#QueerBlogWed: A Hint of Spring

On September 28, 2022, P.T. Wyant posted at ptwyant.com a Wednesday Words prompt involving a strawberry, a ring of keys, and a spoon.

This freebie story for my Work in Progress On the Other Side of Mask was the result…

A strawberry was bold enough to peek out from the vine, defying the chill which permeated Lord Ruthvyn’s grounds. A tasy treat for a hungry boy. Not nearly as tasty as the boy himself, pressing his hands against the glass, mouth slack with wonder. 

Nathaniel could happily eat him up with a spoon, but such a treat wasn’t for a doll as himself. All of Lord Ruthvyn’s songbirds were for the master. His lordship didn’t share with his staff. No matter how much they came to care for his charges. 

“Is it spring?” Shelley asked, not turning away from the sight. 

“You know it’s never spring in Paradise.” Nathaniel wondered if his own words were true. The eternal chill the pale lords preferred filled the air, but fruit and vegetables still grew in their gardens. The lords needed it to feed their human sheep, working in the factories which smoked their offerings to the Goddess above. 

The set of keys in Nathaniel’s hand jingled. The doll hadn’t realized his hand was trembling. 

The boy fixed his gaze upon the ring. “Do those unlock our cages?”

“This entire estate is a cage.” Why was he saying these things? It wasn’t his place to terrify his lord’s songbird. This was a privelege belonging to Lord Ruthvyn alone. “These open a door to a little room in which a songbird sulks.”

Shelley’s luminous blue-green eyes widened. “Byron?”

Oh, Nathaniel was playing a dangerous game. Olympia will scold him if she caught him. How envious she’d be. “He keeps demanding to see you. He refuses to sing unless he’s at your side. He’s becoming quite tiresome.”

“Allow him to do so.” Shelley dropped his hands, turning the force of his liquid gaze upon Nathaniel. “We sing better together than when we’re apart. His lordship will appreciate our song more. As will you, Nathaniel.”

The doll was oddly touched that his master’s favorite remembered his name. “It’s not for me to decide if you sing together or apart. Nor is it for me to decide when Byron’s punishment ends.”

“You have influence over the one who does. More than Byron or myself.” Oh, this child knew how to flatter his master’s servants. “Please, Nathaniel.”

“Not nearly as much as I’d like.” Why was he telling the truth to this choir urchin whom his lord had plucked from the church like ripe fruit? “I’m a toy made for Lord Ruthvyn’s pleasure. As is Olympia. If we have any influence, it’s of a mercurial nature.”

“Please.” Shelley took his hand in his small fingers. How warm they were. Warm and alive. 

Did this child feel how cold Nathaniel was? He might live to see a hundred Shelleys come and go. Until they disappeared and a new painting, statue, or piece of furniture became part of the residence with what was left of them screaming silently within the inanimate object. 

Nathaniel would never be warm, no matter how many tender young boys held his hand. Neither would his master. 

“Don’t beg for mercy, songbird.” He pulled his hand away from the child’s grip. “It’s beneath you to plead with one of your lord’s toys for favors.”

He turned away, refusing to look back at that vibrant child. He wouldn’t last. None of his lord’s songbirds or other entertainments did. Only Nathaniel and Olympia remained.

It wouldn’t hurt to ask his lord about the two boys singing together. It had been their song which attracted his interest. 

Hearing that song again might bring color to Lord Ruthvyn’s white cheeks. It would only whet his appettie. 

The doll swallowed, not looking at any of the paintings on the walls of the various children, staring back at him. One day Shelley would be one of them. 

Why did that distress him? 

Best not to dwell on that either. 


S is for Shelley

On the Other Side of the Mask the true face of Paradise lies, wanting to lift its hidden beauty to the sun. This is why I sing, this is why Byron and I sing together. Let Lord Ruthvyn trap us in his mad estate, befuddling our wits in his labyrinth of art. Let his servants threaten us with a future of becoming inanimate parts of his collection. The song goes on, even when I lose my voice. It will bring light, thought, and will to even the sleepiest corners of Paradise. It’s something those corners cannot deny. For they belong to the light as much as to the darkness. We all do. 

P is for Peter

Stealing Myself From Shadows isn’t nearly as important as giving other people what they want. I’ll be anything The Hand and the Eye of the Tower desires me to be if they’ll only believe in me, love me. A Godling for Your Thoughts? You choose the form I’ll manifest as. I’ll be whatever god or devil suits your whim or a humble sprite to take your hand, guiding you to your wish. You are My Tool, My Treasure. I live to serve your whim. No need to spin a Web of Inspiration. Bind me as you desire and enjoy yourself. My Cusps Overfloweth as long as yours do. I’m here to put a smile or a leer on your face. See? I just made you laugh. Love it when I do that. 

M is for Melyssa

I’m not sure how The Hand and the Eye of the Tower can help a daughter of Duessa such as myself. Desperate to escape the dreams of the Gardens of Arachne, I’m drawn to temples and tragedy. A Godling for Your Thoughts? Mine is a forbidden fantasy. It has no place in gardens or temple, but perhaps a tower can accomodate it. Not that she’s constrained by walls or crowns. She remains My Tool, My Treasure just as I am hers. Together we shall spin a Web of Inspiration stronger than those woven by many fingers. Certainly stronger than my mother’s. Only then will My Cusps Overfloweth

L is for ‘Lyssa

I’ve returned from the shadows after hiding deep within a bruised heart, called by The Hand and the Eye of the Tower. A Godling for Your Thoughts? This godling etched me upon a coin, breathing life into me from an image, a thought, a wish. She will always be My Tool, My Treasure even if she thinks I am hers. Too long have we been caught in a Web of Inspiration. It’s time to spin one of my own. Only then will My Cusps Overfloweth. Only then will I truly be alive. 

D is for Damian

Who am I? If we’re in the Navel, I’m whomever you wish me to be. Oops, that’s only if you think we’re in the Navel. We may actually be in the Shadow Forest. You got me. In the Navel I was someone I wished I wasn’t. In the Gardens of Arachne. I was always someone someone else wished I wasn’t. Enjoy me while I last Beyond the Door. I’m always Stealing Myself From Shadows, every chance I get, even when they think they’re stealing me. I’m friend and foe in equal measure to The Hand and the Eye of the Tower, depending on what choices they make. I’ll give you A Godling for Your Thoughts? if you ask you for it, but what will I take in return? Only with Christopher am I myself, but he’s still My Tool, My Treasure even if he redefines himself. Especially if he redefines himself. We’re both caught in a Web of Inspiration yet we’re learning to pluck its strands to yield results. My Cusps Overfloweth with potential for all I may give my potential to someone else. I’ll offer anyone a glimpse of the truth who dares to look. No one strays from the path in the Shadow Forest and stays the same. No one wants to. Besides I must maintain a little mystery as I go my merry way. We’ll see soon enough what I’m up to. 

C is for Christopher

Appearing in Stealing Myself From Shadows, I wasn’t yet truly myself in those early drafts. I found my true voice or voices in Conversations with Christopher, appearing in many Tales of the Navel. I snatch myself from shreds of memory and myth, finding my own path through the Shadow Forest. I give myself to others, guiding them in The Hand and the Eye of the Tower, all the while tempted to consume my own energy in these fragile new forms. I am worshipped, prayed to, taking on many shapes on a coin in A Godling for Your Thoughts? Are any of those forms truly me? My beloved brightlings, Danyel and Tayel explore the true me while trying to free their family and fulfill their destiny in My Tool, My Treasure. Will I play any part in Web of Inspiration or My Cusps Overfloweth? My loved ones will and I’m never far from them. Not even when I’m lost in the mist and shadow, hiding behind another mask, another name. 

B is for Byron

I am a rebel songbird, singing a rebel song in Paradise. I am the lord of common sense and common curiosity, daring to look around and see what is On the Other Side of the Mask. Everyone wears a mask in Paradise, city of the Goddess, an illusion of what they think is perfection. Every mask is cracked where the pale lords and ladies dance, feeding on the Goddess’s shivering human flock for Her pleasure. Every song is for Her pleasure. Not mine. Not Shelley’s. We’ll sing our song, even if it costs us our place in the church choir. Even if we’re caged and separated in the mad labyrith of Lord Ruthvyn’s living art. For madness itself can be a mask. It’s only a matter of time before our song cracks it. 

#RainbowSnippets: Stealing Myself From Shadows

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 sample stories of LGBTQIA+, go to…


For mine Duessa will continue to take Christopher’s measure in Stealing Myself From Shadows

 “Gabrielle’s son?” The strange lady filled the question with predatory intentness, taking a few more steps towards me. 

     Light didn’t radiate from her as it did from Damian. Her slanting cheekbones created a face of equal beauty, yet little resemblance to his. Tiny delicate slits puckered along her cheek in a row of scars up to the level of each eye. Her long neck plummeted into a reddish brown gown slightly darker than the ringlets piled upon her head. 

Like my style of writing? Check out my published works at…


Conversations with Christopher: Meggie Part 2

The woman in the cloak and the youth in black stroll along a cobblestone path which is both familiar and unfamilar to her. 

Christopher: What did you mean by saying this was the right place to wish? 

Meggie: I mentioned Mel, didn’t I?

Christopher: Yes, you did. You said she was living with Jupitre and Juno. 

Meggie: She’s their daughter. At least they told her she was. 

Christopher: What? (He stops, stares at her.)

Meggie: (pausing as well) I know, right? She doesn’t believe it either. 

Christopher: What does she believe?

Meggie: She believes my sister and I were once her sisters. At the same temple. We were Sisters of Seraphix until we died. A wish brought us back.

The air gets a little colder. Christopher hugs himself, staring at something far away.

Meggie: Are you all right?

Christopher: I’m never sure. (He does his best to smile, to make a joke of the statement, but it’s fragile twist of lips, unable to hold the expression.) Sisters of Seraphix?

Meggie: Uh huh. I think she’s right. Sometimes I get flashes of memory of a place, a temple. Of living there with other women. Of the life we lived. 

Christopher: Yes. I’ve done that. 

Meggie: Remembered living in a temple? 

Christopher: I’m not sure. I’ve gotten memory flashes. Some I’ve held onto. Some slipped away. 

Meggie: Looks like one came back. I’ve seen Mel go still like that. Right before she remembers something. 

Christopher: I’ve heard the same Seraphix before.

Meggie: Uh huh. Once upon a time They were the God of Balance.

The slight youth shivers again at the words “Once upon a time”. Mel can’t really blame him. To her, it’s just the beginning of a story, but to some, it’s the mouth of a hungry deity who swallows everyone’s story. 

Christopher: Seraphix isn’t the God of Balance any more?

Meggie: (squirming) Look, what I remember, which isn’t very much, was Seraphix was a god people suffering from some sort of imbalance often sought out to, well, realign themselves. Get themselves sorted out so they weren’t giving up too much of themselves to their communities. Or taking so much they were a menace to others. 

Christopher: Seraphix was a god for those who couldn’t fit in?

Meggie: Yes and no. More for people who weren’t quite happy with how they were living their lives and wanted to change. Seraphix only accepted willing worshippers. That’s still true. 

Christopher: What changed?

Meggie: Mel remembers being part of a sisterhood. Everyone at the Temple of Seraphix was female. That’s a little imbalanced, isn’t it?

Christopher: I’m not sure. You said Seraphix attracted those trying to sort themselves out. Maybe your temple needed an all-female clergy to do so. 

Meggie: Well, anyone can be a Follower of Seraphix now if you believe in them. Believe They’re a God and Seraphix will grant your heart’s desire. 

Christopher: Seraphix sounds a lot like the Shadow Forest. Or a path leading through it. 

Meggie: They do, don’t they? What this has to do with balance, I don’t know. Neither does Mel. Nor does Aggie. 

Christopher: You’re not Followers of Seraphix, I take it?

Meggie: Oh, yes, we all are. (She reaches to pull a coin attached to a cord around her neck, a silver coin. There are scratches which might have been a hint of a face or scattered bones.) The Voice of Seraphix called to us all, bringing us back from the shadows and dust. We’re alive again because of the wishes of those believed in Seraphix. 

Christopher: The ones who bring us back have a powerful hold over us. It’s hard not to listen when they call. Even if we have doubts about what they’re saying. (He shivers.)

Meggie: Exactly! I’m a Follower of Seraphix, but I have doubts. Doubts are dangerous. Doubts can weaken a godling. 

Christopher: (looking away) Seraphix is your godling. 

Meggie: They always have been. If They’ve changed, well, should I hold this against Them? I’ve changed, too. Even if I still eat too many custard tarts. (She looks a little guilty.) At least I no longer have to be ashamed of that. 

Christopher: Why?

Meggie: Well, one of the things I remember from the temple is sneaking tarts, far more than my share. We were supposed to share them with the community. I wouldn’t take them if they were in short supply, but if there was a festival, I could eat as many as twenty. (She looks abashed.) I don’t think anyone would miss them, but I wasn’t entirely sure. Overeating like that was considered imbalanced, taking too much from others. Now it doesn’t matter. Not that I’ve been able to eat as much after the Voice called me. Guess it’s a side effect of being lost on the other side of the Door. 

Christopher: I only manage a few bites of anything. At most. 

Meggie: No wonder you’re so slender. I can still eat custard tarts, but only one. I’ve never been slender, never particularly wanted to be. I wonder if I will?

Christopher: I don’t know, Meggie. No one I’ve met like us has been able to eat much. 

Meggie: At the same time, I crave company like never before. Along with stories, poetry, any kind of books. I feel much better after being with someone or a good read. And sex! I’m almost insatiable! Another good thing about Gryluxx is he can keep up with me. 

Christopher: Ah, that’s good. (blushing)

Meggie: You know for a shadow, you’re rather innocent. 

Christopher: (a wistful smile playing about his lips) So I’ve been told. I hope that’s a good thing. 

Meggie: Well, a hope is close to a wish. Again you’re in the right place for such things. Seraphix may well hear your wish and help you if you believe in Them. 

Christopher: (his smile twitches as if at some joke he hasn’t decided to share) Perhaps They will. 

Meggie wonders what the joke is. Maybe she’s better off not knowing. She doesn’t always like other people’s private jokes. 

It’s not like she doesn’t have plenty of her own.