A new story. Working on it in stages. This is part one)
“I came here because I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. Or at least I thought I did. Sometimes I wonder if spirituality is a curse that I need to bear just as I bear these robes against my shoulders”, the young monk told himself again. He shifted his weight uneasily as he took the passage don in his book of dried palm leaves.
He looked around the rocky hermitage and the low, scrubby forest setting.
The sunlight burned his sparsely haired scalp viciously as he fought a throbbing in his loins and slipped once more into deep meditation.
“Why am I here?” he hissed under his breath as he struggled to keep his eyes locked away from the world. “Oh devathavi, my goddess of the Six Heavens, why must you haunt me so?” Meditation was turning into an intense labor.
Whenever he shut his eyes and pursed his lips in concentration he saw the angelic face floating past him.
When the clouds of his lids covered his eyes, so began the monsoon of sinful pleasure.
It started as a drizzle.
The light rain of her laughter and the gentle softness of her kiss pattered over him.
Then the slow music of shifting hairs began as her ebony mane swung and shook about him, follicles aromatic with coconut oil and jasmine. Her sweat flew off her oiled body, then dripped off the eaves of his forehead, pooling up at his crossed feet.
Finally the storm came.
There she stood, splendidly radiant in her nakedness, perfume rising from her breasts and in between her legs.
A goddess.
A perfect force of the cosmos was pouring over him like a new shower of rain, soaking him to the skin and making his robe cling to his body. He reached out…and lightning struck with her touch…
The next thing the monk knew, the loud yell of his master was cutting into his ears. The big, bald hulk of a bhikku was blotting out the sunlight, towering over the confused youth. He looked wildly around.
His devathavi!
Where was she now?
The other monks remained in meditation, that strenuous exercise which allowed no play and no feeling of closeness to soft, heated flesh. He felt breaths tunneling through the chests of the other novices. Control of breathing to forge the inner purity of young minds. Angrily he hung his head, wringing his hands as he looked darkly at the chief monk.
“Son,” began the old man, “you seem rather disturbed of late. I’ve tried to guess what’s going with you, but I also want your opinion on what’s going on with yourself. Could you tell me?”
“I…I don’t know…Sir…fatigue, I think…?”
“I hardly think so! Son, I have seen you around the hermitage and you clearly are not the boy you were when you joined us. You’ve been neglecting all your duties, you, you haven’t swept or performed any rites as of recent, and you haven’t even studied your portions of the sutra we’ll be doing for the ceremony at Mahagama. It’s not like you. You were better than this ten years ago.”
He looked sourly at his master and then at the scrubland spread all around him. Flocks of crows circled the skies above him, morphing slowly into his goddess’ own raven tresses.
A strong smell of jasmine and frangipani haunted his nostrils-her tempting perfume was running up and down his body, attacking all other senses and attempting to pull him back into that perfect daydream. Angrily, he jerked his head back again, clasping the back of his scalp in his hands. His fingers tightened as he gritted his teeth, frown lines digging deep into his forehead.
Listening to this old fool was the last thing he wanted.
“Are you alright? Please tell me.”
His shoulders relaxed and he raised his head.
A heavy curtain of silence had been drawn across the rock-face. Hardly any breath came from the young monks around him, who gazed solemnly at him. No wind came to cool them or to lift his spirits; the skies watched the drama of saffron-robed men with bated breath. A small rock gecko scuttled across the ceiling of their cave as it hunted flies sheltering for the heat. The world around him was sinking silently into an abyss where all his companions were scouring his soul with deep gazes. One of the younger boys coughed, and his friend lovingly patted his back. The old chief monk shifted his weight uncomfortably, his old jowls wobbling as he walked over to the apparently sick young man.
“I’m fine, Master. I’m just fine.” The words felt false.
“Just remember”-the old man looked up as he sent his young pupils back to their cave shelters-“why you are here.” His expression grew dim and bleak as he hobbled off.
Why was he here?
He had no satisfying answers.
A hand journeyed to his shoulder. “If there’s anything you need to tell me.” The voice was mixed with concern, and something a little less readable. His young friend was just sixteen and the latter’s dark eyes dug into him like they always did.
“Like I said, stop it. I’m”-he got up and took a deep breath-“perfectly alright.”
“You told me that sometimes you had nightmares of your past. But you never told me what they were, so I want to hear it from you.”
“I’m fine.”
The teen monk continued. “No, you aren’t. You want to feel something that you’re not supposed to, don’t you? Or else, do something forbidden…right? I know that something’s wrong but if you won’t tell me I can’t help you.”
“Then don’t help me! My life hasn’t exactly been perfect and now it’s just coming back to haunt me, that’s all. It’s probably nothing anyway”-his voice dropped down to an almost whispery version of itself as he tried to swallow back the note of falsehood in his throat. The skies were bleak, a flat, cloudless sheet of blue that mirrored itself in their dull young eyes.
“Just ask yourself,” he told his companion emotionlessly, “why you’re here.” He turned his head towards his younger friend. “Why are you here?”
“To hopefully achieve something worthwhile, I guess.” The teenager looked questioningly at his older friend. He stood up and left without any expression on his face and left his associate to ponder on whatever it was he was forbidden from doing. “Just remember,” the boy said, turning back, “we are a brotherhood. You can tell us anything.” With a slow wave of his hand he walked down the steps cut into the rock-face.


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