Category: Randomness


Morning Glories

The following isn’t an entertaining story, it’s a rant cleverly (~cough~) disguised as a story.

Morning glories starting to climb the trellis on my back porch.

Morning glories starting to climb the trellis on my back porch.

Holly looked up and around. Three hundred and sixty degrees over her head, the long-awaited community gardens were finally prepped and made available to the station’s citizens. She’d paid for her plot almost a year before, and it wasn’t cheap. Sure, she could grow a few things in her quarters… the lights were designed for photosynthesis and water was no longer a problem thanks to the Bertea-Reichower mission. But the little four meter by four meter plot would let her indulge her horticultural creativity, as well as let her meet up with like-minded friends to spend a peaceful afternoon amidst nature’s splendor.

“What are you planting on the corner trellis?” asked Dotty, who had the plot just spinward of Holly’s.

“Morning glories!” she said happily. She’d planted them in her incubator a month ago, in anticipation of the opening of the garden. The corner trellis would make a perfect backdrop for the small bench she wanted to get.

“Bindweed!” Dotty said, her floppy hat falling off as she suddenly stood up straight. “You’re planting bindweed?”

“Bindweed?” Holly shook her head. She hadn’t heard the term. She chose morning glories because they were pretty and hardy; they could survive almost anything. If the carefully constructed mix of soil on the space station was less-than ideal, the flowering vine would probably still survive. “Doesn’t that violate the rule about non-invasive plants? Or something like that… I don’t remember what the exact wording was.”

Holly blinked, looking at the tiny seedlings she’d brought with her. “Invasive? Morning glories?”

Dotty came and knelt by her, the two of them in the dirt together. Holly opened her link. “Let’s see…” she said, going to the information site about the community garden. Dotty looked over her shoulder. “Is this it?” she asked. “Gardeners shall not plant any species that will threaten or invade other plots…” The paragraph dissolved into legalese after that.

“Search for the word ‘invasive’,” Dotty suggested. More rules popped up, all of which she’d read. She didn’t think the morning glories were invasive, but then again she’d never heard them described as ‘bindweed’ before.

“Oh, see there?” Dotty pointed out a paragraph. “If you’re vigilant about making sure the seed pods are collected and don’t plant too close to the border, you’ll be all right.” They both looked up at the corner trellis. “It’s not too late to move it to the middle.”

Holly had already bought a garden-bot to collect all the seeds from not just the morning glories, but her other flowers as well. She hoped to be able to trade seeds with her neighbors or donate some to the colony ship that would be leaving next year for a new world. She could move the vines to the middle, since the roots tended to grow deep and tenacious. Or, to save herself any trouble, she could rearrange some things in her quarters and just enjoy them there where she wouldn’t have to worry about whether any seed pods escaped to invade her neighbor’s gardens.

“If you use a flexible trellis you could—”

Dotty’s comment was cut off by a bark from a woman passing by pulling a small wagon with seedlings. “Those aren’t bindweed, are they?” She asked, squeaking out the plant name as if it was a curse. Holly’s jaw moved, but no sound came out. She had no idea what to say.

The woman grabbed one of the tiny sprouts and examined it. Holly caught her breath. The seeds, as tiny as they were, hadn’t exactly been expensive to import from Earth. But they weren’t cheap, either. Not only the expense, but the care she’d put into making sure they sprouted. “Do you have any idea what you’ve done?” She threw the bit of greenery and dirt onto the path that separated the garden plots.

Holly gasped and lunged after the innocent plant, cradling it and checking to see whether the stem had broken.

“Well, there’s no need to destroy someone else’s property!” Dotty said with a huff.

“What’s going on here?” asked Dan, one of the groundskeepers.

“This woman vandalized Holly’s garden!” Dotty said, her tone accusing.

“I did no such thing! She left these weeds sitting on the path. And she seems to be completely oblivious to the dangers such things pose to the entire ecosystem.”

Dan squatted down to look at the tray of seedlings. Holly realized with a lump of guilt that the small tray was half on the path. It wasn’t exactly an impediment to foot traffic, but it was still impolite. “Ipomoea purpurea,” he said, examining the plants. “A bold choice. Hardy.” He looked directly at the invasive woman. “And perfectly legal as long as the gardener is responsible about collecting the seed pods.”

“Responsible?” the woman sneered. “Flower fairies like her shouldn’t be allowed in the community garden. Some of us are planting useful things like fruits and vegetables. My gourds can be used for—”

“I’ll tell you what you can do with your gourds!” Dan held Holly’s hands as she cradled the tiny, broken seedling. “She’s done absolutely nothing wrong.”

Holly cringed. She’d just been about to plant the prolificly-seeding plants at the very edge of her plot. It was a mistake…it would have been a mistake if Dotty hadn’t pointed out to her the rule she’d overlooked.

“Deliberate destruction of property, however, is grounds for arrest.”

Holly reached out and rescued her tray of morning glory seedlings as Dan and the offending woman started yelling at each other. Soon a small crowd had gathered, voices shouting, the occasional slur or questionable accusation punctuating the chaos. Dotty, who had been about to dive into the fray, turned to look at her.

Dotty’s face was red, but when Holly looked up Dotty softened, then she moved between Holly and the crowd. As quickly as she could, Holly put the few trays of seedlings into her crate, stowing the tools in their compartments. There was a shattering sound, and they both turned to see a clay pot from the offending woman’s cart broken on the path, the tomato plant it carried snapped off at the base.

The crowd started yelling even louder.

“Come on, sweetie, let’s get out of here while we still can,” Dotty said, a hand on Holly’s back. The crowd had spilled from the path, some of them trampling the carefully cultivated rows Dotty had been working on. “Never mind that. I put those seeds in just an hour ago. They’ll survive.” She sighed and shook her head. “If they’re not in perfect rows when they come up, oh well.”

“How can they trample your garden while they’re arguing about who is doing what to whose garden?” Holly asked, her voice hoarse and fighting back tears.

Dotty just shook her head. “I don’t know, sweetie, I just don’t know.” They reached the edge of the garden, entering the sterile halls that were the norm for most of the space station. “But humans of all nationalities, belief systems, genders and socio-economic backgrounds have been doing it for centuries. Millennia even.”

They turned a corner, and even the faint smell of the garden was gone.

“And it looks like we’ll be doing it for a few millennia more.”14 Hippie Freaks dedication

 

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BedElliot tried not to think about itching. The monitors, one at his neck, one at his waist, were annoying but temporary. Two weeks wearing them twenty-four-seven. Two weeks with no meds, no treatments of any kind, but it would all be worth it in the end.

He’d finally know.

He’d finally be well.

Bedtimes were intrusive, but only as much as was absolutely necessary. The nurse bot asked regular questions such as “Please rate your pain on a scale from one to ten” and “Are you still nauseated?” The actual human nurse added questions such as “Is it the kind of nausea that makes you feel like you’re going to regurgitate? Or it is more that you just want to sit quietly for a while until it passes?”

Elliot had become an expert in self-evaluation. Although it was sometimes hard to annunciate exactly what was wrong, between the bot and the human nurse he was able to establish a record of all the weird things his body did.

Sleep came with only a slight delay. It usually did.

Waking was uncomfortable. Elliot had a vague memory that, once upon a time, he’d wake groggily to the sun peeking through the curtains. With a stretch and a yawn, his bladder would tell him he had to get up. Although his warm bed was so comfortable and inviting that he longed to spend just another twenty minutes there, a hot shower was just as appetizing.

For years now, waking had meant something different.

Elliot felt the wakefulness steal his dreams from him. He tried to relax into it, dreading what was about to happen. He succeeded for about five minutes, and then it hit.

Something was wrong. Something dire and dreadful was threatening him. Adrenaline or something like it began to pump through his system.

Nothing is wrong.

Elliot took slow breaths.

I am safe here.

Elliot forced his mind to go blank, to wait patiently in a safe, peaceful place until whatever chemicals his brain was producing wormed their way through his body and out again.

“Lightheaded. Like my brain is being filled with helium,” he announced to the room, knowing the monitors would record and add the information to his diagnosis. “My body is floating from the waist up…” he had to pause. Speaking out loud was jarring. It disconnected him from what he was trying to accomplish. “…but from the waist down, it feels very heavy.”

He squirmed out of the position that had been comfortable, but no longer was.

“The tightness is all through my chest, head, and shoulders. But only the upper chest. Oh no…” Elliot visualized a downward flow of comfort going from the back of his tongue down to his stomach. He shifted position carefully. It worked for only a minute, then the heartburn hit him. “Heartburn,” he reported.

He sat up, then stretched his muscles. He drank the water waiting on his bedside table. Slowly, he rotated each ankle, urging circulation into his extremities. Maybe today would be a day for joint pain. Maybe not.

“The heartburn is subsiding. The tightness is back up in my head, although there are remnants in my arms, and the backs of my hands.” He closed his eyes, searching for other sensations. “I’m not electric today.”

Elliot shuffled himself slowly to the bathroom and emptied his bladder. There was no point in taking a shower yet. His body had other things to accomplish first.

He returned to bed, sitting on the edge and reporting the various symptoms as best he could describe them. He waited patiently, not knowing whether he had five minutes or fifty. In the two weeks he’d been monitored, it continued to fluctuate. He hoped they would find some kind of pattern or causality. It was annoying.

Fifteen minutes later he returned to the bathroom. He was glad he didn’t have to describe what he’d just done. The monitors measured what they needed to measure, and the machines would evaluate his output. It was time for a hot shower, signaling the end to the worst of the morning’s trials.

Drying off was never instantaneous. He took the extra time he needed to make sure all the crevasses and foldable parts of his body were completely free of excess moisture. If he didn’t take that time, he’d end up with more discomfort, or even a rash. It was one of a dozen small things he did, not out of vanity or habit, but to maintain the delicate balance that kept him healthy. He found it all rather annoying, but it needed to be done.

He started getting dressed, then stopped. “Oh no, not again,” he said, then put his clothes on the bed and headed back to the bathroom.

A half hour later, after finishing what his body demanded he do and then cleaning up after himself in the shower, he went on with his day. The facility wasn’t exactly luxurious, but it had enough activities to keep him occupied. Elliot wondered whether the evaluation would show a major difference between his levels during the week he’d still been at home, and the week he’d spent at the facility. The doctors said they usually did. Of course. It was a clean, sanitary environment. Not that his apartment was particularly dirty, but it wasn’t kept sparkling every minute of the day. Elliot didn’t have to worry about fixing his meals or any of his regular household chores. Stress was minimal, especially with the promise that soon he would be healed.

The monitors came off that afternoon.

Soon. Just a few business days for the team to evaluate all the data that had been gathered, and he’d have an accurate diagnosis. They’d be able to find a treatment that, even if it didn’t cure him, would bring his quality of life back up to where he could be a productive citizen once more.

Soon.

I wrote this story as wish-fulfillment. With our family’s upcoming move, I’ve put my WIP to the side. Still, I promised myself that I would write something every week, even if it was just a bit of flash.

This counts.

I’d originally planned to have Elliot wake up at the end of the story, with no monitors and all his symptoms flooding in with no hope of respite. But it’s cheating to say an entire story is just a dream sequence. Instead, I leave it to the reader to wonder whether Elliot gets his wish of a healthy body, or whether it was all just wishful thinking.

Looking for something new to read? There’s a new story from The Cities of Luna with every full moon! I also have an urban fantasy novella called The House on Paladin Court, about a trio of immortals who keep a dragon locked in their basement. Also new is the next volume of the Biblical Legends Anthology Series: Deluge. My weird little story The Immersion of the Incorporeum appears in this one.2015 12 01 banner

The Ambassador’s Mouse

Ambassadors Mouse LunapicEleric tried the door. “Locked, of course, because isn’t that exactly how the Ciliree treat their guests.”

He smoothed a reader patch over the stone surface. It blinked three times, then went red. He couldn’t unlock it with technology.

He removed the reader patch and attempted a spell. Still nothing. He couldn’t unlock it with magic either.

“Well, if this is how they welcome an ambassador, I shudder to think what happened to the messenger…”

“They’ll send for you in the morning, sir,” came a tiny voice from somewhere behind him. He turned, scanning the room. It was very medieval, with one large bed, one tiny window he assumed would be locked, and copious tapestries depicting everything from the Ciliree’s conquests in battle to their apparent endowments in equipment required for bedroom sports.

“Hello?” Eleric called.

A young woman stepped out from a small alcove. She was wearing all purple, as he’d seen all the servants in the castle dressed. “Yes sir?” she asked in a tiny voice. She was not a small woman, yet she seemed to be trying to disappear or fade into the walls.

“Who are you? And what are you doing in my room?” he asked.

“I’m the mouse, sir. I’m here to…serve you. In whatever way you require.”

She took one more step forward, into the light, and curtsied. He took a better look at her. Not so young then… probably closer to his own age. “I won’t be requiring anything tonight. You can go. And leave the door unlocked when you leave.”

The woman looked around nervously. “I…I am not allowed to leave, sir. I can not open the door. I am only able to take care of whatever…needs…you might have…” she gestured nervously to the bed. Eleric sighed. He had had various heads of state offer him sex slaves before, but they were usually gorgeous young women, trained in seduction and the stealing of secrets.

He was trained to ignore them.

“I see. You are as much a prisoner as I? Very well then. Make yourself comfortable. Stand your vigil, or do whatever you think is required of you, and return to your own room in the morning.”

The mouse glanced behind her. There was a small alcove with a built-in bench, much like he had in his own home for a reading nook. It wasn’t even big enough for a person to lie down. “This is my room, sir. For as long as you are here, this is where I am to remain.”

“Ah.” Eleric said. So, they kept a spy on him not only all day, but all night as well. It didn’t matter. He had a job to do, and he could do it under scrutiny if necessary. He had nothing to hide. It would be good if his hosts would realize that and stop treating him with suspicion.

The mouse walked over to the window, where a small table was set with a smorgasbord of culinary delights. “There is food, sir. Would you like to sit here? Or shall I serve you somewhere else?” He was a prisoner, no doubt, but at least he’d be a well-cared-for prisoner.

“Here is fine,” Eleric said, seating himself at the table. Dinner had been hours ago, and he’d spent much of the meal talking himself to death in a futile attempt to convince the various powers in Ciliree that a treaty with Providece would be a good thing.

She hovered near as he helped himself. Then a thought occurred to him. “They do feed you, don’t they?”

“I may have whatever you don’t need,” she answered, smiling what seemed to be a genuine smile.

“Well then,” Eleric said, “My first command is for you to eat with me.”

He didn’t want to have the argument about how she was only entitled to his leftovers. If the Ciliree wanted to play on his sympathies, it was working.

The mouse sat down carefully in the other chair, as if expecting him to lash out at her at any moment. He motioned to her that she was fine and she took a small piece of bread, then some cheese. When he only smiled and chewed, she took a piece of fruit and began to eat.

“They call you the mouse. Do you have a name?” he asked.

She looked surprised, but answered him in the same meek voice. “Emmicia,” she said.

Emmicia greeted him every night when his hosts locked him in. She seemed genuinely pleased to see him, though he was careful not to encourage her too much. He might end up staying the entire winter, or he could be called away at any time. He had no idea what she did all day. Every night she went obediently to her alcove, although she never failed to offer to share his bed. She even made several awkward attempts at seduction, yet she always seemed relieved when he turned her down.

He wondered how much she knew about his kind. Considering the kind of people the Ciliree were, she was probably confused about his refusal to bed her. She probably had no idea what the consequence would be if he did.

He made a point to report back to Providence every evening before he was confined. Once inside his room, neither technology nor magic would work. The few small features that did work such as the light and the bedwarmer were hardwired into the room. There wasn’t even hot water, just cold from a tap that emptied into a drain against the back wall of a small side room.

Winter hit with a fury, and he was still no closer to reaching an agreement regarding the treaty than he had been before. Some days his hosts refused to see him at all, leaving him to wander the castle and town with no one but a silent guard trailing after him wherever he went.

He began to look forward to the nights when, although he was a prisoner, he could have a few hours of peace with Emmicia. Although he knew they questioned her about his nocturnal activities, he believed she herself had no motive other than to serve him and not annoy her masters.

The night of the first heavy snow he awoke to an odd sound coming from the darkness in his room. He slipped out of the warmth of his bed, immediately shocked at the extreme cold of the room. There was no fireplace. The only warmth was the bed.

He found Emmicia in her alcove, shivering. She had blankets over and under her, but the stone she was curled up on was freezing to the touch. “Emmicia!” Eleric said, reaching for her and gathering her close. He rubbed her arms, trying to get her warm.

She only looked at him. She didn’t seem to be able to talk. He scooped her up, blankets and all, and carried her to his bed. Once inside its warmth, he removed her blankets, tossing them to the floor. Still, she shivered, so he wrapped his arms around her and started rubbing her frozen muscles.

She winced and cried out in pain when he touched her back. Gently, he turned her, moving aside her purple robes to see long gashes up and down her spine.

“Emmicia, what happened?” he asked.

She shuddered against him. “It has been weeks, sir. They check your bed for virgin’s blood, but find none. I tried to fool them…” she held up her hand, showing a cut on her finger that was starting to heal. “But they knew I lied.”

“Why would they care so much about whether I bed you? You offer yourself to me freely. I politely decline. I have no complaints…”

“I…I don’t know why it is so important. All I know is, they feel I am not doing my job properly because I do not share your bed.”

Eleric pulled her gently to him. He did not understand his hosts at all. He certainly didn’t like them. Sharing his bed with Emmicia would make his life much more difficult, but if he had to do so to keep her safe and warm, he would.

The next day, he spoke to every official he could corner about the treatment of his ‘bedroom servant.’ But it was as if he was talking nonsense. The Ciliree did not speak of their servants, at all. They pretended they did not exist. They gave orders to the air, and whatever servants were nearby jumped to obey.

That night, he explained to Emmicia what he would do. “I will keep you in my bed at night, if nothing else, to keep you warm. But although you are a kind and desirable woman, I can not take you as a man takes his wife. Do you understand?”

She only nodded, and curled into a ball in his bed. He had a strong desire to stroke her, to console her, but it would be difficult enough sleeping with her so close. Touching her would be torturous.

When the guard came to retrieve him in the morning, he held Emmicia’s hand. “She is coming with me,” he announced.

The guard glanced at Emmicia, then simply turned and led the way as he did every morning. Emmicia clung to Eleric’s hand tightly, keeping her head down as she followed, just a step behind him. When he was able to get the attention of one of the more influential courtiers, she dropped to his feet.

“Come, you can sit here with me…” he said, leaning over her. She looked up at him with huge, scared eyes, shaking her head emphatically ‘no.’ He let her stay where she was, though it bothered him to have a woman grovel at his feet.

The courtier seemed impressed. He even promised to arrange for Eleric to meet with some other officers who might help his cause.

After a week of keeping her close to him all day and all night, he began to feel the changes in his body, adjusting to expect her. If he dared consummate their connection, there would be no going back. She would be his. He would have to keep her close to him forever after, or he would wither.

A banquet was held, and she sat at his feet, as always. While she was there, his hosts seemed to be pleased. One actually acknowledged her. “Don’t you like our little gift?” he asked. The others nearby snickered as if it was some huge joke.

“Emmicia serves me well in every possible way,” Eleric said. His hosts went wide-eyed at the use of her name, then went back to chortling over some joke Eleric didn’t quite understand.

A guard came, and took Emmicia away. Eleric tried to protest, but was met with absolute refusal. The guard forcibly shoved him back into his seat.

The room quieted. From the head table, the Ciliree monarch spoke directly to him. Eleric heard a click and a hum, and he knew he was being scanned.

“So…” the leader drawled, every other voice in the room completely silent. “Tell us what we would gain from this treaty you propose.”

Eleric hesitated, thinking about what they might be doing to Emmicia. He forced himself to put her out of his mind. If he could accomplish his goal, he could leave, and she would be free.

Eloquently, he made his case. They listened, but he couldn’t tell whether they favored him or not. They seemed to be waiting for something.

When he returned to his room, Emmicia was waiting in her alcove. Tears stained her face, although she was completely silent.

He knelt before her. “Emmicia, did they hurt you?”

She nodded. Carefully, she slipped her shoulders out of her robe, twisting so he could see her bare back. The scars from the wounds he’d healed during the day when he could use magic were fading, but there was a new gash below them.

She turned to face him, her robe pooling at her waist, revealing her womanly breasts. They weren’t enhanced, like those of a prostitute. They were slightly lopsided, somewhat ponderous, and very real.

They were lovely.

Eleric stood and took her by the hands, pulling her up. The robe fell to the floor, but he didn’t let go of her hands. He didn’t let her cover herself.

He wondered why they’d chosen her to be his bedroom servant. They wanted him to bed her, to take her virginity, but he had no idea why.

He kissed her forehead gently. “Emmicia, I can do something to make them think I’ve taken your virginity. In a way, I will have…there will be a little pain, and blood.”

The look of fear on her face broke his heart. “I…without magic, I can’t make it not hurt. But I will do my best to make sure there is as little pain as possible. And a physical examination will show you have been penetrated. Hopefully then they will leave you alone.”

He led her to the bed and told her to get warm. Eleric found his heaviest, thickest woolen nightclothes and changed in the washroom, splashing himself with cold water. The room was already frigid. Hopefully, his body would remain frigid as well.

Eleric joined her in the bed, pillowing her head on his arm while he gently stroked her hair. Tense at first, she began to relax. He placed another kiss on her forehead, whispering soft reassurances to her as his hand touched her shoulder, then her arm.

He guided her arm to rest on his shoulder as she faced him, and he placed his hand on her waist. She jumped just a bit, but he kissed her forehead again and she slowly unwound. Ever so gently, he caressed her waist and her back, avoiding the scars and the fresh wound.

Carefully, he allowed his hand to barely brush the side of her breast every time he stroked. She was warm now…even warmer than the bed. Her breath was even and deep. He kissed her forehead and placed his hand on her breast, squeezing ever so gently.

Instead of jumping, she sighed and leaned into him. His body cried out in desperate need, but he forced himself to be calm. He could not consummate their union, even though his soul screamed for it.

“I’m going to touch your body now, with my hands and my mouth. I want you to…enjoy it. If your body is enjoying what I do, then when the pain comes, it will be brief and quickly dissipated by the pleasure I give you.”

Emmicia nodded, and only winced slightly as he pushed her onto her back. He leaned over her, not covering her, and kissed her shoulders and neck. When his lips found her breasts she arched towards him, and he momentarily lost himself as he kissed her pillowy mounds and enjoyed the feel of her flesh in his hands.

Eleric moved lower, and Emmicia made a tiny sound of disappointment and confusion. “It’s all right…I’ll come back to them…” he said as he kissed her stomach.

He arranged himself between her legs, using one hand to hold down her stomach, keeping her flat on her back. She was panting nervously. He kissed her thighs, then brushed his lips against the damp curls between her legs. He parted her folds with his tongue and she gasped, trying to sit up. He pushed her back down, gently tickling her clitoris with the tip of his tongue. Slowly, her legs rose in the air, offering him better access. He lapped deeper, until her hips began to undulate.

He gently probed with one finger, feeling her tightness. She was definitely a virgin. She began to tighten again, and he suckled her breasts, leaving just one finger inside her, hardly moving at all.

When she finally relaxed again, he carefully inserted a second finger, feeling her begin to tear. She cried out, but he couldn’t tell whether it was in pleasure or pain. He inserted a third finger, moving them in and out of her in a way he hoped would give her enough pleasure to counter the pain. She pulled him to her and he let his mouth fall to hers, kissing her as his hands caressed her intimately.

His erection stuck painfully between them, but as she gasped against him he could hold himself no longer, spilling his seed inside his woolen smalls. He slowed his hands, taking his fingers out and simply covering her mound.

“Does it hurt?” he asked softly.

Emmicia nodded, biting her lip.

“It’s done now,” he said, holding her close. “Everything will be all right.”

In the morning, he awoke to find Emmicia, still in his arms, regarding him with wide eyes. They were curious eyes, neither scared nor seductive.

“How am I still a virgin, and yet not?” she asked.

Eleric heaved a sigh. He wondered if all Ciliree women were kept purposely ignorant, or just the slaves.

His morning erection tented the sheets.

“I used my fingers to penetrate you, and open your woman’s place,” he said, using the words he’d heard his hosts use. “If it had been a true union, it would not have been my fingers inside you, it would have been this.”

He moved the waist of his smalls down, freeing his erection, and lifted the sheets. She stared down at him, wide-eyed, then pushed the sheets away completely, exposing him to the cold air. His erection quickly faded.

“What happened?” she asked, reaching out a hand to touch it tentatively, then clutching her hand back against her chest.

Eleric chuckled. “It only gets that long and hard when I am aroused, ready for a woman,” he explained. “This is how it is most of the time. Otherwise it would be rather difficult for me to get dressed, don’t you think?”

She laughed.

Eleric had never hear Emmicia laugh. He wondered if she’d ever laughed before, or if this was her first time for that, too.

He let her watch him while he cleaned himself in the washroom. She seemed more curious than aroused or smitten.

“Although a woman usually likes to bathe herself after intimacy, I think it’s best if you do not today. We want them to see what happened. We want them to see your virgin blood on the sheets and your thighs,” he explained.

She nodded, and he felt a pang of desire and regret. He could not take her. He could not save her, other than trying to convince her masters that she had done her job.

He made a show of kissing her goodbye when the guard came, leaving her naked in the rumpled bed. He was summoned to the smoking room, where he spent the next few hours avoiding questions regarding the details of his night.

Eleric finally cornered one of the men who seemed to favor the treaty. The man was listening to him, even though he looked like he’d much rather be left alone. Suddenly, Eleric felt an intense fear, followed by a sharp pain on his lower back. He staggered backwards and fell into a chair, but the feeling of the wood against his back caused another wave of pain.

He glared at the man. “What are they doing to her?” he demanded. The man looked aside, obviously uncomfortable. Eleric stood, confronting the man directly. “Why are they hurting her? I demand to be taken to my bedroom servant immediately!”

“She does not do her job,” the man said under his breath, as if it was something obvious Eleric should understand. The man waved at a servant, and Eleric was led away.

They found Emmicia in the grand hall, a guard hovering over her. Eleric ran to her, then froze. He didn’t want to hurt her. He put his hands on her arms and drew her gently against him. He gathered a spell in his hand, then placed the healing energy on her back. Both guards looked extremely nervous and uncomfortable, but they did not stop him.

“We are returning to my room. Send a healer,” Eleric ordered.

Once they were in the room, Eleric made Emmicia lie down on her stomach on the bed. He paced.

A knock finally came, and the door opened to reveal a wizened old woman. She was neither Ciliree nor Providencial; Eleric did not recognize her kind. “You need healer?” she asked.

Eleric nodded and beckoned her in. She stepped in, furrowed her brow, and stepped out again. She muttered to the guard and adjusted something on the panel next to the door. Eleric felt the crackle of magical energy returning to the room.

“The woman?” the healer asked as the door closed behind her.

“Yes. They…they hurt her.”

The healer sat on the edge of the bed and Emmicia scooted to the far side, holding the covers up high to her neck. Eleric sat next to her, and she huddled against him. “It’s all right,” he said, tracing a design on her arm with his own magic. “I will make sure of it.”

“Ah!” the healer said, seeing the gashes on Emmicia’s back. “You want gone?”

“Can you make the scars go away?” Eleric asked.

The healer waved in the air. “Mostly, mostly…”

Emmicia winced once, then let out a sign of relief. Eleric watched the healer as she treated the old scars and the new gash.

“Hmph,” the healer declared, placing the back of her hand on Emmicia’s cheek. “Still pain. You have pain?”

Emmicia blushed deeply and clung more tightly to Eleric. He leaned in and whispered into her ear “Are you still sore? From where I opened you?”

She nodded, but buried her face against him.

Eleric pushed Emmicia gently back onto the bed. His hand hovered over her hips and he said “She was a virgin. She still bleeds.”

“Ah!” the healer said. “You want virgin again?” she seemed very happy about the idea.

“No!” Eleric said a bit too loud. “Just…ease her pain. Please.”

“Ah. I make comfortable,” the woman said, and proceeded to sprinkle herbs on Emmicia’s abdomen. Some slid off her rounded stomach. Small bits stuck inside her navel. The healer took a bottle and shook it vigorously. She poured the contents of it on top of the herbs. It was pure light, rustling the herbs like tiny leaves until they disappeared into shadow. “She rests now. She comfortable. She ready for you soon, unless…you too large?”

“Unless I…” Eleric looked at the healer, but the woman only cackled, gathering her things and winking at him. As she went out the door, the guard gestured to the panel next to the door and she swatted his hand away, shaking a finger at him.

The door closed, and the crackle of magic remained.

Eleric could feel Emmicia’s pain fading as her feelings crept into him. It had started. He had decided to finish it.

“Emmicia, I want to talk with you,” he said. “What do you know of men from Providence?”

She shook her head. “I know nothing of men. Cilliree or Providence.”

Eleric hung his head. He wanted her to understand everything he asked of her, but time was short. “Emmicia, Providential men do not take women for pleasure. I mean, we do take pleasure in women…in our wives. But for us, it is far more than sexual gratification. It is a bonding.” She blinked at him, listening, though he wasn’t sure how much she understood.

“Here…” he said, walking to the water tap. He turned it on and placed his hand under it.

Emmicia looked at her own hand in amazement. “Is this magic?” she asked.

Eleric dried his hands on a towel. “Yes, but the most basic, natural kind of magic.” He dropped his towel on the floor. “Just as science can explain why gravity works.”

“Gravity?” Emmicia asked.

Eleric took a deep breath. He’d put off marriage in favor of his career, most notably for the treaty which was now so very close to becoming a reality. But he’d imagined he’d find a wife who was a true equal in every way, an educated woman who would teach their children and have a life of her own outside of what he created for her.

He could not imagine being married to a woman who had known nothing but dependence and contempt.

Emmicia ran her tongue over her lips. He felt it. The bond wasn’t even complete, and he could already sense what she wanted.

“Emmicia, we are bonding. It is because I have kept you so close to me, sharing my bed. I suspect it is why my hosts have been so insistent on the fact. They know it is a weakness the Providential have.” He went to her, bringing her her robe. “It is not too late. The bond is not yet final. But, Emmicia…” he helped her pull the robe over her head, covering herself. “I don’t want to break the bond. I want to strengthen it.”

She looked at him, and he knew she had no idea what he meant. “Emmicia, I have not yet taken a wife, but it is time. A Providential man taking a Ciliree wife would be beyond scandalous, but perhaps my status as the Ambassador will make it less so.”

“You…would be reviled if you had me? Not just here, but in Providence?” Emmicia began to cry.

“No! No…” he put an arm around her and held her gently. “I mean…yes, people will be shocked. But you will be mine. You will be my wife. You will bear my children…”

She gasped and cried, clinging to him. He didn’t know what to do. Perhaps he should forget the bonding, just keep her with him every day and hope her masters would take pity.

Perhaps he should leave, and give up on any hope of a treaty.

She pushed herself away and looked at him with a happy smile. “You would give me children?”

Eleric laughed at the possessive term. “Yes, Emmicia. If you and I are wed, we will have children together.”

She laughed. “They said…they told me…I am too ugly to bear a man’s children. That is why they gave me to you. To insult you.”

Eleric shook his head in disbelief. He saw in her eyes that she really did believe she was ugly. He laid his hand on her cheek and kissed her tenderly. “Emmicia, please believe me. You are beautiful.” He kissed her again. “And I want you to be my wife.”

He looked to her for an answer, then realized she was simply accepting the concept as she would accept any order from him.

He pushed her away, and got down on one knee. She looked confused. “Emmicia, I am not commanding you. A Providential man does not command his wife. I am explaining to you what marriage to me will mean…yes, there will be difficulties. Some people will think you are strange, in a foreign way, not in a bad way. We will be bonded, and you will feel my pain as I share in yours.” He kissed her fingertips and felt the echo of the shiver that went from her fingers to her toes. “And we will feel each other’s pleasure.” He kissed the sensitive skin on the inside of her wrist, and felt the tingle turn into the seeds of arousal. “Emmicia, I am not commanding you. I am asking you. Do you want to be my wife? Will you please be my wife?”

“You will be kind to me?” she asked.

Eleric nodded.

“And you will give me children?”

Eleric laughed, and nodded. “As many children as you want.”

“Then yes. Yes please. Take me as a wife. Protect me, and take me from here!”

Eleric wasn’t sure how well he could handle those last two requests, but he was determined to do his best.

“Take my hand,” Eleric said, on one knee in front of her. She turned so her legs were off the bed, and clasped her left hand to his left hand. Eleric kissed her fingers and held their joined hands on the same level as their hearts. He gathered the magic, adding it to their joined hands bit by bit. Emmicia watched in fascination.

A bit of fabric irritated his neck, causing an itch. She reached out to scratch it. She didn’t seem to even realize she was doing it. Eleric spoke the words of the ritual in his native tongue, and she repeated. He didn’t worry that she didn’t know what the words meant. He’d done his best to explain to her what would happen, and once she was his wife she would have not only his protection but that of Providence as well. She would be a citizen by marriage.

She closed her eyes at the right time, not because he told her to, but because she knew it was time. The flash was still bright through his closed eyelids. He stood, slowly undressing. Emmicia sat on the edge of the bed, her back ram-rod straight, her eyes still closed.

He draped his clothes over a chair and returned to her. Her eyes were still closed, and he could feel her shivering in the cold room. He cast a spell and warmed the air around them. Slowly, she opened her eyes. She looked at his feet, then her eyes slowly rose, fixating on the staff pointing directly towards her.

He stood perfectly still while she touched it, tentative at first, then more boldly. She was sensing which touches caused him the greatest pleasure. He wondered how those pleasures echoed in her.

He stepped closer and pulled her robe up and off. She slid backwards on the bed, crawling towards the pillows and hugging one to herself as she lay on her side. Eleric climbed into the bed with her, touching first her face, then her arms. As he kissed her, he moved his hand to her breast, gently kneading and feeling in himself the pleasure it generated in her. He discarded the pillow and she wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him on top of her.

Eleric had dreamed of his marriage consummation for many years, but none of those dreams prepared him for the reality. He expected to prepare her again, as he had the previous night, but her need was too great. Her thighs opened wide and her opening begged for him to fill her. He found himself pushing inside before he realized what he was doing, and forced himself to slow down. But there was no sense of pain from Emmicia, only a sense of anticipation and desire.

He pushed into her slowly, kissing her collarbone and shifting his weight so they both were comfortable. She enveloped him in every sense, her legs and arms holding him close as her body held him tightly. Experimentally, he rocked, and a jolt of pleasure shook him. His hips took over, grinding against her and into her, claiming her body as she claimed his soul. She kissed him with love and desire as he followed the bright light into the distant void. The light exploded, this time inside his eyes, and he was blinded, floating, joined with woman he had chosen.

When his senses returned he realized he was still on top of her. Emmicia was making tiny little happy sounds as she nuzzled him and kissed his neck. Eleric pushed himself up just enough to look into her eyes. He could see himself there, adored in every way. He kissed her gently, then kissed her again and again as he felt the thrills every one of his kisses caused her.

They faded off to sleep together, then woke in the night to make love again before drifting off once more.

In the morning, Eleric used his magic to turn the water from the tap warm. “Come, wife, wash yourself,” he said. While she was happily splashing in the water, Eleric waited for his door to open. When it did, he spoke to the guard. “My wife requires a more appropriate dress. Whatever is appropriate in Ciliree for a new bride.”

The guard looked surprised, but he said “as you wish,” and closed the door again.

Eleric looked at the closed door, then grabbed the handle and pulled. It opened easily. “And jewels!” he ordered, although the guard was far down the hall.

Not long after, a maid came to the door with a bundle. “Shall I stay and assist your bride, sir?” she asked. He tried to read her expression, but couldn’t tell what the woman thought of the news.

He turned to see Emmicia in the doorway to the bathing chamber, trying to hide herself and looking very shy. He could feel her embarrassment. “No thank you. We will manage.”

Fortunately, Emmicia seemed to know what to do with the complicated garments. Soon she looked nothing like the slave who had been presented to him. She looked like a noblewoman of Ciliree.

“My hair is up!” she said happily, as if this was a meaningful thing. Eleric remembered noticing that all the married women wore their hair tied back or elaborately braided, while all the young women wore theirs free. Eleric donned his best suit, and escorted his bride out into the hall, without a guard.

A servant met them before they reached the end. “The Ciliree wishes to see you in the Grand Hall,” he announced. Whether by ‘the Ciliree’ the man meant the leader or the court as a whole, Eleric could not tell. Emmicia clung tightly to him. He could feel her fear. He took her hand in a Providential way, holding her left hand in his while encouraging her to step slightly in front of him, his right hand at the small of her back. She felt his reassurance, and stepped forward in unison with him.

The Great Hall was filled. Not only were the courtiers all there, but stacks of boxes and assorted furniture covered the floor.

“You work slowly, Ambassador!” the ruler of the Ciliree declared. The assembled court laughed. “I would have penetrated her on principle upon reaching the room.” The room echoed with chortles and outright guffaws. “Then again, once I saw her face, I might have changed my mind…” the room exploded with laughter, and Eleric could feel his wife’s humiliation.

He waited for the wave to die down, then said in a loud, clear voice so all could hear “It is not our way to play sport with sex. I honored the beautiful gift you gave me, and cherished her presence every night.” There were still a few whispers and snickers. “My wife is an extraordinary and beautiful woman, sir. I expect you to treat her with respect.”

Silence fell, and all eyes turned to the ruler. He raised his chin, as if gauging Eleric’s determination.

“My apologies to your lovely wife. And my congratulations on your nuptials.” Someone in the back of the room hiccoughed or snorted. Then the ruler smiled and gestured to the array of boxes, furniture, and other items. “Your wedding gifts!” he declared, and the room applauded. “The furniture, for your house here, ambassador. It is a close house, where I can keep my eye on you.” The crowd continued to applaud sporadically, and they laughed. But this time it seemed to be a genuine laugh, as if the stranger among them had finally come to understand something he’d been too stupid to realize before.

He had no idea what that something was.

“In the spring, when it is warm, you will take your wife home. Show your brothers your Ciliree wife. Dare them to laugh! Then when the weather cools again, you come home to us, Ambassador. Or take your machines back and forth as often as you wish, I do not care.”

Eleric listened carefully, not fully realizing what was happening until the ruler spoke four last words.

“You have your treaty.”

This story isn’t connected to anything else I’ve done. It isn’t even for a prompt. I just noticed that I hadn’t posted a story on the blog for a while, mainly due to NaNoWriMo, and I thought I’d take a little break and do so. I was thinking 2k not 6k, but it is what it is lol! I needed to get a little erotica out of me. And although my WIP has some very strong female characters in it, I wanted to break from that for a bit and write a submissive. I like to think that Emmicia finds her strength now that she is no longer a slave, and becomes a true equal to Eleric and a strong mother to their children.

And I also needed a Christian Slater fix.

Were-worf

WorfEdwin had been standing in line for ages. It would be worth it though; he’d missed getting Wil Wheaton’s autograph at the last three cons, he wasn’t going to miss out this time.

He glanced up at the sky nervously. He’d been late taking his medication, and was already feeling much more anxiety than usual. It didn’t help that bikini-clad Leah-look-alikes kept stopping by to have their picture taken with the wookie behind him in line.

A bored looking guy in a baseball cap and official con tee shirt made his way down the line, counting fans as he went.

No… they wouldn’t… they said there would be plenty of room and no need to sell tickets ahead of time…

It was the worst thing about the big cons. Standing in line for hours was never a guarantee that one would actually get in to a particular event.

“Four hundred ninety-nine… five hundred.” The man handed Edwin a sign saying Line Ends Here. “Sorry folks, but the fire marshal has decided the room can only hold five hundred. We’ve added an event to the main hall, though, a panel on the abuses of canon in fan-fic…”

Edwin didn’t hear the rest of what the man said. He was drowned out by the cat-calls of the crowd.

Edwin held the sign like it was the one ring…his precious.

A mournful, gurgly wail interrupted his reverie. The wookie, in perfect make-up, looked down at Edwin from an impossible height. The guy looked like he used no prosthesis to attain the character’s necessary height.

Edwin’s gut churned. Let the wookie win… said the voices in his head. The sun hadn’t yet set, and the full moon already peeked from behind the clouds. Edwin’s head throbbed, and he knew it was already too late.

“It’s all yours!” he said, shoving the sign at the wookie and running.

“Hey, sorry… dude!” the wookie called after him. “I didn’t mean to scare you! I was just staying in character…”

Edwin waved in what he hoped was a friendly way and cursed the lack of phone-booths in today’s society. Then again, as as all-glass booth, they never had been good for changing in anyways. Superman was an idiot. He needed to find a bathroom.

Fortunately there was no line for the men’s room off the main lobby. He could already feel the bone protrusions pushing themselves out from his skull. He barely made it into the handicap stall before his shirt began to rip as his chest expanded.

Another red shirt bites the dust… he thought as he pulled the remains of his TOS shirt off and tossed it in the trash.

“OW!” He struggled with his jeans, which were far more resistant to the change. “Ow ow ow ow ooooooooowwwoooooo!!!!!” he shouted through gritted teeth as his tighty whities dug into his flesh before they, too, were ripped to shreds.

“Are you OK?” came a duo of voices from the direction of the bidets.

“Just… yeah. Just practicing my wolf call…” Edwin called back, hoping no one would notice his shredded underwear on the floor near the door.

He braced himself against the wall as the last of the changes racked his body, leaving him naked and trembling.

When it was done, he took a few deep breaths and cleaned up all the fabric scraps, stuffing them into his backpack. He removed his STNG uniform, the one designed to fit his larger form, and got dressed.

Fortunately there was no one else in the bathroom then, and he rejoined the crowd in the convention center lobby as they all flowed from one event to another.

“Oh! Nice cosplay. Mind if we take a picture?” asked a girl with trill-spots he suspected might be actual tattoos, not make-up. Her friends were dressed as dabo-girls.

“Sure!” Edwin said with a grin, opening his arms as all three of them posed against him, fingers on his chest and showing lots of leg.

It might be hard to keep a job. It might be a huge inconvenience in every other aspect of his life…

But sometimes it was good to be a were-worf.

Riddance

By Dean John Lazzaro (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Adam’s hands only caressed Coryn’s waist for a brief moment before he grabbed the little muffin top that was peeking over her swim shorts. He pinched just a little too hard, making her wince instead of her usual giggle and swat. “What’s wrong babe?” he asked, scooping her off her feet, keeping her unbalanced both literally and figuratively in the deep end of the pool. He hadn’t noticed that she’d stopped responding playfully to his ever more careless groping two weeks ago, ever since the anniversary of their first date had passed without so much as a mention.

“You pinched too hard.” she answered honestly. Really, she didn’t want to be that girlfriend, the one who insisted on fancy dinners and special treatment just because of some date on the calendar. Although she was upset about more than just that one pinch, that was all she felt justified in complaining about.

“How about this?” Adam asked, manhandling her so she had to wrap her legs around him or risk drowning. He pinched her bottom hard enough to leave a mark.

“Ow!” Coryn complained helplessly as Adam’s friends laughed. It didn’t help that she could feel his erection, growing hard in spite of the cool pool water. She wanted to squirm into a better position, but squirming in her current position would only be interpreted as encouragement.

She was about to push away and retreat to her own friends, tanning poolside, but Adam switched his tone instantly, whispering low enough that his friends couldn’t hear. “I’m sorry, babe, you know I’d never hurt you…” he caressed her wounded backside in just the way she liked, and her libido overrode her brain. She’d meant to break up with him for a week now, but never found the right time. He always seemed to sense when she was on the verge, and came up with some sweet words or gesture that made her doubt herself.

A rumble from the west signaled rain, and sure enough large drops began to fall. The row of tanning women clutched their unfastened bikini tops against their chests and hurried off to their cars. The boyfriends followed, and the few guys who were unattached headed for the pool house.

Coryn started to push away but Adam kept her tightly against him, moving slowly towards the side of the pool while kissing her neck. “Adam…” she protested weakly. He wasn’t usually so affectionate with her in front of his friends.

“It’s just a little rain, Coryn…” he pressed her against the side of the pool. He fumbled with the tiny bit of spandex he was wearing and poked his erection against her swim shorts. “Why do you have to wear those things? What happened to the bikinis?”

She’d stopped wearing the bikinis the first time he called her “muffin” but he apparently never made the connection. “I like these. They’re cute…” Coryn had something else she wanted to say, but Adam was sucking on her earlobe while his hands ever so gently inched her waistband lower.

He almost had them down to her thighs when Coryn noticed his wing-man holding up a cell phone from the shelter of the bar, filming them.

Furious, she kicked him away. “You’re filming this? You jerk!”

She’d meant to direct the comment at the cameraman, but Adam’s the one who answered. “Aw, come on… we talking about making a video…”

Words failed her. The rain came down even heavier as she scrambled out of the pool.

“Don’t be a bitch, Coryn!” Adam called out from the pool, ignoring the rain.

Suddenly a large wave washed over the pool-house, overflowing the pool itself and leaving several inches of water all around the pool area.

“Adam?” Coryn called out, unable to see him.

“Woot! What a rush!” he yelled, hanging off the diving board. “That…” he didn’t finish the sentence. Another wave washed over the pool house roof, this one containing a huge, dark shadow. That shadow thrashed in the pool as the wave dissipated, knocking Adam against the side. Coryn screamed as the shadow flipped around in the pool, revealing itself to be a huge shark. Its jaws clamped onto Adam’s torso, ripping him in two before swallowing both pieces.

She screamed again and felt hands grabbing her and dragging her through the door and into the pool house.

Everything went fuzzy, and she was only half aware of strong arms lifting her.

(^^^)

When she came to, a familiar face hovered over her.

“Jamie…” she whispered groggily, touching his face tenderly. “Jamie!” she exclaimed suddenly, startling him enough that he backed away, tripping over a backpack and landing hard on the carpeted floor. Jamie, whom she’d broken up with a few months before she started dating Adam.

Jamie, to whom she owed a huge apology.

A loud crack sounded outside the window. She looked around, recognizing her friend Kate’s guest room.

“What’s happening?”

“Craziness…” Jamie said, picking himself up and hovering near the wall as if he was afraid to come near her. “There’s a water funnel over the ocean… it moved inland, carrying not just water but freaking sharks! It’s a tornado and it’s dropping live sharks all over LA!”

“Then I wasn’t imagining…”

“No, you weren’t. Adam… Adam’s gone. That shark’s still in the pool.”

“We have to…” Coryn tried to finish her sentence, but no words came out, only a squeal as her chest suddenly seized and she couldn’t breathe. Jamie tore himself away from the wall, gathering her close, cradling her and brushing her hair away from her face as she fought for calm that would not come.

Another loud crack sounded outside and the lights went out.

Coryn screamed, trying to grab his shirt but he was still wearing only his swim trunks.

She began shivering and he rolled her onto the bed, grabbing the comforter and bringing it up around her while she huddled against his chest. She couldn’t think straight. The one overwhelming thought was that she’d always been safe with Jamie. He’d always been gentle and protective of her. With him, when she felt helpless it never seemed like a weakness on her part. It seemed simply honest and…human.

Adam always made her feel weak.

They lay there in the dark together, and eventually she found her calm. Jamie had that effect on her. He smelled good, even after the chlorine had washed away any body wash or cologne. She missed that smell.

She didn’t want to pull away, but she pushed back enough so she could see his eyes. They were dark, the way they used to get right before he’d make love to her.

“Jamie…I should have told you this months ago…but…I know you didn’t cheat on me and I’m sorry I didn’t believe you.”

In the darkness she couldn’t tell whether his brows were furrowed in anger, confusion, or worry. “I should have trusted you. I’m sorry.”

Jamie placed his lips gently to her forehead. “It’s OK Coryn. We all believed a lot of things your sister said. But it was all just stupid teenage jealousy and she’s off to the east coast now.”

“Are we the only ones here?” she asked.

“No, Kate’s…”

“Kate!” Coryn pushed away, trying to scramble out of the bed but only succeeding in getting herself more tangled. Kate, her best friend, who was (with her blessing) dating her ex. Jamie.

“Oh, Kate can’t find us like this…” she said, trying to scramble out of bed.

Jamie grabbed her wrists in one hand, gently pinning them above her head while he half held her down with his body. “Kate knows we’re here. She helped me bring you in.” He released her wrists, trailing the backs of his fingers gently over her arm. It would have been so natural for him to continue down over her breasts, but instead he lifted his hand and placed it tenderly on her waist.

“But, you…”

“Kate was only pretending to date me so she could spend time with what’s-his-face. And I…”

“You what?”

“I went along with it so I could keep an eye on you. Adam’s a jerk. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to plant my fist in his face without it landing me in jail, but I never got the chance. And I know his type… if I’d tried to warn him off, he would’ve just gotten worse.”

A loud crack from outside was followed by a pounding rattle.

“What’s that?” Coryn asked.

“Hail…” Jamie answered, climbing out of bed and going to the window. “But this place is a fortress, remember? Kate’s Dad, conspiracy theorist extraordinaire? Rich enough to build a freakin’ mansion out of concrete.” He reached up and pulled a cover over the windows. Suddenly it was pitch black.

“Jamie?”

“It’s all right Coryn. I just shut the storm covers. We’re safe.”

“Jamie?” she asked again as she started shivering. It was all just too much. She still couldn’t believe she’d seen a shark in her best friend’s swimming pool actually eat her boyfriend. If it had been anyone else telling her that a tornado was raining sharks all over Los Angeles, she’d never believe it.

But this was Jamie. The one man she knew she could trust.

The shivering got worse. “Jam….” she began to say, but suddenly he was with her again, stroking her hair and her arms, shushing reassurances. Her arms found their way around his neck and she pressed herself against him. She needed him. She needed him to overwhelm her, to chase away the fear and uncertainty that threatened to carry her away.

His breath was hot against her neck, and although she desperately wanted him to kiss her, he didn’t.

Slowly, the shivering subsided and she relaxed into a more comfortable hold. Fleeting fear still haunted her, silver shadows with huge teeth that danced at the edges of her consciousness. She needed more.

She tilted her face to him, half blind in the darkened room. She ran her fingers through his hair and felt his breath move from her neck to her forehead. Tenderly, she placed her hand on his cheek. Finally, she saw his eyes, gazing directly into hers. She kissed him softly, and his whole body stiffened. “Jamie… I need you.”

“I’m right here,” he said, as if that was the answer to all her needs.

Her needs were coursing through her veins, heightened by the fear and uncertainty of the strange storm. “Jamie…” she whispered, rolling onto her back and pulling him on top of her, “I need you.”

He kissed her then, the kind of kiss that happens without thought, only innate desire and trust. She wrapped her legs around him, glorying in the feel of his body pressing hers into the bed. His kisses traced a line from her chin down her throat, barely pausing to brush the fullness of her breasts before returning to cover her mouth with his. She fumbled to untie her bikini top and he reached to help her, undoing the knot with a single tug. She squirmed out of her shorts as he threw his swimsuit across the room.

Impatient with the urgency of her need, Coryn reached down to guide him into her but he had already found her entrance. Another loud peal of thunder shook the house and Jamie drove into her, filling her completely and fitting his body to hers perfectly. The silver fears danced at the edge of her vision, the terror of the storm threatening to overtake her.

As if sensing her need, Jamie kissed her gently as he rocked into her. “I’ve got you, Coryn. Everything’s going to be all right.”

She surrendered then, the silver flashes turning to stars as the sensations coursed through her blood. She felt as if her body itself was turning into a thousand points of light, slowly transforming her until she floated in a celestial sea. There was no giant wave overtaking her, just a series of surging breakers that roiled over and over through their joined bodies. He was hers then, a star child whose beginning and end was intrinsically entwined with hers, a new being created of two spirits who had been separated and were now coming together at last.

The sudden flash of electric light startled them.

“Ah… the backup generator’s working,” Jamie said, still covering her, penetrating her although spent.

Coryn gazed up into the face of the man she loved. “It’s really going to be all right, isn’t it?”

As most everyone knows by now, earlier this week there was a cheestastic made-for-television movie on the SyFy channel called Sharknado. I joked “Quick! Someone put together an anthology of Sharknado erotica before the fad passes!” Well, the jokes continued from there and I eventually decided something simply had to be done.

I hope you enjoyed it.

And if you’re a writer, I hope you’ll write your own #Sharknado fanfic and link it up!

Kids in Space

“It’s not fair! He gets two birthdays and I only get one!” Branli whined, counting the candles on his little brother’s cake.

“Well, Branli, although that’s true, you’ll notice that his presents are smaller than the ones you got on your last birthday. We always make sure it all evens out over time.” Cheryl explained patiently. She and her husband had been over the math with all three kids several times, but there were always complaints.

“I’m older than you now!” declared Gawain, also counting the candles.

“Mom!”

Cheryl took a deep breath, and explained again. “Since we live on-board a Starship, your father and I decided to celebrate all the family’s birthdays according to what day it currently is on the planet where you were born. Branli, you were born on Traxis, where the year is just a little longer than the Galactic standard. Gawain was born on Ridelph, whose year is significantly shorter. That’s why his birthday comes around more frequently than yours does.”

“Ashley gets a birthday and a ‘doption day,” said Branli, shooting daggers at his baby sister with his eyes.

Fortunately, Cherly’s husband Randal chose that moment to sweep in. “Yes, she does, but she celebrates both on a galactic standard, since she was born and adopted on-board. She doesn’t have a home planet.” Cheryl was all too happy to let him field the same old questions.

“Whadaya mean my presents are smaller than Branli’s?” Gawain demanded.

“Exactly what your mother said. We make sure everything evens out in the long run. Now blow out your candles.”

Suddenly Cheryl panicked. Randal was taking out some kind of ignition device and actually applying real flame to the candles. “Noooo…!” she yelled too late, as the detector from the wall discovered the open flame and swept in to immediately snuff it out. Fortunately, it decided that plain water would be sufficient for the nature of that particular emergency. Mere seconds later, the cake and everything around it was soaked.

Gawain began to wail. Ashley, frightened by the sudden intervention wailed along with him. Branli, to his credit, forgot all about his jealousy and tried to console his little brother. Randal scooped up Ashley and swayed with her, telling her everything would be all right. The unborn baby in Cheryl’s uterus, not wanting to be left out, did a little twist and bump.

“Well then. I suppose you’re going to get your birthday surprise a little early,” Cheryl announced loudly. All three kids stopped crying immediately, regarding her with wide eyes. “Guess who got shore leave?”

There was a moment of stunned silence, then both boys erupted into excited chatter. Ashley, too small to know what was going on, watched her big brothers’ enthusiasm and started laughing. “Go go go!”

Randal swept the kids off to find appropriate clothing for planet-side, and Cheryl started to clean up the mess that used to be a birthday cake. The baby gave another little kick, followed by a familiar cramping sensation. She did a little math in her head.

“Early yet. Probably Braxton-Hicks,” she muttered to herself. “Then again… I wonder how long the year is on this planet?”

This story is unrelated to any others I’ve done. It was inspired by today’s SciFi Question of the Day about birthdays in space and on new planets. I had always figured that, like Gwen says in the post, there would be an easy ap that would instantly tell you what day your birthday would be on any planet you wanted, as in, it calculates exactly where each planet was in its orbit at the moment you were born, and lets you know when that yearly event would come around again for each planet. I was surprised at how many different answers my friends came up with!

The shortlink for this post is http://wp.me/p1rMYd-pr

 

This week, I have a couple of important extras! Last week, my first story was published in an anthology called Precipice. It’s available in both print and e-formats.  Also, I have a short story entered in the America’s Next Author contest. You can read and download that story for free on the website. I’d appreciate your vote (just takes a click on the site, no log in) and if you’re feeling very generous, please leave a review! (requires a log-in with basic info)

Damned Dog

Elias did it because he loved her. He loved her, and she loved that damned, godforsaken mutt. How many times he’d chased that creature down the street… he’d lost count. All anyone had to do was open the door the slightest crack, and Sparks was off like a comet. He always came home again, stinky, filthy, and happy as a clam.

This time they didn’t have any idea who opened the door. It might have been hurricane Sandy herself, beckoning the stupid dog to certain doom. In the downpour, Elias had no idea where the dog might have gone.

Fearing the worst, he turned down the side street that led to a little park. It was one of Sparks’ favorite places, especially the bridge over the tiny stream.

The stream that was currently overflowing its banks. The bridge that was covered in several inches of fast moving water.

Elias shone his flashlight into the water, but the driving rain prevented the beam from reaching very far. The sharp snap of a tree limb startled him as it crashed into the water upstream.

“SPARKS! Come home, boy!” he called into the wind.

He started to make his way carefully along the water, thinking that perhaps the dog might have been saved downstream where a log had fallen over the stream earlier that summer. After a few slippery steps, he lost his footing, dropping his flashlight into the torrent and barely saving himself.

Drenched and sore, he made his way home in the dark. The only thing worse than telling Liza her dog was gone would be having Liza herself come out and try to find out what happened to both of them. At least he had a chance of restraining her if she insisted on trying to go out after her beloved mutt when Elias failed to bring him home.

A low, mournful howl cut through the sounds of the driving rain, and Elias began to run. The sound was coming from in front of him, not behind him. When he reached the front porch he heard Liza’s voice coming from the garage.

“Oh, baby please, come to Mommy! I know it’s scary but you have to get out of there!”

Liza’s well-shaped backside greeted him as he slipped into the garage, trying not to let in any rain as he did so. She was practically in a fetal position, her head peering into some cavity between the wall and foundation. Pathetic whimpering sounds were coming from the hole. Pathetic enough to make him forget about how he’d almost died out in the hurricane chasing after the damned dog when, the whole time, Sparks had been in the garage.

He whistled, and the whimpering stopped. Liza uncurled herself and looked up into his face. She had dark circles under her eyes, but everything about her screamed that she was depending on him to make everything better, that she trusted him not only with her own life, but the life of that damned dog.

“He’s just out of reach…” she said as she got out of the way.

“Let me.” Elias said, wishing he sounded gruff but knowing his voice would never sound that way to her ears. He lay flat on his stomach and reached in. He felt something snake-like move and almost jumped out of his skin, then he realized it was a wagging tail. He grabbed, and was rewarded by a startled yelp. “Come on!” he grunted, pulling the tail until he could reach one paw, then another. The final pull was like giving birth as the dog finally popped out, falling against him and automatically struggling to get away again.

Liza was there in an instant, hugging them both and rambling on about how worried she’d been and how naughty he was, but all the dog did was lick her face.

As usual, they went to bed with a big lump of canine on top of the covers keeping them apart. But Liza had her ways, and managed to take the comfort she needed from her husband in spite of the impediment. And nine months later, baby Sandy arrived to remind them of that night.

This story is not related to any of my others. It was written for October Flash Fiction, and the prompt was the picture.

The short link to this post is http://wp.me/p1rMYd-pd

Did you like it? Want to read another story of mine? I have a 5,000 word short entered in the America’s Next Author contest. You can download it for free or read it on-line from my page on the contest site (just click the picture.) I appreciate every vote I get (just click “vote” no log-in required) and if you’re feeling very generous, you can log in and leave me a review!

Thank you!

Bunnies

I turn the page

I shake my head

I hide the plot bunnies

under my bed.

This story’s too bad

for the back of the drawer

so under the bed it goes

Whether some or all

is redeemable…

or recyclable…

nobody knows

My new work in progress

takes all of my time

that old manuscript?

forgotten.

Out of my sight

I am unaware

That something in Denmark is rotten!

.

The dustbunnies know

something is amiss

Invaders !

Foreigners!

A threat!

Their noses twitch

Their tails tweak

Their little paws start to sweat

.

The pages ruffle

and deep inside

other Leporidae stir

But these little critters

Of dust, they are not

The stuff that makes them

We call plot

.

Plot bunnies killed

that old manuscript

They multiplied

until they took over

The original story

Was nowhere to be found

The tangents

Grew all too important

.

At last nose to nose

the first critter of plot

met one made only of dust

Tis love as first sight

and soon

under the bed

A summer of love

Is in bloom

.

A naive writer

immersed in my work

I am caught unawares

As they breed

In no time time at all

I’m caught in their thrall

It’s too late!

For my very life I plea

.

I can only hope

that someday they will find

the stories I’ve left all unfinished

My life for theirs

It’s a trade I can make

Perhaps then I won’t feel

quite so diminished

.

Tis a warning to all

You writers and artists

When you find yourself

in thrall of your work

Cute and fuzzy they are

but if you ignore them

be warned

Tis your death you risk

if bunnies aren’t tamed

The shortlink for this post is http://wp.me/s1rMYd-bunnies