Screenshot from the online publication of "A Queen for a King", with a lavender background, an image of a path through th ewoods, and the first few lines of the story.

A Queen for a King

Lyle Skains

Electric Spec 3:3, 2008

She flitted among the trees like a dragonfly. Her dress glittered, alternately sheer and opaque in the piebald light rippling over the forest floor. She laughed, and he heard bells.

He didn’t stop to wonder what she would be doing in delicate skirts in the middle of Newborough Forest. He should stop, of course. His father’s voice vibrated in his head, a lifetime of pious warnings jumbling around his skull. But he followed her anyway. He was eager to see her clearly, the freckles on her nose, whether her teeth were crooked, whether her eyes were blue or green.

She peeked from behind a tree, waving him forward. Mist shimmered in the evening air. The beach must be near, down the trail and over a sand dune. Fog cloaked the clearing, the trees on the other side barely visible.

She danced in the middle of the clearing, the mist a soft-focus filter, like a storybook enchanter beckoning him into her world.

Temptress, his father’s voice whispered. Do not follow where she leads.

He could not hear the music, but it vibrated in his bones. The tune was lilting, pipes playing in a Shakespeare fantasy. He tapped his hiking boot in time.

The song changed, as though the unseen DJ segued the bead from strip club teaser to money-maker. The bass notes his ears could not discern rumbled up his legs, pounding in his gut. Sly tones massaged his ribs, shimmied over his nipples.

The girl’s body swayed, bumped, pumped, and shook. The wispy skirt rode up over her thighs, the gauzy blouse rubbed tautly over her chest.

She stretched out an arm, asking him to dance.

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