Tuesday, July 7, 2009

77 - Let Him kill me first

Warning: graphic content


When he disappeared and the crowd began their celebrations, drums and horns and bells and singing, waving banners, Father turned to me. A slave... I looked into his eyes and caught the fear in them only fleetingly as he gently pressed a cloth to the cut on my face.

“My amendment. Don’t ever try to interrupt like that again. You, leave off,” He commanded the slave. “Leave it. As a reminder to not interrupt me.”

I bowed my head as He threw the crumpled red kerchief at the bearer and got up. “Come along. You are still confined to the Marble Palace.” I offered Kyriala my arm and followed along meekly, hating him. Kaita brought a wailing Ilesias along behind, cleaning his face and hands of cream. Tears and cream. How like our lives. Never one thing, but always pain and pleasure mixed.

I was not to join the revelry in the city. I stood on the Presentation balcony and looked down toward the Mezem. The fans couldn’t parade Shefenkas through the streets because he was confined to the Mezem under Mahid guard, because of his status, but that didn’t seem to matter. The party went to him.

The next morning I woke up before Binshala opened my curtains and lay, looking up at the painting on the ceiling of my bed, a depiction of night, with the Gods encircling a band of moon phases. Muunas, right over my head, seemed less comforting than usual. All the Gods’ faces were closed to me and I wondered why the artist painted so many with their eyes closed. Perhaps it was because it was supposed to be night, but then... weren’t Gods supposed to be unsleeping as well as immortal?

I didn’t know where Shefenkas was. All this time he’d been down at the Mezem, almost as a kind of security. I knew where he was. I could... if I were careful, go down to him. I could get one of those world encompassing hugs of his. I could get advice. I could know he was – sort of – safe.

I knew where he was. I knew and didn’t want to think about it. I was too old to be playing stupid games of hide and seek to cover my sneaking into Meras’s offices and even then I doubted I would hear anything. I didn’t want to hear anything. There was nothing to stop Father from doing what he wanted now. Now was the time for the Yeolis to push their ransom negotiations if they wanted Shefenkas back. At all. I shuddered all over and my stomach clenched hard under my ribs.

I rolled over and put my pillow over my head as if that could shut out the nightmares I knew were happening or would happen soon. All in the bowels of the same building. In the cells even I had never seen. Where Misahis was if he were still alive. Living death if Father were merciful.

I sprang up, ignoring my startled attendants who were just coming in to see if I wished to rise, pushing past Oas in my headlong run. I closed the garderobe door in the attendant’s face, shutting them all out. I couldn’t vomit. There was nothing in my stomach but thin yellow bile and I finally managed to rid myself of that.

Father’s foul mood improved slowly over the rest of that month and it just made me sick. Sicker. I knew what that meant.


It was Eleventh Mikas. I remember padding down the corridor, for once silent without a single piece of jewellery on me, my hair braided back for the night, my belt pulled snug around my waist, the feel of silk against my legs.

Binshala touched my shoulder as I lay asleep and I’d jumped awake with a gasp. “Your Divine Father has summoned you, Spark of the Sun’s Ray. Immediately.” It was truly the Twelfth by now it was so late. She held my robe for me and my slippers.

I was still blinking sleep out of my eyes. “Ah, there you are, my boy, my little alter-ego!” my Father’s voice called from the bed, all but invisible behind the shimmering gold chains. “Come in here, I have something to show you."

The only lights were the two gold candelabra, each with its ten beeswax candles inside the gleaming curtain of gold chain, glass shards sparkling; the rest of the room was cavernous dark. Off to my right I could feel a faint breeze from the balcony doors, the atrium beyond was open enough to bring the air in from outside.

I approached and used a rod to let myself through the chains; it took some care to get through without getting nicked and I was sleepy enough to have to pay attention. “Welcome, my boy. I have a lesson for you,” He said. I turned and any words I could have said withered in my mouth. Muunas. My heart clenched with some emotion I could not name, a mix of hope and despair. Fourth Shefenkas lay across my Father’s lap in the bed. They were both naked, Father’s hand playing with his dark curls on his head and body. Shefenkas’s eyes were open, staring past my right shoulder, unseeing. I looked in vain for some spark of recognition, of understanding. Some sign he was still there. I remembered his gaze, fierce as an eagle; up at me the first time I ever saw him in the hall of testing, warm as a hug when he held onto me, but in all ways alive and vital.

Now his face was completely blank, dough-like, eerily like Father’s and he lay completely still, except for the slight movement of his ribs as he breathed and the occasional blink. It wasn’t Shefenkas. It couldn’t be. It was someone who looked like him. It couldn’t be Shefenkas. This was a horrible joke. “My son, look at him. Barbarity and animal disobedience transformed. Flawless clarity imposed on chaos.” Father pulled one of Shefenkas’s hands up and dropped it. It fell, perfectly limp, relaxed as a kitten’s, thump, onto the bed.

Then He raised the hand again and said, “Shefenkas, hold your hand there,” and let go. Shefenkas left it raised, fingers relaxed. “You see, my son. My greatest enemy, now completely safe, perfectly domesticated. You see?” “Yes, father,” I managed to choke out, and turned my strangled voice into a faked yawn so I could hide my mouth with my hand, and close my eyes. The tips of the fingers on Shefenkas’s raised hand were starting to tremble, ever so slightly.
“He will hold it there until he has no strength left or until I command otherwise. Sit, my son, sit, sit!” I could only sit on the edge of the bed, feel the water flow away under me, the edge cut in behind my knees. I wanted to look away, wanted to keep staring, clenching my teeth against nausea. They’d tortured him, broken him. That wasn’t him inside his body any more. There was no mind there. He was as empty as an automaton, waiting for Father to wind him up. I sat freely, feeling as though my hands were tied. Helpless. Helpless... no, he was truly helpless, not me. I was the son of the man who had done this to him.

That hand, paling as the blood drained out of it, hung un-naturally in the air, I’d seen it drive a sword through another gladiator’s heart, felt it hold my own shoulder in a hug warmer than I had ever felt, seen it clenched as he’d thrust out his arm defying Father in the ring. Go ahead, kill me, I am free. That bare, unadorned hand had become the symbol of strength to me and Father was playing with it like a toy. “You understand, son, that this is true power. To be able to fix one’s mind on a difficulty or a danger and with a word have it removed or transformed into a sane form.”

He looked down at Shefenkas’s face and traced the edge of the awful scar along his cheek with one finger. The whole arm was pale and trembling slightly now, but nothing changed in Shefenkas’s face. “You are predictable now,” Father said to him. “Obedient. Good boy. Drop the hand and come and serve me.” The hand fell again, as though a string had been cut and moving in a strange mix of grace and mindless awkwardness, Shefenkas turned his head and took my Father’s soft penis in his mouth. I wanted to look away, nausea choked me, but I didn’t dare. It can’t be him. It can’t. It’s some Yeoli who looks like him. He’s too skinny to be Shefenkas. It can’t be him.

Father wanted me to see, to understand. Father kept stroking his hair and spoke to me, instructing. “To break any wild dog that could savage you, yoke him to dogs of your own.” Mahid had had him all this time. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from Father’s hand, the Imperial seals all but part of it, seated as deep in the flesh as they were, clenching and unclenching in black curls, as his breath caught and he hardened. “Good boy,” he said. “That’s right. Take your nourishment from me.”

Father lay propped against the gold satin pillows, His thin gray-blond hair splayed out over both of them. His eyes opened as Shefenkas sucked on him as eagerly and attentively as an impoverished sex-boy. Father looked at me, gradually really looking at me. I stared back, trying to look attentive, suddenly more terrified if that were possible. What is He thinking? What is considering? He pushed Shefenkas away. “Stop, Shefenkas. Minis...” He usually didn’t use my name. I gulped. “Has your penis started rising yet?”
“Ah, ah,” I didn’t want to lie. But it had. I was dreaming of… mostly girls, something my betrothed. I’d woken up a time or two with my hand wrapped around myself, feeling nice, feeling peaceful but I hadn’t tried anything waking yet, still stinging from Ilian’s disgusting advances. “… not really, father.” He narrowed his eyes at me, spotting the evasion.

“What do you mean, not really? Yes or no?” He sat up more and looked me up and down. I looked away, at the dense gold shimmer of the chains. “Answer me, boy.” When his voice got soft like that, when the birthmark on his cheek darkened first before his cheek did, it was dangerous to defy him in any way.

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. Have you used anyone, yet? Made them lie down for you?”
“N-no, sir. Not yet.” I held my breath, wanting to run, wanting to flee. I could see it coming. I could see it and do nothing to stop it. It was like falling, everything was going slow and strange. I used to dream of falling, as though I’d been flung off the walls, watching the ground rise to meet me, rising like a hand about to smash an insect.
“Very good. Do you know these beasts have a term for the first time?” He slapped Shefenkas’s shoulder.
“No, Divine Sire.” One of my teeth grated as I closed my mouth clenching my jaw against the taste of bile in my throat.
“They call it ‘Initiation’. I think it will be singularly appropriate if my once greatest enemy initiates my son. Shef—”
“Most Divine Father, I would really rather not.” The scar on my face stung as if He'd just slapped me again. I slipped off the foot of the bed and stood with my back to the chains. He stared at me, pinning me with his blue, blue eyes; so cold, so enraged. I couldn’t help but think of a pair of dark brown eyes that had always, always seen me. I could feel tears rising though I swallowed them hard.
“What?” His voice was completely astonished, as if one of the Imperial Seals had come to life and bitten him. His mouth had dropped open as if His own hand had defied him.
“I... Ineffable Father, I’d rather not... no, sir. I don’t think I’d be capable...” He shook His head dismissing my reticense as accomplishment anxiety.

“Nonsense. There’s no one here but me to see your performance. If your penis stands you’re ready to learn pleasure. The highest pleasure, as I’ve told you, is power. Sit down.”

“No, Divine Will. I can’t. I...” I couldn’t bring myself to say “I won’t.” I’d seen this look directed at other people, the look that said ‘You are not being predictable, I shall have to fix that,’ with the rage underneath. I couldn’t breathe. 
“So shy? Sit. Down.”
“I... I don’t choose to, Sacred Sire.” There was no way out. Nowhere to run. I sidled along the foot of the bed away from Him, away from the shell of Shefenkas. Sweat poured down my armpits all down my side, along my spine and chest.
“Well I have a solution for your fear,” He said, almost whispering. “Do you choose to be my Heir?” I froze where I was. 
“Your Heir, Ineffable Sire?”
“Do it, or you aren’t.” Final. Flat as His eyes on me. I thought of my older brother, Kurkas, and my still-living younger one, in reserve should I fail Father in any way.

“Shefenkas, go get him,” He said. Shefenkas got up, crawled off the edge of the bed and looked straight at me for the first time. No recognition; nothing of him at all, but the fixed gaze, the aimed will of my father, worse than a Mahid. Mahid had never been free. I flung my arms up around my head to try and protect it and thrust myself backward through the gold chains, feeling the razor glass shards slice through my robe, the thin, drawing pain as they found my back, my hands, ripped out strands of my hair.

Then I was in the darkness of the outer bedchamber, the gold shimmer behind me, the whispering clash of the chains as Shefenkas swept them to one side, taking all the cuts on one arm to save his head and body. Father laughing, entertained by my comical, futile flight. I turned and ran.

My Father’s voice behind me. “Get him, Shefenkas, bring him back here. Let him learn who he truly is.” I tripped over the edge of a carpet, staggered; fell over a small table, sending the figurine on it to the floor with a shivering crash the horse smashing completely, the boy’s head snapping off. As I scrambled up, cutting my hands on the glass, my head was turned enough to see Shefenkas’s silhouette against the light, dark, close. I stumbled back away from him, my hands behind me groping, fluttering along the back of a chair.

I put it between him and me, knocked against another table, the vase on it splitting with a wet crack like a skull breaking as it burst on the carpet, the stench of trodden-on flowers thick as I slipped again. I fought through the curtains at the balcony doors, turned one way, the other like a bird beating against a glass window.

The balustrade was a double man height in front of me, beyond that a two floor drop onto marble tile below. The almost full moon shone down though the open glass ceiling turning everything silver and black. I could see the roses nodding in the breeze as I ran. Then my head snapped back and I fell, feet still carrying my body out from under me. I hit the marble hard and couldn’t breathe, couldn’t see straight for a moment in the dim light.

I couldn’t gasp enough air in. I could see my braid held tight in Shefenkas’s fist and my air came back with a whoop. “Please. Shefenkas, don’t do this. Please. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this to you. If you can hear me, please. Please.” Nothing. I couldn’t fight him. He picked me up over his shoulder and carried me back inside. It was him. No one else in the world touched like him. It was Shefenkas. I couldn’t deny it, the moment he put his hands on me. They were like steel, like stone but still somehow his, warmer than anyone else’s touch in the world.

I wiggled and he just clamped tighter on me. I had tears on my face and snot. I couldn’t say anything. There was nothing to say. He was going to be forced, by Father. By me. What was I to say anyway? ‘Shefenkas, you’re still my friend?’ ‘Shefenkas, you’re the father of my spirit?’ I was about to use him. ‘Shefenkas, I love you?’ "Shefenkas," I whispered. "I'm sorry."
“Ah, there. Good boy, Shefenkas. You may use a rod to open the chains.”

He set me down on the edge of the bed at Father’s direction. Now that He was no longer being defied His voice was amused again. “You aren’t going to be able to deny your lessons from me, boy. I’m not your tutor and you won’t get away with such behaviour. Tsk tsk.” He wagged an admonishing finger at me. “Everything is going exactly as it should.” He was sipping from a glass He’d taken from the headboard, the shelf cut into the obsidian, set the goblet down with a cold click. “Hold his wrists, Shefenkas, yes, that’s right.”
He had both my wrists in one hand. “Open his robe for him.”

He held me tightly, against all struggle, with his callused man’s hands on my tender wrists. His hands hardened for war and killing. They hurt me as he hiked my robe open, leaving me bare from the waist down, then he shifted to holding one of my wrists in each hand.
“Shefenkas, take him in your mouth, but keep still.” His mouth was hot as fire on my penis and I gasped. I remember thinking that someone must have shaved him; his cheek was smooth on the inside of my thigh. “Minis, feel this. This is it. This is ultimate power. Ultimate joy. Shefenkas, begin.” I tried to struggle away from him but he held me and there was nowhere to go. His mouth worked on me and I felt a pulsing warmth in my belly fighting with the sickness, the nausea, the tears. The tears were running down my chin, dripping onto his head and I sobbed.
“What’s this? Tears are inappropriate, son. You are receiving pleasure; I will hear pleasure out of you. Make pleasure sounds appropriate to that, or else.” I tried to blink my eyes clear and couldn’t. I was hard, hard in his mouth and I could feel his tongue on me, root to tip and a harsh, desperate eagerness, all of it alien, foreign to him. All of it wrong. It went on and on for an eternity of smothering; I couldn’t breathe. My body started to move to what he was doing, abortive little twitches as it fought to indulge itself in this obscenity. I couldn’t stop it. It just went on.
“My son, you are my little alter-ego. Feel that heat rise in you, that pleasure, that clarity. Shefenkas stop.”

He froze, holding me with hands and mouth and I couldn’t help it, I moaned, my hips fighting to move forward, my mind fighting to move back. Father laughed as my hips twitched and I froze too. “Let go his hands, Shefenkas, lean back.”

He did, gazing past me, face as blank as ever. He was hard too, his penis standing up in the midst of the tight black curls. “You see. My son, he knows his place and takes pleasure in it. When you come, he will too. He has been made perfect. Shefenkas, begin again.”I tried to wiggle away again and Shefenkas held me behind the knees, locking my legs against his chest. Then he was sucking on me again and I couldn’t help it, I cried out again, what I don’t know. I was shuddering, twisting, with my head back, hearing my Father laugh, his laughter becoming part of this sickening wonderous sensation.
“When he comes, Shefenkas, you have permission to come too; in his honour. For his initiation into manhood. You are blessed to serve him. When he cries out, you have permission to make noise as well. Cry out. Let him hear your pleasure. My son, feel.”  

Tears still ran down my face and neck. Darkness rising. Filth rising. Corruption boiling in my body that could do this to the only friend I had, bleed my filth into him, who was helpless. I cried out and felt this sensation, this wildness… a rush that I’ve never felt before, rising from my inside, my core. What in any other circumstance would have been a pleasing tickle grew and grew and grew to something terrifying, something stunning. It was something I could not stop. Something huge. I had nothing to base this on, this must be an orgasm. This must be… I spasmed and it felt like the top of my head could fall off my hips thrusting violently up into Shefenka’s sucking mouth. It was as inevitable as a splash of vomit, on and on, caught forever in this violation, heard him cry out almost in agony, muffled with my flesh; wound around by my Father’s laughter. His ecstasy scream vibrated against me, intensifying the thunder of my orgasm.

"There. That wasn’t so hard, was it?” I lay flat on my back on the bed, looking up at the painted landscape on the ceiling of his bed, feeling the rocking of the warm water of the mattress as Shefenkas crawled back under Father’s hand. My father? No. I had just raped my father’s living corpse. I blinked, dry eyed now. “Well done, my son, my miniature amendment. Go to your rest and think about my little lesson.”

He was smiling again, I could see as I turned my head. “Yes, Divine Father.” I heard my own voice from a vast distance away. “Sleep well, Magnificence.”

“Yes, I will.” He was full of smug corruption, hard again from watching the little scene He’d orchestrated. Shefenkas wasn’t moving, except for shallow breaths. I staggered out without getting any more cut up, I must have used a rod to get out but I don’t remember.

Just outside the door, when it shut behind me with a vast sound like the gate of Hayel closing, I stripped off my dressing gown and dropped it, bloody as it was on the corridor floor. I didn’t care who saw it, who found it. Servants. I went to my baths unseeing, staggering for dark and quiet like an animal wounded, seeking any kind of peace, any kind of comfort. I stood under the cascade and washed and washed and washed, vomited and washed; until early morning light shone through the high windows.
The dim purple shadows in the corners of the echoing bath lightened slowly. I lay like a foul rag limp in the hot pool; wrung out. I was sobbing dry by then. I dragged myself out of the bath and knelt in the watery light, cupped my hands to my head as I had seen thousands of other Arkans do, as I had never done with heart and soul behind it.

Muunas, hear me. I swear never to feel that again. I will never touch anyone that way again. Let Him kill me first.”


  1. That was so dramatic and terrible, yet I don't know how else it could have gone.

  2. Well, I certainly wasn't ready for that. How terrible for Minis.

  3. Sorry, but yeah. Thanks for the comment. Minis has a lot to heal from.

  4. Boy, I bet Chevenga doesn't remember that. I'm sure Minis wishes he didn't.


  5. Yes to both... memory can be painful.