak as well.....

    1. Contact with another civilization changes both, unless one completely eradicates the other. That almost happened in this story. I'm pretty sure Majak will change, in part because he's seeking to learn. :)

  4. The winged monkeys in OZ scared me. Intrigued for what is to come.

    1. Oh gosh, they scare me too... even now! I no longer squeal and hide my head, but yeah, scary.

  5. What is fun here is that I'm as intrigued by the 'work' Majak is doing or what he is trying to do with Rasvim as I am in the relationship he wants to form with him. I kinda hope you expand it later b/c there just seems to be so much to it. Is Majak's interest mainly b/c of Rasvim being closest to an indigenous human from Earth he could get and for his memory, but he'd like to have him come to his bed by choice right? That was so sad when he spoke about the reflection he learned to present. And how any touch was painful, etc. It's really sad, but I have a feeling his front row seat will help him learn how Majak is different really quickly ;) How has Majak learned to be so observant? He clearly guessed so much about Rasvim and what his life must have been. He may just be able to change things if he gets some supporters amongst his people.

    1. I've been meaning to ask, how many choices of prompts are you guys given? I notice that those doing pic prompts have all different ones. Earlier on it was the same pic offered and some word prompts. Are they different flash groups? ie. Neph's site is a wine glass.