Who Holds My Heart So Prisoner
Previous - this entry written on May 30, 2006 at 6:45 am - Next

He is not the prize of Her collection. In the part of his mind that still thinks of such things, he is distantly aware that She has many toys who are more twisted, more broken, than She has chosen to leave him. Once a day, when he is led in darkness to the water, washed by hands he knows are not Hers and guided by words She would never speak, he is reminded that he is one of many.

He contorts, spreads wide, a pattern of movements that would seem almost a dance if there were light enough for anyone to see them. The ones who care for him have taught him this rhythm, made sure that the daily cleansing and careful cutting of hair are accomplished as swiftly as possible. Scrubbed, shaved, dried, he is put through his paces, the exercises that keep his body in good enough condition to suit Her wishes. Occasionally he is spoken to; he knows better than to answer the idle phrases, speech earns him only swift blows. More often the morning ritual is completed in silence, and silent still, he is led back to his shell.

He has come to think of it as such, over the years. It is his shelter, his protection, his world. When She first locked him inside it he was terrified, not knowing what was expected of him and certain he had somehow angered Her, to be shut away. As first days passed, then weeks, he hated. Feared. Ached. Screamed for hours, welcoming the pain as better than the abandonment he felt. Slowly, he learned.

He was never allowed light, never allowed speech. Any sound louder than a whisper was punished as well, and eventually his silence was almost instinct. He was fed a tasteless mash, watered with a slow, lukewarm stream. His shell was wide enough to lay full-length in, high enough to stand in, a perfect square with corners rounded, smoothed. Even the door through which he entered and left was near-seamless, no texture, barely anything to mark that wall as different from the others.

She left him there for a year, until he had started to forget any feel beyond the brief roughness of the sponges that cleaned him and the blades that cut away his hair, until he had spent so long alone with his thoughts that his mind was a swirl of darkness and silence. She stripped away any other world...

...and then She sent for him.

He was blindfolded, but even through the layers of cloth and leather there was a faint hint of light, the first he'd seen in a year. Barefoot, his feet sunk into thick, soft carpet, the sensation intense enough to make him gasp near-silently. There were scents, sounds - the smoke and crackle of a fire, the faint movement of air in unfamiliar patterns, the taste of dust and skin and paper on every breath, the strange, subtle whisperings of cloth against skin. He knew he was being brought to Her, could think of no other reason for this change, this sudden flood of sensations.

The one who had brought him here murmured the faint words he had learned to respond to, and swiftly he dropped, settling cross-legged with his hands resting open, palms up, on his knees. More sounds, his guide leaving, and then he could hear Her walking toward him. He was trembling now, fear dulled long ago but some ghost of it setting him to shivering despite the warmth of the room.

She touched him.

He was as motionless as he could be, not even breathing... and then he was sobbing, tears spilling out in an unstoppable flood, no sound save for each shuddering breath, his entire body swaying slightly toward the feel of Her strong hand running so posessively over his body.

Her fingers drew lines of fire along his arms, seared trails across his chest, settled finally with Her palms pressed against his tearslick cheeks, holding him as he cried. A year's worth of sorrow poured into Her hands, and She took it all, the faint noises of Her pleasure seeming almost painfully loud to him. When his tears finally slowed one hand withdrew, returning a moment later, two fingers pressing to his lips, sliding into him as his mouth unhesitatingly opened for Her.

It took him almost a full minute to recognize the taste, the tartness of the juice shocking, bittersweet berries seeming to coat Her fingers though some part of him knew there could only be a few drops clinging to Her skin. He lapped at each finger in turn, greedy, delighting in the rush of flavor, the taste of both the juice and of Her filling his mouth. She let him continue for several minutes, then Her hand pulled away again, accompanied by a faint, helpless whimper as he felt Her withdraw. Her laughter tumbled over him and the fingers returned, this time pressing a tiny sliver of fruit between his lips, then trailing down to press against his throat as he swallowed the small morsel.

There was no begging demanded, no commands to be obeyed. During the hour She took, She spoke only once, instead delighting in granting him sensations he had nearly forgotten, feeding him scraps of food and drops of juice, petting him, eventually guiding him down further, his head resting in Her lap and Her heartbeat seeming to drown out every other sound. Only when She tired of him did She lean close, lips nearly brushing his ear, breath an intimate whisper against his skin.

"From now until you die, you will not exist except for the few minutes when you are brought to Me. You are nothing, an unborn creature locked within your shell, and each time I touch you, you are born anew. Your life is these moments."

He didn't nod, didn't react other than ever-so-slightly nuzzling against Her leg, senses already feeling overloaded, Her words not even completely sinking in until he was once more naked, alone, waiting within his shell. The wait, after that first time, was horrible. For weeks, he kept expecting to be brought back to Her, and instead passed each day in darkness and isolation. Finally he stopped expecting, stopped even hoping, almost certain that it had been nothing more than a dream.

The next day he was again brought to Her, this time for only a few short minutes, led away again before his tears had even slowed. Three words spun through his head, the sound of them, the feel of Her lips against his as She spoke them, keeping him alive for weeks.

"I love you."

It was two years before She granted him life again.

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