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Monthly Archives: March 2013

This week’s challenge from Chuck gave us ten randomly chosen words (library, ethereal, storm, dolphin, replay, undertaker, envelope, satellite, chisel, and cube). We were asked to pick five of them to include as elements within the story for a thousand word piece. Here’s “Grave,” featuring library, storm, envelope, undertaker, and satellite, albeit a couple of hours late.


Lightning crackled across the sky, chasing itself from cloud to cloud as Devlin slung his spade over his shoulder. The storm had been building on the horizon for hours, and the apprentice undertaker had plenty of time to finish his last task, but he’d spent much of his afternoon hiding from his master, Thom. So it was that he found himself crawling out of a newly-dug grave as the first drops of rain began to fall.

Sure, Thom was kind enough on the surface. He’d taken Devlin in several years before, allowing his parents to care for his younger brother and pursue their own careers in archaeology. The old man knew he wasn’t going to be able to carry on his job for more than another year or so, but still, he didn’t have to beat Devlin every time he found him reading. His ears still ached from the boxing they’d been given that afternoon. At least his book hadn’t been thrown away this time.

Digging graves was a bore, always the same dimensions, always the same shovel. The only thing that changed was where in the yard he would be digging. At least the people in the books he read got to escape from their dull lives, off on some adventure. Dev sighed and made his way back to Thom’s cabin at the northern edge of the graveyard. At least the day’s work was done. He called out as he entered the door, the first raindrops hitting the ground as he propped his shovel against the door frame. “Thom? I’m done.”

“Ah, good. I see you managed to beat the storm. Dinner’s nearly ready, if you’ve completed your work.” The senior undertaker stood from a chair near the stove. A fire blazed in the fireplace, lending warmth to the cabin as the temperature dropped outside.

“I did. Mission accomplished, boss.”

“You know it would take you a hell of a lot less time if you didn’t read when you were supposed to be digging.”

“I know.”

“I’m not training you to read all day.”

“I know.”

“Is it going to happen again?” Thom raised his fist.

Devlin sighed. “No, Thom.”

“Good. Glad we talked. Sausage and cabbage soup for dinner. Enjoy. I’m going to bed before the weather gets any worse. Goodnight, Dev.”

“Night, Thom.”

Once the old man had gone to bed, Devlin sat at the table and sipped at a bowl of soup. The week’s mail had come in while he’d been at work and was sitting on the chair beside him, so he picked it up and idly thumbed through the various letters, magazines from coffin makers, and postcards from customers until he spotted a small yellowed envelope with his name on it.

Inside the envelope was a matching piece of paper, a letter in neat handwriting, green ink shining in the firelight.

“Dear Devlin,” it read, “Your father and I are very proud of you. We know that your apprenticeship hasn’t been easy. It’s never easy to have to spend your life doing something you don’t want to do. Still, it’s very important for you to have this opportunity. With the work you’re doing now, you’ll be able to earn a stable living. Who knows? In ten or fifteen years, you might be able to pursue more of your passions.

“You’re very lucky you know. Your brother has to travel to the satellite villages to find work anymore, and no one is about to offer him an apprenticeship. Still, I suppose things could be a lot worse for us right now. Your father and I are busy with our own work, naturally. The excavation of the library is going far better than we’d expected and the scrolls and tomes that we’re finding are in remarkable condition. It amazes me how well the desert manages to preserve artifacts for us.

“We continue to search for the heart of the library. We’ve found a clue that is pointing us even deeper underground. Oh, to have lived at the peak of this civilization! The level of skill it must have taken to be able to create something so massive, a facility of this size, beneath a mountain! Devlin, the words cannot possibly describe the way I feel right now. We’re sorry that you can’t join us. You’d love it here. It’s warm and beautiful, and the chances we have to find something big are growing better by the day. We love you, Dev, and can’t wait to see you. Love, Mum and Dad.

“P.S. Your father is working on some sketches to send when the post goes out again. I hope you like them.”

Devlin set the letter aside. His soup had gone cold, so he poured the remnants out and paced around the dining room. The library. His parents had talked about it for years before leaving for the excavation, and in his childhood he had considered it the stuff of legend. Now here he was, hundreds of miles away, the great desert separating him from them, bound by the terms of his apprenticeship. He longed to join them. There was a sense of finality about the work he did for Thom, with each grave he dug serving as someone’s end. The library was history in the making, each day bringing new discoveries for his parents. Even his brother was finding new things in the satellite villages that surrounded his home.

Dev sighed and sat back down. The terms of his apprenticeship bound him, and Thom was too clever to allow him to sneak off any time soon. As he stretched in the chair, a flash of lightning outside the window illuminated the whole room, throwing his spade into sharp relief. “There is a fresh grave outside,” he glanced at the envelope. “And Thom’s got no family to speak of…” The thunder boomed, rattling the cabin. Devlin sat in thought as the storm raged on and the rain continued to fall. “It is an option…”

“The End of Winter”

Streetlamps on the far shore flicker in
And out of view as the snow accumulates
On the slick surface of the lake.

Moonlight filters through the dancing clouds,
Catching the flash of a fox’s tail
Vanishing into a trimmed hedge.

Embers glow in the fireplace, a dying
Reminder of the warmth we shared
Not an hour ago, now lost.

What does equality mean? According to the dictionary I keep here at my desk, it’s the noun form of equal, which means “of the same measure, quantity, value, quality, number, degree, or status as another.”  That’s all well and good, right? After all, our founding fathers always talked about all men being created equal.

Except that for a very, very long time, this wasn’t true. The earliest definitions of that phrase meant that all of the white, land-owning men of the world were created equal. From the day that phrase appeared on the Declaration of  Independence, it took over 140 years for women to earn the right to vote. It took another forty years for the Civil Rights Act to be passed. Today, nearly fifty years after that landmark step toward true equality, we find ourselves as a nation looking at the next big leap for human rights, because for many Americans that statement is still untrue.

As I write this, the Supreme Court of the United States is discussing the issue of marriage. That’s right, marriage.

No adjectives necessary.

No adjectives necessary.

You know how that same dictionary defines marriage? “The state of being united to another person as a usually contractual relationship according to law or custom.” Pretty sure there’s nothing in there about restrictions based on religion or gender. Then again, this dictionary was printed in 2004, roughly two thousand years after the source of most of the arguments against marriage equality.

Now a year ago, one of my cousins shared a little note he called “A Conservative Defends Gay Marriage.” It’s a little bit lengthy, but given that it was written during an election season, that’s a bit more understandable. It’ll be included at the end of this post if you’d like to read it. I’d highly recommend it, though I will have to say that I’m quite likely the most liberal member of my family.

This is currently the top social issue dominating our lives here in the United States, when Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden already allow same-sex marriage, and similar bills are being considered in Andorra, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Nepal, New Zealand, Taiwan, the U.K., and Uruguay. Why must it take so long for us for us to realize that people are people, and therefore equal regardless of gender, age, race, or orientation?

Another quick history lesson. Until 1967, interracial marriage was still illegal in parts of the United States. It took us three years after passing the Civil Rights Act to allow interracial marriage. Three freaking years. It took less time to assemble the main components of the International Space Station, and that was multiple countries working in cooperation. So seriously, why is it taking us this long to legalize marriage and bring all of the people of the United States into true equality?

Let’s make all people well and truly equal. Maybe then our government can move on to something like, I don’t know, world peace. Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

“A Conservative Defends Gay Marriage”

“This note has been brewing with me for a while.  As the presidential race drags on, I keep hearing about some candidates and their platforms, some of which include phrases like “defending traditional marriage” or the like.  I think it’s high time that we, as conservatives, get over it.  The divorce rate in this country, as well as our celebrity-obsessed culture and the Kardashians and Britney Spears’ of the world, etc.,  have made much more of a mockery of “traditional marriage” than any gay couple ever could.

As the subject started to rise to prominence over the last 3-4 years, my first, gut reaction to it was “absolutely not.”  Marriage?  Laughable.  But time and reflection have allowed me some perspective, and as a conservative, and as someone who at least tries to be a good Christian, I find that I don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to the notion of gay marriage.  It’s silly to try and claim an institution that is supposed to be a reflection of God’s “binding” two people together (in the religious sense…) can only apply when the couple is one man, one woman.  Love; true, honest, devoted love for another human being, knows no such bounds.

I know that I have gay friends…I would surmise that a vast majority of people in general do (some unknowingly, of course)…some still closeted out of fear for their lives or social and familial status, and some out there waving the rainbow-colored flag.  I don’t want my friends to be defined by their color, religious belief (or lack thereof), sexual orientation or any of that.  If I have ever made any of you feel that way, I sincerely apologize.  It’s never been my intention to make you feel anything less than what you deserve,  and if I have, I’m sorry.  You deserve better than that from me.  I had an uncle that spent years ostracized from our family, all the way to his death, for no other reason than he was gay.  I refuse to perpetuate that any longer.

The point is, there are issues that we face as a country that are FAR, FAR more important than whether gay couples can be married.  We face unprecedented economic problems in this country that affect our daily lives in ways that gay marriage NEVER, EVER will.  It’s not worth fighting over, and if conservatives continue to stump on this issue, it will only serve to keep our message of smaller government and fiscal responsibility out of the ears of millions of potential voters, who instead only hear the bleating and braying of people that ignore the fact that the world has changed, and in my opinion, for the better.

One recent exchange that I was a part of on a friend’s thread here on Facebook was about the issue of gay marriage.  I don’t know the guy that posted the following, but he said, in part:


There are nothing about my rights that are “gay”…quit calling them “gay” rights…just call them rights…and yes I want all of them. Marriage isn’t a business the government should be in on either side. It’s a religious act historically and if there is a separation of church from state than we can’t engage in “marriage” from a government perspective at all. But we want the same rights for our partners and ourselves if we do decide to marry…but let the church decide who they want to marry and we just need to call the rest Civil Unions from a government perspective.

 and I replied:


I was once totally against “gay marriage.” If you ask me, “why?” – I can’t give you a good answer. It just seemed to me that was supposed to be my reaction to it. I’ve totally softened my stance on the issue, and your quote “… let the church decide who they want to marry and we just need to call the rest Civil Unions from a government perspective…” is exactly how I feel. It is up to the church to decide, and if they don’t want to accommodate gay marriage, they shouldn’t have to…just as you are free to find a congregation that WILL welcome you and your partner with open arms. Life is too short to keep perpetuating hate and discrimination against ANYBODY.

 I thought that his perspective was kinda brilliant, and refreshingly honest about the debate.  Marriage IS historically a religious institution.  There are churches that are accepting of gay marriage, and ones that are not.  If being married in a church is important to the couple, the onus is on them to find a congregation that will embrace them.  We can’t make churches bend to societal changes (that pesky separation of church and state thing, you see).  Churches will only adapt  when and IF they need to, or want to.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

I was just reading today (Jan.4th) that a conservative group in Colorado was trying to get the message out promoting civil unions.  The article in the Denver Post included this line:

It shouldn’t be that civil unions and gay marriage can be slotted as Democratic causes or inflammatory Republican talking points. These are human rights issues that ought to cut across party affiliation.

I couldn’t agree more.  I’m tired of social issues being used as political footballs on both sides of the aisle.  It’s unavoidable, I know…due to the fact that both sides will continue to pander to the extreme fringe of their parties, while leaving those who gravitate towards the middle to sway back and forth, never really understanding which party or ideology is for them.

In recent years, it was the abortion debate…another one I’m sick of hearing presidential candidates debate.  I don’t give a damn which candidate is for it, and which is against it.  I just don’t care.  Abortion is a tragic thing, something that no one (I hope at least) decides on a whim.  To hear pro-lifers tell it, women are lining up to have abortions just because they can.  I don’t believe anyone comes to that decision lightly, and if they ultimately decide to go through with it, I’d much rather they could do it safely and legally.  That position makes me both a bad conservative, and a bad Catholic.  Still, it’s how I feel…my opinion.  You’re not going to find me protesting for or against abortion, EVER.  I hope I’m never in the position of having to be party to such a decision. I’d hope that alternatives were discussed, but ultimately, it is not a decision for me to make, especially not on behalf of someone else.

Sadly, I don’t think that there are any conservative presidential candidates who share my perspective on these matters.  So, our side will continue to be portrayed as bigoted, small-minded, homophobic, awful people who want to see the rich get richer and the poor stay poor.  The debate HAS to be about more than these few so-called  hot-button issues, but won’t be because things like economics are boring, non-emotional, mind-numbing…they lack the “sexiness” that we all apparently need in our headlines.

I hope that changes…and soon.  We need to be debating the REAL challenges we face.  The more we argue about things like this, the sooner we are going to find ourselves looking back on what was once the greatest nation, and wondering what the hell happened.”

This week, I decided to compete in a Trifecta writing challenge for the first time. As usual, it’s V’s fault. For the challenge this week, we were given three words. They could be used in any order, but we were only allowed to add 33 words for a total of 36. Our words were rain, rebellion, and remember. Here’s my entry.


*       *       *

It’s been thirty years this week. Thirty long years since the day that the blood fell like rain. The city in the clouds above us had erupted in war, a full fledged rebellion.

I still remember.



And here’s yet another entry for a Chuck Wendig Writing Challenge. This one is brought to you by They Fight Crime. Go check it out. It might just help you come up with that character idea you needed.

My description from They Fight Crime was this: “He’s a scarfaced Catholic stage actor on the hunt for the last specimen of a great and near-mythical creature. She’s a beautiful hip-hop college professor with an evil twin sister. They fight crime!”

And without further ado…

“So, where are we staking out tonight, Doc?” Clark carefully applied a layer of foundation over the pale pink reminders of the fire that lingered on his jaw, neck, and shoulder with a practiced hand. “Same place as last night?”

“No, dear,” Professor Andrews replied as she slipped into the room. “Tonight I was thinking that we’d keep an eye out on the bus stop on 45th. I’ve heard a couple of reports of attacks in that area in the last week.”

“And you think that it’s the same person each time?” he asked.

“Well, ‘person’ is a loose term. I heard hints that it might actually have been him.”

“The werewolf?” Clark paused, triangular sponge in hand.

“Mmmhmm.” She grabbed a pair of headphones and placed them around her neck. “After all, the moon’s been full. The M.O. certainly fits.”

Clark finished his makeup and checked the results in the mirror. No sign now remained of the scars that normally marred his face. Still, the burns ached. The theatre fire had been almost ten years ago, but the pain and the scars lingered, and the makeup could only cover the physical injuries. “Melissa,” he said, “you know how long I’ve been after him, don’t you?”

Professor Andrews stepped behind him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. “Clark, darling, of course I know. I’m just worried that you’re going to get caught up in some sort of revenge fantasy like my sister did.” She placed a kiss on his cheek.

“How long has she been in prison now, six months?”

“Seven,” Melissa replied. “We don’t have to worry about her. That’s not the point. If our boy is the one attacking these people, this is our chance to finally put him away.” She played with the chain around Clark’s neck, straightening the crucifix on it as she did so. “And once he’s gone, then we’ll be free to do whatever we like with the rest of our lives.”

“Would you go back to teaching full time?”

“If I could find a college that would take me on. Alyssa did a number on my reputation back when she was pretending to be me. But maybe we could find a place that’s looking for help with their theatre program too. There’s got to be more to your career than small-time performances of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and that web ad campaign you did last summer. ”

“Hey, you loved seeing me as Brad.”

“Pretty sure that has nothing to do with your ability to act. After all, he’s Barry Bostwick in the movie.”


“Yeah, I guess that was a little harsh. I mean, he was pretty funny in Spin City and those Peps…oh, right.”


“Clark, it’s not that I think you’re a bad actor. I just think that you’re better suited to what we do right now.”

“You really think I’m good?”

“The best. Other than me, of course. And at least I didn’t make some joke about burning down the theatre because you were awful.”

Clark’s hands went to his foundation-covered scars for a moment before he realized she was still smiling. “Thanks, Melissa. You know, when you first came to me to offer me the job, I was half-convinced that you were only using me as a source for holy water. It’s a big relief to know that there’s more to it than that.”

Melissa straightened and walked back to her wardrobe, pulling out black t-shirt after black t-shirt and throwing them into a pile on the floor. “Oh, I knew you wanted revenge, but I figured you had to have some talent if you were going up against the rest of his pack on your own. Never would have guessed you were that crazy. Proved me wrong, didn’t you? Damn, I can never find the one I’m looking for,” she muttered darkly.

“What are you doing?” Clark called over his shoulder. He was preoccupied with his cell phone now, searching for more information about the recent attacks.

“Trying to find my Wu Tang Clan shirt, but it’s not here.”

“It’s in the laundry. You got blood on it last time.”

“Clark, I need that shirt. It’s the only way that the guys we fight know that I’m ‘Nothing to…'”

“I’m pretty sure the katana’s a dead giveaway for that one.”

“Valid point. I’ll go with Snoop. Maybe it’ll make our boy giggle when he sees it, and I can hit him while he’s distracted. Did you have a chance to get the silver edging added?”

“Yeah, but you owe Maki another two grand. He melted down a lot of heirlooms for that, and he’s pretty convinced that his great-grandfather is haunting him again.” He laced up a pair of combat boots.

“Fine. We’ll pay for it with the reward money when we stop this werewolf, then we’ll deal with Old Man Yamada.”

“Sounds like a plan. We better get moving, then. It’ll take us at least thirty minutes to get to 45th.”

Melissa pulled two holstered pistols from the wardrobe and handed them to Clark. “You’re driving,” she said. “Those are loaded with the silver-tipped rounds, just in case.”

“Thanks Mel.” Clark stood and attached the holsters to his belt. “Nearly ten years, but we’re down to the last known one. Let’s end this.”

Adding a sword belt to her own outfit, Melissa turned to face him. “Together.”

“Son of a bitch burned me once. Not this time.” Clark quickly crossed himself. “Let’s go.”

I wrote this piece last summer, when the Waldo Canyon Fire was finally contained and life in this part of Colorado was finally returning to normal. Here’s “Rain.”


Rain is here again.
Clouds roll down the
Mountains that once
Belched smoke into
The sky.
Rain now.
Elemental. Raw.
Cold beauty pouring

Happy Pi Day! It’s 3.14, and that means it’s time to celebrate. Eat pie, count as many digits in that wonderful number as you can, and read Yann Martel’s modern classic about a boy and a tiger.

On an unrelated note, have a nice little discussion about libraries and their future from Cory Doctorow.




In all seriousness, though, I’m writing real stuff for you. It’s coming soon.

Douglas Adams would have been 61 years old today. He passed away on May 11th, 2001, two days before I turned fourteen, and he has been incredible influence on me. I first encountered Douglas Adams when I was browsing my uncle’s science fiction and fantasy book collection, and a seemingly innocuous little book called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy caught my eye. If I had only known then what I was getting myself into. 

I was instantly enthralled by Adams’ writing style, the seamless blending of standard sci-fi with a healthy does of dry British wit. It was the best kind of escape, and all I needed was to know where my towel was at any given time. I don’t remember how long it took me to read Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect’s first adventure. There was a lot of laughter. There may even have been tears (brought on by too much laughter). Now, many years and several sequels later, I’m still just as much a  fan of a brilliant series. Happy birthday, Mr. Adams. You are greatly missed. 

What do you do
When someone you love
Tells you that you
Saved their life?

How do you feel
When you realize that
You didn’t know that
They needed help?

Where do you turn
When you believe that
You have reached the
End of everything?

Do you worry that
You might have to
Come to the rescue
One more time?

Or do you simply
Face each new day
With utmost hope for
Those you love?

I go to sleep
Each night with my
Phone on and by
My pillow, close.

So that the ones
I love might sleep
And know that I
Will always answer.

The following piece has been crafted for another one of Chuck Wendig’s writing challenges. We were given three lists of ten topics, for sub-genre, location, and included element. Thanks to the luck of random number generation, I ended up with erotic fairy tale, capital city of an ancient civilization, and a magical pocket watch. Here’s “Shambhala” for your reading pleasure. Or just pleasure. 😉



Edmund heard the watch before he saw her, long before he knew what it would come to mean. Nitya was her name, and the watch was hers.


His cell was cool, but comfortable, with a woven blanket to keep him warm at night. He didn’t know if the others in the expedition had been taken captive as he was or if they had been killed, but he could hear none of them if they were imprisoned. He could hear nothing but the watch.


On his first night in his cell, angry, refusing to sleep, he had seen her. Nitya walked the passage, and the sound had been overwhelming, though her bare feet padded silently on the floor. She had been the first person Edmund had seen since he had woken behind the cold bars, the first he’d seen since he had encountered the girl on the outskirts of the city.


The watch’s chain glistened in the moonlight, looping her neck once before vanishing from sight. Edmund knew that the watch itself hovered just below the curves of her breasts, though he found himself wondering how he knew. In that instant, she turned and smiled at him, dark eyes shining. “It had to be you,” a soft voice murmured inside his head as she turned to walk away.


He had been offered whatever treasure he could find in exchange for leading the expedition, and so he chartered a plane to Delhi, rode for over three hundred kilometers into the Himalayas, and found a small group of men who would attempt to guide him to the ancient city. The map that his financier had provided was in an ancient form of Sanskrit that few recognized and even fewer could interpret, but soon he was deep in the mountains in search of the mythical Shambhala.


On the second night, Nitya passed by his cell again, the sound of the watch the only noise. This time, he lay beneath his blanket and watched her until she passed from his sight, entranced by her beauty. She wore no jewelry, barring the watch looped about her neck, and was clothed in a simple sari. Again, she turned to face him, and once more he heard her words, though she never spoke aloud. “I knew from the moment that I first saw you.”


“Ask her who she is,” Edmund had said. The expedition had reached the top of a plateau, where an unbelievable sight had greeted them. A lush, verdant landscape opened before them, trees and ferns and flowers the like of which had never been seen were flourishing here in the harshest mountain range on Earth. In their midst stood a small girl, black hair cascading over her shoulders. She said nothing, but simply stood watching the men. Finally one of Edmund’s interpreters spoke up, speaking first in Hindi, then Urdu, and finally (after a suggestion from Edmund) Sanskrit. At this third attempt, the girl had smiled and raised one hand, as if in greeting. Edmund felt himself growing tired. The last thing he saw before his eyes closed was the flash of a golden chain about the little girl’s neck.


Could she possibly be the same girl? Edmund’s mind raced. The chain was the same. It had to be. It was the only possible conclusion. That meant, however, that Nitya had been responsible for the fate of his companions, whatever that might have been. The day passed in a confused blur of sleep and hunger. When he awoke with the moon on the third night, he found a small cup of water on the floor beside him. He sipped slowly, knowing that the ache in his stomach would only be worse if he didn’t pace himself.


She was coming. The moon was waxing, and Nitya was drawing near. The sound of the watch grew louder. Was it really the third night that he had been locked in this cell? Time seemed to lose its natural rhythm. Was the moon waning now? Edmund could no longer be certain of anything. She had passed into his field of vision, and once again she paused before him. “I have been waiting my entire life for your arrival,” she said without speaking. “My father, King Suchandra, told me that you would come, but he has been gone for over six hundred years, and the Kulika now rules here.” She smiled again. For the first time, she opened her mouth and Edmund heard her voice with his ears. “Hello, Edmund. I am Nitya. And it is time that you were freed.”


Edmund stood outside of the bars of his cell for the first time. Nitya stood beside him, an ivory and gold sari wrapped around her. “Welcome,” she said. “Welcome to Kalapa.”

“W…where am I?”

“Kalapa,” the woman repeated. “Capital city of the great realm of Shambhala.”

Edmund stammered again, confusion and disbelief mingling on his face. “S…Shambhala?”

“Is this not what you have sought? Was it not your wish to find this place?” Nitya’s voice was soft and mysterious, unmistakably feminine but with deep, dulcet tones and an accent akin to that of Edmund’s Sanskrit interpreter. When he said nothing, Nitya continued. “I see. You searched for my home, but you did not believe. You did not know that such a place could possibly exist.”


“What happened to the rest of my men?” Edmund demanded, finding his voice at last.

“They have been sent away, returned to their families with no memory of this place, or even of you, Edmund.”


“The watch,” she replied, reaching beneath the sari to reveal a golden pocket watch attached to the chain. “It grants me some control, within the boundaries of Shambhala.”


Edmund blinked and found that he was now standing in the middle of a sandalwood grove, an enormous mandala towering over him. Nitya was at his side.

“This was my father’s garden,” she said. “And now it is mine, to share with the one that I deemed to be worthy. So it is that I saved you from your companions and brought you here.”

“Were you the little girl that we met at the edge of the city?”

“I was,” Nitya nodded, “but when I saw you, saw that you were of your age, I knew that the form I had taken to greet you was too young to welcome you properly. The watch accounted for this as well. And now,” she continued, “I am ready.” Nitya crossed her arms, taking the edges of the sari and pulling them down, exposing the full, smooth curves of her breasts. “I have waited for centuries, Edmund. Waited for the one with whom I could share the fullness of maithuna.” The sari fell away from her body as she stepped toward him, placing a kiss on his lips. “Do you understand now?”


Edmund’s heart was racing as he wrapped his arms around her. “I came here to find  you, didn’t I?”

“You came here because I desired it,” Nitya whispered, unbuckling Edmund’s belt. “You came here,” she kissed his neck, “because I desired you.

“Why me?” Edmund was gasping as his arousal grew. Nitya’s hands reached into his pants, pulling them down.

“You have the kundalini,” she said. “The sleeping energy. It is only waiting for you to reach the proper understanding, to awaken, for release.”

Edmund lifted his shirt over his head and tossed it to the ground as Nitya’s hands came to rest on his back. “The energy is here,” her fingers traced lightly over the base of his spine, “but you are yet unprepared.”


Edmund lay naked on a bed of sandalwood, the moon now full overhead. Nitya knelt behind him, slowly massaging a fragrant oil into his skin. She chanted quietly in a forgotten tongue, her hands helping him to relax.

“If you fight, Edmund, if you are unprepared, the awakening can be most unpleasant. Breathe deeply now.” For what seemed like hours or days or months, her hands caressed him, until finally Nitya ran her index finger up his spine, placing a kiss at the back of his neck. Edmund felt a tingling race along his back, following the path Nitya had drawn, and his eyes flashed open. “Now.”


“Now,” Nitya whispered, “maithuna, the union.”

Edmund rolled onto his back as Nitya climbed onto him, slowing lowering herself and moaning with pleasure. The watch swung on its chain as Edmund kissed her breasts, as he tasted her, as he filled her. Time fell away as they came together, again and again, the moon waxing and waning above them as energy surged between their bodies.


“Your life outside of Kapala is now over, Edmund. Your time in the world beyond Shambhala is at an end, but your time with me is only beginning.”

Edmund and Nitya kissed beneath the pale glow of the moon.

“Then I shall stay,” he said. “I shall stay.”