Friday, 10 January 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014 -

The Shaman Concubine

by John Benson
Published: Oct 31, 2013
Words: 23,673
Category: fantasy
Orientation: M/F
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The Shaman Concubine

Tamara sat with her elbows on the window sill and her chin in her hands with her nose pressed to the window pane and watched the manicured front garden, the topiary shrubbery, the flowering trees, the crooked cobbled path.

"At least the shaman will be here soon," her father said.

Tamara pretended not to hear him. She watched instead as a small thrush walked on the lawn of grass and cocked its head to one side, listening, then stabbed its beak quickly into the soil and came up with a fat earthworm.

"Bad enough if you were a boy," her father said. "At least then you'd become a shaman's apprentice, rather than a shaman's whore."

Tamara sighed. Tears blurred her sight, spoiling the view she soon would lose forever. One small part of her almost wondered how it would be to suddenly have her life turned upside down, be obligated to be naughty instead of forced to be good. A part of her almost wanted to find out. And suddenly she realized that for the first time in many weeks, she was alone with her own thoughts. The fucking ghosts were silent.


"She sees ghosts," Tamara's father said. "Hears spirit voices in the night."

Tamara watched the shaman's craggy face. His hair was set in thin long braids all tinged in gray. An old man. Was that for the better, or for the worse? Would he be kind, or cruel?

"Which is it?" the shaman asked, "ghosts, or spirits?"

His voice was strong for an old man, a singer's voice. She could imagine it raised up in sacred song, a voice even the Otherworld must heed. On her arms the little hairs rose up. She shivered though the room was cozy warm. "Both," she said, "I think. What would I know? But some of them seem dressed in elder clothes, and others look like nothing this world has ever seen. So I guess both."

"She couldn't just pretend not to see them, no," her father said. "She wakes up screaming. Talks about them, won't shut up. She's either mind-sick or Shaman cursed, and frankly I don't care which. She's useless as a noble's wife, so take her. Do with her as you will."

A sentence of slavery. A tear ran down Tamara's cheek.

"What do they tell you, girl?" the shaman asked. He was treating her with politeness, as if she mattered. Mere courtesy in public, or something more? She couldn't really tell.

"Papa says not to listen, sir."

"Nevertheless, child. What do they say?"

Memory brought heat and rush of blood. "That I am naughty, sir. That I need a long, hard spanking."

"Ah. And did you tell your father?"



"He called for a shaman."


"Are we about done, here?" her father asked. Was he truly so eager to see her go, or was this difficult for him, so that he hated to prolong it? She could not read him well enough. It could be either, could be both.