The amber sands of the Elysian beach and the expanse of the ocean beyond called to the triumphant Erik Reeves, but not as much as she did. Leona, as young, as brilliantly beautiful as she had been before the war, stood waiting, the sea at her back. She had shed the ruffled skirt and cotton smock, naked toes clutching at sparse greenery beneath her feet.
He said nothing, consumed with concupiscence, his mind still filled with the lust of battle, and now he would conquer her as well, his prize, the spoils of victory. He doffed his own shorts and t-shirt and then advanced.
She smiled, pale blue eyes contrast against skin the color of coconut shell. He raised a paw toward her bare, heavy breasts, but she took a hasty step backward.
“I won.” His voice was rough, like sandpaper, as if he had forgotten how to speak in gentle tones. “You’re mine. That was your father’s promise if I came back alive.”
“That was my father’s promise.” Leona could have been a child of eighteen or a woman of thirty. She saw that the war which had lasted a brutal fifteen years, had aged him twenty or more. Short cropped hair had gone gray, skin was bronzed, wrinkled, and scarred. His muscles were still tight, and his lust was obviously displayed. Was that all he felt anymore she wondered?
He watched the waves lap her calves as she continued to retreat from him. “Come here, damn it!” He rushed forward, but she trotted lightly until the foam crossed her thighs.
“In the water. You know I detest intimacy if it’s too dry.”
“Fine.” A cruel gleam shone in one eye as he finally clutched at her forearm. “Now you are my possession by your father’s oath.” He pressed her to his chest, arms encircling her like steel bands.
“Yes, father. An oath bound by life…” she paused “…and released by death.”
Her eyes became strangers to him and then the first small pain struck his ankle. Surprised, he released her to look down at swirls of his blood in the water.
“A ray. You think some damn fish is going to make a difference?” He gazed up at her as she retrieved something from a circle of large stones just under the surface.
“Daddy won’t be keeping his promise after all.” She grinned malevolently, teeth as sharp as a moray’s. She held her father’s head high in her right hand, fingers intertwined with his long, white hair, dead eyes staring out of deep sockets.
Erik yelped at the next pain, two bites, a dozen. The rays were small but there were so many. Where were they all coming from?
“Thank you for defeating our enemies, and your armies will be duly rewarded, but with the wealth of the sea and the resources we gladly share. That does not include the body of the King’s virgin daughter or any of our other women.” The last words were a growl as she spun and dove into wine-dark depths, still bearing her father’s decapitated crown.
It was doubtful Erik could have heard her final declaration over his own pitiful screams, but then his legs and groin were being eaten to the bone. Sinking under the waves, the horde of compact predators ravaging his flesh, he wouldn’t have time to drown before he died.
I wrote this for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie writing challenge Wordle #202. The idea is to use a list of twelve words to craft a short story, poem, or other creative work. The words are:
elysian- blissful, delightful
concupiscent- lustful, sensual
I put them in bold in my story.
Still waiting on word as to when my short story “Sorcery’s Preschool” will appear in the Fantastic Schools, Vol 2 anthology, as well as when the Gemini Wordsmith’s “Trench Coat Chronicles” will feature my mystery-ghost story The Haunted Detective.
In the meantime, don’t forget to click on Mister Linky to read other stories inspired by the Wordle prompt.
2 thoughts on “Warrior’s Prize”
This story was excellently well-crafted and self-sufficient, though it certainly admits of more questions about the backstory and the setting, the people, their culture, their technology, the circumstances of the war that was cited and the interaction between at least two disparate cultures. But that’s part of what makes it compelling, that it’s merely a glimpse into a much larger unexplored world.
A lot of times it’s stories like this one that I end up developing into something larger and more commercial. In this case, it was just insomnia.