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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. 😉


Shambhala

Tick…tick…tick…

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.

Tick…tick…tick…

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.

Tick…tick…tick…

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.

Tick…tick…tick…

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.

Tick…tick…tick…

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.

Tick…tick…tick…

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.”

Tick…tick…tick…

“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.

Tick…tick…tick…

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.

Tick…tick…tick…

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.”

Tick…tick…tick…

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.”

Tick…tick…tick…

“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.”

“How?”

“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.”

Tick…tick…tick…

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?”

Tick…tick…tick…

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.”

Tick…tick…tick…

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.”

Tick…tick…tick…

“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.

Tick…tick…tick…

“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.”

2 Comments

  1. I love it! Well done! I have just a request! Can you check the link at the beginning of your post, because it doesn’t work!
    Your writing is very good, I had your story clear in my head like a film!


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  1. […] of my readers know that this isn’t a typical theme for my writing here, but it’s still one I’ve tackled in the past. As such, I thought this would be a fun chance to expand my writing portfolio yet again. Without […]

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