Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Sealed in Stone #22

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, whose love for each other makes for an uneasy fit in an alien society. This week the prompts were: “Here's your hat, what's your hurry” or “the world is a circle” or use: friend, hammock, medicine or “What time did  you say it is?” or “You're deluding yourself if you believe that” or “She's so beautiful, I just want to ... when I see her” or use salmon, overture, and whisper or “May I help you with that?” or use a Moody Blues reference in your story or write about snow.



Sealed in Stone #22

Sovesa did not take Torrey to Cyrrhi’s audience hall. He followed a short distance to the vaulted passage leading to the Queen’s bedchamber. The warriors standing guard at the entrance bowed their heads to let them pass.

Torrey would have preferred the audience chamber. There he was useful. Here… had the time finally come? The thought of Cyrrhi taking him sexually nauseated him—not because she did, but because he could not envision himself performing that act. His knees turned weak when Sovesa led him to one of the pleasure rooms off the main bedchamber. Webs of midnight blue gauze hung in beautiful tatters from the ceiling above a raised velvet bed. Torrey froze when Sovesa went to one wall, pushed aside a curtain, and opened a hidden door.

“What does She want?” Torrey presented the question formally, hoping it would sound less like a demand.

“To please you. Come, it is not far.”

Taking deep breaths that did little to calm him, Torrey followed. The passage was roughly hewn, not polished at all. To him it felt new. At the end of it was a cavern of black glass. No, black stone. It was still natural, an unfinished chamber. In the center of the chamber stood a small group of humans. Four women.

And Willem. He’d pushed back the head covering they’d made him wear, and his hair was a mess from having worn it, his eyes more than usually wide and alert, but Willem looked exactly as Torrey remembered. Even the happiness in his sudden smile was unchanged, an open invitation. Torrey’s heart hammered.

“Why are you here?” he asked.

“You tell us.” The woman who answered, Lena, had been a frequent visitor to the Prime House.

A frowning Sovesa stepped forward. “Honor his rank when you bespeak him.”
Lena lowered her eyes and bent her neck. “Please, Chosen, illuminate us with our purpose here.”

Torrey battled a smile. He hadn’t minded the first version and she knew it. “I am as surprised as you, honored guest.”

“She”—Sovesa’s inflection elevated the pronoun to its most exalted form—“is gifting Her Chosen with this chamber, a door to which will be carved so he may enter from his own. A bathing chamber of dark, mysterious beauty only the Queen of this nom and her Chosen may enjoy.”

“She wishes a work of art, high one.” Lena looked around at the glassy black walls. “She realizes, I hope, the challenge presented by stone of this sort.”

“That is why She requested your kumbh to send its most skilled workers.”

Torrey listened, but he could not take his eyes off Willem or stop from drinking in every detail of the other man. Willem was here! Handsome and healthy and tall as ever, half a head over the tallest of the women. Willem hadn’t been bred to be queen bait, but a stone worker, sturdy and strong. Even so he had a build even a queen might appreciate—and Torrey definitely would, if ever he got Willem out of those awful robes that covered every inch of his body. Having Willem so near and being unable to see all of him, or touch him, was torture.

Maybe torture was the point. Torrey’s smile faded as he pondered what Cyrrhi might be up to. Was Willem here to do a job? Or was he the first move in a calculated trap?

Sovesa turned to him. “I do not understand this gift, or why She did not have it finished before presenting it to you.”

“I am happy with the gift She has given.”

“The workers will be housed here. The chamber is big enough. I have ordered Her staff to feed and see to their comfort. You may come and go as you please, Chosen.” Sovesa bent her head, then backed away and left the way she had come.
As soon as they were alone, the questions flew.

“Do you know what the fuck this is about?” Lena’s question rose to the top of the noise.

“No. I”—Torrey scrabbled for what to say—“I think she may be trying to make me happy.”

“You’re deluding yourself if you think that. Does she want another chamber? Or him?” Marda cocked a thumb at Willem, who flushed bright red.

Him, Torrey wanted to say. But pleasing Torrey might not be what this was about at all. Images flooded his mind, of Nak and Aktu and Hari entwined for Cyrrhi’s pleasure. He drove those thoughts away, though not before his stomach turned sour.

“A chamber,” he said, hoping the lie would convince them. “A work of art.” He shot Willem a smile. “She saw the flower you sent me. I think it inspired her.”

If he wanted to calm them, he must focus on the work. Torrey showed them the chamber’s potential, got the women to start thinking on the project. A large bathing pool in one spot, a wall polished to glass… stepping stones and obsidian trees… a waterfall… a canopy of carved vines and flowers. Before long they were talking among themselves about technical things, pitches and load bearing and what kind of knapping would need to be done. Once they were talking, Torrey took Willem aside.

“How are you here? Mother would never have let you—”

“It wasn’t her. The Queen asked for me.”


“I don’t know how. But here I am, and… crash it! You look so… I’ve missed you, don’t you know that? I made that flower and sent it to you so I could imagine you touching it the way you used to touch me.”

He was being respectful, damn it. Respectful and not touching him, so Torrey did it first. He grabbed Willem by the sleeves and yanked him close, until their bodies crushed together, and that was enough. Willem leaned down until his insistent mouth was parting Torrey’s lips and he responded so hungrily they both might suffocate before they would yield each other.


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  1. *sigh* Finally, the boys together at last <3 I hope Cyrrhi has nothing evil in mind (it doesn't seem like it to me), but Lena...I don't fully trust her.

    1. A few twists yet to go. :) And lots of hot times to come for the boys. Thanks for reading!