Farewell from the Bookshelf!

Please note that GLBT Bookshelf -- the community wiki which was the parent to this fiction blog -- went offline on May 31, 2016, after seven years' service to members.

All Gay Romance will remain online till the end of 2016 in order to give contributors every opportunity to recover materials uploaded here.

Many thanks to all who contributed over the years, and good luck to everyone in your future works!


Man Of Earth (very short story)

I was young when I fell in love with a dark-eyed man that I met in an ancient pinewood, a man of earth. I gave him everything that I possessed, my body, my heart and my soul. When we parted I vowed that I would never love again, never give myself to another.

On the day he left, he kissed me one last time; his lips against mine as rough as sun-warmed bark. He caressed my face with his fingers and I wanted to beg that he never leave me, but saw a warning against it in his expression. I bowed my head so that he couldn’t read the plea, nor see the tears in my eyes. He silently held out a hand, palm uppermost. Unfastening the slender silvery chain from my neck, his gift and sign of possession, I poured it into his outstretched hand watching it trickle between his fingers like moonlit water.

We walked in silence through the brown-green wood treading softly over a carpet of dead needles, cones and moss. The air was sharp scented with the fragrance of pine as the trees shed resinous tears all around us, for they knew the time of parting had come and were sorrowful. The wind filtered through their uppermost branches moving them to soft speech and accommodating the interplay of light and shadow, one trying to capture and master the other. The trees thinned as we neared the periphery of the pinewood, tall sentinels leaning in toward each other, watchful for who came and who went.

We halted and I knelt to kiss his feet in supplication. Clasping my hands he drew me upright, his fingers furling like roots around mine. “I am a man of earth,” he said, “and a man of the dark places and to them I must return. You are a man of air and light and will be reclaimed by your element. You will forget me and be pure again.” Then he was gone, blending back into the trees and I was alone, a man of air and light, but not pure. He lay like a dark shadow on my mind, an exquisite burden of bittersweet memory.

Time passed and seasons flowed, as they must, but the pain of loss did not ease. I was not re-purified. I refused to erase his shadow. I held it fast, determined never to forget the dark-eyed man of earth whose chain I had once worn and who still possessed all of me.

In the springtime I returned to the pine forest, conscious of the scrutiny of the tall sentinels as I passed the gateway leading deep into the wild wood. I heard the sound of water murmuring through the trees and followed its instruction. Memory stirred as I came upon a tsavorite stream gleaming amongst the roots of the most ancient tree in the forest. It was here that first I met the dark-eyed man.

Kneeling at its base listening to the muted sound of birdsong I inhaled the damp air, trying to catch a scent of him: sweet heady moss and weathered wood bark. Pressing my cheek against the rough skin of the tree I slept, dreaming about my man of earth, feeling him test and mark me, feeling him penetrate me.

I dreamed that I was held safe on his lap, all sting and hurt from my body vanishing, as his arms wound tight about me. He asked me what I had learned in the days since last I saw him. I said that I had learned that without earth air and light had no form, no meaning, it needed the earth to shine upon, it needed the earth to breathe upon, it needed the earth to embrace it, to absorb it, to bind and master it, and to love it.

I awoke alone and my tears fell, sprinkling a crystalline libation upon the roots of the tree. Scooping water from the shallow green stream, with which to rinse my face, I saw something sparkling on its slatey bed and reached to retrieve it. It was a chain, a twist of silvery moonlight, the same as given to me by my Lord. With trembling fingers I lifted it from the water giving a small startled cry as I saw someone reflected in the mirror beck, scrambling to my feet, turning. It was he, and my heart leapt with love for my dark-eyed man of earth, my Master. He smiled, caressing my face with tender fingers before taking the chain and fastening it once more about my neck.

“You are no longer a child of air and light,” he said, “you are now one with earth and the dark places and you are bound to me forever. We are east and west, Master and slave, sunrise and sunset.”

All at once the ground began to shake. The roots of the tree stretched and snapped, snaking from the soil whipping around us, binding us together. I was not afraid. Looking deep into his eyes where silver-grey moonlight danced, I laughed for joy. I tasted his kiss feeling the hard press of his body against mine as we were drawn down into the earth.

The End

Taken from a modest collection of short stories titled ‘The Tsavorite Stream’


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