Kiss: A Short Story

An excerpt from the anthology: Beneath the Twin Suns

Embers and ash. Wild night creatures murmured at the door. Venerable Brother Hacnor took the last of his ruby mantle from the sky, dusting the horizon in amethyst and onyx swaths.  Esteemed Brother Armad preceded him beyond the boundary of the known to call the stars to rise. Teslin illuminated the ceremonial path through the phosphorescent glen. Bocaslin, visible through the hem of the thin curtain, mirrored his smooth face on the still lake beyond the tree line. Zostalin reached zenith to spill paleness through the smoke hole.

Cerulean paint on silver skin had dried tight, flecking and chipping away, leaving behind swirling stains and smudges. Prominent pointed ears throbbed under heavy new piercings of gold. Weeks of fasting. Months of meditation. Years of preparation. The little brothers were in alignment for the ceremony. He trembled, watching the pot come to a boil, three moons casting singular spots on the emerald brew before acolytes covered the smoke hole.

Coals glowed in the hearth, casting disturbed shadows across daub walls. He drifted to the beat of drums, the whistle of pipes. Dusk crowded in on the group as bowls were passed around, filled with the elixir. A heady aroma clouded the low thatched roof, weighing down their lungs, tingling in their appendages.

He brought the rim to his lips, drinking deep the bitterness. Vibration rattled through his limbs as he drifted to the warmth floating in his veins. Fingers took his bowl before it fell from his grasp. The chafe of rough clay tingled and dashed across his palms, bringing his focus to his fingers, cinder’s glow bending, warping, slinking across the webbing, cascading light and dark around the borders.

Flames jumped, baited, dipped and swayed. Dancing, thrumming, coaxing him to the sparks. Her melody snapped, demanded, enticed, intrigued. Blue seeped into white, into red, into orange. Tugged at his heart and skipped up his back. He reached for her. She dashed away, flickering, taunting. He stilled, drawing in her proffered heat, her curve skimming along his edges.

The bronze cape of dawn glimmered through her mosaic leaves in the mist. Brilliant flowers before they fruit. The call of mates in the glades and woods. He fell into her embrace. Cradled in her boughs, buried in her roots. She slithered across his skin, spiraled through his bones. Tendrils crept to hug his ribs. Earth after the rain coated his lungs in her perfume.

She wrapped around him, twisted, twirled, tugged at his locks and pulled in demand. Relenting, skittering, skirting, he trusted her, letting her take him over the cliff. Blanketed in a thunderhead, wrapped in a rainbow. Buoying him on gossamer wings. Gliding, soaring, he swiveled to find her elusive, hiding behind the mountains, climbing up the valleys. She whispered in the canopy, her cry of exultation whipping up waves of foam in the sea.

Her laugh burbled along the shores. Splashed against the sands. Her sigh, the clouds that brought forth gentle rain. Cool and smooth. Dripping elliptic rings in ponds. Worn stones in the river. A flip. A shine. Fin slicing through the current. She eased through his nerves. Circled, coddled, cooed. He dove after her, ever reaching, ever falling away from her. She came close, teasing, tormenting. Lips trailed across his shoulders. He spun to find her gone in the depths.

Daylight scorched the entrance curtain. Drums reverberated in his skull. He blinked, waiting for the evening to coalesce. Humidity coated him in a thin sheen of sweat. His hammock, scratchy beneath his skin, encouraged him to be up and out. He shifted, pulling himself from the swaying material. Combing back his fall of hair, his shoulders ached. Trailing fingers along it, he found a series of tender spots.

Emerging from his hut, he met his jubilant village in the midst of preparing a grand feast. He swallowed, looking to his elders. Smiling, pleased, they nodded their approval. Blazed across his shoulders in shimmering shades of the world, his brush with the goddess cast glimmering speckles across the walls and soaring trees. He survived her whims to be the next holy man.

To perpetually chase after her. To be caught by her capricious affectivity. To give her everything. To wait for her indulgence. To join with the ranks of the Great and Little Brothers to forever watch over her. To dance through the cadence of her seasons. To fall more in love with her every day, every sunset, every moonrise.

Chapel Orahamm (C) 2022-2023. All Rights Reserved.

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