An adult speculative Christian post-Armageddon fiction
Dilemma of Dreams
Chapter Six: Complete
Facts of Life
The problem with becoming ten was that then I would have had to help prepare the meals. The ten-year-olds had a number of duties. Those younger than nine had a number of duties establishing the routines of the convent upon them. They really were not difficult, but I was glad to turn nine. Age nine was a transition year basically filled with instruction. Those of my age only performed labor when we misbehaved. I had learned my lessons, and did not break any rule. I also did not turn ten, but on my birthday I celebrated becoming nine again.
Considering that my life had changed upon being purchased by Peralte, I really did not know the importance of becoming ten. He did not speak of having me perform any work. We walked, but I enjoy walking. Peralte also spoke of taking me to the mountains, and I really enjoyed a stroll through that type of terrain. I did not see any reason why I needed to stay nine.
My thoughts on the matter stayed positive, although still slightly confused, when we left the city. There was no gradual thinning of buildings. Assadra and Peralte simply stopped, looked at each other, then agreed that it was time to leave.
I felt a jerk on the arm of which he held one of my hands, indicating that we were to turn to our right. I suspected that the route would lead us toward the peaks. I did not expect the city to simply disappear. Peralte dropped my hand, then casually spoke.
“You can walk behind me, Vetacha, if you still believe that to be proper.”
“Yes, Peralte,” I managed to say before turning in shock upon hearing a roar.
The tiger bounded over the landscape. I rushed to hold onto the leg of my owner. He put a hand on me to comfort me, but he had turned to watch Assadra. She laughed and began removing her clothes. The tiger tended to growl as it stopped, then slowly advanced. Assadra however stepped completely out of her clothing, then rushed to the animal.
She had a tail. She also had large ears. I had already noticed a difference in her stride, so seeing her legs oddly shaped did not surprise me.
Completely naked, she rolled with animal, then spent time playing with him. Once the tiger’s growls changed to purring, she rose and walked back. As she folded up her clothes, she spoke to my owner.
“Don’t worry, Peralte. This body will be yours tonight, assuming that you want it.”
“The joy is not in wanting it, but in having it want me.”
She moved up to kiss the man, then stepped back to say, “We will save that logic for tomorrow. Tonight, you and I will simply be learning about each other. Nebrozenta says that there are large birds nesting around the lake. How does that sound for supper?”
“My opinion as well.”
The tiger had a pack on its back, and into it she put her clothes. Only one garment came out, and that was a skin that had been cut to act as a bra to hold her breasts. Otherwise naked, she rubbed the face of the animal while speaking to Peralte.
“You have two of your ladies setting up camp?”
“Yes, Essabyish and Remaliyne. Let them know to prepare for goose, swan, or whatever you plan to bring, and they will have the proper spit set up.”
I actually felt some joy in that answer, although the words of Assadra spoiled my feelings. “But they won’t stay?”
“I don’t consider that I will have a need for them.”
“Good answer. I however expected you to enjoy variety.”
“I do, but I savor new flavors.”
“Good answer again. I might like you, Peralte.”
She bounded away with the tiger for a time, then the two split off. I watched her run with her inhuman legs. She did not run on all fours, although I got the impression that she could.
Once she was too far away to be truly seen, Peralte dropped to put his head at my level, then he pointed. “Those are the Fachelnar Mountains. I helped design those, and my home is actually far inside. If we reach it, and you decide to stay, then I will accept it as proper.”
Wondering about my real options, since I had no choice but to turn ten, I spoke what I felt to be another decision that my elders had already made. “You don’t think we will.”
“Ah, Vetacha, you are no longer in the convent. Today, tomorrow, it is all meaningless. Eternity stretches out ahead of us. Yes, Vetacha, we can well one day reach it. There will be events between then and now, but what I said is true. If you and I reach my home together, and you decide to stay, then I will accept it as proper.”
“But tonight you will stay with Assadra.”
The man plopped to a sitting position on the ground. He did not do anything or say anything. He just sat there. Finally, I had to speak.
“What do you desire?”
“Me? You are the one that spoke.” I stood there mystified, and finally he began to explain himself. “Come on, Mesapher. You decided to become a girl. Don’t start speaking in a certain manner unless you intend to follow up. Even simple relationships take work. Assadra is talking with me, spending time with me, and making allowances for me.”
“I am as well.” He held out his hands, and I advanced to hug him, although spoke of my situation. “I do not know what else to do.”
“Then, I guess, it is good that you are only nine. Are you however saying that you never had a woman?”
I signaled him to rise and begin walking. He obeyed. As we began walking together, again with me holding his hand, I tried to explain.
“I was a monk. Life was hard, but I worked until I got sick and died. I do not want to work again.”
“What do you know? It is a small intertwined set of multiple realities. I was a monk as well. Life was not hard, but I felt it was made hard as we faced hardship after hardship. I learned as I dealt with those problems, and died an old man. I was not the most devoted of monks, but I had my heart in the right place. Of course, I would not be here if my heart had not been truly in the right place, and I assume the same about you.”
We spoke of a time of our lives, our real lives. I found that Peralte and I had a lot in common, but a lot different as well. I had never had a woman, while he had men and women. I never did things outside the prescribed dictates of my beliefs, while I found myself laughing as he spoke of some of the stunts that he had done. My memories of Peralte were of not liking him, and I listened to him thinking that I would not have liked him if I had known him in life. Walking with him, I however found myself glad to belong to him and not a more strict and domineering person, although I found myself questioning why he had been put in charge of me.
“You are going to expect me to work, aren’t you?”
“No, Vetacha. I cannot expect you to work. You however set yourself upon this path. There is every reason why you should not be here, but you are. What I expect of you is to come to terms with who you are and why you are here. Only then can you determine what should be expected of you.”
I found myself wondering if Peralte had been listening to me. “Will you return me to the convent?”
“Not that convent, but I will take you to one that won’t make a certain someone jealous.”
I almost told him to take me there. Only a faint inner voice, something like that of my conscience warning me that I might not want to go, troubled me. I then remembered that he had set other requirements upon me. Since we had been speaking of things long ago, I found myself dredging up long buried topics.
“Is this Purgatory?”
“What? Come on, Vetacha. Surely you were there. The banquet. Don’t tell me that you feel that you fell from grace.”
I did remember that. It was a wonderful occasion, although it came to an end. It was all nice, but then it came to an end. I did not feel completely at peace there, and it was that thought which caused me to fell unworthy.
“No, but… Peralte, I feel that I do need to cleanse myself of evil tendencies.”
“What evil tendencies? Tell me something evil that you did or thought about doing.”
“I didn’t like you.”
He laughed before saying, “Nothing evil in that. You never did anything against me, and you are free to have your own opinions. I am honored to have proven myself to you.”
I wanted to continue the conversation, but both of us became distracted by Assadra calling to us. I walked past the camp to look at the expansive lake. There were some trees, but mostly a wiry grass grew around giving a clear view of the expansive body of water. To one side were the imposing heights of mountains. I thought the scene fabulous. Again, however the voice of Assadra pulled me from the moment.
“Peralte, you have wonderful ladies. They don’t seem to be doomed at all.”
“Well, they are, but I treat them well. Trust me, they do not want to be sent back.”
Assadra was completely naked, which caused me to wonder about her place near the fire. Even though I had not worn actual dresses until coming into Peralte’s possession, I felt comfortable in my attire. Assadra showed no discomfort in having no clothes upon her body, and cheerfully turned a spit as she spoke.
“I had them pluck the cranes. Those things are all feathers. Fun as everything to kill, feathers everywhere, but not much to feast upon. Your ladies supplied the beans.”
“Then I will give them special credit, as they had some meat as well.”
“Yes, cow. I told them to bring venison tomorrow. We have a climb tomorrow, and I would rather not put out the effort hunting as well.”
“I will remember to authorize that.”
Peralte sat down on what appeared to be a fallen marble column. Thick blankets were set on the ground with a number of pillows on top. One wooden chest was near the fire with another over by the blankets. As I moved to sit beside Peralte, he pointed to the nearby chest and told me to get the both of us something to drink.
I liked my wine at room temperature, so simply pulled out a bottle to set near me. I however saw other drinks, including beer. Assuming that it had been Peralte’s ladies that brought the drinks, I assumed that he might want something other than wine. He mentioned a beer, and Assadra had me pull out one for her as well. When I sat beside the man, I found the bottle of wine to not feel very cold at all. After having Peralte pull the cork, the liquid went down perfectly.
I leaned against the man and murmured, “This is the way to travel.”
An arm came around me as he replied, “Oh, I agree.”
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market. "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.