Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Spark of a Story

by Jean Roberta

(NOTE: This post was scheduled to go live at 1:00 AM, but for some reason, it reverted to a draft while I was trying to post the image of a dragon. Gah.)


I've always admired speculative fiction that describes real sex in a completely imaginary world. The sexy potential of traditional fairy-tales (set in a vaguely medieval world of sword and sorcery) is no longer a secret. There are other staples that have not yet become stale cliches: steampunk sex-machines in an era that Queen Victoria wouldn't recognize, and sacred rites in earthy religions that never actually existed on earth. (But who knows?)

I grew up as a child of the desert, trying to catch lizards and turn them into pets. Dragons have always appealed to me as fantasy lizards and traditional guardians of hidden treasure. So when Circlet Press posted a call-for-submissions for erotic stories with dragons in them, I concocted an ambitious fantasy about a desert religion based on fear of the dragon-god's wrath. Male priests worship Him and try to beget the prophesied Messiah on their female servants in the hope of pleasing Him enough to prevent further fiery destruction. Much like fundamentalist Christians, however, those who think they are perfect in their faith have it wrong.

As it turns out, the dragon-deity is not wrathful because his followers aren't obedient enough. On the contrary. He (or She) is a shapeshifter who is angry because fear and oppression don't feed his/her need for the fire of life, and the prophesy (isn't there always a prophesy?) is misunderstood as a demand for polarized roles in a hierarchy when it actually predicts balance, integration, versatility and androgyny.

Alas. No one saw all this in my story except me. The problem, IMO, is that I tried to pack a novel into a story of under 5K. After I finish my current WIP (which also started life as a story and is now a novella of 30K, with 2 chapters left to write), I will need to expand and revise the story, which I named "Dancing Sparks and Jumping Flames."

Here is the opening scene:


“Little one.” Father Stalk ran a calloused hand over the smooth black hair that flowed over Rain’s shoulders. She shivered, ever so slightly, despite the warmth from the red embers in the firepit that provided the only light in the priest’s hut.

Rain remembered a saying: In the desert, dragon-weed can be a feast. Stalk, untitled in the privacy of Rain’s mind, hadn’t mounted her for a week. He had patted, stroked, pinched and lightly scratched her as she went about her duties. She knew he was waiting for her desire to rise as steadily as the water in a raincatcher.

To Stalk, she was a girl. To herself, Rain was a woman who knew things, including her master’s methods. They worked on her anyway.

Yesterday, as soon as she had finished feeding Bolt, the sacred lizard, Stalk had told her to remain on her hands and knees. He had raised her shift, exposing her bare bottom. As she waited, trying to remain calm, he inserted a greased finger into her back opening and burrowed slowly into her, moving his finger in circles as though drilling into the ground.

A mixture of shame and pleasure rushed through her like lightning. She felt the effects of a stronger agent than goat-fat on Stalk’s intrusive finger. His swollen knuckles were markers that let her know how impossibly deep was his ownership of her.

Stalk withdrew before Rain could reach release. This, too, she understood. Her desire was to be a steady current in all the entrance-points to her body. She was a vessel, and like a jug of lamp-oil, she was meant to be struck into flame at any time.
Rain rocked her hips and moaned quietly, hoping this response was acceptable. She could feel Stalk’s amusement and the heat of his eyes on the two cheeks of her bottom. “Patience, girl,” he told her, his low voice flowing over her like rumbling thunder. This time, he sounded pleased.

Now she lay beneath him, naked in the dull-red warmth of a waning fire. “Little one, are you ready? You must answer.” His hard member pressed against her thigh.

As though watching herself from a distance, Rain felt the familiar glow in her center that made her wet and receptive to a man who seemed as old as the stars. “Yes, Father. I have never wanted you more.”

He plunged into her with the vigor of a much younger man, supporting himself with his hands on the floor on either side of the goatskin she lay on. He clearly wanted to spare her from the burden of his full weight, and his eyes on hers were gentle.
Rain moved with him, responding eagerly to his rhythmic thrusts. She felt her excitement rising unbearably to a breaking-point.

“Dear one,” he groaned in her ear. His voice held a depth of awe and gratitude. “Receive my fire!” As he pumped his seed into her, his eyes closed in ecstasy. Rain saw bursts of color in the air as she reached her own body-shaking climax.

Some part of her awareness, like a cynical observer, reminded her how well fear, disgust and loneliness can disguise themselves as surrender.

Long before she had been given to Stalk as his servant and foil, she knew the prophesy: the friction of opposites (male and female, age and youth, knowledge and innocence, authority and submission) would produce fire strong enough to appease Him, the source of all fire. From the seed and the egg would come the Savior who could extinguish His rage.

Stalk pressed his mouth to Rain’s as though wanting to comfort her for all she had given him, or as though begging her to care for him – at least a little, as much as she could – just for himself.

Rain’s mind ran freely with the night wind outdoors, under a white moon that cast shadows of the mountains across the desert. Beyond the mountains lived Draco Fireheart or Spiritsmoke in Excelsis, the many-named Beast who was the father of all lizards.
Of course, Rain had no right to seek Him out in reality. Only in the privacy of her mind could she imagine going to meet Him, to ask for answers.



  1. This story has so much promise, and I hope you find time to expand it to your original theme. I've read it, and I agree that the idea is too big for the word count your tried to squeeze it into, sort of like me trying to squish myself into a corset.

  2. It reminds me of Ursula K LeGuin, the combination of fantasy and eroticism.

    Let us know how things turn out with your novella.


  3. I really want you to expand this, Jean! So many wonderful notions here!

    (And I know what you mean about trying to fit a novel into a short story. The idea for Quarantine started as a short.)


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