Conquerors

Ngita watched carefully. The air in the jungle had turned sour, halting her hunt. Something stirred the trees into discomfort, the animals in their branches retreating to higher ground. Ngita waited, beads of sweat blooming like salted pearls across her forehead.

There. Movement down the runningpath. Ngita’s eyes widened. Silently, she slipped away from the intruders, running back to the village with all of her speed.

“Lung’aro!” she called, running to the headwoman’s hut. Lung’aro looked up from her herbs, calmly dismissing the apprentice healers from their lesson. Ngita waited for them to clear away. “There are strangers coming down the eastern runningpath.”

“How many?”

“At least thirty. They come riding beasts and are bathed in sunlight.”

Lung’aro looked suspicious. “Gather the village.”

Ngita ran to each of the fifty huts that occupied their patch of jungle. When she returned to Lung’aro, the village center was filled with women. Lung’aro prowled at the center, her eyes furious with determination.

“You have heard of the false gods that tried to subjugate our sisters west of here, yes?”

A murmur of consensus ran through the women.

“They tried to conquer them, tried to ground the women of the Falcon Tribe. Now, these imposters try the same with us Tigresses. Will we show them our stomachs?”

“No!”

“Will we bow our heads for them to cut off?”

“No!”

“Will we fight with tooth and claw, will we rend our enemies to pieces with our ferocity?”

Joyously, the women shouted: “Yes!”

“Then ready yourselves.”

The village women prepared for battle effortlessly, familiar with the ways of war. They greeted their weapons as comrades, and painted their bodies for camouflage. Everyone prepared; the elderly were still strong and used to such labor; the young were charged to a caretaker who clutched daggers in both hands with a newborn strapped to her back. The children followed her quietly, eager to see their first battle.

The trees hid them well, allowing them space within their flesh. The wind blew in the faces of the intruders, flinging leaves and bugs into their eyes. The ground turned to muck beneath the strangers’ beasts, causing the momentary panic perfect for the Tigresses to strike. They leapt out from their cover, diving for the beasts, cutting them out from underneath the false gods.

The strangers panicked, chaos surging around them. Some ran, only to be chased down by more Tigresses. Others fumbled for handheld thunder, but the Tigresses stopped them with their spears, aiming for faces and necks, where their bodies were unprotected by shining stone. More still pled for their lives. The Tigresses spat in their faces and slit their throats. They left none alive and returned to their village for celebrations, letting the jungle dispose of the men who dared to think they could sell an Amazon into slavery.

Bandits!

Goldteeth’s lover faced the firing squad. Even with her face covered by a hood—in case any of the men were to be swayed by her beauty—her magnificence could not be contained. She was more radiant than the sun, and the executioners burned in her presence.

“Ready,” called the captain, itching to finish this business. He could feel his heart beginning to waver. “Aim…”

“Wait!” cried Goldteeth’s lover, (and the executioners were secretly relieved) her sweet, clear voice ringing out across the execution yard, flying up the steps of the amphitheater to the man who had ordered her death.

The Governor leaned out from his shaded pavilion so as to see the amphitheater floor better. “There is no waiting, milady. He is not coming to save you. You should thank me, really—elsewise you would have spent your life bound to a coward.”

Goldteeth’s lover turned her hooded face toward the Governor’s voice. “He is not a coward,” she declared as the ropes fell free from her hands. She threw the hood from her face as she aimed the gun previously hidden behind her back at the Governor. “And I do not need him to save me.” She fired. The executioners were too stunned by her beauty to move. The Governor lay dying, his breath gurgling through the hole in his throat. He grabbed desperately for anyone, anything that would help him. His servants stepped back, emotionless as they watched his eyes roll back into his head.

On the floor of the amphitheater, one guard stepped towards the captive. She took him into her arms, kissing him forcefully. “Darling, nice of you to come to my execution.

The man smiled, revealing teeth as white and perfect as pears. “How could I miss it?”

The caption of the executioners gasped. “Y-your teeth!”

The man’s grin widened. “Expecting someone else?”

The woman laughed, turning to address her would-be murderers. They gasped at the rows of flawless golden teeth in her mouth. “Gentlemen, I know you to be excellent marksmen. Now that your governor is dead, would you like to join me?” She gestured to the Governor’s shaded pavilion. “Would you like freedom? To steal from those who build their empires on the backs of common folk, to kill the corrupt and answer to no one?” Goldteeth’s magnificence and the events of the amphitheater left no doubt in any heart. She rode from her supposed death with a contingent of new bandits, her gold teeth shining in the sun as she smiled in her triumph.

War

The scent of blood saturated everything. Over the clamor of crashing metal could be heard the far-off screams of dying men. She knew she didn’t have much time left; the wound in her side burned like hellfire, and the edges of her vision were growing darker with each second. Slowly, painfully, she wrenched herself from the pile of bodies she’d slain, limping on the leg that was not pierced by a spear towards the tower. She hoped the guards would have relocated to the battlefield, but knew better. The first she dispatched quickly; the second was alerted by the clatter of armor, the sound of death. He feinted, she struck. His head departed from his shoulders with ease, and she continued on. Her blood slicked the stone steps, running down her legs like the river Styx, slowing her pace. She was too weary of fighting. She leaned heavily against the cold stone wall, listening to the triumphant scream of Death as it claimed victim after victim. She pushed herself on; she could not die here. Not yet. Death would have to wait for her mission to be done. She reached the tower’s peak at last, breaking the lock on the door with an arc of her blade, and stumbled through.

“Helen,” she breathed, as her captive wife rushed to her side. She fell to her knees, struggling to keep her eyes open.

“Gwendolyn,” Helen cried, tears beginning to swell from her eyes. She saw the extent of the damage to her lover’s body, and she was not a fool. “What have you done?”

Gwendolyn sighed, leaning her face into Helen’s bare shoulder, memorizing the scent of her skin. “We have one. You are free once more.” She was so tired…

“Gwen—no—stay with me. Please,” begged Helen as she snapped the spear from the other’s leg and dragged her over to the bed. Gwendolyn knew she should be screaming in pain, but she hardly felt anything anymore. She reached up, brushing Helen’s hair from her eyes.

“I love you, Helen. I will carry your heart to my grave.” Helen kissed her, long and slow, to discourage any more talk. She rested her forehead against Gwendolyn’s blood-soaked own.

“You shall reign in my heart if nowhere else, my queen.”

Gwendolyn smiled as Helen’s tears washed the blood from her face. “Live long, my love. Make our country great again.” Her last breath was swallowed by Helen’s lips.

I’ve been playing around with prompts lately and this is one of my favorites so far. Gotta love lesbian queens.

Aside

“Nobody likes idiots. I am physical proof of that fact.”

“What’s the use of thinking like that? You know you aren’t an idiot, so why are you trying so hard to convince yourself that you are?”

Finding Light

There was more than darkness when she awoke. A keening loneliness lingered, sinking its crescent claws into her back, forcing her to feel the complete emptiness beside her in the bed. Slowly, she turned to regard the forlorn pillow, the undisturbed sheets. It was the same every morning. Sighing, she threw her own covers back, and thrust the heavy curtains open in her heart. Sunlight poured into her, filling up like a golden reservoir, but it did not warm her as it once had. Her complete happiness, the lightning beacon of her mind, was extinguished, and the apathy that plagued her would now be her lifelong companion. As if in deep water, she prepared for the day.

Dragging herself through her life was even harder than she imagined. The people around her still smiled, still laughed, still loved. She knew that feeling had died in her when he had. He was bright and shining and life itself. He never cowered at a new opportunity; he jumped at everything, often without thinking, but the ecstatic way he threw himself into his work somehow brought him success.

“Anne,” he would murmur, his fingers trailing down her face like an electric breeze, “it will be all right.”

She would believe him. She always believed in him, even when they were thrown out on the streets. Especially then, for she found that love kept even the most fragile people together. “George,” she was counter, tousling his black hair with true affection, “I know.”

She had known that day that everything would be okay. She was certain. She even answered that dreadful phone with cheer, oblivious in her own stupid happiness. That was the last time she smiled.

Of course, social decorum had deemed an emotional mask necessary. “Three years is an awful long mourning period, don’t you think?” Her mother had meant it kindly, but that did not excuse the blunt arrogance of such a statement. But it reminded her that she must at least appear to be recovering, though she knew her condition was terminal. She practiced smiles in the mirror, forced herself to make eye-contact. She could not, however, bring herself to speak to strangers. Any new association was a heartbreak waiting to happen. She was content to coast through the world, a stranger made of silent, sad smiles.

Fate would not tolerate such behavior. On the fourth anniversary of George’s passing, Anne met a woman.

Lost River Boys

There are boys in the river. They are many; green with algae and lifeless. They stare through the tepid water, waiting for the unsuspecting, waiting for opportunity. The stars were once their caretakers, but now they sigh over lost causes. The moon is their mother, but they refuse to listen to her silent pleas. After all, they are only boys.

Blue

It is blue outside my window

the same blue of your eyes

cavernous, mawing oceans

waiting to consume me

It is blue outside my window

the same blue of your song

driven dark by hidden purpose

an unknown in the form of voice

It is blue outside my window

the same blue of your bruised lips

passionate, demanding, possessive

stealing my heat my heart my soul

It is blue outside my window

the same blue of your blood

spilled dark on the edges of the bathtub

cut on unsaid glass in your words

It is black outside my window

the same black that fills your absence

unrepenting, gaping

I will never know what made you so blue