Monday, 25 June 2018

Blue Monday

Every Monday I post a sexy excerpt for your entertainment!

My current writing research has led me down the rabbit hole that is Near Eastern mythology - so here's an excerpt from my novella The House of Dust which is entirely set in bronze-age Mespotamia and centers on a descent into the Land of the Dead by a priestess determined to bring back her murdered lover. In this excerpt Ishara remembers the first time she met King Tamuz - at their ritual Sacred Wedding, when she played the part of the goddess Inanna:

My first good look at Tamuz’s face was as he climbed the steps to the bridal platform. It was a breezy night and the torch flames were flapping and hissing, threatening at every moment to go out, sending shadows dancing all across the great open square. But as he reached the foot of the bed the wind suddenly dropped and everyone, not just the drummers and the timbrel- and the sistrum-players but the whole crowd – the whole city of Uruk from nobility to slaves - gathered on every balcony and roof and step for a good view, fell absolutely silent, holding their breath. Their king and their goddess were bathed in a nimbus of golden light as the torches renewed their vigour; I remember thinking that it was the best of omens. I remember the way his long hair gleamed in oiled ringlets upon his shoulders. He wore no crown that night of course; he approached the goddess Inanna in humility, as a mortal man, though his cloak was of the finest, most heavily worked embroidery. The bed beneath my bare feet was spread with sheepskins to represent his status as the shepherd of the people, to represent the flocks and herds of Uruk whose fecundity for the coming year depended upon the heat of our passion. Over the fleeces were strewn seeds of flax and lettuce and barley, which could not germinate unless quickened by our desire.

I remember how he paused to look me over. It was the lift of his eyebrows, the slow, appreciative grin - so entirely unexpected - the unmasked and unforced pleasure in his eyes that somehow invited me to reciprocate: those were the things that lit the flame in my belly. There’d never been any question that the goddess would move in me; my body was trained to be her vessel. But I’d never expected my heart to jump like that.

Clearly, so that all could hear, we spoke the ritual verses. Then he slipped off his long cloak and he was naked beneath it, naked and muscular and golden under the torchlight except for the dark hair at his groin, black and oiled like his beard, and his duskier phallus already heavy and pendent with anticipation.

My honey-man, My honey-man sweetens me always,
He is the one I love, sang the women.

Tamuz took me without hurry into his arms, drawing off my fragile nuptial gown and caressing me tenderly. ‘Oh … my holy jewel,’ he murmured as his lips stooped to my breasts and grazed my nipples. ‘Oh my wondrous Inanna.’ The words were as familiar as my own heartbeat, but for the first time I heard them as if they truly meant for me. In those moments Inanna did not simply fill and inhabit me; I felt as if I was really her; the goddess who moved the world to love. We spoke the verses as our hands moved to explore and arouse one another, skin on oiled skin, everything smooth and slippery. His phallus was soon as hard as huluppu-wood under my fingers. And there in front of all the people, on that bed smelling of fleece and cedar oil and scented resins, he covered me and entered me and moved upon me with sweet unhurried joy, his fullness my delight.

That was the first time. Afterwards we attended the wedding feast in the palace and I sat regally clad beside him upon his throne, as all the luxury of Uruk was laid before us in a feast of roasted meats from the fields and the steppes and the far mountains, fish drawn from the Two Rivers, almonds and dates and honey and cheeses and soft bread, wine and beer both dark and light. Musicians played their stringed instruments and sang for us and dancers displayed their lithe and naked bodies up and down the room, the whole assembly loud and relaxed and joyous. As the night wore on many guests slipped away to couple in the shadows behind pillars; such things were expected on this night. The harsh hungry days were over, the parched fields would soon be green again, the thin herds fat, the ewes giving milk as they dropped their lambs. Soon the god Enlil would unleash the Two Rivers from their sources in the distant mountains and their flooding would fill the canals and ditches that would water our fields all year. The king had wed the goddess and her blessings would shower upon his land. And I sat in the middle of it all, the radiant ornament of the assembly, the toast of the land of Sumer, my fingers twined with his. They sang in celebration and in praise and I accepted it as the goddess’ due, all night until dawn, and then I went to greet myself, the Morning Star, shining upon the horizon.

There on the balcony Tamuz found me in prayer, my hands raised to the heavens. Softly he dismissed the company and came up behind me. I faltered in my words as he slipped his hands about my upper body, cupping my breasts as he pressed up against me.

‘Don’t stop,’ he murmured, kissing my neck. Such informality was permitted during the time of the Great Marriage, so I carried on praying while he rolled my nipples to points of exquisite frustration between his fingers and bit softly at my ears, tugging at the clusters of golden balls strung from my pierced lobes. I made it to the last verse in a stumbling rush, my spine arched so as to press my shoulders and my buttocks back against the hard wall of his body. I could feel little bolts of lightning chasing across my breasts and down to the wellspring of my sex, as if great Enlil himself were playing with my nipples. When Tamuz laid a firm hand upon my navel and slid it down to cup my pubic mound I gasped out loud. I wanted so much for him to set me face down over that low wall and root me there high above the flat roofs of Uruk, now touched with faintest pink from the approaching sunrise, so that I might encompass the whole of my realm with my eyes as he filled me, so that Utu the shining sun might blind me with his glory as I was made incandescent from behind and within. But Tamuz turned me instead and sat me upon the edge of the wall, lifting my skirts over my knees to reveal my smooth thighs and sliding his hands up their inner surfaces, all the way to the mound of my delta. I put my arms around his neck and drew him closer, my legs encompassing his. Gently, with the tips of his fingers, he stroked my purse until he broke the fragile seal of flesh and let the moisture within seep out.

‘Daughter of the Moon,’ he whispered, his eyes shining; ‘we’ve hardly met and yet I have wounded you sorely.’

‘You did,’ I breathed. ‘The pain is unbearable. My whole body cries out.’

‘Forgive me. I thought you might be healed by now.’ He circled the pomegranate-pip of my clitoris expertly, making me shudder. I dug my nails into his skin.

‘This is a wound that can’t be healed. You hurt me too deeply and now I must live with it forever.’

‘Can I make reparation?’

You might, if you are brave.’
His fingers were slippery now to the root, moving slickly in and upon my sex, stirring me beyond endurance. ‘And how shall I do that?’

‘You must staunch the wound,’ I said, parting the layers of his long kilt to reveal the length of his prick, the skin already taut and glistening; ‘with the weapon that made it.’ I took hold, and Tamuz’s expression made it clear I had his undivided attention. ‘It’s an ancient magic,’ I confided, my eyes wide and serious. ‘Only by wounding me again can you ease me of my pain.’

‘Then,’ he said, his voice hoarse, ‘I see you’re skilled in the magical art.’

My hand was working his copper to harder bronze. ‘Oh yes, my King.’

‘And it is my duty to help you.’ With infinite care, both of us breathing shallow and quick, he nudged into me, sheathing perhaps two-thirds of his length. The wall held me at just the right height for him.

‘Don’t let me fall,’ I whispered.

His arm tightened about my waist. ‘Never.’ And as he pressed into me with long firm thrusts, taking his time, I gave myself up to his arms and his lips, letting my head fall back until I hung over the dizzying drop and the city below. The stars were fading overhead into a pale and cloudless sky but within me whole new constellations were exploding into birth.

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