“Storms of Ancient Gods”, Erotica Apocrypha, Freaky Fountain Press, 2011.
Edited by Robin Woolfe and Catherine Leary.
All mythologies have them—those dark, twisted, horrible elements that are just Eros turned inside out. From the Biblical to the Norse, the familiar to the esoteric, the twelve stories in this anthology reinterpret and re-imagine these themes. Join us as we explore the known to make it new, and tease the erotic out of the darkness.
Featuring the work of: S.L. Johnson, Liahona, J.D. Hastings, Maxine Marsh, Cass Quinn, Clarice Clique, Lydia Swartz, Derrick Della Giorgia, Konrad Hartmann, L.J. LaBarthe, and Jacqueline Brocker
Regrettable, Erotica Apocrypha is no longer available to purchase.
Review by Kitty Stryker – The desires in “Erotica Apocrypha” are both primal and divine, and they will captivate and enchant you. But beware when the gods come to seduce you… you may not get out alive.
Review by LJ LaBarthe – LJ reviews each story individually, but of mine she writes: I am so glad to see this here. This is Perun and Veles and their ongoing struggle. Beautifully written and very hot.
See also Rand Kline’s (cover artist) website.
Note: This story contains graphic sexual situations between men and elements of dubious consent and violent sex. It’s tone is dark though epic in intent; here, sex is a battleground and combat is sex.
Croatia – Present Day
The bay shimmered with the afternoon sun. Yachts and fishing boats bobbed at the docks. Mothers and fathers pushed prams and held their ice-cream-sticky toddlers’ hands. Three old men sat on a bench, one staring vacant out over the harbour, while the others contemplated a chessboard. A pair of teenagers kissed and giggled, sitting on the low wall above the water. This was summer at its most perfect, for the day was pleasantly hot, and peaceful.
That was until Ilya charged along the harbour road in his bright red American Mustang. He parked the car, slammed the door, and stomped up the boardwalk.
Ilya lived on the hill in a house that proudly overlooked the bay. It was the highest point in the whole town. He owned the furniture factory that made oak tables, cedar chests of drawers, and beechwood chairs. It had been owned by his father before him, and so it had passed down to Ilya. So many people were employed by him. He was a protector of the town as much as an employer; protector from the riff-raff sailors that sometimes arrived, or the sneaky drug cartels that had tried but never quite got a foothold. But if you failed to give him proper respect, or decided to try and run the town or your business a little differently, Ilya was unforgiving. His word, more than police or government, was the law.
At the end of the bay – Ilya’s destination – was a house shaded by a rocky outcrop. As far from town as one could be. There lived Nikolai. Nikolai owned a shipping business in the docks. However, his dealings were not always above board, and at times he sought to undermine Ilya’s business. But he was trusted by many, for though he was slippery, he was generous with money in quiet ways, so quiet that his name was only breathed in kitchens and bedrooms, never in the bars or on the street, as the benefactor for those in misfortune.
Everyone in the town knew that both men despised each other.
The teenage girl turned her head. But it was not the Mustang, nor the tall and broad figure of Ilya that caught her attention. It was his thundering purpose, the angry glare and heavy stride. So too did the man who had been focused on the sea turn, and gulp as he saw the powerful bearded man march closer to the pristine house on the harbour. Likewise, a father pushing a pram eyed Ilya’s progress, tension cleaving his chest. He squeezed his wife’s shoulders, and murmured that they should probably leave. The bay fell into a hush – only the gulls continued to chatter – and the heat suddenly closed in like a pair of strong, suffocating hands.
* * *
Ilya broke into Nikolai’s house. The sliding glass doors, though locked, didn’t take much force to open. Once through, Ilya stopped still.
It wasn’t a house; it was a jungle.
Lush green hangings fell from the walls. Potted plants loomed tall, and the furniture was upholstered in a deep velvety dark green. It was open plan living, with a mezzanine towards the back – over which a vine grew, thick with broad leaves – and a dining area to one side.
A bodyguard sat at the dining table. His and Ilya’s eyes locked, and he leapt to his feet. He was nearly beside Ilya, hand at his side-arm when a smooth voice from above spoke.
“Risto, leave him.”
Ilya’s eyes shot upwards. Nikolai was standing on the mezzanine, one hand leaning on the balcony. He wore a dark silk shirt, as green as the surroundings, with a snakeskin belt holding up his tight black jeans. He dressed as if for a nightclub, in stark contrast to the shirtsleeves and plain slacks that Ilya wore, where the only moments of glitter were his gold watch and ring.
Risto’s hand hovered a moment, his eyes slowly coursing between Ilya and Nikolai.
Nikolai said, “In fact, leave us, Risto. I can defend myself against Ilya should he prove troublesome.”
Risto looked sceptical. Nikolai had long arms and legs, but was slender, with little muscle, while Ilya, with his copper-beard and fierce eyes, was broad, and his hands looked as if they could break Nikolai into pieces.
A wave of Nikolai’s hand, though, and Risto obeyed.
When he was gone, Nikolai chuckled. “He is new. How is he to know of our old friendship?”
Ilya scoffed. “That is not what we are.”
Nikolai feigned surprise, but soon his mouth curled into a languid smile, teasing, taunting even.
“I suppose I should fetch some champagne. This is an occasion to celebrate; in all these years, you have never been in my home before.” A pause as he cocked his head; allpretense. “Nor have I to yours, have I, Ilya?”
Ilya only glared.
Nikolai smirked, then descended the stairs, steps like a slinking cat. He slid onto the couch, hand out in an inviting gesture.
“Please, Ilya. Take a seat.”
Ilya crossed his arms, and remained standing.
Nikolai began to toy with a ridiculous gold scarf around his neck. It was made of material like a harem veil, opaque and alluring.
“Are you here to glower at me? Come on, Ilya, talk.”
Ilya didn’t waste any more time. “I thought we had an understanding.”
Ilya stepped closer to the coffee table before the lounge, scowling at Nikolai.
“Then why have you hired Mishka?”
Completely unperturbed, Nikolai shrugged. “You fire someone from your factory, so I hire them for the docks. What’s the problem?”
“The man is a thief.”
“Ah, you are worried for my business. That is kind of you, but I’m sure I can handle such matters myself.”
Ilya ignored the sarcasm. “He should be in jail.”
“I have use for him.” Nikolai held the scarf below his eyes, peered at Ilya, and fluttered his eyelashes. Just like a harlot. “You surely can understand that. And what is it to you who I employ? I did not steal him from your factory.”
“As you did once.”
“Oh, that was years ago.”
Ilya closed some of the distance between them. His breath quickened as his anger rose.
“You are only using him to further your less than savoury activities. Don’t you look so innocent; I know what you’re doing. Fire him. Do not allow his mischief to grow.”
The leisurely look disappeared, and Nikolai’s face went as hard as stone. “Do not order me around, Ilya.”
Ilya’s fists curled into balls. “You will do as I say, Nikolai.”
Nikolai sprung up, teeth bared. “Make me.”
“As you wish.”
Ilya threw himself at Nikolai. He grabbed his chin, forcing Nikolai’s face up to his, and snatched Nikolai’s lips into a biting kiss. Nikolai tried to lean away from Ilya, but Ilya urged his bulky frame right up against Nikolai’s slender body. Nikolai groaned, knotting his fingers into Ilya’s beard. Both could feel the other’s insistent erection. Both relished the hardness, but refused to give it attention.
As their pressing groins rushed with heat, thick rain began to fall outside, splashing into the bay and hammering against the glass. The teenagers huddled under the boy’s leather jacket, running for his scooter. The old men packed up their chessboard and hobbled for shelter, and already the father had his daughter in the baby seat in the back of the car. His wife gaped, amazed at the sudden change in weather.
Inside Nikolai’s house, a moist warmth began to form between Ilya and Nikolai’s bodies.