I walked across an island. It was a barren, arid place that the sun had relentlessly tortured for millions of years before. Each rock bore testimony to the span of timelessness as they waited by the path for some new traveller to walk past and ignore them; to ignore their history and their suffering. But I appreciated them as I sat a while and gazed across the rough, naked landscape, searching. For what? There were no living souls for miles, hardly a tree survived in the blasting heat so why would I expect there to be people there.

Not people, a person. Only a myth maybe, but a myth is still a hope.

I had been told, by those who said they knew and those who believed, that the myth was real. The old men who sat out their days in the silence of the village below had assured me. When they had discovered that I was interested in their myth they had broken their routine for me, had spoken and had wished me luck in my search; a search which had brought me to a high part of the island.

I could see nothing in this wilderness save for the sun battered rocks, the aggressive sharp bushes that clung desperately to life like they clung to the dry soil and the far away, flat sea that surrounded everything. It curved with the earth where it met the horizon and faded into the sky at some distant place that I would never reach. Nothing moved up there in the heated still hour, no wind to dry the sweat from my back, no breeze to tantalise me with a promise to cool, and no sound but for the beating of my heart.

I was alone with only silence for company. Silence and hope.

Until a rock moved. Somewhere above me on a slope something disturbed the ancient placement of shingle and pebbles. A stone that had been covered for centuries, rolled, jolted into life by the trespass of an alien foot. It trickled down to the path and settled into a new home, adjusted to its change in scenery and fell immediately back to sleep, there to remain unmoved for another thousand years.

And then more joined it, jostling down the slope beside me and racing to find the best place on the path to lie and wait. An excited chatter of movement signalling that someone was coming down the slope, pushing the debris of time before them as they slid, side foot first, pushing history aside in their descent.

He didn't see me. He stepped down to the road with his back to me and, once recovered from the scramble, looked ahead. I said nothing. I had been told that if I were to see him then all I need do was remain silent, watch and accept the signs he would give me. My heart, recently recovered from my own scramble up to this point, began to work itself again. A light skip jolted it into action with the realisation that he had found me and, from then on, it worked to beat itself a steadier rhythm.

I watched him.

A young man, slender with strong shoulders, dark hair and bare feet. He wore a roughly made shirt without sleeves that fell free from the back of his shorts. Shorts made from a different, ancient material that held tight to his hips but hung uneven over his dark legs. In one hand he carried a crook, hewn from some long dead tree, gnarled and worn by time. But his hand was smooth, his skin young and unaffected by the harshness of his land. His other hand was raised to his brow, shielding the sun as he searched the horizon ahead.

I just watched and waited for the sign.

They had said there would be signs. I should learn to read the omens that the myth decreed would be there. All there was to do was know the signs and follow them. For once you can do that you can then find your treasure. Your dream, your destiny. Call it what you will. To find the thing you seek you must learn to read the signs that are there only for you.

But I knew that he understood what I was doing there. I knew that he had seen me, had watched me climb the path to this part of the mountain at this hour. We were alone. There was nothing out there but our destiny. He was there for me.

He bent to collect a stone and I watched as he placed it in his palm, turning it with his fingers and cooling it. He threw it ahead of himself and I watched it fly, saw it glint in the sun and spin as it flew. It soared high before falling back to earth, landing gently and in silence on the path some way ahead.

And while I had been watching it, the boy had gone. I was alone again. Just me and the sign, the stone that lay shining and bright among its hard, grey companions on the path. I walked to the place and picked it up, put it in my pocket and looked at the road ahead.

Now it wound to the left where before it had turned to the right. I followed it and descended for a while until I was shielded from the sun by tall Cyprus trees that had grown there only for me. The way became cooler, a breeze moved among the dark green above me and changed the light that dappled the path ahead, showing me my destiny in a display of white light and dark shade, always changing, never standing still.

Until I came to a gate. A coarsely made collection of branches and dead wood, bound with rope to two standing stones on either side. There was no need for the gate, I could easily walk around the stones and continue on my path. But there was a gate and it was there for a reason. A sign. I untied the labyrinth of knots that bound it on one side and lifted it open. Stepped through, closed it, tied it and walked on.

He was waiting for me among the rocks. They were not barren anymore. A thick covering of soft moss now grew where once the sun had baked. The earth beneath my feet was now pliable. The air was cooler and damp. On either side of me cliffs rose up, and above them the canopy of leaves now fully protected me from the sun.

He had put his crook to one side and had discarded his clothes. He lent back against a moss covered boulder, his feet crossed, his arms by his side. And he looked at me while I undressed.

He looked into me, saw what I wanted, knew what he had to give and lifted his arms, opened them and drew me towards him. His eyes, dark and compassionate, looked deep inside me and drew me closer. When he smiled I knew that I had known him all my life. He had always been there, in dreams, in idle thoughts, in places I had only visited in imagination, he had always been with me. I had just never found him before.

His arms wrapped around my back and his hands lifted to rest on my shoulders. A slender finger brushed my neck as he pulled my head to rest beside his. He said nothing as he cupped my head in his hand and stroked my hair, calming me, bringing me down to the safety of the peaceful place he lived in. Our chests rose and fell together with our breathing and I felt his heart in its placid rhythm against mine.

And then he moved my head to look at me again. We said nothing. Nothing was needed. We knew how this was to be. We both knew that this had always been meant. Our lips touched softly as we had always known they would, our breath mingled, and our tongues spoke silent words with each other as they fought and played together like long lost friends. His hands stroked my back, hard nails drawing lines in my flesh until they dropped lower, held me and pulled my hips closer to his. I did the same for him, felt the smoothness of his flesh and the strength of the muscles beneath as my palms travelled down to hold his perfect roundness. I stroked him as he did to me, as we kissed, as our groins met and rolled together.

His hands came to the front and started stroking me there. Carefully, gently he felt me, drew me up in his soft hand, pulled me back, twisted me, toyed with me. And my hand explored in the same way. My fingertips plied on the solid smoothness of his flesh, felt the weights beneath, brushed through short, soft hair and covered all of him, squeezed, teased, offered whatever he wanted and brought his deep kisses further into me.

We lay down together on the soft moss covered floor amid the ancient stones.

His deep kisses were over me, hot and searching. Across my chest, pushing in against my nipples, around them, beneath my arms, down my sides, across my stomach, to the top of my legs, lower to my knees, he played on the tops of my feet with his mouth and with his hands. The pains from the journey were kissed away into numbness as his gentle fingers made circles on my flesh, as his mouth searched new places, started to travel back upwards all the time tasting me, feeding from me. Until he found my hardness with his soft lips and took me tenderly, slowly, deeply within him.

We had done this before. In waking dreams he had come to me, lain me down, cared for me and loved me. But each time before had been imagination. Now there was only me and him and there was no mystery. His back arched high and powerful as he knelt before me, worshiping what he was doing, slowly, gently rising and falling on me as if in prayer. His hair was delicate in my hands, his cheeks soft and full as I felt them, as he rose and lowered himself around me and drank in all that he himself had once dreamed about.

An age of time slipped by. The world beneath grew and changed but we stayed as one throughout. I lifted him from me, kissed him, tasted myself on his lips, lay him down and took his dark firmness into my mouth. Tasted him, understood the mystery of his life, and I knew him as I knelt before him and worshiped as he had done. I stroked the side of his slender length with my lips, circled my tongue around him, pushed back down on him and buried my face into the short, downy hair. Each time I rose and fell I would fall further, pulling his hips up to meet me, wanting more and more of him each time.

And then we were apart, standing, looking at each other. I could still feel his heart beating against mine, but we were not touching. I could still feel him in my mouth, but we were not kissing. I could still taste all of his sleek, firmness but there was nothing in my mouth. We watched each other. His hands ran over his own chest, smooth and dark. They slipped to his groin, stroked his own legs, and held his own hardness. We stood still. Our eyes did the work. I looked into his and I could see his joy, I could feel what he felt. I knew what we were doing. We were laying together, each buried deep inside the other in some impossible way. He was mine. His slim, smooth hips were rising to draw me into him. He was feeding on me, sucking me into him, pulling at my back. And at the same time I was allowing him into me. Feeling him slide carefully in, not holding him too tight for fear of breaking him. And as I rode, he rode. Together in the same rhythm, in the same heartbeats, both of us giving what the other wanted and taking only what we needed.

Feeling myself slide slowly into him; feeling him under me. Feeling him draw gently out of me; feeling him with me. Having him sit over me; push down to take all of me. Having him hold me; pulling me back towards him. Holding him as I drive myself in; owning him as I take him. Holding him as he grows harder and stronger inside of me; being his as I let him have his dreams. And then both of us swelling, tightening, driving deeper into each other, ramming, abandoned, clutching, grasping, desperate, being inside him, being him.

And then a slow rising up from inside and a starburst jet of explosion rocks us both, fills him, fills me, combines us, mixes us, melts us as one. And keeps bursting within ourselves until we have nothing more to give each other, until there is nothing left to learn, until the myths have all been dispelled. Until there is nothing left to disbelieve as all is true and he is real.

Just the two of us. He lying across my chest, his ear pressed to my heart listening for the rhythm of my life and steadying it, teaching it. My arm across his back, strong and protecting, guiding him to where he has brought me. Where he has brought us. To the end of the lonely road.

And there to lie forever with the ancient rocks, the magic and the mystery of the past. To stay together like this until we too become part of history, part of the landscape. Another two stones lying undisturbed in myth until another lonely traveller passes by and moves us while searching for their own destiny.

 

Edward James

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