Join Prism Book Alliance® as we countdown to GRL 2015 with a very special flash fiction from Author Wendy Rathbone.
(please note: all rights to these prompts remain with the artist)
The Tower Room
In every fairy tale there is a castle tower. In every castle tower the top-most room is sealed with a fine lock and contains a secret prisoner.
In this tale, which takes place mostly in the darkest hours of night when the world floats in a thin dream and the stars are made of ice, the tower attic holds two prisoners, two beautiful, young men.
Sirian had been the queen’s first love. After the royal wedding, she had him locked away because, she said, she could not bear the thought of him ever being with anyone but her. But she could not keep him because she was loyal to the king.
Remy was the king’s secret boy and chained lover, forced to bend to the king’s will. During the Crystal War, he’d been chosen from a line of prisoner slaves to be sent to the castle.
Both king and queen, oblivious to each other’s illicit affairs, had sent their lovers, veiled and under cover, to the secret room in the tower. Neither knew the other’s plan. Both admonished the guards (and paid them well in gold) to never speak of it.
Remy was the second prisoner to be sent to the tower and he thought he knew what awaited him for the next unforeseeable future: an empty, cold room, isolation, hopelessness.
When Remy arrived at the door to the tower room, chained at the ankles in silver links that rang like little bells as he walked the hard stone steps and flagstone hall floor, he had resigned himself that he would live alone in his prison. Unless the queen and king suffered untimely deaths, he would probably never know fresh air again, or see humans of any kind other than the mindless guards who brought his food and kept the tower door securely locked.
As a slave, Remy already knew loneliness in its various forms. He knew a kind of introverted demeanor many slaves adopted to survive a captivity where all choice had been taken from them. He knew the loneliness of intimacy without love, the rape of his heart taken without a word or gesture to his own human feelings or the fact that he was a real person despite being a foreigner and considered an enemy of the realm. Even though the Crystal War had ended with the king’s wedding, it was the king’s will to keep him a slave forever.
During his time with the king, between bouts of sexual congress in a cold bed with a cold ruler, Remy’s loneliness took the form of every shadow, every moon and star and moment of sunlight he sought for comfort.
Now he faced another dimension to his outcast role.
As two armored guards pushed him forward to the open vault-like door that led to the entirety of the rest of his life, Remy fell through the threshold, his chains chiming as his knees smacked the rough floor.
Tears stung the edges of his eyes as the door slammed, but something moved in his watery peripheral vision. Something tall, with pale hair like sun-silk, and a worried smile upon its face.
“Are you hurt?” said a voice.
Remy moved to stand and a gentle hand curved under his naked arm to help him up.
The low voice belonged to a beautiful man who stood before him clad in ankle chains like his own, and wearing only a coarse cloth about his loins. His muscles gleamed at his arms and chest with the golden tinge of youth. His eyes were as green as the lost springs of Remy’s stolen lands.
Remy gasped away his tears and said, “You live here?”
“For some weeks now,” the man said. “And I’ve had no one talk to. Until now.”
Remy looked around him. He’d expected the room to be dingy, but it was fairly clean, the walls freshly white-washed, the single bed in the corner neatly made with two pillows and a well-worn but plush coverlet of white and green stripes. “I thought I’d be left alone up here.”
“My name is Remy.”
“I’m Sirian. You don’t know how grateful I am to see you.”
“Oh, but I think I do,” Remy replied.
As the sky in the high glass window turned purple, they continued to talk, interrupting themselves only to eat the plain dinner of bread and sharp cheese brought by the guards. Long into the dark of night, where their only light came from the orangely rising moon, they spoke in hushed whispers and excited hisses of their broken lives, hearts, desires.
Since the tower room held only the one bed, they shared that later on, neither complaining, neither unnerved about it, and left their scratchy loincloths on the floor.
Without needing the words for it, their naked bodies pressed. They wound their lonely arms about each other and held themselves like that until crests of pleasure left them breathless and more at ease. They slept wrapped about each other, clinging tightly as if in a vow to never let the abrupt nature of loss ever take them again.
In the morning, their bodies surged again, and licks and kisses brought them to a new kind of trust. The dawn light made Sirian’s cat-green eyes glow. Remy could not stop gazing into them.
Their years together passed like days in the joy of their love. They existed only to unseal the unnamed depths of each other that the vault-like door could never lock or keep away.
Their kingdom was devotion made of amber skin and cooling sweat, heartbeats galloping, kisses sweetening even the darkest hours.
Some years later, the king and queen died, leaving new rulers in their place. The tower attic room was discovered, the prisoners freed and given a home on a river among lush lands.
No one understood why in their spacious new abode, Sirian and Remy kept their bedroom in the attic. No one could ever understand why they never wanted to leave.
About the story
“The word flashfic always brings to my mind fables and fairytales. So that’s how this story started. I had no other plan except to try to somewhat match the photo prompt where two boys are sleeping arm in arm in a clean white room. I like things a little more shadowy and twisted, so I darkened the image up a bit in my mind, and this story unfolded quite quickly.”
About the Author
Wendy Rathbone’s latest m/m romance novels just came out back to back this month, Sept. 2015. “Scoundrel” is a space opera novel about a sex slave and a pirate. “Lace” is a novel about a vampire fairy and the boy who rescues him. She is also the author of the m/m romance trilogy: “The Foundling,” “None Can Hold the Dark,” and “The Lostling,” and the sf m/m romance “Letters to an Android.” All her books can be found on Amazon in Kindle and paper, or can be ordered from eyescrypublications.com.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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