Surrender to His Pleasure: Pt. 2

“Wake up, boy,” a deep voice whispers in the distance.

I squirm, curling my arms even tighter around my pillow, content to ignore the person and slip back into my peaceful dreams.

“You have three seconds,” the voice says, deeper this time, rougher around the edges.

I hum something incoherent under my breath. A set of hands find my hips, making me shiver lightly, but I manage to shrug it off as a handsy maid, trusting in my father’s power to get them away from me sooner rather than later.

“Two seconds.”

A nice, warm blanket falls across my backside, melding seamlessly to my ass like a second skin. I hold the pillow loosely, fingers spreading wide and grabbing at the silky sheet beneath as the blanket slips, parts my cheeks, and slides down against my tender-feeling hole. I grunt under my breath, hips bucking up into the pillow in a quick, reflexive move to escape the sudden pressure building there.

“You’ve run out of time, boy,” the voice coos behind me somewhere. And then the blanket is really pushing and I’m gasping awake, straining against the set of hands holding me down, arching away from their owner’s cock forcing me open. “You finally get it, huh?”

I shiver at the feeling of the man’s chest sliding up against mine, his hips bucking, shoving in another inch. My body throbs, heats like a well-trained machine, and lets him sink right into me. It’s only when I look to my right and see the hulking profile of Mr. Oakley looming over me in our reflection that I remember letting myself be led into his basement and used like the average whore.

His striking eyes grab at mine from the mirror, holding me in place, forcing me to watch as he lifts up, reveals my much smaller frame pathetically curled up around his long, thick pillow. He licks his lips and makes a show of entering me again, his eyelids drooping, lips parting as if the sweetest parcel is upon his tongue. I groan, face flushing, as he murmurs what a good boy I am, offering myself up so early in the morning.

I can do little more than watch as he shows me exactly what he’s doing, let’s me see my body react, shivering, jerking, tensing in pleasure. It’s only when he rubs himself right up against that sweet spot inside me that I break eye contact, my vision swaying as a moan is torn from my throat. He chuckles, yanks me off his cock and flips me onto my back. He spreads my legs and holds me open by my thighs as he rocks back in, head tipped back in pleasure. I make a soft sound in the back of my throat at how easily my body lets him in, my hands grabbing at his arms without thinking as he pulls out and rams me full of his cock, obviously over the whole “slow fuck” thing.

He takes no pity on me and instead tightens his grip, moves my legs farther apart, and goes at me like a dog might its favorite toy. He throbs inside me, long and thick and so, so ready to burst. I can feel the tension building in him, feel it make him thicken inside me. He takes one long, slow dive, groaning under his breath as he repeats the action over and over until I’m panting and leaking all over myself, squirming to climb up his cock. It’s something about the slow torture of his actions that makes me desperately want to come, to have my morning release as soon as possible.

And he gives it to me, shoves me full of his slick dick and pounds me raw on it. I can hardly remember to breathe with how fast and hard and rough he goes at it, my body incapable of doing anything other than clinging to him and coming all over him. My balls empty in seconds and then I’m on my knees, sitting on his lap with my arms around his neck and his tongue in my mouth.

“A little bit more, boy, just . . . uh, a little,” he grunts, palming my ass and tugging me up and down, swirling up a great big mess inside me.

Without thinking, I push him down, give into the heat pooling in my stomach and push my hair out of my face as I balance on my knees. “Shut up, old man, I got this,” I say through gritted teeth, jaw set as I take over, setting the pace faster, clenching up on him as best I can in an effort to mimic some of my favorite girls. He jerks once and then he’s erupting, shooting like a hose into me.

I start pulling off, more than ready to head home and put this bizarre night/morning behind me when he catches me by my hips, yanking me down hard. I moan, back arching into the sharp collision. His cum gushes out of me, making a liquidy mess of my ass, as he holds me there, lets me feel it dripping out of me.

“I-I–!” I cut off on a sharp cry, back bowing as he lifts me up and fucks me in short, fast thrusts, frothing up his juices inside me and making me twitch to life. He groans and sits up, catches me by the chin, and rubs his tongue along my bottom lip. “I-I thought you s-said–”

Mr. Oakley slides his thumb into my mouth, shushing me as he pulls out completely. He looks behind me, no doubt watching as his thick, foamy cream drips free. “So erotic,” he murmurs, his cock throbbing noticeably in agreement when he plugs me up with it. His thumb presses down on my tongue as his other hand finds my wet hole, petting the soaked ring as it clenches on his shaft. He bucks into me, gives me two quick thrusts before he remembers what fun he’s having and goes back to playing.

He curls a finger into me pulling my hole out of shape and I can’t help but shiver when I start dripping his cum down his dick. “St-stop,” I gasp escaping his thumb with a single twist of my head, “you said only a little more!”

“Yeah,” he says evenly, “just a little more, boy, so keep giving it to me ‘till I say enough. I’m nowhere near satisfied with this tiny tasting. Or do you want your Daddy to get my money or not?”

I groan under my breath, not because he threatened me, but because I can feel him thickening to his full size inside me. He’s excited. In a last ditch effort, I push him back down and quickly, clumsily clamber off of him. Practically stumbling from the bed, I take two, three steps and then a sharp bolt of pain rolls up my backside and I’m on my knees.

“What . . . the fuck,” I take in a long, shaky breath, “did you do to me?!”

He chuckles, drawing my attention, and I immediately regret it. There, above me, he sits on the edge of his bed, looking like a hulking giant with one of the longest, thickest erections I have ever seen. An electrified jolt goes through my dick, stiffening it up fully for him. A soft whimper catches in my throat. All humor falls from his face, a purely predatory glint taking over his gaze. Without thinking, I shift forward on my knees.

Entranced, I watch as thick fingers wrap around his base, squeeze it up halfway and then go back down. And then, he’s pointing it my way and rubbing his tense balls in the other hand. His glistening head beckons me like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, my fate sealed by the appearance of a white pearl dripping out. It curves down the underside, leaving a trail of slick, mouth-watering skin. And then I’m catching it, following its path with his hands in my hair and my hands replacing his. I keep my eyes closed in shame, my entire body sensitized to his gaze being on my face, my ass, my dick.

I take him onto my tongue, into my mouth, and only let my eyes rise when I swallow him down, my body remembering the way he told me to breath last night, to swallow every inch and hum around him. I do as he asked yesterday and he groans like a man on the verge of coming.

“Be a good boy now, Luka, and get that ass on my cock. I have no intentions of coming anywhere else,” he practically growls the words his voice a low rumble across my senses. It vibrates my nerve-endings, tingles through my dick, and draws me up into his lap once more.

But Mr. Oakley is not to be fooled twice, he rolls us around, gets me bent over the edge, cheek pressed to the sheets as he steps up to the edge of the mattress and sheathes himself in my sensitized hole in one swift, hard motion. I arc off the bed, hands grabbing at the mattress as he rams himself into my stomach over and over and over, fucking me relentlessly, punishingly hard. I squirm on his cock, body pulsing like mad as he takes what he wants, chasing his climax rough and fast, heedless of my needs.

I leak like a faucet on his blankets, my mind going numb, my body’s entire focus being on my ass and mouth. My cries are higher now, more feminine as I get closer and closer, eyes closing, giving into being treated as an easy whore in favor of the sweet, sweet orgasm coming my way.

It hits me out of the blue, ripping through me in heavy tidal waves as Mr. Oakley thickens, swells on the cusp of–

We both moan in pleasure when he gives me his second load, my eyes sliding closed in relief, slumping over the edge when he finally pulls out of me. He’s done. We’re finally done. My legs tremble, threatening to give out from under me. And then his hands are scooping me up against his chest and depositing me onto the bed. For a moment, when he’s standing beside me, the horrifying thought goes through my head that he wants to go again, but then he’s folding his arms over his chest and stepping away and the fear dissipates.

“When you’re able to stand, join me in the shower. I’ll clean you,” he says, his voice as firm as steel, and then he’s gone disappearing through the bathroom door.

And the fear has returned!

Utterly unwilling to do anything else even remotely dangerous with him again, I sit up and look around for my clothes, wanting nothing more than to bathe in my own shower. When I don’t spot anything of mine, I take to his dresser, making my wobbly, hunched-over way there and digging through his clothes. In the end, I find one black sock, one red one, a blue cardigan, and a pair of gray sweatpants. Oh, how my stylist would weep.

To avoid the catastrophe of having to explain the mess I’d make of his clothes to the maids, I use his discarded shirt on the floor to wipe myself as clean as possible and wear the mismatched socks as shoes on my way out. Getting outside is easy enough, realizing I have no keys, wallet, or phone is noticeably harder. With a quick glance back at the Oakley’s God forsaken house, I decide a seven mile walk home is more than worth it.

About halfway through the first mile I realize how hard poor people must have it. A half mile later, I decide I need to get a car that has buttons instead of key slots. A half mile after that, I come to understand what “starvation” truly is as my stomach eats my kidneys. By the time I reach halfway, I have to sit down under some trees by the side of the road and pray for it to rain perfectly purified bottled water. And I’m thoroughly convinced by the time I reach the main gate that the “walk of shame” should henceforth be known as the “walk of Hellish suffering” so that all who hear of it can properly sympathize.

After terrifying the gatesmen and sending the kitchen into a tizzy about providing the “haggard Young Master” with a nutritional meal, seeing my calm, judgment free bedroom brings a great sense of relief. One that is quickly out done by a refreshingly hot shower, a thorough scrubbing, and a clean, neatly pressed outfit. My oasis only gets better when a maid comes in with a fruity Gorgonzola salad with a strawberry vinaigrette dressing. Oh, how sweet it is to be victorious!

Sure, I slept with a guy, but my dad’ll keep his deal, never know, and I get to continue along the path of being his only successor. Almost a complete victory! I’m on the verge of making myself forget all about the incident when a knock comes on my bedroom door.

“Young Master, your father requests your presence in his office. Mister James Oakley is here,” says Miss Rita, our aged housekeeper.

“Of course, he is,” I mutter to myself, but call out to her that I’ll be down in a minute.

Exiting the bathroom, I avoid looking towards my messy bed and instead head for my closet, pulling back one door and grabbing the first pre-made outfit I see. Thankfully, it’s not terribly “I’m trying way too hard” like most of the others my father has stashed away there, so I don’t mind getting dressed. Once I’m decked out in a pair of light gray slacks and a white button up, I suck in a deep breath and make my way down the hall and around the wide center of the house, to the study in the Western Wing.

I only find myself hesitating when the dark brown doors are before me, one hand stretched out towards the gold handle but unable to grasp it. On my wrist there are two faint, purple outlines. Last night’s memory flashes through my mind. I shudder and shake it off, forcing myself into the room. That wasn’t me last night. I would never allow someone to top me. I keep that in mind as the doors close behind me.

My father’s study is just as it used to be: bragging with rows upon rows of trophies and books that he’s never read. But one thing has changed: in my favorite seat sits a man with wide shoulders and thick brown hair, dressed in a professional black suit. Gone are the faded jeans and dirty hands, and in their place is a man who is visibly worth more than my entire town.

“So glad you could join us, Luka! We were just talking about you,” my father says with a prideful grin, his eyes flickering towards Mr. Oakley for approval. From my perspective the man doesn’t move a muscle, but from the way my father practically scrambles to find the words to say, he must’ve. “You just started your break, right? Well, I don’t have a position open at the company right now, so instead of wasting away all summer, Mr. Oakley’s agreed to let you work with him on his farm. He’s been shorthanded since he moved, so he could use the help.”

“No!” The answer is instantaneous. I don’t even need to think about it. There’s no way I’m–.

“Bad boy.” I shiver at the sound of his voice, looking towards my dad to see if he heard the barely audible whisper, but he’s just staring at me aghast, deaf to the man before him. My hands clench in my pockets, mouth opening to tell my dad again, but his guest overrides me. “Would you mind, Richard? Just give me a few minutes, and I’ll be able to convince him.”

My father glares pointedly my way, reminding me wordlessly that the deal is immensely more important than my summer, and murmurs his agreement. He slips out the side door, grumbling under his breath about his ungrateful son as he abandons me to the monster. As soon as he’s out of sight, my skin is crawling with goosebumps, and my limbs have gone completely stiff. Paralyzed, I watch on helplessly as Mr. Oakley stands, and comes around in front of me. He doesn’t touch me just stares down at me in that silently prying way of his. And then his hand is reaching into his pocket and pulling out his phone.

He taps the screen twice and then turns it towards me.

I stumble back a step, jaw dropping in horror. There on his screen, I’m bent slightly over, holding myself open for him, and dripping all over myself. “No . . . “ I breathe out in disbelief, watching it change to another shot and another and another. The only similarity between each one is the pink-faced, desperate star: me. I blink in disbelief, and the phone disappears into his pocket.

“Invite me up to your room.”

I groan in defeat, slumping back against the doors I entered through. He steps closer and closer, stalking me unabashedly. My voice cracks as I call out, “Dad, we’re going up to my wing to talk some more.”

He hums. “Good boy. Lead the way.”

The walk is short. So short. But the entire way, I can’t help being incredibly aware of his intentions. He practically wraps them around my neck and chokes me with them with how close he walks to me, his hand placed dangerously low on my back, almost all the way in my pants already. And when my door comes up before us, I can’t help but contemplate going past it down the hall and leading him in a perpetual loop. A part of me knows better and pushes the door open.

As soon as it closes behind us, I’m pinned against its flat surface. Mr. Oakley presses his cock against my back and cages me in with his arms. His hips sway forward and I arch into the wood, hands scratching at it when he chases me, pushes in hard between my cheeks. My spine is wracked with shivers, and then his hands are on my hips and I’m groaning my defeat already. He grinds us together, moves me up and down his cock and teases me with hard mock-thrusts that make my head spin. I may not want to admit it, but I remember how good he made me feel. My dick twitches with excitement at what’s to come. I dig my fingers into the wood as much as I can and try not to squirm with every firm thrust he gives me, his hard erection sliding up and down my ass, mocking me.

He doesn’t say a word about how much I want it, just reaches around my hips with both hands and grabs onto my zipper. I almost whimper it feels so good to be taken into his fist, my balls cupped in his rough, hot palm. And then he’s stroking me in tandem with his dry humping, and I can’t possibly stay still. All the blood in my body is draining to his fingers, stiffening me fully in his hands and working my hips to grind myself harder on him.

“Fuck. Me.” I pant with every word, head tipping back to glare at him over my shoulder. His eyes twinkle with a smirk, and then his tongue is licking at my lips. And I’m opening, meeting his tongue halfway and closing the gap. My fingers find his hair, pull his mouth close as my other hand finds his raging hard-on. He throbs under my hand, bucking into me and pinning me tighter to the door.

“You don’t deserve it, boy,” he growls into my mouth, but lets me open his pants anyways. His erection is feverishly hot, pulsing madly when I wrap my fingers around it.

I suck in a harsh breath when he presses his thumb into my tip, wordlessly reminding me that he can stop me from coming. I rub him nice and smooth, flicking the tip on the pad of my thumb and thoroughly loving the way his grip tightens in all around me. Tilting my head back even further, I nuzzle his neck and whisper more fuel into the fire, “If you want something, take it.”

He practically shoves me into the door, my pants hitting my knees as his fingers dive into my heat. “You’re coming home with me and you’ll stay there until I’m done with you,” he orders me in a whisper, punctuating exactly what his message implies by shoving his fingers against my sweet spot. I moan freely, revelling in the way he immediately jams his fingers in my mouth, and holds my head back on his shoulder, taking command of my every movement. “And then you’ll come again the next day and the next,” he pulls his fingers out of my ass and replaces them with every inch of his throbbing cock, “and the next.” The last words are like liquid lava on a sigh of pleasure, he so obviously enjoys sheathing himself in me.

I gasp around his digits in my mouth, my nails scraping at the wood as he pounds me into it. He avoids my spot and fucks me hard and fast, doing exactly as I’d said: taking what he wants. This is for his pleasure. I moan loudly at the knowledge, arching my hips into his thrusts and letting him use me. James shifts his grip from my jaw to my neck, asserting himself even as he rubs my prostate raw on his shaft. The need to come builds in my stomach, trickling down my dick and coming out as heavy, white drops.

All at once, he’s out of me.

I slump against my bedroom door chest heaving and painfully aroused. Before I can get so much as a question out, he’s already telling me what to do. “Turn around.” I do as told.

He reaches out, cups the back of my neck and pulls. I frown against his lips, more than a bit confused when he licks gently at the dip between mine. I open and he pulls back.

“Get on the bed.” I blink unsurely up at him, one eyebrow lifting before I remember the faint ache to my hips. Then, I get on like he said to. “Good boy,” he whispers as he places one knee onto the edge and lazily strokes at his dripping length, “now, on your back, legs open.”

He watches me for a moment, just slowly takes in every exposed inch of me, and then sets the other knee on the bed. I almost squirm it’s so frustrating to watch him slowly get closer and closer. And then he’s right between my legs and I’m sitting up, wrapping my arms around his neck and–

He pushes me back down. “Bad boy.” I flinch and groan in acute agony, chest tightening as I toss my head back against my mattress.

“Touch me,” I demand through gritted teeth, glaring at him for all I’m worth, “fuck me. Do. Something!”

His lips curl upwards, his hands landing just inches from my sides. I have to fist my blanket to keep from grabbing at him. He’s just watching me. Staring right into my eyes as he drives me fucking insane. I scratch at the comforter, drag more of it into my clutches. Mr. Oakley full out smiles now and leans off of me, slowly, meticulously unbuttoning his shirt. Every muscle in my body stiffens. Not because he’s so wonderfully tanned or muscled — which he is — but because I want to touch him, to lick every inch of his caramel toned chest and run my fingers through the faint brown curls peeking out the top of his pants. I want to bite into his shoulder and wrap my legs around his trim hips and scratch him until he bleeds.

I moan in defeat and grab onto him, pulling him down and taking his bottom lip into my mouth. “I can’t. I want it,” my voice is thick and soft and desperate. God, but I’m desperate. His hips slide up between my wide open legs and I shiver, closing them in around him as I nip at his bottom lip. “Take me.”

I whimper at the slow grind of his hips. My nails finally sink into his golden, delicious back. It ripples beneath my touch. And then my fingers are moving down and he’s thrusting his cock against me.

His hands push my thighs back, spread me open for his shaft. He rubs his head on my hole. I shudder, every part of me open and waiting for him to give it to me. He ducks his head to my ear and presses a little harder. My eyes almost roll back in my skull. It’s torture. He wants to torture me to death. His tongue rings a small patch of skin as he pushes just a little bit more. I wet my lips slowly, hungrily. Almost there. It’s almost in. Just a little bit more pressure.

“Bad boys get nothing.”

The words are so soft I almost don’t hear them, but I certainly take note when he gets off the bed entirely. No, nonono! I lift onto my hands and stare aghast as he pulls back on his shirt and zips his pants. Without thought, I’m on my knees at the edge, reaching for him. “No, I was good. I was totally good!” He eyes my outstretched hands incredulously. I drop them, reflexively hiding them behind my back. “I mean, I can be good. I’ll be good, I promise!”

He sighs and rolls up his sleeves, taking one agonizingly slow step back towards me. Anticipation gnaws at my insides, makes my hole tighten up and loosen like a starved, waiting mouth. But then his lips are descending on mine and my ass is the last thing on my mind. My eyes drop to his lips, head tipping back and hands fisting behind me, the nearer he gets.

He’s barely a hair’s breadth away, just about to make contact, when he stops. His tongue snakes across the thin gap between his lips, skirting along that same bottom one that I had just had in my mouth, nibbling on it, on the verge of finally having sex. “The next time I fuck you, you’ll be in my house, begging me for it. So go be a good boy and tell your daddy you’re working for me this summer. I’ll supply your transportation. Don’t wear any underwear.”

I shiver, goosebumps flooding across my skin as he calmly steps away from me and leaves the room. Working for Mr. Oakley, I roll the idea around in my sex-clogged brain, but all that I can really focus on are those two words: next time. He wants to fuck me again.

I shudder, sparks of excitement rolling down my spine. I hunch over my knees, groaning at how quickly my body’s already reacting. He was just inside me not even ten minutes ago and I’m already like this, wet and hard and so, so ready to feel him looming over me again.

“Crap, this is madness,” I mutter into my mattress.

Still, I get to my feet, gingerly getting back into my clothes and straightening them out. I glance forlornly at my boxers, but leave them at the foot of my bed, abandoning them there as I make my way back to my father’s business study.

I don’t hesitate this time when I reach the double doors leading to my dad’s study. I push my way inside and keep my eyes off the person sitting in my chair. My father watches me expectantly, his eyes slightly narrowed.

My mouth opens. The words I want to say are lodged in the back of my throat. I can feel them, the thick knot they form, and try to cough them free. Nothing. I swallow them down and try to distract myself. “How’s the deal coming along?” James shifts in his chair. Wrong. That wasn’t what I was supposed to say, I know.

My father’s expression immediately lightens up, his fingers stroking the curled edge of his mustache. “We just signed it yesterday morning. Your mother’s already preparing the party arrangements.”


If I Stop Talking (June 4th, 2018)

Like Josh and Patrick and Melanie and Vanessa, like my great aunts, my uncle, my cousins, my mother: if I stop talking, will you forget me?

It’s stiflingly obvious, a reoccuring pattern from the time I was eight to today, and it lingers at the base of my throat like a shackle that pinches at my bones and holds my tongue.

If I don’t make a sound, will you not see me anymore?

If I hold my breath, will I pass before your sight? A gossamer haze that you simply have to blink to see through?

I can’t say a word. I can’t move my arms. My throat is tight and my bones are heavy. Can you see me? I’m too afraid to move, too hopeless to try. Because if I move, you’ll have to acknowledge it: the fact that you forgot me.

“Who’s this?”

“Do I know you?”

“Have I met you before?”

I wish I were braver.

Maybe I could scream. Give a shout. Grab your shoulders and shake your head to the floor. Maybe I could say the things I want to say, ask the questions clouding up my lungs.

But my body is heavy and tired, and I’m so full of fear that I’m paralyzed. I open my mouth. See me. Hear me. Tell me you know me. Does anyone know that I’m here?

But the pattern is clear. The path ahead is too well trodden. I know what will happen. The pain of pure silence is nothing compared to the vocalized proof.

I will not move. I will not speak. I could not if I wanted to. Because like Josh and Patrick and Melanie and Vanessa, like my great aunts, my uncle, my cousins, my mother, like the people I haven’t said a word to yet, if I stop talking, you will forget me.

And on days like this, when the list in my head only grows, I can’t help but think: if I were to stop breathing, would I cease to exist?

Stream of Consciousness (6)

May 6th, 2018

If the moon were a person, I’m sure I’d be married.

It’s hard to explain something I have not and will not ever come to know, let alone possess. Fumbling, I can only grasp at words that cannot quite touch my reality. Beauty, grace, refined. She is all of these. Astounding, enchanting, distracting. I cannot wrap her form in the fragile bindings of my own language, cannot trap the astounding nature of her being in the labels that would only dull the truth.

Yearning like nothing I’ve ever known before, bright and burning, clawing up the back of my throat, clogging my eyes and ringing my brain to a strained rag. It fills my chest with bees, rattles the cage made up of my ribs and their sting, that biting pain, prickles upon my sting. I seek her likeness in the puddles of stars, in the flashes of light at the corner of my eyes.

And when I finally find her,

Oh, the relief!

Uncomparable. Insurmountable. It washes over me like the loving caress of a lover. It soothes my mind, slackens my shoulders, smooths my hair, and weakens my knees. I can breathe again. I can see. Nothing could undo my peace in that moment. Rain or sleet, I am serene, my chin lifting to bask in the kiss of her light folding around my cheeks like soft, gentle hands. I am hers and I know it. Her face will be the only thing flashing before my eyes when I pass on. And I know it.

Stream of Consciousness (5)

May 6th, 2018

Pedals fall like broken fragments of a body once whole, torn from what they had known without a semblance of mercy by an unassuming breeze. An army of pearly white dancers, the beauty of their downfall captures the eye and is relinquished only in the face of stubborn, jarring reality.

Stream of Consciousness (4)

March 35, 2018

Piece Three

Hollow, sweet words leave cavities, rotting holes in a holding cell waiting for the non-artificial it was promised so long ago. Holes piling up like grains of sand on the shoreline, soon it forgets it ever had teeth at all and loses the will to yearn for something that is never coming.

Stream of Consciousness (3)

March 35, 2018

Piece Two

In the dead of the night, we turn our faces to the sky, our strides lengthening until it seems as if on the next step our soles will land in the inky black backdrop of the stars and we’ll be lifted from this plane and set to walk the path of the eternal cosmos. We are made of the stars. We are the children of the moon, siblings of the universe, destined for one endless horizon.


Stream of Consciousness

February 21, 2018

It was like rain, falling in quiet drops, pooling in the crevices of my heart, slowly building, gathering its strength. It overpowered with a silent ferocity that bore the voice of a pride of lions, each clamoring for recognition. And like mist upon a summer-time lake, it evaded my frantic attempts to possess it, to take it into my hands and give it tangible shape.

In a Swing State

Two balls attached to conjoined strings,

We drop from the same height.

On opposite sides of a crater, we fall;

Me, a bit faster, harder than you.

Plummeting, a crash is inevitable.

At the bottom of our swing, we shy away —

Me, out of fear; you, something unknown.

Arcing back up to our original height,

Gravity pulls us back down, reinitiates

The fall that we’re both resisting.

Shyly, weakly, we evade each other;

Over and over, we give up and then in.

Written Sept. 1st, 2017

Savage: Part One, Chapter Two

Yes, this is late. Very late. Like a week and some change late, but I have my reasons — mainly, lack of wifi.

(Link back to chapter one in case you missed it)

~ |Let’s Begin| ~ 

Near the edge of the forest lining the northern kingdom, the Fenza’s half of the basin, sits a cluster of triangular white tents, held up with thick black branches taken from the sturdiest never-green trees, all facing outward from one large central tent. They form a wide, oval-like ring around it, erecting a barrier against any attacks that might come its way. Within each tent, resides a number of warriors ranging from three to seven per dwelling, most are taking quick naps, and the others are waiting for the signal to pack up and set out again. The men are warriors, used to constant motion and battling until the last man falls. Remaining stagnant is not one of their favorite pastimes.

To avoid being in one place for too long, the Fenza warriors travel about in little packs among the tents. The packs seem to be determined by the type of weapon the men carry more than comradery, as the swordsmen stay with the swordsmen and archers with archers. No matter their equipment, though, every man moves carefully, always looking outward from the camp or scanning the trees. One thing appears to remain below their range of sight: the unpainted folk scattered throughout the camp. None of the warriors so much as glance at the unpainted, unarmed folk going about their business in the very center of their irregular circle, some tending to a large, black-encrusted cauldron, others carrying armfuls of weapons or what looks to be armor, each of them in an equally as frenzied hurry.

However, no matter what the men hold or where they’re supposed to be looking, they all gradually slow and stare at the blonde female standing at the entrance of the tiny tent hidden in the shadows of their captain’s – the one that’s supposed to contain the blessings of the sky and the king and nothing else.

Sophia stares out at the bizarre camp she’s found herself in, one hand lifted to keep the flap of thin white fabric out of her face, the other clutched to her chest. There are men everywhere. And almost each and every one of them is carrying a weapon. There isn’t a single woman to be seen, not a hint of femininity in the hulking, muscled natives marching back and forth, pacing the little space there is between the tent she’s in and the ones surrounding it.

Am I on lockdown? She wonders, her eyes trying to pick out any specific men sent to guard her, but it’s impossible. Every person she sees looks like they’re on duty, too tense to possibly be off the clock. In fact, the men look so strung out that she’s almost led to believe that she’s been placed in the middle of an army on their way to battle, but that would be ridiculous. There’s no way she could be so unlucky.

She remembers the woman she’d seen with the long blade still wet with blood.

Or, she thinks to herself, I’m indeed that unlucky.

There’s a swift, whoosh of air from the tent beside hers. She steps a little further from her own. One hesitant foot settles upon the bare soil beyond the wooden bottom of her maybe-prison as her eyes turn curiously towards the source of the sound. Almost immediately, she’s being pushed back.

The stranger wraps their arms around her. Over their pale shoulder, she sees many a person beyond the tent to grind to an absolute halt. Sophia attempts to wedge her arms up between them, only to feel something drape itself around her from behind, her forearms meeting with air as the person leans slightly out of her personal space. A warm, thick fabric is yanked against her hips, sliding up higher towards her ribs as the bottom end of it brushes against her ankles. Her attacker steps back. With nimble fingers, the savage woman from the black forest knots the ends of a beige blanket at Sophia’s hips, effectively giving her some sort of makeshift skirt.

Without missing a beat, the woman starts singing again, her voice almost lulling the girl into not noticing how she’s being steadily backed into her tent. She looks down, taking in the assertive, short strides forward of the warrior, and forcibly remains in place. Before they can be brought chest to chest by the woman’s stubborn pace, the native draws back, one brow raised at the smaller girl as if to goad her into continuing to move on her own. Agitated, Sophia snatches up the ends of the blanket and starts undoing it, tossing it to the side while the woman’s singing gets faster and faster. As soon as the thing falls to the ground, though, the painted lady takes note of what she’s done and cuts off, leaving a chill silence in the air. The calm, placid expression she’d had on evaporates.

Her yellow eyes spark like flint, spitting up flames so hot that Sophia’s almost surprised the skin surrounding them doesn’t burn off. Before the royally ticked off stranger can start speaking a language she doesn’t understand, she decides to speak up. If she hasn’t been gutted by the many swords strapped onto the person before her, then she can at least assume that no one here is interested in killing her, right? Right, she assures herself and sucks in a deep breath.

“Thank you for the, um, blanket?” She hesitates, her gaze straying towards the fallen fabric. What if that was some symbol of kindness and I shouldn’t have let it touch the ground? Do those things happen? Too late either way, I guess. With a shake of her head, she turns her attention back to the completely still woman before her. “I’m not cold, though. I’m actually pretty used to the cold, so if I could just—”

Before she can take so much as a step, the lady’s heaving a deep sigh of defeat and rubbing the heel of her palm into her forehead. The native inhales dramatically, drops the hand back to her hip, and rubs her lips together. Her brows furrow in concentration and then she’s lifting one finger out, the tip directed at Sophia.

“Speck Engrish?”

“Speck?” The woman releases a long, strained breath, and motions with her other hand, moving it up from the base of her throat to the end of her chin. She presses her fingers to her lips and then tilts them outward like a flap. “Oh!” Sophia almost laughs when she realizes what the other female is saying, a pleased smile curling at her lips. They can talk now. “Yes, yes, I speak English!”

Despite her own joy at finding out that the native recognizes the words she’s saying, the woman herself looks the complete opposite, her expression contorted as if she’s stepped on a beehive and can’t free her foot from it. Her arms fold across her chest, her gaze straying down towards the ground. Sophia watches on curiously as her lips curl, compress together. The girl looks down with her, and tilts her sneakers out to the side, wondering if she might have stepped in something, but finds nothing to suggest as much.

Shrugging it off, she returns to looking at the upset person. “So, as I was saying, can I go outside? Or maybe to somewhere with running water? Do you have that yet? What time is it? Have you learned of Henry Ford? Or . . .” she trails off at the rapid blinking of the other woman’s eyelids. They both stare at one another for a moment, the red painted woman looking rather annoyed.

Then, as if she’s heard all that she needs to, the native spins about, and rips back open the material covering the front of the tent. Sophia hurries after her, watching the woman march straight across the open center of the camp and grab a man by the shoulder. When he attempts to peer over the woman to Sophia’s tent, she can just barely make out the swift, light sound of the native’s familiar singing. It’s more effective than she’d thought it would be. The man snaps to attention, listens intently to what his superior has to say, and then rushes in the opposite direction, disappearing in the surrounding teepee-shaped tents. That settled, the woman turns about face sharply, heading directly for Sophia.

Stepping back quickly, she instinctively lets the entryway fall closed and immediately feels ridiculous for doing so. She’s already been seen. Almost as soon as she turns away, the sound of the flap being yanked up, draws her back around. There, standing just within the triangular gap, the female scowls and directs one sharp finger her way. “No to move,” she says and then the fabric is falling, sealing her captive back into the dimly lit tent.

Arms wrapping about her waist, Sophia pivots where she stands, taking in the tiny, cramped quarters she’s found herself stuck in. In this place, she doesn’t have to be freaked out first to feel like the walls are caving in around her. They already are. At a sharp tilt, they connect right above her head, leaving her about two feet to walk around in any direction, minus the far wall where she would bump into all the black and gold boxes piled up against it.

Squatting down, she scoops up the dense, fuzzy blanket the woman had tried to attach to her, and looks towards the rolled up cot she’d woken up on. It wasn’t the most uncomfortable experience of her life – minus the whole not knowing where she was, being about two inches off the wooden floor, and scurrying outside only to see a small army of armed men. Yeah, other than that, she’d had a rather restful sleep, one of the best of her life, in fact. Before she’d remembered being forced to travel through time, she’d actually thought that she’d managed to leave behind all her nightmares of her mother. Instead, it turned out that she’d simply replaced them with a new one known as reality outside of her father’s compound.

Shivering, she draws the blanket around her shoulders and glances back at the closed entrance to her tent. Who knew she’d go from being his prisoner to someone else’s?

“Two months,” she whispers softly to herself.

She’d been telling herself that since the summer had begun. Two more months and she’d be eighteen. She’d be a legal adult, and he wouldn’t be able to keep her locked up behind the estate’s gates, wouldn’t have a reason to keep his wife’s murderer under constant supervision. She could’ve been free. Instead, she’s rid of the gates and the grown-ups constantly treating her like she’s porcelain, and has replaced them with strangers who walk around ready and willing to kill at any time.

If the sponsors had waited two months to try to threaten her father into working faster, she’d be away, safely tucked away somewhere else, somewhere far from their guns and their misguided ultimatums. Their fault most definitely lied in their choice of bait. They would’ve had better luck trying to convince him if they had chosen the guard dogs as their captive. Looks like she wasn’t the only one who was screwed over that day. If they’d chosen more wisely, perhaps they would have gotten somewhere but now . . .

The reminder of their failure is pleasing, makes her think for just a moment that she’s not the only one who makes bad decisions.

Slightly comforted despite her predicament, she reaches out and unrolls the thick little rectangle she’d been using as a bed. It extends almost the entire length of the tent, stopping just before it reaches the opposite wall. She gingerly lays down on it, being careful not to irritate her already sore-feeling back, the muscles pulling taut as she wiggles onto her side. Keeping her eyes on the bit of fuzzy, gray-ish brown light illuminating the edges of the tent’s entrance, she slowly, gradually feels the pull of sleep coming over her, creeping up on her from behind now that she’s a bit more content.

~ | ~ | ~

Slédaun stares down at the map of the basin, her shoulders hunched over and her hands tightly wound about the edge of the wooden table. She should be seeing the tiny black flags marking the enemy camps littered throughout the Jinza territory and the white ones spread along the Fenza’s length of woods, but she sees none of it. Instead, there’s a dainty, blonde intruder before her with eyes the color of the sky in all the picture books her scholarly friends used to sneak to her. A sky person, then. She has a sky person in her camp, and she speaks the language of the leaders of old: English.

The warrior pushes away from the tattered, worn map, snorting under her breath. What was it that Emsamni had always told her? She should learn beside him because it might help her out when the outside people finally break through the mountains?

She takes to pacing the length of her tent once more, her wrist grasped tightly behind her back.

“I’m a warrior,” she reminds herself, “what need would a warrior like me have for such a useless, dead language? None!”

No matter how she might repeat the phrase she’d answer her linguist friend with, she cannot shake the facts so clearly set before her. There’s a sky person in her camp. She speaks English, but Slédaun does not because she had always scoffed at the idea of learning it. Emsamni would laugh in her face and hold it over her head forever.

Despite how much she wishes to keep her old friend away, she’d had no choice but to summon him. He’s the most skilled of his teacher’s students. If anyone can translate the girl’s words and manage to keep their mouth closed about what they discuss, it’s him. She has to trust in him since she doesn’t know anyone as well as she knows him. He can keep this secret until His Majesty decides what to do with it.

Shaking her head, she returns to the table, presses her palms to the cool wood and drops her head in defeat. That’s it then, isn’t it? The linguist will never stop talking about how her stubbornness got in the way of being capable of taking care of this on her own, but at least she will deliver onto His Majesty a reason to be happy once again. She will.

Nodding in satisfaction, she turns her attention back to the map, putting the mutant behind her.

“Champion of the People!”

Spinning, she clasps her hands behind her and regards the kneeling warrior before her curiously. She’d made it clear earlier that she did not wish to be disturbed. This man is either very dumb or carries very important information. “Speak your piece,” she tells him coolly.

He presses his fist to his heart and bows his head, gaining her full attention. Such deep regard, important information it is. “The Court’s man sent to observe Your Highness has rushed out of camp,” anger sparks in her chest at not receiving proper farewells, but the next words he utters is more than enough to douse it, “he wants the prostitute you picked up executed in the name of His Majesty.”

She steps forward quickly. “What did you call her?”

The warrior flinches, his chin practically touching his collarbone. “Forgive me. They are his words, not mine!”

The legs! She almost hisses in frustration. She’d tried to get the female to cover them up, but the presumptuous creature had taken off the covering almost as soon as Slédaun had managed to get it on her. Of course that power-seeking mongrel would seek out the fastest way to gain the favors of the Court: don’t talk to His Majesty’s favored captain first, just rush straight to the capital screaming about her dishonoring him.

Gritting her teeth, she tells the man slowly, carefully so as not to let on how offended she is, “Send out the scouts. Tell the surrounding villages that we have with us a sky person wishing to bless His Majesty. Make sure that it spreads fast, and I’ll reward you accordingly. Go now.”

She’s never engaged in scheming before. It’s an odd feeling, especially when mixed with the sting of bitterness lingering in her chest. His Majesty had warned her before that once the officials saw how quickly she’s rising, they would move against her in any way, but she’d never thought they’d go after the king’s reputation as well.

Turning about sharply, she slams her hands down against the table, her jaw gritted against the urge to hiss. It’s an undignified thing to do, a habit she hasn’t fully broken out of since her adolescent years that seems to be growing ever stronger lately. His Majesty, she wonders, how will he react with the two rumors headed his way? She surveys the land left to look over on the edge of the forest and wonders if she should just send out an exploratory branch and head back, move nearer to the capital.

“Champion of the People?”

That’s right. She’s one of the protectors of the nation.

She would let down the citizens if she were to allow a hidden band of Jins to sneak past her. She’ll carry out her duty even if it means giving the Court a chance to convene without her. Breathing in deep, she draws back her shoulders and stands a bit taller, secure in the fact that she can at least do her job and no one can find fault with that.

“Forgive me, but the pros—the guest refuses to eat.”

The voice behind her registers as she lets out the breath. Her eyes lift towards the roof of her tent. Why, she asks silently, why did the sky send down this person of all people? At every turn, she’s causing me problems. Steadying herself with a touch of her palm against the hilt of one of her daggers, she calls out, “You may go now. I’ll handle His Majesty’s guest.”

Looking longingly towards the expanse of land between the two kingdoms, Slédaun finds herself wishing for the chance to go there instead of the tent beside her own. It’s so much easier to go into battle than to deal with as temperamental a person as this sky creature. Clicking her tongue against the roof of her mouth, she moves away from the map and down the long fur marking the middle of her tent, heading out into the open air. A few of her newer warriors bow at the sight of her, pressing their fists to their hearts and ducking their chins to their collarbones. She lifts her own hand to her chest and swiftly makes her way to her guest. Being regarded as a leader is odd for her still, but she can only hope that it doesn’t show or the Court will have even more to talk about.

Entering the small home of the sky person, the warrior doesn’t spare a glance for the unmarked servant, dismissing them with a flick of her wrist. The scrawny male places the bowl of porridge on the ground beside her feet and scurries out of her sight, bowing deeply to her on his way. A shiver creeps up her shoulder blades but she lets it go. The faster she forgets her days as a servant, the sooner she can get on with her life.

More important, though, is the shivering girl curled up on the ground. The warrior eyes her warily, refusing to kneel even for His Majesty’s soon-to-be property. The blonde creature gives a full body shake that travels through the floorboards and up into the captain’s ankles. Slédaun hisses under her breath and heads back outside, looking around and trying to remember where she’d had the back up supplies stored. When nothing comes to mind, she waves down a passing servant.

“Bring me one . . . two blankets,” she orders, turning away as soon as she’s done passing on her wishes, not bothering to watch the man hurry away to fulfill it. He’ll either do it or his life will be added to a number of men who have fallen to her blade.

Entering the tent once more, she gets to one knee and grabs the bowl of lumpy porridge. She brings herself right next to the small creature, and marvels at how purple its lips have become. Frowning down at the food in her hands, she lifts the spoon to her mouth and takes a small bite. Freezing, she thinks bitterly, they’re trying to feed a frozen person cold gelatin.

“No wonder you won’t eat it,” she mutters, spinning about and standing. She steps back out, expecting to have to wave down a servant, but the one with the blankets is already within reach. Accepting the bulky items, she passes the bowl on into his hands and motions towards the fresh pot on the fire sitting in the middle of her warriors’ tents. “Send in a fresh, hot serving.”

Returning swiftly to the mutant’s side, she drops one cover to the ground and shakes the other out closest to the entrance. Blankets are so rarely used that there are large holes filling the outside of the one in her hands, the exterior looking ripped and ragged. It’s dense, though, and should be noticeably better at holding in heat than the skirt she’d given the girl earlier. Draping it across the knotted ball of shivers on the ground, she immediately picks up the other and attempts to shake off all of the dust on it.

Once the girl is covered up to the extent that she looks like a giant ringbug, all long and swollen, the warrior sits, legs crossed before her, tucked in close as she waits. The best way to warm a person is to get something hot inside of them. It’ll trick them into thinking they’re better off than they are. It’s while she’s waiting that she notices just how small the creature is.

Eyebrows coming together, she leans forward, eyes straining against the shadows covering the girl’s face. There, she thinks to herself, her skin is taut, stretched around the outline of her cheekbones. No wonder she’s cold. The mutant has not been eating well. Shaking her head at the foolishness of the sky person before her, it’s while Slédaun is reclining away from her that the entryway to the tent is retracted behind her.

Twisting a bit sideways, she holds one hand out for the steaming bowl and dismisses the servant back to his regular duties, having no need for him now that he’s fulfilled his tasks. Later, she’ll probably seek out the one in charge of them and inquire about his name, but until then she has other things to busy herself with, like the freezing creature before her.

“Come, little alien, time to eat the nastiest thing that will ever pass those purple lips,” she calls, making her voice as soothing as she can manage.

The sound is familiar, one she’d heard herself produce only once before: when the creature had started teetering back and forth in the forest, looking like a newborn that had strayed too far from its home and had lost the way back. It’s hard to coolly dismiss newborns. They’re the most innocent beings on Earth.

The creature stirs, mumbles something in English under its breath and then presents its back to the warrior. Slédaun’s lips twist around a sour taste in her mouth. How odd, she muses as she reaches in under the covers and wraps an arm around the creature’s waist, that I should go from being uncomfortable with being regarded as a superior to being upset at being disregarded. She gives a light chuckle and shifts forward, guiding the girl up against her side.

The blankets slip away from her shoulders, drifting down her torso and the sky girl immediately curls herself closer to the warrior. Fighting the urge to scoff at how dependent the mutant is on her, she hefts her a little higher, sitting her up properly. The giant ringbug doesn’t make a noise of complaint, just wiggles a bit closer as a ringbug does and attempts to slip deeper into the throes of sleep.

“Alright, up with you, mutant, and wake up!” Slédaun hisses, the last bit of her patience slipping through her fingers at the continued ignorance of the girl to how inappropriate her actions are. She bounces the thin little thing on her arm, watches her head bobble back and forth before stilling, guilt nibbling at her gut. Huffing, she places the bowl down to the side and shakes the girl awake with a hand on her shoulder.

Wide, pale blue eyes gaze up at her in shocked wonder.

The warrior stiffens, her body remaining fixed in place. Blue is a color unseen naturally on anyone here. Whether of the Jinza or Fenza, it is something you can get dyed into your skin or you can decorate your home with, but it has never been a part of someone’s natural coloring. Everyone Slédaun has ever met has either had brown or yellow eyes, neither of which are remotely close to the startling aquamarine irises suddenly being directed her way.

“What a combo,” she says aloud, knowing that the girl can’t understand a word she says, and also that it’ll definitely frustrate her to be left out, “golden hair and blue eyes. You could become a queen if you so choose.” The creature protests, her face scrunching up in disapproval of Slédaun speaking in a language she doesn’t know. “The feeling’s mutual,” the warrior tells her offhandedly as she looks over to her side and scoops back up the bowl of porridge.

Curious as to what the little mutant will do when she tastes it, she holds it out to her, inviting her in for a taste by making a pushing motion towards her with it. Hesitantly, the girl reaches out and grabs onto the sides, eyeing the white, goopy surface as if it’s bound to leap up out of the dish and try to bite off her nose. She sniffs at the rim, but it doesn’t have a smell. It’s made mostly out of potatoes from the villages mixed with melted ice from the mountains and fat ringbugs. As a warrior, Slédaun has always relied on this meal to develop and maintain her stamina and strength. It was a distasteful concoction in that it tasted like she was licking the bottom of a muddy rock, but it had proven its worth over the years. The worse it tastes the better it is for one’s health.

The girl sends her one last glance before grasping onto the spoon and bringing it to her lips. She watches on in barely suppressed delight as the metal utensil carries its mostly solid, goopy charge closer and closer. The creature’s entire face cringes, warps into a crinkly, wrinkled shell of itself. The warrior watches her closely, encouraging her to finish the bite with a quick motion of her free hand. This, she assumes, is precisely what her younger self had looked like attempting to fight back the rising bile and choke down the chunky paste that her people call porridge. It’s a wonder what the human race can get used to, from awful food to mutated animals and a constant covering of clouds blocking out the sun.

“What a stubborn race we are,” she muses, reaching out and pulling the blankets up closer to the child’s thin, frail-looking frame.

She doesn’t let it bother her that underneath the covers the girl’s partially naked, instead letting her perspective shift to think of the little creature as nothing more than a very large infant, ignorant to the culture of the rest of world. The description, she thinks, is accurate. The girl knows nothing of the language or customs, and has already shown that she is as opposed to the cuisine as most young children that must be sat down and forced to eat for a minimum of one harvest cycle in order to get used to it.

Does that make me the mother?

The thought is appalling, so she lets it go as soon as it takes place, shoving it out of her head before it can infect her.

Apparently feeding off of her agitation, the child rears its ugly head, throwing up words in her own language and babbling on incessantly. Slédaun forgets for a moment about what could be upsetting her until the girl’s practically shoving the dish back her way. Smiling in a way she hopes is comforting, she tries to think of the few words she knows for sure in English, but again all she can really think of is “no”, “to move,” and “thank you.” The three phrases Emsamni thought would come in handy the most for her. She’ll have to remember to thank him later for mocking her life as a warrior.

Now that she’s higher ranked, it’s probably about time that she looks over that dead language once more.

The creature leaning against her attempts to take another bite and cries out against it.

Perhaps the language can’t be considered dead when one of its native speakers is still alive and kicking. She eyes the colorless face of the girl, lingering on the dark purple of her lips. For how long, she wonders, will this little mutant stay that way, though? As she watches, the spoon dips back into the bowl, the need for food overcoming the disgusting quality, and she’s forced to note how even as a mutant creature-thing from the sky, this girl will still choose life over death just like anyone else in the basin.

Sighing deeply, she stiffens her spine and hefts the light child closer, welcoming her bony elbows and hips in favor of not being charged by Emsamni with freezing the only remnants of his precious dead language. She’d have that dangling over her head even longer than the fact that she has a sudden need to learn English.

“Stupid linguist,” Slédaun mutters to herself.