|Suitable for All|
This is Fantasy Boys XXX flash fiction entry for the 34th Drabble Cascade.
When I woke up with this idea this morning, it felt like a drabble, but as soon as I began to write, I knew it was going to need more depth to make it work. I will blame the fact that this is all about gods on me watching Thor: The Dark World last week and spending far too much time on tumblr with Thor and Loki stills :).
“So, finally you come before me, my son,” his father’s deep voice boomed in his ears.
“Yes, My Lord,” he replied as expected.
“You have been a wayward child. Playing games with mortals will no longer be acceptable.”
The warning came and William’s heart clenched.
“It is no game,” he defended instantly and, forgetting himself, looked up, glowering at the shimmering column of light on the throne.
William dropped his gaze again, gritting his teeth: his human weaknesses had given him away.
“So you have not relinquished this man as I instructed?” that voice bellowed through him, but William was beyond his mother’s persuasions now, and he had to face that wrath.
Slowly this time, determination rather than temper leading him, he raised his gaze and straightened his back.
“I will not,” he replied, trying to control the tremor in his tone as the tests of the last few weeks took their toll on him, body and soul.
There was no response for a long time, William was left gazing at the pillar of light that was all he had ever known of his remote parent, and wondering on his fate for his disobedience.
“Step forward and accept judgement, my son,” the words came and called him to his doom.
William could only console himself with the knowledge that those few years of joy with Joe had been worth whatever he had to pay in the immortal realm, and, resolutely, he walked towards his fate. He tensed as he stepped into the light, expecting the pain of his human shape burning, but there was nothing, and he had to steady himself as he went blind in the brilliance around him.
“Hold out your hand,” the instruction came, and, his punishment still unknown, William obeyed, his fingers outstretched.
Something hard hit the underside of his palm, and, reactively, he gripped it. That is when all hell broke loose, and William screamed as power the like of which he had never felt before, cascaded through him and every cell threatened to explode. His mind reeled, his body almost broke, but after what felt like an eternity of conflict, the hurt began to cease and William blinked as he realised his vision was beginning to clear.
It took a few moments for the bright and dark spots to recede enough that he could make out anything more than blobs, but then he realised he was looking into the face of a man, a smiling man with iron grey hair and twinkling blue eyes. A man who was faintly glowing. The vision was so unexpected, that William tried to step back, but he was still holding something, something that was also held by this man, and his fingers would not let go, so he came to a halt, his arm outstretched and looking down at the smooth, thin object that they held between them. His gaze ran over the long curve of what he realised was wood and he realised it was a bow, a bow without any string.
Two hands held the bow, one either side of the grip, and for some reason deep down inside, William did not want to let go, ever, even though the item looked functionally useless and the other holder was clearly his father.
“You feel it, my son?” a softer voice asked and it took William a moment to associate that tone with the booming authority of the father he had known.
“Yes,” he replied, and looked back up to see something he could only interpret as pride coming back at him.
William had expected punishment, rejection, isolation, for his ‘foolish mortal whims’, as his mother had put it and he was totally at a loss to face the smile in front of him.
“I wondered when one of my children would have the heart to bear this bow once more,” his father told him, his other hand coming to rest on William’s shoulder in a grip of support.
William opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out.
“With the humans’ ages of materialism and self-assurance, we have become remote things,” the immortal continued, “and we must adapt. Your uncle, who once wielded this bow, was destroyed many mortal centuries ago, and I am grieved that you could never know him, for you are much alike. He too had a fondness for the humans. You have risked much for your mortal love, William, so, string your bow and take that love back down to him and his fellows.”
His father, the nameless, the faceless up until now, then released the bow and stepped back. Power jolted through William once more, but not as horrendously as before, instead, it felt like something was slipping into place, and, finally, he recognised what this bow meant. He smiled.
Swapping the bow to his left hand, William lifted it into position, his arm outstretched, and then, following the instinct in his belly, he ran his palm gently down the invisible string. A fine fibre of light whispered into place, joining the bow and pulling it taught and William instantly hooked his fingers around it, feeling the tension there.
“The arrows will come when they are needed,” his father told him and, content with the swirling of power in his belly, William lowered the bow and the string evaporated.
He smiled to himself, staring down at the finely carved shaft, tracing designs with his fingers that began to resolve themselves into drawings of lovers that would have put many a porn film to shame.
“Return to your mortal, William, and help those who need you. Put passion in their bellies and restore love to their hearts. Be muse and inspiration, but never master: do you understand?”
William heard his father, but regarded the bow a few moments longer, lingering in the warmth that it conjured in his belly. Yet, he had his own warmth to return to in the mortal realm, and so, finally, he let the power recede and the bow itself faded from his palm. He knew it was still there, it would always be there now, when someone needed succour, when a life needed lifting, but it was not needed right them, so he looked back up at the human stranger in front of him. He smiled again, letting his father see his joy and, with a nod of his brow, he replied, “I understand.”