Concubine Porcupine

To my right, there was a swirling tornado, eating its way to the great grey clouds. To my left too. And to my front, 2 kilometres away. I saw five more tornadoes around me; some static, like a great marble statue, some dancing wickedly around the fire. I looked back, to see the state I built with my bare own hands turn to rubble.

I was on exile, to be fair, but the degree of love I possessed for my kingdom and my people destroyed them in every way when I left. What cannot be mine cannot belong to anyone else. There is a pleasure in destruction that is absolute and unending. As I was walking wearing nothing but rags, with my left foot so severely bleeding that I had to use a stick to walk, I felt weird jitters along the length of my spine, which was hunched. Not my mind though, my mind was almost ecstatic to watch the massacre of my dreams which I never anticipated.

I was away from the personal, gut wrenching kind of destruction, you know, with small dead kids on the sidewalk, old people losing their minds over the death of their loved ones and crying and holding your hand, never letting go, for a piece of bread. I had seen this kind of destruction a lot, having conquered so many states, uprooted so many lives. I am no royal blood though. I was a soldier, then a commander, then a general and then finally a traitor and conspirer, having poisoned the king and his family, and physically handicapping my rival generals by crushing their ankles and cutting off their tongues. It took me a while to convince the people to accept me as the undisputed leader; they used to call me all kinds of names, those fuckers, doing graffiti all over the town saying things like ‘bad blood, ‘traitor’, and ‘wimp’, the last one which was done on my throne. I had to kill a lot of people as a consequence, because even after killing so many people on the field the fear was not established. I enjoyed my fair share of power after that, as I ruled the kingdom with no revolt. I had two wives of my own, having abducted them from two of the most powerful kingdoms on this planet, and six children combined with the two of them. I had about fifty concubines of my own, accommodating them in the cellars and old prisons in the basement, having turned that part of my castle into a decent living area, but a lot of them went crazy with the lack of sunlight. Sex was almost a part of my daily routine, and what a time to be the king, as I could sleep with a new one every night. I could do anything I wanted. I could do them up the ass, tie them up to the iron bars on the ceilings which were once used to hang prisoners, or even call my guards to whip them in front of me as I devoured them in my mind, while also enjoying the look on the faces of my hungry, helpless guards. I was the alpha male; I conquered, I consumed, I came.

But this kind of behaviour was mandatory, you see. If I didn’t do it, a crazier motherfucker would come and drive me out of power with his eccentricity. I had to be in power and legends had to be churned in my name so I could remain in power. There was no megalomania, no disorientation of mind, no love even. Just pure, unadulterated logic.

I had been in love, though.

I was in love with Fiolina. She wasn’t even my favourite concubine, as I did not win her as a trophy. She was gang-raped by a few drunken villagers near to a forest where I was hunting close to night time, and once they heard me coming (which was not so difficult, considering I had a twelve legged horse) they ran away yelling, “Run for your lives, the mad warrior-king is here!” I saw her naked, bleeding but not lying to the ground, screaming. I threw my cape at her so that she could cover herself up, and then I left. I had no business in such places. The ride back to my castle was a long one, taking almost up to nine hours. To my surprise, when I reached the castle, Fiolina was already there, wrapping my cape around her body, but looking not one bit afraid, or awkward. At that moment, I swear, she was the most beautiful woman in the world. With no words being exchanged, I asked one of my guards to accommodate her in one of the lodgings in the basement. She moved in without a single word of protest. There was something about her; I could not stop thinking about her. I avoided her for two months, not even bothering to enquire if she was getting food or water, or even if she was okay. But after that my feet, my mind and my carnal desire took me to her small, dinghy room. She saw me, and she smiled, looking at me right into my eyes, which was not the reaction you would give to the most feared man across the country. When we made love, she never followed the usual concubine protocol; she never asked me what I wanted with her head lowered, she never cried out moans of pleasure whenever I did her, and she never left the room after we were done, waiting for me to finish my sleep. She moaned when she wanted to, she did what she wanted to and always caught me off guard, and she left whenever the fuck she wanted to. I was gradually becoming obsessed with her, and even though I went to my other concubines and performed demeaning, dominating copulation with them, I ended up going to her room for sleeping, and not a word or a questioning look she gave me.

Once when we were making love, and at my most heightened passionate moment, I blurted out, “I love you, Fiolina.” To which, she smiled, but then ultimately laughed, not in a degrading way, but I think she found the irony in my statement, and she replied, “Love is an underwear lying at our feet, stuck to the ground.”

I couldn’t take it. It wasn’t exactly humiliation, certainly wasn’t rejection (after all, who’d dare reject me?) and not even protest. It was pure, frustrating enigma. I decided, that I needed to stop seeing her, or I would go crazy, and ultimately I would be conquered. I was unconquerable. So I burned her face with the oil lamp next to us, and left. She did not scream of pain, or cried in agony. She just sighed. And sighed. And sighed. I did not banish her, did not sentence her to death; I just never went back to her.

But there she is, coming towards me right now.

She had a mask on her face, which I learnt later was irremovable, just formed on her face after I burnt it. But I had no trouble recognizing her, despite my failing memory and eyesight; after all, who could ever forget such a beautiful woman. She came and poured me water through the jug she was carrying. I drank, never been this thirsty before. I found strength again, and I started walking, for I could not run. Wordlessly, she started following me again. It was at that moment, where I found myself to be the weakest. She walked beside me, not behind me. There isn’t a man alive who ever conquered a woman who made him go weak. I kept shuffling weight on wither of my feet, and I kept turning and looking at her. I stopped again; she offered me water again. We kept on walking until we found a hut which I destroyed a few years ago, and we went inside. I prepared to sleep, but I couldn’t. So I woke her up, and started kissing her all over her body. She responded, the way she never has before. It was magical. We undressed each other, and to my surprise, I was becoming younger by the minute. We had the best sex ever known to humankind. She kept looking at my eyes, the only visible part through her mask. And her eyes were smiling. I said, and quite confidently so this time, that I loved her. I knew that I needed no power, no subordinates, no kingdom, if she loved me back. But to my utmost horror, she started laughing. Not at the irony like she did before, but mocking me, laughing at the ridiculous idea that I expected her to love me back. And then she finally replied, not in her usually honey laced voice, but in a booming, echoing one, saying, “You are incapable of love. And don’t worry, you haven’t destroyed me. The world has been doing that to me since I was born.

She had a story, a side of her which no one knew. I wanted to, but weird things started happening to me before I could. I started shrinking. Not becoming younger, but actually shrinking, growing smaller in size. My voice grew smaller. My mind grew smaller, with concepts and memories I prided myself on possessing getting erased off easily, and this was the most unprecedented downfall one could ever experience. She captured me in a glass bottle, and buried me right outside the hut, where barks of dogs and howls of wolves of the night to the early bird chirping scared and taunted me as I kept shrinking, till my existence was wiped off.

I did not die, I never died physically. Not when soldiers captured me and slit knives at unimaginable places on my body. Not when my lieutenant in command tried to poison me. Not when people threw me off the throne saying that from now on, there will be no king, it will be the people who will govern. But Fiolina appeared in one of the moments of my dying consciousness, with her lovely face back on her and in all her naked, vulnerable beauty, she said to me, “You died when you underestimated what a woman who has been turned to stone can do to you.

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