Waiting for Rebirth

It’s Me Me Monday! A day to strut and celebrate one’s Me-ness. Alas, poor Damian doesn’t feel much like celebrating. Too much of his bitter disappointment in Gabrielle is coming to the surface in the next part of ‘Waiting for Rebirth’.

Only she hadn’t. She’d opened her Navel for business, only the shop didn’t exactly do business. It drew customers inside, looking for something they couldn’t quite name, but somehow needed.

“We’re on the edge of reality, where sentiments lost take form.” Gabrielle had turned around in her shop, resplendid in a hat covered with feathers, sea shells, and a smiley face tucked in the brim. “Every object claimed in the Navel is a soul becoming more whole..”

“Only a little,” Damian had retorted. “You could do much more in the Shadow Forest itself.”

“More is risky. Besides, the Door won’t open for me.” ‘Brie had uttered these words with careless ease that struck Damian like a stone hitting his chest. “There’s nothing I want there.”

Nothing she wanted. ‘Brie was quite content in her silly shop with her silly clothes, helping silly people. It didn’t matter that she could have been so much more. She didn’t care. She just squandered her power, pretending to be a shop keeper. All she ever did with her magic was hand out trinkets. Objects infused with bits of memory and character her customers didn’t know they’d lost.

“Why should I want more than I have?” A tiny wrinkle of frustration had appeared between Gabrielle’s slender golden eyebrows. Damian felt a certain vicious satisfaction to see this reflection of his own discontent in her face. “My shop helps people in little ways, every day.”

“It’s petty!” he’d snapped, trying to find the right words, the right expression for his discontent. “Is this what I left my life behind for?”

“What life?” Gabrielle had looked him straight in the eye. “You were going to be a marriage feast. No one wanted that for you, not even Duessa.”

“What?” Damian had stared at Gabrielle, his mentor, whom he’d defied his aunt to follow. “What are you saying?”

“Damian, your aunt knows you’re here.” Gabrielle had frowned at the expression on his face. “Did you really think she didn’t?”

“I thought I’d escaped from her.” Damian had ripped each word out of his throat, feeling like bits of himself were being torn. Maybe Gabrielle would find pieces of him in this shop, among all the other discarded emotions which were now dolls, crystals, or chicken statues.

He’d stared at the skulls on the shelf. He’d shaped them out of clay with his hands, pretending each one of them belonged to a boy who’d been a Marriage Feast. He’d named each of them after someone who was now a statue, beautiful and eternal in his wife’s garden. Only their essences were gone. They’d been drained on their marriage nights.

If only those skulls were real. If only he could bring them back. If only Duessa knew what he truly wanted. She never would have let him escape.

Waiting for Rebirth

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets! Every Saturday, six sentences of GLBTQ+ fiction is posted and shared. It can be your own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be GLBTQ+.

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Damian picks up right where he left off on Wednesday in ‘Waiting for Rebirth’, prelude to my ‘Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest’ series. The first book, ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’ is currently under revision for publication. This snippet is actually seven sentences long, forgive me…(bows)

 

“Can’t you feel it?” ‘Brie had asked, sniffing the air around her. “All of the lost souls, the bits and pieces of them which get forgotten?”

“Yes, because we’re close to the Shadow Forest.” Damian had taken a deep breath. They were so close to a Door. One could open, he was sure of it. Gabrielle’s will was strong enough to slice one in the very air.

Waiting for Rebirth

It’s QueerBlogWed! Being his own unique vessel of queerness, Christopher returns to us in the next part of ‘Waiting for Rebirth’…

“Are you all right?” I asked, as I moved towards him. What a stupid question. Of course he wasn’t all right.
Damian raised his head at the sound of my voice. He released himself from his tight embrace, some of the heartbreak departing from his face.

“I’ll be better in a moment,” he said, taking a long, shuddering breath. “It’s not like I’m not used to this.” He let out a low, hushed laugh. “I’m not entirely sure what I was hoping to do, or prove.”

His vulnerability drew me closer, exciting a hunger I’d thought I’d never feel again. My Damian. My creator. I couldn’t exist without him. Why wasn’t he happy? What was he expecting?

I touched his hand, feeling him shiver. An image shuddered through my own brain of angry, frustrated helplessness.

“Why are you here?” Damian demanded. Young and impatient, confined in starched leather, he’d looked up at the beautiful, golden creature who stalked his aunt’s halls. Tear drops hung from Duessa’s ceiling, male teardrops. Boys who dared to be men, who were cocoon in the Lady Ashelocke’s web. She’d share them with other ladies, draining a little at a time, until all the violence and vitality was sapped from them.

This was what males were, sustenance. Sustenance for a lady, smiling slyly through the red lips and fanged teeth. This was all Damian thought there was sustenance or being a lady, until he saw her.

Straight and tall, her golden hair fell freely from any ornament or confinement. She’d laughed the deep, full bellied laugh of a man, or what Damian dreamed it would be like. Rich with unabashed joy. She did this, while fluttering her eyelashes like Duessa might have.

“Quite the place you live in,” she’d said, winking at him. Her complete lack of fear had made his shoulders relax, draining away his own shyness. “Must be frustrating.”

Yes, it had been. Frightening, but every shivering merchant, tenant, and artist who lived in the arachnocratic lands feared the Ashelockes. Damian himself grew up, shivering at the rustle of his aunt’s skirts across her marble floor.
There had been another word for his situation. Damian Ashelocke didn’t understand it, until Gabrielle herself uttered it, giving it voice. Frustrating.

She had understood. She’d seen his frustration, before Damian realized what it was.

Perhaps this was why he’d chosen to follow her, to leave Duessa’s marble halls to wander the world at Gabrielle’s side.

Only she hadn’t chosen to wander the world. She opened a shop in a small village, a shop filled with objects which weren’t what they seemed.

Waiting for Rebirth

It’s ‘Me Me Monday’! Time to promote, strut, and celebrate my me-ness. Only this time, it’s him-ness. We’ll begin with Juno in today’s segment of ‘Waiting for Rebirth’, but we’ll end with Damian. He’s not happy at the Navel, or with the person Gabrielle pretends to be…

“Well, one of them turned into a cow,” she said with the sweetest smile. “It was only appropriate, since the wench was already a cow. My proudest moment, though, was when I convinced some hussy to look upon my husband’s true shape!” She giggled, as her eyes lit up with malice. “Talk about scorching passion!”

“Or scorched passion,” Gabrielle said with a smile, as if it was no matter. “Would you like your usual tea?”

“Oh, absolutely!” Juno gushed. All malice seemed to depart from her in a rush. “You know me so well, ‘Brie!”
Indeed. Gabrielle seemed to know whatever her customer needed, no matter how small it was. The only person she couldn’t seem to please was Damian. She cared about him, but her goofy side seemed to depress him.

“You’re so much more than a mere shopkeeper,” Damian muttered, tapping his fingers against the counter with a restless energy. “I don’t know why you hide your true self.”

“I don’t want to frighten people,” Gabrielle said, arching an eyebrow at him. “Besides, isn’t it better to be underestimated, rather than overestimated?”

“It’s better to accept what you truly are,” Damian said, staring down at his own fingers. “When I first met you, you were the bravest person I’d ever met. You convinced me to be brave, too.” He raised his head to look at ‘Brie with glistening eyes. “To walk away from everyone and everything I’d ever known.”

“It was a brave choice, but it was yours,” Gabrielle said. “This is mine.” She spread her arms out to embrace the confines of the store. “Everything I need is within this shop and town.”

I studied Gabrielle, seeing a little of what leaked through the persona ‘Brie projected in the shop. I wondered how much of it was real. My eye was caught by the fluttering motion of one of her billowing sleeves. There were tiny, smiley faces embroidered upon them.

“This is the real me. Not the woman you met at the Ashelocke estate.” Gabrielle fixed her steady blue gaze upon Damian. “Don’t assume the illusions you project will change what I choose to be.”

A look of pure fury crossed Damian’s face. His rose purple eyes turned redder. It was as if blood was actually rising within them.

Gabrielle didn’t move, or back down. She met his gaze without flinching, without anger. Her blue eyes were calm, compassionate, and had a hint of something like pity.

It was Damian, who looked away first. “If that’s true, I’ve truly wasted my time here,” he said. He bowed his head, while his lower lip trembled.

I trembled right along with him. Never had Damian seemed so defeated. If only I could say something. Just a few words to banish the unhappiness between Gabrielle and himself. There had to be something which would at least ease the tension between them!

I couldn’t think of a single thing to say. All I could do was stare at them, feeling useless.

Gabrielle turned her back on Damian to head behind the counter out of sight. Damian watched her go. He reached up to hug himself, shoulders shaking.

Waiting for Rebirth

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets! Here on Saturdays, six sentences of GLBTQ+ fiction are posted and shared. They can be your own. They can be someone else’s. They just need to be GLBTQ+

To read a wide variety of samples from GLBTQ+ stories, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

I fear Juno insisted on more than six sentences in the next segment of ‘Waiting for Rebirth’. She would have gone on and on in this story, if allowed. (rueful grin) I managed to cut her off, stop her from going any further. She’s not very happy with me right now…(another rueful grin)

Juno was a dangerous woman, for all her round pleasantness and breezy cheer. I could sense the violence simmering within her plump from, whenever she joked about her husband.

“Oh, he’s got a roving eye, that one!” she said, with a wag of her head. “Anything in a skirt, not to mention quite a few things in trousers and he’s off! You’d think he’d learn from some of the examples I’ve made of his conquests!”

“What examples?” I asked. Both Damian and Gabrielle shot me warning looks, but I was curious. Juno’s name tingled in the back of my mind with associations of flowers, shrines, and a faint shiver of fear I’d felt whenever looking at an impassive face of marble loveliness. Just another one of those inexplicable images, which might have been one of my memories, or someone else’s.

Waiting for Rebirth

It’s QueerBlogWed! Time to post about something queer…Christopher definitely qualifies as he continues to explore his new existence in ‘Waiting for Rebirth’. He’s just met himself in Damian’s painting, only to be awed by what he sees. Alas, others aren’t nearly as impressed by Damian’s depiction of the boy he drew from the shadows…

Damian’s prediction turned out to be only too true. Duessa detested ‘Waiting for Rebirth’ as soon as she set eyes on it. All eight of them narrowed in disgust.

“It has no definition, no shapes!” She glared at the finished portrait, wagging four of her index fingers accusingly at the exquisite panaroma. “You can’t even see Christopher’s face in this mess of color!”

“I have to agree,” Gabrielle said, after studying the play of colors with a frown. “There’s nothing resembling a person in this, let alone Christopher.”

“That’s because it’s not supposed to be the shape I wearing,” I explained, or tried to. “It’s the sky I’m seeing, how it’s becoming a part of me, as I look at it.”

All I got were blank, uncomprehending looks at this statement.

“I really don’t understand how you can see that in what’s on the canvas,” Juno said, examining the painting with a shake of her head. “It’s not exactly unattractive, but it makes no sense.”

No one felt the same way about Damian’s painting as I did. Not even Damian himself seemed to care as much.

“It’s not like I expect anyone to understand it,” he’d explain, as he leaned against the Navel’s counter. The painting hung in a clear space, right next to the mirror. “What I’m hoping for is some kind of clarity for myself.”

“You mean, you expect a Door to open in the painting?” Of this I was skeptical. “You need a lot of magic to open a Door.”

“Which is why I chose a magical spot in which to create a Door,” Damian explained. “This painting should bring some of its magic into this place.”

I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea. If the Navel was Gabrielle’s Place of Power, she could very well object to this.

At first, she didn’t. Gabrielle stiffened at the sight of ‘Waiting for Rebirth’ on her wall, but she said nothing. For all her scary power, Gabrielle avoided conflict. This was why she tried hard to get along with everyone, even difficult women like Duessa and Juno.

 

Waiting for Rebirth

It’s Me, Me Monday! A day to strut, celebrate, and enjoy your Me-ness! Not to mention promote. 🙂 My own contribution to this Cauldron is another step in Christopher’s journey from ‘Waiting for Rebirth’, prelude to ‘Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest’. Damian’s painting is about to be revealed…

I swallowed and walked towards the canvas, feeling my breath catch in my throat. My feet sank into the grass with a surprisingly reluctance.

Damian didn’t move. He stood as still as a statue, stretching his hand out towards me. Would I come to him? Or would I walk away?

I willed my legs to move, forcing myself to approach his hand. Forcing myself to come closer and see what my creator truly saw in me. Once more, I coaxed my arm into raising itself up, so my fingers could touch my artist’s. His were stained with paint, but I grasped them without hesitation.

We turned together, like partners in a dance to see the boy he’d created on canvas.

He looked nothing like the skinny creature reflected in the mirror. It was as he’d become one with the beautiful sky. My shape had blurred, to include all those wondrous colors overhead, along with a few I hadn’t seen. Never had I beheld anything so magnificent.

“He’s waiting for rebirth.” Damian lowered his eyelashes to shield whatever glimmered behind them. “What do you think?”

“I like your vision much better than my own,” I told him shyly. “It’s a marvelous painting.”

“Well, don’t expect anyone else to agree,” Damian said with a slight wince. “It’s not exactly the sort of thing anyone can understand or enjoy.”