Conversations with Christopher: Within Walls of Stone

Christopher and Damian continue their conversation and their journey where they left off last week…

…the two of them are surrounded by stone walls. The only illumination comes from the yellow-green torches stuck in the walls, flickering like trapped ghosts. They cast a shadowy light upon the tapestries, the single chair in the chamber, a stone throne with a pattern of skulls and roses.

Christopher: (looking around) I’ve been there with Danyel. I drew him from this tapestry as you drew me from the shadows, only he already existed.

Damian releases his hand. Christopher draws closer to one of the tapestries, depicting a faded image of slender boy with a pale face and hair. The boy flings his frail arms around a monstrous, yet beautiful beast, a beast with fangs and fur. Only the image of beast changes. At times it has scales. At others it has a carapace and many limbs. Whatever the creature, it could crush and devour the boy. It wants to. Christopher can feel the hunger radiating from its mouth, but the youth’s courage and innocent affection stops the monster before it can devour its prey. The boy’s bravery makes the creature question the hunger itself. All these emotions Christopher can feel radiating from the imagery unless he’s simply interpreting them as such. For the boy in the tapestry looks very much like Danyel, not his twin. Nor is the boy unlike Christopher himself.

Christopher: Or…will I come here in the future? Once more, time is becoming blurred in this place.

Damian: It always does. (He is now wearing a stiff lace collar, a velvet vest, and tight matching pants.) Look at me. I’m like and unlike Stefan. I wonder if Aunt Duessa didn’t dress me like this to remind herself of her lost husband…and to emphasize how different I am from him.

He gestures to the second tapestry, which shows a woman, pale, nude, smiling. Her long auburn tresses writhe and quiver like serpents, her many arms embrace the same beast menacing the boy in the first tapestry. Only the beast favors a more reptilian form, staying in that shape. This beast snarls with hunger and anger, baring its fangs. It doesn’t choose not to strike as it did with the boy. It cannot strike the woman for she holds it captive. Only one pair of eyes upon the woman’s face are open, although she has many eyes. Most of them are half-mast, filled with a coy hunger equal to the beast’s for in restraining it, she has become more monstrous than the monster.

Christopher sees this and turns away from the tapestry.

Christopher: Why have you brought me here? Why are you showing me this?

Damian sits down in the stone throne, looking entirely too comfortable and regal in his hard seat.

Damian: (raising one arm to rest his chin upon the throne’s arm to regard Christopher) All I’m doing is reminding your of our story. Of us.

Christopher approaches the throne and drops to this knees. He places his hands upon Damian’s knee, bowing his head.

Christopher: If you wish to remind me of us, let’s return to our garden in Omphalos. I feel as if we are ourselves yet not ourselves within these walls. We’re becoming someone else the longer we stay here.

Damian drops his arm to press his hand over Christopher’s.

Damian: There’s truth in your words, yet we are ourselves here, Christopher. These walls are a part of our story as much as where I summoned you in Omphalos or the Gardens of Arachne. It’s been too long since our scribbler thought of these places.

Still holding Christopher’s head, Damian bows his in turn. Mist oozes through the stones, swallowing the sickly light from the torches, the very walls themselves, everything except for Damian and Christopher.

To be continued on Monday; October 5, 2020…

Rainbow Snippets: A Symposium in Space

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets! Every Saturday or Sunday, those participating post and share six sentences from LGBTQIA+ stories on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a wide variety of LGBTQIA+ fiction from different stories, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

For my own, Agathea…or rather her orb…will continue to taunt, err, tantalize, and coax Pausania and Phaedra to come to her little gathering in A Symposium in Space...

“Ah, but would I be inviting Sokrat if that were true?” A sly tone laced with humor emitted from the mechanical device.

I wondered if Agathea had given it her voice. What projected from the orb was such a caressing, sensual tone. It rivaled Pausania’s own for the levels of malice it could deliver, wrapped in a disguise of courtesy. I wasn’t used to this level of complexity in a simple communicator, but I was behind the times. Or so Pausania kept telling me.

Like what you’ve read? Want to read more? Here are buy links…

Nine Star Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/a-symposium-in-space/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Symposium-Space-Feast-Words-ebook/dp/B07PGB15FY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3BPACY58MCCMV&keywords=a+symposium+in+space&qid=1552937461&s=digital-text&sprefix=A+Sympo%2Caps%2C239&sr=1-1

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Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-symposium-in-space

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/928136

Conversations with Christopher: Damian

Christopher wanders through the mists alone. There’s a faint humming in the air, almost a suggestive whispering. He closes his eyes, stretches out his hand, searching with his fingers.

Christopher: If I wish for you the way you once wishes for me, will you appear?

Strong, slender fingers grasp his, holding onto his.

Damian: This is the Cauldron of Inspiration, is it not? Anything is possible beyond the fourth wall, between all walls. Much like the Shadow Forest itself.

Damian Ashelocke steps forward, wearing a black leather jacket over a white poet’s shirt, and tight leather pants. His dark hair is damp, dissheveled, falling forward over his pale brow, ending in waves at the nape of a slender neck. He slants his rose-purple eyes in a humorous squint, yet his face is grave.

Damian: Of course I’ll come to you, Christopher, if you wish for it.

Christopher: You think I haven’t been wishing for you?

Damian: I think you’ve been distracted by Quartz and his story. You’re very close to the scribbler and her thoughts. Closer than any of her other characters perhaps. Isn’t it time you spared a thought for your own tale?

The mists parts to show a garden path leading to a hill, lined with rosebushes. The thorny vines burst with blossoms the same hue as Damian’s eyes.

Damian: If I don’t force you to blossom, you’ll wither on the vine. Do you remember these flowers? They’re Ashelocke roses. They’re here in Omphalos but also in the Gardens of Arachne.

Christopher: Must you bring up the Gardens of Arachne? I’d rather not return there.
Damian: Oh, Christopher. You and I always return there, one way or another.

The mists creep up and swallow everything but the rosebushes. The paths realign, twisting into mazes. The gazebo nearby, crouching like a wooden beast protecting its secrets disappears. It becomes another part of the lovely sunlit twists of thorns and briars, carefully cultivated to form a spiral, turning and twisting inward.

Christopher: For every boy in the Gardens of Arachne, the paths have a single destination. Always from manhood and into his bride’s arms.

Damian: Not every path and they don’t have to end there. Come. (He’s still holding Christopher’s hand but he’s wearing a white tunic, revealing slim legs, taunt with slender muscle. Flower petals, more of the Ashelocke rose are caught in his hair.) It’s been to long since we visited Stefan Ashelocke.

Christopher: Perhaps not long enough. (He reaches up to touch his own coppery-golden locks, the same length as Damian’s. He, too, has the same rose petals in his hair, a wreath of them. Crowned with flowers as every boy is when he goes to his bride, yes, he remembers those days and nights.) Stefan sacrificed his life so that the Gardens of Arachne could bloom. Stefan was the very first Marriage Feast to satisfy an arachnocratic lady’s hunger.

Damian leads Christopher around a turn bursting with thorny briars. More of the rose purple flowers develop upon the vines. The two youths take a left. Each petal cries for a young boy’s voice, yet it’s only the faint whisper of the vine. The path twists, offering two ways. Damian leads Christopher to the right. Look close enough and see the webs, linking each of the roses. The two boys, for now they are just boys walk straight for a while, hand in hand until they come to another fork, the tangle of green rising high above their head. For it is a tangle with thin strands of spun between thorns, glistening as if tears clungs to them. Damian took another right. Now you can hear the cries of women weeping. The two boys walk straight amidst the sobbing, the rosebushes rising high into hedges, blocking out the sun, all other noise. How the webs weep, with the voices of those whom became lady monsters; aloof, powerful, too hungry for this oasis, for dominance after being dominating. They had allow their hunger to rule their hearts, to become arachnocrats, a court of elegant worshippers of the Spider whom resides in them all, engaging in a gracious dance of predator and prey, a ritualized matriarchy of sacrifice to escape the crude patriarchy which once existed upon these grounds. The many-limbed ladies see, remember, and weep. The roses are all the lovelier and more innocent, flowering in sheltered tragedy amidst their webs.

Christopher remembers and senses this, hand in hand with Damian. He feels his eyes fill with tears for both predator and prey, those whom can’t escape this, but there’s one more turn to the left before the two boys reach the enter of the maze. Gravel gave way to smooth sandy stone beneath their sandaled feet. The walls of hedge and briar retreat, allowing the still stone figure at the center of the open courtyard his space.

Damian lets go of the other boy to approach the white statue, the figure of a young man who is the exact likeness. Only this young man wearing a doublet over a high-necked tunic, wiry legs covered with hose.

Christopher: (shivering for Stefan casts a long shadow even in his stillness) I’d almost believe he was a statue. Only he’s more than this. He’s immortal. He’s what’s left after the Lady Duessa devoured him in a Marriage Feast.

Damian: Before that, he was Aunt Duessa’s husband. The last husband in these lands to live with his wife in a castle with towers before the Ashelocke estate and the Temple to the Spider were erected. I wonder how willing he was to submit to his lady’s fangs in truth?

Christopher: What are you saying?

Damian: Before the Gardens of Arachne with its mazes and shrines to Marriage Feasts past, there was this.

He raises his hand like a sorcerer summoning forces from another world. Perhaps Damian Ashelocke is exactly that. For he once summoned Christopher from the shadows and now he summons the mists of the Cauldron.

They come to him, swallowing the sky as they do, the statue, the very Gardens of Arachne themselves. Damian lowers his hand to grab Christopher’s before he can disappear, before they both disappear.

To be continued on Monday; September 28th, 2020…

Rainbow Snippets: A Symposium in Space

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday, those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a wide variety of samples from different LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

For mine, the orb will continue to leer, cajole, and menace where it left off last week in A Symposium in Space…

A slight note of menace entered the voice. “Do you truly wish to shun my company? I’m collecting guests exalted enough to impress even one as cynical as yourself.”

“Exalted isn’t how I’d describe your collections.” Pausania waved her free hand in languid dismissal. “You’re all about the latest trends. You never touch anything that questions or casts them in an unflattering light.”

Like what you’ve read? Want to read more? Here are buy links…

Nine Star Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/a-symposium-in-space/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Symposium-Space-Feast-Words-ebook/dp/B07PGB15FY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3BPACY58MCCMV&keywords=a+symposium+in+space&qid=1552937461&s=digital-text&sprefix=A+Sympo%2Caps%2C239&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130883509?ean=2940161507872

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-symposium-in-space

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/928136

Conversations with Christopher: Danyel and Tayel

Christopher a slender youth with coppery-golden hair which curls around his ears and the nape of his neck sits wearing a dark turtleneck and jeans, facing a pair of boys as slender as himself if slightly younger and even shorter. It doesn’t help that they’re sprawled on a patch of grass in all this mist with flowers growing from the greenery. These boys appear to be twins with the same heart-shaped face, the same golden wavy hair falling to their shoulders. They wear the same dove-gray trousers, gray boots, and loose white tunics, only one boy is dressed in a pale blue vest over his tunic. Flashes of silver sparkle in his violet-blue eyes. The second boy wears a greenish blue tunic and smiles more at Christopher. There is no silver in his eyes, which are also violet blue, but at times a green miasma appears around his right hand.

Christopher: (smiling at the boys) It’s wonderful to see you two again, although I feel very tall up here.

Tayel: (the twin with the silver in his eyes) Your seat and stature change with your will and mood.

Danyel: (the smiling twin with the green energy around his hand) He’s right. (He looks up at Christopher.) Why don’t you leave that stuffy chair and sit with us, Christopher? This is the Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration, after all. Its mists are a bit like the Shadow Forest. They’ll let in a little sun if you wish for it.

Christopher grins and drops out of his chair, which promptly vanishes. He rolls onto the grass for there is grass waiting for him, unfolding in alll directions. The mist parts to reveal a clearing bathed in gentle sunlight surrounded by trees. Flowers dot the grass around the three boys.

Christopher: (looks down at himself to see his black turtleneck and jeans have vanished. He’s now dressed very much like the boys, only his vest is pale violet) This is nice. I wonder if this clearing is the place Quartz visits, where Blanche sleeps in a crystal coffin?

Tayel: Similar visions emerge from the mist of the scribbler’s imagination. This Cauldron reflects her visions.

Danyel: Yes, she does seem to like enchanted forests, doesn’t she? There are a lot of trees where she lives; beautiful, majestic, both soothing and menacing. They rip up the paths, tripping her up with their roots, yet she’s glad of the sight of them.

Christopher: Reminds me of the Shadow Forest. The woods can be menacing but beautiful. It’s the birthplace of possibility yet it keep returning to the shape of a forest.

Tayel: We enter, craving something yet we seek out stillness once we open the Door.

Danyel: You seek out stillness, Tayel, not me. Not I’m looking for danger but I’m curious about what I’ve only seen in books, the faces, movements, and conversations I’ve never seen or heard.

Tayel: Stillness is peaceful. There is always something to see or hear, something wanting to be seen or heard. Stillness is an escape from that want.

Christopher: Curious. I agree with both of you, yet I don’t.

Danyel: What do you mean?

Christopher: I seek out what I don’t have but I also seek out stillness.

Tayel: We reflect you, Christopher, yet we are ourselves.

Christopher: I’ve really missed you, too. Seems like I’m always talking to Quartz these days. (He hesitates, then laughs.) Listen to me. I’m even starting to talk like him.

Tayel: Absorbing and reflecting the company you keep, they darken you with their character.

Danyel: We were a little worried about you, Christopher, which is why we came. The only time the scribbler spends with you is at this blog.

Tayel: Narrator of a story and the end of a story, your own story is lost.

Christopher: Aren’t you forgetting something? I was right there with the two of you for that bit of My Tool, My Treasure the scribbler jotted down.

Danyel: You’re right! It had been so long since she spent any time on our story in progress! Lately it’s been all about Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins.

Tayel: Distraction comes in many forms but sometimes distraction can lead you back to your path.

Christopher: Yes, she was recently reminded of us, wasn’t she? Not that Quartz has anything to complain about. He and his story got a burst of energy as well.

Tayel: Complaint can be a way of expressing one’s self.

Christopher: That’s very true, especially when it comes to Quartz.

Danyel: We wouldn’t know. We’ve only met Quartz a few times here.

Christopher: It’s strange. He used to really resent me for the time the scribbler spent with me. Now that he’s the one she’s lavishing time on, he’s a lot more sympathetic.

Danyel: He’s starting to understand what the scribbler puts her main characters through. It’s not any better for us than it is for the secondary characters.

Tayel: Sympathy is a sword you feel piercing your heart even as it dives into your own.

Christopher: Not always. At least I hope not. (Christopher leans back onto the grass, folds his arms behind his head. He closes his eyes.) I wonder if I can just let go and relax for a moment.

Tayel: Letting go means fading away. How much you hold onto and how much you release is up to you. (He, too, leans back and closes his eyes.)

Danyel: We’re with you, Christopher, if you want to let go. The Cauldron will bring us back even if we fade. (He’s the last to lay down on the grass, letting his eyelids droop.)

Christopher: Thank you.

For a moment the three boys just lie there. The grass, the clearing, and those lying within in disappear along with the rays of the sun. They are swallowed by the mists creeping up on them with all the quietness of a soundless sleep.

Rainbow Snippets: A Symposium in Space

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday, those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a wide variety of samples from LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

“Next you’ll be calling life givers women.”

“Huh?” I opened and closed my mouth. “Why would I call women life givers?”

“You may call it a lack of galactic sensibility. I call it a charming display of innocence.” The orb throbbed in midair, quivering with hungry intensity. “Pausania, I simply must have the two of you at my symposium.”

Nine Star Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/a-symposium-in-space/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Symposium-Space-Feast-Words-ebook/dp/B07PGB15FY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3BPACY58MCCMV&keywords=a+symposium+in+space&qid=1552937461&s=digital-text&sprefix=A+Sympo%2Caps%2C239&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130883509?ean=2940161507872

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-symposium-in-space

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/928136

Conversations with Christopher: Quartz

Once again, Christopher sits across from a certain grumpy-looking dwarf, only today that dwarf is more gloomy than grumpy.

Quartz: I tell you, it’s not easy to have bits and pieces of your story stitched together, unsure which ones are true and which aren’t.

Christopher: No need to tell me. My entire character concept is that of a creature stitched together from story and memory, unsure which parts are truly mine. I’m not even sure if I’m the real Christopher or a fallen ideal Damian conjured up from the shadows.

Quartz: That’s right, you’re supposed to be a stitched up being of shadow, aren’t you? You’re not grounded in reality…I just realized how terrible that is. You have no connection to the rocks or the earth, do you, lad?

Christopher: As you said, I’m a creature of air and shadow. Forces of earth, like gravity sometimes have an adverse effect on me and others like me. Danyel and Tayel felt this adversity when they tried to climb a hill.

Quartz: Can’t imagine that. Don’t really want to either. Not to be able to draw on the power of the stones, to feel their energy, why, I’d be hollow, just a shadow of myself.

Christopher: I’ve never thought of it that way. I thought I’d be tethered, trapped, but perhaps I’m missing out on something essential. No, I know I’m missing out on something essential. I’m disconnected with reality. What you have, you’re more than connected.

Quartz: Huh, guess you’ve got a point. Anyway, my character concept isn’t a fragmented one like yours, lad. I’ve just got a bunch of stories, many of them old blog posts at inspirationcauldron.blogspot.com being drawn into Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins.

Christopher: The inspiration will run dry at the Cauldron next month. All the poems and stories which appeared there on Wednesday will come here.

Quartz: I’ve already had to move Secondary Characters Speak Up to this place. Thank’ee for letting me borrow your spot last Monday, lad.

Christopher: You’re welcome. No need to thank me. You’ve seldom felt the need to do so before.

Quartz: Now, now, I can be polite, I just have a lot on my mind. No time for all the niceties other people fritter theirs upon. Besides I know your stories have been put on hold while our scribbler works on Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins. Figured I owed you some graciousness.

Christopher: Thank you.

Quartz: Not to mention all of the guest posts of late have been with characters from my story.

Christopher: I know.

Quartz: Plus I’ll be taking over your blog once a monthly Monday, replacing it with Secondary Characters Speak Out. Hope you understand.

Christopher:…

Quartz: You remind me of the scribbler when you do that.

Christopher: I think I’m starting to share some of her pain…

Rainbow Snippets: A Symposium in Space

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday, those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just has to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a wide variety of LGBTQIA+ samples, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

For my own, Pausania is going to let Phaedra know exactly what she thinks of her questions and her awe of Agathea (jealous?) as I pick up where I left off last week in A Symposium in Space…

“Once again, you’re showing your naiveté, your complete lack of any galactic sensibility.” Pausania glanced upward at the ceiling. Perhaps she was asking the ancient goddesses to give her strength. “There’s only one Agathea. No one else can use her name without incurring a fine as epic as her tragedies.” She smacked her slim hand against her forehead.

Like what you’ve read? Want to read more? Here are buy links…

Nine Star Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/a-symposium-in-space/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Symposium-Space-Feast-Words-ebook/dp/B07PGB15FY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3BPACY58MCCMV&keywords=a+symposium+in+space&qid=1552937461&s=digital-text&sprefix=A+Sympo%2Caps%2C239&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130883509?ean=2940161507872

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-symposium-in-space

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/928136