The next morning the spice merchant returned with two strong men of his trading house carrying a large gilded chest between them. The chest was inlaid with rubies and amethysts, a box fit for a king, or perhaps a bored prince.
The men set the chest down and fell into their bows which Selim followed with a slightly more ostentatious pose signifying his elevated status. It was some time before the prince deigned to speak.
“And you have brought me what I desire, master Salim?”
“O great prince, beloved of heaven, I have done as you asked.”
“Then let us see it.”
Salim waved and his two men stood and began undoing the complex locks and latches keeping the box shut. When it was done they fell back into their static poses of reverence and Salim stood. He undid the final latch and stepped away from the box as it sprung open under its own ingenious power. From the open box came an aroma unlike any the prince had ever smelled. It was floral to a point, but with a sharpness to it like ginger and a subtle aftertaste that lingered in the throat. Then the spice emerged on two legs into the prince’s sunlit hall.
It was shaped like a man, but its features were so…elevated, that it was clearly not woman born. Its hair was crimson curls that smoldered and teased in the light. Its skin was the color of almonds and its eyes an unsettling indigo. Those eyes were trained on the prince who had to remind himself to speak. The court was silent, perhaps waiting for their prince to discuss this strange thing, or perhaps were themselves entranced by this unearthly visitor.
“What are you called?” the prince asked, unable or unwilling to use proper form to speak to it.
“Called? I am a flavor given flesh. I am not called, great prince.”
“Then approach, flavor, so that I might sample you.”
The naked thing walked with casual grace and with each step the scent of it shifted and changed. When it stopped before the prince’s lacquered throne, it extended a hand. The prince took the proffered hand and placed the index finger on his tongue. For a moment there was nothing and thoughts of charlatanry raced through his mind, he would not be embarrassed by —
Then it began. The flavor was so complex, so completely alien from anything he had ever tasted that his eyes began to water instantly. It was sweet and tart, smoky and rich, then in another moment it was cool and had notes of citrus. It was impossible not to crave.
Salim and the entire court watched spellbound as the prince fell upon the thing-calling-itself-flavor. The prince fell to his knees in a pose of worship most disgraceful for his station. He licked the legs of the thing and followed his nose and tongue into the precipice between the thing’s low-hanging fruits and its legs. He inhaled deeply the shifting, spicy musk and wrapped his slavering tongue around its engorged meat.
Salim watched with mounting horror as the court around him devolved into anarchy. Everywhere there were men shedding their clothes and masturbating openly or else approaching other courtiers lasciviously. Even the two men from his trading house were affected, one of them was bent over the chest while the other pried open his fellow worker’s channel using his tongue.
The prince, for his part, looked to be masturbating wildly beneath his stately robes. Salim watched the cloth move furiously back and forth as he fellated the exotic spice with both eyes closed.
The spice merchant considered his options. He could try to rescue the prince from his reverie. To wrangle the spice back into its box. Or…
Salim cautiously took his leave. He would return, after the first blush of lust wore off, and a bit of sanity returned to the court. Yet he returned the next day and for the next dozen days to the same scene. The bodies were in different configurations, but near every surface of the bright, princely hall was covered in men’s seed and the men showed no sign of stopping or slowing.
The connection with SHELL is clear and my comment is the same: we are asked to suspend a lot of disbelief and in return we get only the appetizer of a mysterious and fascinating story. O cruel author!
I can empathize, truly!
Still the 1000 word project isn't really about fleshing out the worlds in which they are set. For me, the project has been (for the most part) about telling stories in which there are uncertainties or where you can't exactly figure out the entire shape of what you're seeing.
I can see how it is less than satisfactory to know that there is more going on, but that wonder gives the stories texture and gives the reader license to dream their own answers to these unanswered questions.
I hope that serves as a fair enough answer, O faithful reader. 😉
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