Once upon a time, not so long ago, in the cold forests of the north, a little girl was born, the first and only child to a royal family in a small, troubled kingdom. She was named Princess Laurel. The trouble came from the girl’s parents, the king, and queen. Theirs was a loveless marriage, arranged when they were little more than children themselves. Their marriage was demanded by popular acclaim as a peace settlement to pacify and unify the eternally warring adjoining duchies of Laurel’s grandparents. The citizens of the blended kingdom say that the war didn’t so much stop as shrink and restrict itself to the dimensions of the castle and specifically the persons of the King and Queen. Each had their own court with advisors, ministers, elite guards, minstrels and magicians. All these swore fealty to the Monarch of their court and then to the Kingdom as a whole as a bit of an afterthought. The two courts faced each other warily and communicated in an arch mockery of courtly manners that dripped contempt and implied dark suspicions. All participants had drifted into this unpleasantness by watching and imitating the King and Queen during their tense meetings and the ways they discussed each other in private.
The King and Queen lived at opposite ends of the castle, which had been ripped apart inside and rebuilt as two wholly separate seats of imposing monarchial power. Exactly between them, incongruously cozy, pastel and modest, was the nursery and bedroom suite prepared for Princess Laurel. To each side of her rooms was a heavily spiked iron gate, one to the Queen’s side and one to the King’s. Every morning both gates had to be noisily and laboriously raised and locked open to allow visitors from the other side. This would become the morning wake-up sound for Laurel, and she would often fall asleep shortly after the last thump and clank of the re-lowered gates at night.
It might seem strange that this King and Queen managed to have a child at all in these conditions. Of course, it is and it was very strange, and awkward and stressful for everyone concerned which was, in a sense, everyone. As is common in these things, the arranged marriage was intended as a first step toward true peace and unity for the Kingdom in the form of a ruler native to both clans, able to resolve conflicts with their very body and blood; a human resolution to hostilities.
That was the official reason and goal: That was the hope in the hearts of the men and women of the kingdom and that was the last thing either the King or the Queen wanted to see happen. Neither suspected in this passing moment their superficial similarity of goals, intimate as the moment might otherwise have appeared. Each was the last torchbearer of a selfish, entitled lineage, each one playing at parlay for the time being and viewing their only child, soon to be, as the secret weapon behind their endgame.
Over centuries of war, the King’s and Queen’s families had made alliances with many sources of dark, old magic among the Fey, the Pixies, the Goblins, and the ancient witch covens that lived in permanent shadows where the forest grew as tangled and solid as a stone wall. Representatives of these and more besides resided in the guise of well-spoken gentlefolk among the war courts of the king and queen. Here they spent half their time designing and targeting curses and the other half warding curses away.
In the months leading to the conception of Princess Laurel the scorched iron scent of powerful magic never left the castle and every kind of spell crafter made regular visits to both courts. Every spell had the goal of making the future child of this couple into a powerful yet tightly controlled agent bent wholly on the triumph of one family and the destruction of the other.
Nine months later Princess Laurel opened her gentle gray-green eyes for the first time and took her first breaths… of air strongly scented of scorched iron.
To be continued
It’s just a snippet out of context and it won’t mean much to you, but for me, this is like finding a shred of an ancient scroll in a clay pot: Thrilling, but poignantly incomplete.
I love bedtime stories. Listening to the voice of someone I love telling me a story at bedtime carries me along like a gentle river, and the moment of drifting off is exquisitely easy. It’s unburdened by the thornbush of anxious thoughts where we so often find ourselves after turning off the light. I also love reading bedtime stories. If there was some way that 17 year old Isaac would allow it, I’d be happy doing it now. It’s a very sweet way of being together and sharing a world. I always found it relaxed him into naturally talking about what was happening in his world. This was never the reason for reading, just a very nice side effect. Nothing else allowed him to confide his feelings and concerns so easily. We’d pause the story and explore his situation for a while.
Between the days of reading baby books and the days of reading novels, I nightly made up stories out of thin air. He was very small, but old enough to understand and love a detailed, wide ranging story. He initiated it with a passionate request that I make up a story. I suppose it went on for two or three years ( I didn’t have him full time, but often). If you imagine doing this it feels daunting and doomed to failure. Waiting for a story to collect in your head is useless. The opposite of telling a story is worrying about what story to tell. The secret is to simply begin. Obviously you need a character or situation as the first domino but you can grab one off the endless racks surrounding us and just jump.
“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed”–1 Corinthians 15:51
Copyright Hugh Miller 2019 ©
From my novel. As a warning or as encouragement, a good bit of sexy sex takes place throughout this story, some more fun than others. Also typos, so many typos.
Now to set the scene…
Big Sur, CA: After drinking some champagne spiked by a mysterious stranger, Felix/Shams (both names crop up, same guy) our protagonist, and lovely, innocent Drew, (our protagonista) who have said no more than hello to each other so far, briefly fell asleep in the hot tub with a handful of friends and acquaintances. The group decamps from the hot tub and back up to the house. They are naked.
As he entered the house, Shams squinted, the light was blinding, and it had seemed so soft before. He watched the others sit down on the floor together. Mary rubbed David’s shoulders and Drew appeared to fall asleep immediately on the couch. He stood with his hands shading his eyes from the light, watching her, god she looks so sweet and gentle. Shams wheeled and walked back out the door. The night was full of fireflies now. Here, where no fireflies live. He considered telling the others but he couldn’t seem to turn around. The bushes rolled past him in shadow. He continued until he reached the sudden drop of the cliff, straight down to the Sea. Standing there in the wind, he breathed deep and shook his head.
Fireflies? Looking down the rough face of the cliff to the ocean, he found himself laughing in the dark. It sounded weird and he stopped, concerned. His body felt odd and rubbery. He backed away from the cliff several feet and sat down. Then it struck him.
“I’m tripping,” he said aloud and the words hung about his face like tiny mirrors. But this didn’t feel like LSD or mushrooms. It didn’t seem fair, so much strangeness in one day.
He was so alone. At once he fell over, completely out of touch with his body, panic filled him for a moment and then it was just gone, and then he was gone! It was pleasant, a very strange pleasure like waking up and stretching. Like waking up and stretching as pure disembodied space. Suddenly a wild careening force caught him and he was yanked through…(what exactly?) and embodied again.
He was flying, a constant hum shaking his body. Dark pillars of impossible height stretched away in all directions, his vision fragmented as when looking through a cut crystal.
Over the hillsides of the valley below, great star shapes moved slowly, their appendages waving. His Jaws flexed a strange sensation as his muscles moved sideways as well as up and down. He flew on through the cool night toward the warm star shapes.
Enticing and welcoming the star grew before him immense beyond understanding. A delicious smell filled the air as he landed. The star spread out in all directions, dwarfing him. A shadow! Danger! He buckled his legs to fly but was too slow; a massive blow struck and a steady mauling weight crushed his body. Pain exploded through him for just a moment and was gone.
Free of the body Shams scattered like sparks and coalesced again in the skittering, pulsating force that carried him. Caught in the whitewater of some airborne energy river he finally had a view around and below. A latticework of shining calligrapher’s brush strokes in constant smooth motion.
“What is this?” Said Shams. A calm voice replied “Connections and pathways”. It was not spoken; it rose in his mind and faded like smoke. It felt like a discrete entity. He soared along the pathways between the connections.
“Who are you?” Thought Shams.
“Are You?” The Voice echoed and laughed with the bright happiness of a child. An image of Eileen formed in Sham’s mind, “Mom!” He cried.
“Yes, Mother” The Voice replied. Instantly, doubtful, Shams said “Eddie?”
“Yes, Eddie” it said. Shams collected his thoughts, and quickly said Bees, sheep, me, black holes, mice? Before he finished the voice was saying “Yes, bees. Yes, sheep. Yes, me. No, and yes, mice.” it paused, “Get it?”
“I was a mosquito back there wasn’t I, when I got killed?” asked Shams.
“Yes, mosquito, then no mosquito. “Said the calm voice. “More visits now.”
“Why?” Cried Shams as he felt pressure building, and pop! Some membrane snapped and he was embodied again. He reclined in a soft pit. Above his head a dark ceiling. He tried to move and found he had no control over this body; a weak paddling of its limbs was the only result. It was terrifying. He couldn’t even lift his head. He yelled for help and heard it come out “Waaaaahhhhh” the shock scared him and he began to cry helplessly, he couldn’t control his emotions any more than his body.
Loud noises came from outside the room, and a voice, moaning. There was no separation between him and this body. Anxiety and despair engulfed him. He screamed louder. A shadowy giant stood before the crib and shams felt a desperate relief so strong that it needed to be cried about as well. The giant leaned down like night falling. Soft coos tenderly flowed across his soul and at last soothed him. His cries broke in parts separated by gasps and his calming heart. He was raised up tenderly. The love giant sat with him and released a breast right into his mouth and he fell upon it greedily. All was warm, all was safe, and all was good.
And Wham! Another membrane parted, and completely disoriented, he was in another body. He was in a messy room, bedclothes tangled like dreadlocks. He was on all fours. Looking down he glimpsed slender pale arms supporting body and breasts, a teenage girl by appearance. She shook her head and he glimpsed a shock of brown hair fall past her eyes.
Fingers probed her vagina “Nice and tight, like I like it.” Said the owner of the fingers.
She turned and looked over her shoulder, Shams saw her companion. A portly but muscular black man with a fat slightly off-center erection. He licked his hand rubbed her pussy with it. Shams could tell she was on something, Quaaludes possibly, downers for sure. His own mind felt thick with it. She smiled at the man uneasily, equal parts anxiety and boredom. She had been through this and through this. Shams felt the cock head against her ass, straining for entrance. He felt sick at heart and helpless as she reached back between her legs and guided it home. The man pumped furiously right away, and the girl fought to control her breath, stifling a little cry. Pleasure and pain battled in her and she fought both of them. Shams realized that the battle was between the man and the girl. He was trying to wring a reaction out of her, tearing up her guts, and she wanted to wring him dry quick and just be alone for a few fucking minutes. She leaned down and pumped, matching his moves, increasing the pressure. In moments, he shivered and gasped, “Jesus!” She continued to pump harder knowing it would start to hurt him now.
“Well that’s enough; but you just can’t get enough, can you?” he said, pulling out.
“No, I just can’t get enough.” She said quietly.
And Shams was free again, but just for a moment. On it went through the forms of plants, Barnyard animals, Starving people, a toad, a cockroach, He was trapped on a wild sideways elevator ride crashing through individualities and finding them everywhere, lonely and hungry.
Drew awoke. She felt absolutely marvelous! Then she noticed something quite unusual,
“I’m God!” She said, laughing.
A man turned and looked at her. He looked like Popeye the Sailor and she smiled at him. She realized that she had no clothes on and it was perfect. I am a luscious young God! She smiled to herself, why didn’t I notice this before?