Stranded (fiction)

warning:  rampant profanity in this piece


Aubren raises his swim­ming head and looks around. He has never felt quite so sick and weak and woozy. That bitch. That fetid, preda­tory whore. How dare she deposit him here?

He is in the human world, where every­thing is exactly what it is. The hard-edged shad­ows of the toothy rocks break­ing the ground of the grassy field around him are just so, and they do exist—they truly seem to, in head-pounding way that, stripped of his pow­ers, he can only stare at. They are thick, wholly and deeply there, like the harsh burn­ing of the sun­light on his face. He is used to being able to stick his hand—so to speak—into the giv­ing fab­ric of real­ity, twist­ing and shap­ing it to suit him.

When he tries it now—slow, exploratory movements—the rigid straits of sub­stance stop him cold. This place is, for him, right now, unalterable.

He hears a groan, and he hears the grind­ing, ratch­et­ing sound of some­one being vio­lently sick. He has heard it before. That would be K.

He had a vision of this long ago—or more rightly, his cho­sen ora­cle had, when she cast the bones and laid down the cards, and then she’d stared up at him with haunted eyes that could never replace their scales and he paid up (with his cock), both he and his knight K, of the King’s Right Hand.

But it had not made sense, not in that con­text, and he was no far-seeing crone to look so far into the yet-to-come (though in ret­ro­spect, he would have done well to part with a few bijou and solicit one—he’d cer­tainly not be pay­ing a crone with his cock).

And so he and his knight both had laughed at what amounted to their doom, call­ing it false and stu­pidly melo­dra­matic, and had got­ten ham­mered on rum. Now he thinks of it, that was here in the human world, and that ora­cle was a human girl, and the descen­dants of the bas­tard he got on her could be run­ning mad through the world.

“Bones,” K chokes out. Thrashes on the grass of the field they are lying in. “Bones are heavy.” He seems to be done puk­ing for the moment and just breathes arduously.

Far, far too late, Aubren grabs for his sword, which of course is not there. He clutches the empty scab­bard in his fist, crush­ing the vel­vet under his fin­gers, truly heart­sick for the first time.

What bones are heavy?”

My fuck­ing bones. They feel like iron. What has that poi­so­nous slut done to us?” K begins to cough, a wet and bro­ken sound.

Typ­i­cally, a jest springs to his lips. “That’s my wife you’re talk­ing about.”

Fuck your wife!” His voice is wounded. He coughs again and spits a gob­bet of blood, or snot, or both. Aubren hears it hit the ground with a soggy splutch. “In the ass,” he adds.

Aubren stares at the sky, a wide bowl of bright blue turned over them, for a moment, gath­er­ing strength, and then he rocks his body to face the direc­tion of K’s noisy bod­ily func­tions. K is on his side, hand splayed in the grass to keep him there, white of face, eyes glassy, blood on his mouth. There is a mas­sive pur­ple bruise on his tem­ple, send­ing del­i­cate laven­der and blue ten­drils around one eye.

“Mica fucked you, up, friend.” Aubren gin­gerly begins to try to push him­self into a sit­ting position.

“What hap­pened?”

Aubren laughs, a grat­ing sound. But he, unlike K, is not really in any pain. He feels fuzzy-headed, ears blocked and eyes grainy, and he feels a pres­sure try­ing to push him to the ground, but he is not hurt. “He dis­armed you, struck you. You laughed in his fuck­ing face.”

K smiles with bloody teeth. “Well, good. Son of a whore pre­tender. I always hated that putrid fuck.” He closes his eyes for a long moment. “I think he paid me back, though.”

Aubren stares around them, his neck stiff and creak­ing. Noth­ing but hills and gray rocks and waving emer­ald grass. “We are fucked, my very good friend.”


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