Despite the chaos that was tearing her head apart, Tevi understood what scene Yenneg was attempting to play out, with herself as a conscripted actor. She needed to force out an explanation or denial, but no words could get past her lips. Jemeryl's presence was paralysing her, an effect far more irresistible than anything Yenneg had achieved.Tevi watched Jemeryl take another few steps forwards and then crouch down so that their eyes were no more than a foot apart. Tevi thought she would die from the shock. Yet somehow, she forced her mouth to shape the words, Wine. Love potion.Her voice was not loud enough even to count as a whisper. Certainly nobody else in the room would have heard, yet Tevi could not control her breathing to manage anything else.At first Jemeryl showed no sign of comprehension, but then suddenly, the bewilderment on her face transformed into fury. She leapt up, her arms moving in a blurred aggressive swirl. The gesture ended with an action like hurling a ball. Blue fire erupted from Jemeryl's hands and shot towards Yenneg.The other sorcerer had obviously recognised the gesture and made an effort to protect himself. A shimmering shield sprung up before Yenneg, but it was not strong enough and the shockwave knocked him off his feet. His shoulders slammed into the wall behind him and he crumpled to the floor. Jemeryl had been telling the truth when she claimed to vastly excel the acolytes in magical ability, not that Tevi had ever entertained doubts. Jemeryl's hands moved again and this time Yenneg was sprawled on the floor and in no state to mount a defence. A second bolt of blue fire burst in his direction.Lightning in the form of a whip snapped across the room, intercepting Jemeryl's attack before it struck. The diverted fireball hit the wall of the summerhouse two feet from Yenneg's head and smashed through it, as if it were a stone going through wet paper.
Jane Fletcher
Once there was and once there was not a devout, God-fearing man who lived his entire life according to stoic principles. He died on his fortieth birthday and woke up floating in nothing. Now, mind you, floating in nothing was comforting, light-less, airless, like a mother’s womb. This man was grateful.But then he decided he would love to have sturdy ground beneath his feet, so he would feel more solid himself. Lo and behold, he was standing on earth. He knew it to be earth, for he knew the feel of it.Yet he wanted to see. I desire light, he thought and light appeared. I want sunlight, not any light and at night it shall be moonlight. His desires were granted. Let there be grass. I love the feel of grass beneath my feet. And so it was. I no longer wish to be naked. Only robes of the finest silk must touch my skin. And shelter, I need a grand palace whose entrance has double-sided stairs and the floors must be marble and the carpets Persian. And food, the finest of food. His breakfast was English; his midmorning snack French. His lunch was Chinese. His afternoon tea was Indian. His supper was Italian and his late-night snack was Lebanese. Libation? He had the best of wines, of course and champagne. And company, the finest of company. He demanded poets and writers, thinkers and philosophers, hakawatis and musicians, fools and clowns.And then he desired sex.He asked for light-skinned women and dark-skinned, blondes and brunettes, Chinese, South Asian, African, Scandinavian. He asked for them singly and two at a time and in the evenings he had orgies. He asked for younger girls, after which he asked for older women, just to try. The he tried men, muscular men, skinny men. Then boys. Then boys and girls together.Then he got bored. He tried sex with food. Boys with Chinese, girls with Indian. Redheads with ice cream. Then he tried sex with company. He fucked the poet. Everybody fucked the poet.But again he got bored. The days were endless. Coming up with new ideas became tiring and tiresome. Every desire he could ever think of was satisfied.He had had enough. He walked out of his house, looked up at the glorious sky and said, Dear God. I thank You for Your abundance, but I cannot stand it here anymore. I would rather be anywhere else. I would rather be in hell.And the booming voice from above replied, And where do you think you are?
Rabih Alameddine