An adult speculative Christian post-Armageddon fiction
Dilemma of Dreams
Chapter Eight: Part Two
The Meeting with Dimerkess
I loved Westerns. It was my only joy during my life. Brother Jamison had a sister whose husband had taken her to America. She would send him letters of her life, and with those letters she would send things from her life. One of those were some simple books about life in the west. He did not much enjoy them, but I had to ask him to tell his sister to send more. She did, and I felt God had shined a small portion of his grace upon me.
After working all morning, I would read during the midday heat. I was not the best at English, especially the poor vernacular of the Western writers, but I learned. It sometimes took three or four readings for me to fully understand a story, but that only enabled me to wait out the period until another book came. The tales actually inspired me to work harder. I would work with the local animals thinking of being on a Western ranch. I would till the soil thinking of the grueling effort of those attempting to farm a desert. Everything I did became something associated with the Wild West, which was only supported by my reading further stories.
I thought it strange, although looked to Peralte with suspicion even as I accepted that he had let me pick out my own wardrobe, realizing the type of dress I wore was those that I imagined the ladies of the Wild West wearing. Since I had been a male, I did not think of the ladies as being strong, but sweet polite darlings needing the help of a strong man. I had now switched genders, but I still felt that I fit my western ideals.
While I had only made a simple statement, I still believed it enough to explain things to the men. Both Dimerkess and Peralte however stayed quiet. I thus accepted that I needed to say more.
“I had designed my reality to be a simple gold rush boom town. I had a saloon with call girls – loved their show. I had a general store. I however also had the assay office. Billy Jacobs ran the office, and I always saw him reading the paper. Never did I see him do anything else. I was actually walking that day thinking to mine some gold myself, although looking for a place more for its view than its potential for wealth. I might not have thought much about my previous life while in the convent, but somehow I would find contentment in my place with the knowledge that there had not been any gold in them-there hills, although I honestly felt that there should have been.”
Dimerkess rose while telling me to eat all I wanted. He promised me that I would get full long before the food ran out. I was already getting full, so wondered about what he was doing.
He left the room, but Peralte stayed seated. When I looked to him, he only smiled in return. Assadra had already left. I thought to go check out the pool in the sub-basement, but I decided it best if I check with Peralte first.
“Did I help?”
“Definitely added a new line of thought to the inquiry, so you have fueled the fire. More than I expected.”
That last line surprised me. Peralte had always treated me fairly, and actually allowed our relationship to be more as equals than our ages or legal documents would have one suspect. I thus found myself having to ask a question.
“You did not think I would?”
“I definitely expected a need to probe your mind a little. I did not expect that pretty little head to simply blurt out a sensible response.”
I looked for Assadra, but went ahead and asked my question of the man in the room. “Should I be offended by that ‘pretty little head’ comment?”
“Darling, all in our situation know how seldom any compliment comes along. I would thus expect you to be pleased with any positive statement about your looks.”
Still wanting to speak to another woman, I asked, “Do you know where Assadra is?”
“Downstairs in the pool.”
“May I go?”
“Still have not bought you a bathing suit. There however should be a robe in the chest and a pair of slippers. Use them for moving down to the bathing area. Should not have a problem there, as you know that Assadra will be naked.”
I put my plate where it could be picked up. Thinking of the servants, I asked Peralte to have a couple of the bottles of wine that I preferred brought down to the pool. After he mentioned that they would be there, I saw that he continued to sit, so asked a question.
“Would you want to join us?”
“I cannot think of anything more enjoyable than watching naked ladies have a good time. I however am expecting Dimerkess to demand more of my time.” He stood to move close to me before whispering, “He is homosexual, so really is offended that you are now a female.”
I thought back to my relationship with the man. Nothing sexual had ever occurred, but I recalled considering him my father. Dimerkess had always treated me with respect and warmly listened to anything I had to talk about. Not really desiring to spend any more time with a bald heavy-set man, I moved away from Peralte while making a simple comment.
“Too bad for him.”
The man laughed, then told me that he would join me if he could. We shared a kiss, then I left the room. Dimerkess met me as I climbed the stairs, but only asked about Peralte. When I told him, he moved on after telling me to rejoin the conversation whenever I wanted more food.
The robe was a little large for me, as were the slippers. Still, they were definitely made for a lady. The soft yellow color and white fur on the hems would not work for a man at all. Wondering if I would grow too large for the apparel in my coming years, I put them on before leaving my room.
There was a sauna in the basement. That was not what I was interested in, but when I asked about the sub-basement everyone looked at me strangely. I however pointed out a door that no one else seemed to be able to see, and when I opened it I saw steps down. Feeling that I discovered where I wanted to go, I descended to indeed find a crystal cavern with comfortably warm water below.
Assadra was present, and as I took off my robe and slippers she pointed out the bottles of wine that I had requested. Feeling that all was proper, I moved into the water. Not wanting to be rude however, I did speak to the elder that was present.
“For a cat, you do seem to like the water.”
“I told you that I became a cat on a lark. While I like the look, it really does not reflect my personality.”
Not meaning to be cruel, but simply to keep the lady talking, I spoke of the problem that I felt was in her statement. “You like to hunt and eat meat raw.”
“I am a lot older than the rest of you. Where and when I lived, we were constantly fighting starvation. There were times that I honestly felt that if I took time to clean, prepare, and cook the meat, that I would have died. Cooked food is good, I like it, but if I am hungry I am not willing to wait.”
“What about Nebrozenta?”
“He’s doomed. Thus, when I decided to go feline, I had him go feline. He spoke about not liking it, so I made him completely a cat and not a cat-person like me.”
I did not have doomed people in my town. There were basically three types of beings. Each group had numerous sub-groups, but there were clear distinctions between the three main groups. Those of us that had achieved salvation had all the advantages. There was then the multitude of common people who had no advantages, but still had the troubles of life. It was worse for them now, as the day of salvation had passed. It was still possible, but much more difficult. They basically had to earn it, and the price was very high. Finally, there was the group of those that had gained God’s wrath. They had no hope for salvation. God did not care about them, but we could summon them from their afflictions. If there was a demeaning or completely unrewarding job that we desired to be fulfilled, a doomed one was called upon. They could not complain, but they really had nothing to complain about. Whatever we had them do was a much better existence than what they would face in Hell. As I thought a Wild West settlement to be a fabulous place to live, I did not call for anyone doomed.
“Oh.” I had remembered the question that I wanted to ask Assadra. “Should I take it as an insult when someone says something like, ‘pretty little head’?”
“You got a pretty little head, Vetacha. Be glad that they notice.”
The words sounded strange coming from another lady, so I asked another question for clarification. “You don’t get upset when someone says something like that to you?”
“It depends on who said it and why. Generally, though, compliments are rare, so take them when they come.”
“Yes, that is what Peralte said.”
I believe that Assadra heard something in my voice, because she spoke on a topic I had not planned. “He is a strange one. Ever since I learned about him, I have considered him one of the mis-identified.”
“God looks at people’s hearts, and He knows that he can direct some people along paths most would quickly fall from. If you look into Peralte’s deeds when alive, it is a very colorful record. God likes him however, and Peralte is quick to go back to Father and spend time with Him. Thus, Peralte definitely belongs among us with salvation, but if you look him up in the historic documents most would have him condemned to Hell.”
I felt that my actions over the last few days stated a certain fact, but I went ahead and spoke my belief. “I think he is a nice guy.”
“He is a nice guy. He don’t talk it. He will have you believe that he is one of the most deviant miscreants allowed into Heaven. Push and poke him though, and he is a very decent, honorable, and helpful person. I want to one day get him to open up about his actual life. He doesn’t do it however. I believe that is why he lives with doomed women. He doesn’t want to talk about his actual life.”
Since the lady was talking to me on personal topics, I decided to see if I could get her to reveal more. “Peralte told me that Dimerkess was homosexual. Peralte said that Dimerkess was offended because I was now a woman. I however don’t remember him hitting on me when I was a man.”
“He didn’t have to hit on you. Most men simply enjoy being around a woman. Just being in the room with us is enough. The same with homosexuals. Dimerkess did not have to hit on you, but would appreciate simply sharing time with you.”
“I did not think that homosexuals could get into Heaven.”
“If that was your worse sin, God did not consider you that bad. Not that it mattered, as we were saved by faith and not by works. Homosexuality was still one of those non-sins. Yes, the tradition spoke against it, but if you read the texts no one was ever truthfully punished.”
Feeling bad for not knowing about some of the things Assadra said, I admitted, “I mostly read Westerns. I actually read little of the Bible, although being in a monastery I heard it spoken a lot.”
“God bless us, but he offered salvation without works. The poor bastards trying to get it now have it a lot harder. If you meet any of the new ones, they are much more knowledgeable than us, but not nearly as lively of a group.”
I laughed with Assadra, but then asked a question that bothered me. “Do you believe that God is angry with me because I turned to Tersepsus instead of Him?”
“Yes, but He will still forgive you. Just go talk to Him.”
A voice sounded in our midst. “You are already forgiven, child. Your sins were washed clean long ago. While I would love to have your presence, right now stay with Peralte. It is best for you.”
Assadra said, “Well, that settles that.”
I agreed, but I did tell God thanks. He replied in a soft voice. Feeling no longer in need of asking any questions, I grabbed a bottle of wine and relaxed.
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.