Jump to content
  • Join Gay Authors

    Join us for free and follow your favorite authors and stories.

    drsawzall
  • Author
  • 2,985 Words
  • 981 Views
  • 11 Comments
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
This tale owes a debt of thanks to Shirly Jackson’s 1948 short story called The Lottery.  It is well worth the time to check out.

La Tombola - 7. Chapter 7

Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began.

H. Melville...Moby Dick

Ned Boone 5

It was an omen, a premonition that led Ned to believe that out of the twenty-eight boys, that his grandson Thad would be chosen in some capacity, who else would be called to that ancient rock table wasn’t a guess he wanted to make. He had never interfered in a choosing for the lottery and would not do so now. Plans were well underway, there had never been so many eligible candidates. New Boston had grown more than expected. A large part of the increase in population, were the survivors and their offspring that had come from New Toledo. He had sent word to the Gnos that there was a need to talk some time ago.

It was one of Tom Harrison’s grandsons who came running up the dusty driveway, with the message he had been waiting for. Only slowing down as he approached the back door to the kitchen. Showing minor signs of exertion, he was surprised to find his adopted Uncle Ned standing at the door.

“I saw you running up the drive young man, tell me what is the reason for you to come running all the way out here?”

Evan, thankful he was quickly able to find his uncle to deliver the message, “The Gno known as Bahet’s son is down to grandpa Tom’s store and he’s looking for you.” He added quickly, “He looks to be awfully tired and he’s resting a bit. Gramps said for me to come and get you right away!”

“Give me a minute Evan,” as Ned looked for his walking stick, his one concession to his age. “Did he say anything about what our old friend wanted?”

“Not really, I just took off when Gramps told me to get my backside up here pronto!” Evan replied, pleased with himself knowing his grandfather would be delighted he would be returning quickly as instructed.

After leaving a quick note on the kitchen table, the two headed down to the store. Along the way Ned asked, “You looking forward to the lottery this year, if I remember right, it will be the first time for you…right?”

“There’s a bunch of us this year for the first time,” Evan replied, a little unsure of himself. He along with the other first timers were all wondering what it would be like to be one of the boys to make the walk up to the cliffs.

“What do you think of it, how are you feeling about it? Inquired Ned, looking over to gauge the boy’s reaction to his question. He watched as a slight frown creased young Evan’s face.

“John Begins is really nervous about having to take part, he’s a bit sweet on Mary Jameson and hate like all heck if he were the one to be picked. He sure doesn’t want to be the one to go with the Gnos.” Whispering softly, not sure he should be sharing secrets.

“How about you, you sweet on anyone?” Ned asked, giving Evan a pat on the shoulder.

Furiously blushing, Evan recalled the day when he was caught with Uncle Ned’s grandson Thad. “Um…you know,” he stammered, “Didn’t Thad tell you?”

Ned knew there had been a minor falling out between the two of them, not wanting to pry, he had told his grandson that if he ever wanted to talk, he would make time to listen.

His grandson Thad Boone was the delight of his eyes, a boy much in the mold of his Uncle Thom and himself, he delighted in the boy’s antics growing up on the farm. He’d made friends easily, did well with his formal lessons down in the village school. By the dint of his family’s relationship with the Dunbar’s and Harrison’s, Thad was good friends with their grandsons Levi and Evan. As the fates would have it, a burgeoning sexual relationship with Evan Miller. He could not discourage it, nor stand in Thad’s way. Early on he became Thad’s confident, they spent hours together wandering the farm. His son Max, Thad’s father, was at time a bit too serious and strict, trying to fill the shoes of his father, expecting the same from his children

Their closeness only deepened when one afternoon Ned found Thad and Evan fooling around. They had lost track of time and would late for the evening meal. Ned, having an inkling of where the boys may have wandered off to.

Years ago, his sons had asked for a swimming shelter down by the irrigation pond, it was a place to sit and relax, or lie down to enjoy the day after swimming. Thad was like one of the water bugs that skimmed across the ponds surface. It was above all else, his favorite spot on the farm, and that’s where he found them. To be exact, Evan was ensconced between Thad’s legs and judging by the flaccid state of Evan, a favor was being returned.

“You know Evan, as bright and smart as you tend to be, sometimes you’re as thick as a mudpuddle. I don’t think you were thinking with the correct head, nor do I think what you saw was what you thought it was,” Ned cautioned, knowing the delicate balance that existed between the two boys.

His face coloring up in a deep blush, “He was kissing her, Uncle Ned, I saw him kissing her!” An exasperated Evan snorted, his anger clearly bubbling up near the surface.

Letting out a deep sigh, “You know Linda is his cousin, his first cousin…don’t you? Not only that but she’s four years older. She may not be as tall as some of her sisters, but she’s also engaged. He was congratulating her on the good news.” Ned explained patently.

It was if Evan suffered a gut punch, the color drained from his face and his hands unclenched the fists he had been holding tight by his sides. Running one hand through his dirty blond hair all he could say or muster was a very quiet, “Oh.”

As difficult as it was, Ned held back the grin that was threatening to break out into a laugh and smile. “I think I can manage to by myself from here Evan, I’ll let your grandfather know you needed to talk to Thad, why don’t you plan on spending the night…Ok?”

“Oh boy, I’ve been a fool…haven’t I Uncle Ned?” Stammered a blushing Evan, obviously upset with himself, thinking he just made a complete idiot out of himself.

“Listen, I happen to know that Thad was meeting some others down at the swimming hole, I think you will catch him there before the others show up.” Ned suggested. If you’re quick about it you’ll have the time to clear the air between you two. He was mighty puzzled as to why you were upset with him; now why don’t you skedaddle and I will bring a change of clothes for you when I come back.” Pausing for a moment, placing his hands on Evan’s shoulders, knowing that not only Evan and Thad would have much larger worries, as the day for the lottery drew closer. A frisson of apprehension left Ned momentarily concerned. Both boys along with several others, would be the largest group ever to stand, there had been concerns that Mithras may require an additional gift of obligation.

He needed to talk to the Gnos, it was why he had asked Bahet’s son Thery to meet with him. “I will be back for supper tonight, why don’t you and Thad plan on spending some time with me afterwards, ok?”

Ned watched as the rapidly disappearing backside of Evan as he ran back towards the farm and swimming hole. As he walked down to meet with Tom and Thery, he hoped Billy would be there to meet with them. Ironically, all three had grandsons standing for the lottery for the first time this year. It brought back many memories, some pleasant, some most painful.

~~~

Previously

Ned heard Mithras accept this gift of Peter, her voice shaking him to his core, the abstract was now a reality. Peter, bending his head back, silently crying out his readiness to join her, as he awaited the edge of the obsidian blade that would slice across his neck. Tom steadied his head as Billy readied the cloth he had been carrying. Ned pressed the keen edge to Peter’s neck. Time seemed to move slowly as Ned reluctantly, ready to draw the blade across the exposed bare flesh.

Peter, placing his hand on Ned’s, astonishing him, helping to hold the blade against his neck. A thin line of blood appearing where the edge broke the skin. Taking a deep breath, his chest expanding, he whispered the words of thanks and friendship to Tom and Billy. Looking to Ned, their eyes connecting, a wan smile appearing on his face, he increased pressure on Ned’s hand, pressing it firmly down.

The pain of the cut was fleeting, the blade sliced deep as if on its own accord. The cloth then quickly covering the fatal wound, as Peter’s life was tendered for his community. Ned continued to holding Peter’s hand, feeling the life ebbing away as the grip slackened. Tom noted the slowing of Peter’s beating heart as the blood spilled under the cloth, until it did no longer, the chest no longer rising in breath. Billy confirmed for Ned that it was over; the benefaction had been made.

Closing Peter’s lifeless eyes, Ned tenderly kissed him on the lips with tears he could not stop.

They gently wrapped Peter in his sleeping blanket and carried him to the cliff face, where the three teary eyed companions watching the body fall towards the ground, saw a flash of light and the Peter they knew was no more.

It was done.

Peter was gone.

Ned felt the void, the blackness overtaking him.

He was empty inside.

A silent wail of anguish to the sky above, his arms raised in supplication.

The enormity, hitting him like a herd of gruntlings, his torment unleashed.

Tom and Billy gathered by his side, holding him, bringing him back from the edge as Mithras spoke to the three of them. Allowing them to see both Manat and Peter happily sitting by her side. She was pleased with the gift in the name of the settler’s clan and the clans of the Gnos. To remember they were her family and they would all prosper. To think of the selfness of Peter and to honor this day, now and in the future.

A warm gentle, soaking rain began to fall, drenching them as the storms around them dissipated, cleansing not only themselves but the rock table as well, Mithras would have all her due.

The rain showers soon ended; a brilliant clear blue sky emerged from the retreating storm clouds. The three boys gathered their belongings and walked over to Bahet with their gifts of the oregano, clasping hands they bade each other well.

Bahet, an ancient…wizened Gno, asked for a private moment with Ned, a rare honor from the titular head of the Gnos clans, to approach…a mere boy. “It is a terrible price to pay for one in love such as you, the cry of your heart was strong, I heard it powerfully but remember this, each day Mithras gives us what we need to survive, it is she who feeds and clothes us with her bounty…that she allows us to harvest. All she needs in turn for what we take from her…what she needs from us, is this small gift of thanks and sustenance, one day out of our cycle of days. It ensures that we both prosper.”

Continuing, holding Ned close, his hands on his shoulders, “She gives us a home when we cross the great river at the end of our days, her valleys and gardens await us. Know this young Ned, she heard your cry…she knows of your love…feels and understands the pain of your loss…of the great gift you have bestowed upon her, for it is the rarest there is…you will be favored in her house…and your love returned when it is your time to cross the great river.”

As they parted Bahet, his eyes rheumy with age and wisdom, had one last comment, “She has great plans for you young Ned, and in time you will understand. Go with my blessings, go not in sorrow, for your love is not lost…he awaits you. I hope that one day we meet again on this side of the great river, and that I can walk beside the fine man you will become. Until we meet again my son.”

It was time to head home, back to their lives and the beginning of another cycle. While Ned was in a deep conversation with Bahet, having retrieved their clothing, Billy carefully placed the cloth in one of the cups they had used for drinking and secreted it in Ned’s backpack. He’d let Ned know before they returned to the village.

When Ned’s conversation was over, he found himself back at the ancient, age worn rock table. Of what had happened there was no trace, the rain had cleansed what evidence of the day remained. Placing the flat of his palms on the table as difficult as it was, he let his grief go. Peter wasn’t gone, just away for now. He couldn’t dwell in the past, no matter the pain, his future was ahead of him, there were challenges he would need to face, and many steps to be taken before he could hold Peter in his arms again.

It was quiet as the boys redressed themselves. The Gnos, grateful for the gift of the oregano had quietly slipped away, they could hear them softly chanting their song of thanks as they wound their way back down to return to their clans.

~~~

It was a silent walk back down to their campsite at the site of the first landing for Ned, Billy, and Tom. Each reflecting on the events of the late morning, their childhood far behind them, forever in the past. They had served their community, fulfilled their obligation to the Gnos and Mithras. Their future awaited them and in thanks, they would have the guidance and support of the village fathers.

Now it all seemed so insignificant in comparison to what they had participated in. Each of them was shaken to the very fabric of their being when Mithras spoke to them, showed them her house and gardens in the valley across the great river, and let them see Manet and Peter sitting at her side. And they knew without any doubts, their service to her was not finished. That she would call on them when she needed them.

It was late afternoon by the time they made it back to their campsite, thankful they had left it ready for their use. All that would be needed would be to start the camp fire for their evening meal, such as it was. At the moment, no one contemplated eating anytime soon. With loving care and concern, Tom and Billy walked Ned down to the dock on the irrigation pond. Standing him knee deep in the water they tenderly washed him. While not catatonic, Ned was deep within himself, giving the most perfunctory of answers to their questions. Billy was worried, fearful of what the reaction to the blood-soaked cloth would be if he gave it to Ned, the last thing he wanted to do was to add to his grief.

Once cleaned up, the boys walked back up to the campsite and started the fire. Billy was tending to the food as Ned opened his pack looking for something clean and dry to wear and found the cloth inside the cup. A myriad of emotions surged throughout him in an instant, all that was left of Peter was contained in that cloth. Something clicked, something important just happened. His mind racing, Ned tried to calm himself down…It had to be Billy…Billy…dear sweet Billy, he held the cloth and must have kept it, knowing it was all that remained of Peter on this side of the great river!

Tom saw Ned’s reaction to finding the stained cloth, not sure how to interpret Ned’s reactions. As best he could tell from the look on Ned’s face that he wasn’t mad or upset, surprised was more like it. Before he could react, Ned had Billy in his arms hugging him tightly and calling him over to join in.

It had been quite a night Ned recalled, after finding the cloth, overjoyed that he had a part of Peter to hold on to meant everything. No longer were they somber bunch that had walked down from the cliffs, remembering that Mithras had made a promise to him. It had become clear to him just then, when he found the cloth. She had seen and understood their love, so unique and new to her, it would not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Never had two ever given her that kind of love.

They stayed up for hours, talking, forming deeper bonds of brotherhood. And in the ways of young men, found themselves sharing their bodies.

~~~

They were up with the sun Ned recalled, eager to be on their way, to finish what they had been chosen to do. Josiah Trimble and Horace Smith were waiting for them when they entered the hall of records. No longer boys, the three young men reported in, leaving out any information of their conversation with Mithras. Carefully Ned handed over the obsidian blade, “We’ve done as you asked and of what was required of us, we look forward to your help as promised when that time comes.” Without further word, Ned, Tom, and Billy turned and walked out of the hall and into their future.

As always, thanks for reading, your thoughts and comments are welcomed and appreciated!
Copyright © 2022 drsawzall; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 8
  • Love 12
  • Sad 2
  • Angry 1
Thanks for reading, your comments and thoughts are appreciated. Please take a moment to let me know your impressions.
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
You are not currently following this author. Be sure to follow to keep up to date with new stories they post.

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

On 3/14/2022 at 9:37 AM, raven1 said:

This is a beautiful reflection of what happened after Peter's sacrifice.  That Ned is now a leader in New Boston and the grandfather of many speaks of the years that have passed. Yet, now his love for Peter seems as fresh and undiminished as when they were both living as young boys.  I thinks he suspects that Thad and possibly Evan may be picked this year or the next. I will be anxious to read what the meeting is about with Bahet's son. Wonderfully written chapter.

 

On 3/14/2022 at 10:24 AM, scrubber6620 said:

The lottery cycle is repeating with Ned's grandson in the contest. Ned poignantly remembers what happened around Peter's sacifice/contribution.

Will the grandson go through the same lottery struggle as Ned and lose his life or will his young lover's life be taken for the group's survival ?

Is the Gnos seeking Ned in order to plan for the next lottery or suggest a change?

 

On 3/14/2022 at 11:47 AM, Mawgrim said:

Both boys along with several others, would be the largest group ever to stand, there had been concerns that Mithras may require an additional gift of obligation.

Maybe this is the reason Thery wants to see Ned. 

 

On 3/14/2022 at 1:39 PM, weinerdog said:

I think it's a good bet that one or maybe more of Ned,Tom and Billy grandkids will be chosen perhaps even a descendant of Peter.As difficult as it was for Ned before it could be that much tougher if it was one of his grandkids.The parralele between Ned/ Peter and Thad/Evan are hard to ignore

All great comments, thanks and apologies for the tardy response guys!!

  • Like 4
  • Love 1
Link to comment

Bringing us back to that time, so many years ago, was smart. It prepares us for what's to come, and reminds us this is not a cruel thing. Mithras is good, and she tries to understand those who take bounty from her... and to appreciate this love that is something new and strange to her.  

I'm wondering if we will see Peter again soon. Well done, sir. Cheers! 

  • Love 3
Link to comment
12 hours ago, Headstall said:

Bringing us back to that time, so many years ago, was smart. It prepares us for what's to come, and reminds us this is not a cruel thing. Mithras is good, and she tries to understand those who take bounty from her... and to appreciate this love that is something new and strange to her.  

I'm wondering if we will see Peter again soon. Well done, sir. Cheers! 

As a sentient planet/ecosystem, for the lack of better words, everything comes with a price, I think the quote from Melville helps to explain this. When a balance is disturbed...there is always a price to pay, with the taking there has to be a giving...I truly appreciate your comments!! 

  • Like 2
  • Love 1
Link to comment
  • Site Moderator

As promised, the boys have all prospered. Ned sees much of himself in his grandson. Will history repeat itself?

  • Love 1
  • Fingers Crossed 1
Link to comment
17 hours ago, drpaladin said:

As promised, the boys have all prospered. Ned sees much of himself in his grandson. Will history repeat itself?

Time will tell...

  • Love 2
Link to comment

Well, that was a great chapter, which I very much liked. We get to see Peter again in all his glory sitting next to Mithras who appreciates this love that is something new and strange to her. We will have to see where this may lead I read on!

:thankyou:😁 

  • Love 2
Link to comment
View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Newsletter

    Sign Up and get an occasional Newsletter.  Fill out your profile with favorite genres and say yes to genre news to get the monthly update for your favorite genres.

    Sign Up
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..