Doug and Zawmb’yee explore a place they should not have gone to. Zawmb’yee is just an apprentice to Utcoozhoo and should not have explored on her own without permission. Of course taking Doug along too made matters worse; or did it?
Captured by the Gods
I went in the first open door. The Gods, I think, have good taste in the design of a bathroom. There was a dry marble basin thirty feet long, ten feet across. At the far end was a waterfall pouring into a drain. Along the near tile wall was a towel rack, and shelves with bars of soap.
Zawmb’yee came running in, dropped all her stuff on the floor and took my hand. “Shall we be clean now?” she said. “You know, Utcoozhoo says, ‘when lust is exhausted by overindulgence, the subtleties of love can be appreciated,’ ”
“That doesn’t sound like something Utcoozhoo would say…”
“OK. Yeah. He didn’t say that, but I say that. How about that expression, ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness.’ What was that … Benjamin Franklin or something — I don’t know. So let’s be clean. Take a bar of soap.”
Zawmb’yee ran under the waterfall, and came out saying, “Swoosh me with the soap.”
I am always inclined to be indulgent under such circumstances, and enjoyed the cleansing of the savage breast, while she endeavored to exhaust my lust as in her own prophesy, and I was not one to deny her. As they say, ‘one good poem deserves another’. She is like the rainbow under a waterfall.
When Zawmb’yee came out of the waterfall, I had noticed what looked like a metal dress and a suit of armor. Now I asked, “What are those?”
“Those are used to let us be washed by the gods. It’s sort of like a washing spacesuit.”
“How do you mean?”
“Here let me show you.” Zawmb’yee picked up the dress. It had hoses coming out the back of the waistband, and from there up to the wrists. She said, “Help me put this on. Now these cups with the clear hoses go over the breasts — see. Fasten it in the back for me … and these are washing panties … . Now you. Here … get into these metal briefs and …”
“What are all the hoses for?”
“That’s for the washing fluids … Here let me do this for you. Now this hose goes on like a condom, see … and we lock on the metal shorts — There, that snaps shut. ”
“Wait a minute … I don’t think I like wearing solid steel underwear. This is like a chastity belt or something and I can’t touch anything. How do I get this off …”
“Well, you don’t. It unlocks automatically when the wash is over. Don’t worry. Now we put on the rest of the suit. These armlets go on here.”
She looked very strange standing there in her dress with hoses extending from her wrists to her back. Another hose came out of her back and was anchored in the floor. She said it seals like a spacesuit. She told me to fasten her neck collar and wrist cuffs firmly so there’d be no leaks. She tightened her waist belt.
She said, “OK. As soon as I tighten up your suit, the wash of the Gods will start.”
As soon as the suit was sealed, our back hoses were pulled into the floor and we fell to the ground. Water sprayed in from the wrist hoses and they were drawn short into the back of the belt. I felt a lotion ooze into my briefs and then a massage and a vibration began. I felt an armlet tighten and then a needle prick. I looked at Zawmb’yee who was struggling, trying to get up. Her hands were pulled tightly behind her back.
I said to her, “I don’t think this is a ‘wash of the Gods’. This thing is collecting semen and blood.”
“What?” said Zawmb’yee. “Get up, get up — get this off me.”
The harder I tried to get up the shorter the hoses were pulled until my wrists were clamped together in the back of the belt. Then, we heard footsteps behind us, but we were pinned to the floor and couldn’t turn around to look.
Zawmb’yee shouted, “Help! We need some help here …”
I began to yell, “Yeah, we could use suh …” Suddenly, Zusoiti, the high priestess jammed a ball into my mouth.
Zawmb’yee screamed, “What are you doing?”
Zusoiti said, “I’m gagging him because he’s going to be here for a day or two, depending on how long it takes for the Gods to get enough samples, and we don’t need all the yelling.”
Zawmb’yee screamed, “Unlock me, unlock me …”
The high priestess shouted back, “Shut-up, or I’ll gag you too. This is sacrilege. Where’s your supervisor? You don’t belong here …”
“Get me out of this,” Zawmb’yee whispered.
“Well, it’s too late now in any case. Only the Gods can release you.”
“When will they do that?”
“It depends on your hormone levels. They have to analyze that and your DNA. Probably in a few hours.”
“What about him. What did you mean a day or two?”
“Well, that’s more complicated.”
Zawmb’yee started screaming again, “The armlets are stabbing me … unlock me, unlock me …”
“I told you I can’t.” Zusoiti gagged her. “Now, calm down, you’ll get through this. You weren’t supposed to just wander in here on your own. Don’t tell me — Ngheufel got you to do this.”
Zusoiti had always seemed comic and bizarre. She claimed to have naturally purple hair meant to complement her green eyes, but she was too tall to be a cat, too attractive to be a witch. It’s a wonder that anyone took her seriously, or ever gave her any authority. Now she was just very dangerous. Zusoiti seemed to have second thoughts about Zawmb’yee. She patted Zawmb’yee on the head, turned toward me, “You like blondes?” She laughed.
Zusoiti shook her purple hair like a wet dog. She walked over to me, sat on my legs, looked around for something. I was lying too flat to see what she was doing. She tied my ankles to the floor. “I like to help the gods. This helps complete the process.”
I made a noise. Struggled again.
Zusoiti barked, “Easy does it,” and giggled like a hyena. “Prepare yourself. I suggest that you relax as much as you can. Remember, the Gods brought us out of the Kingdom of Ice to the Inner Gardens.”
I shook my head. Trying to get my hands loose, I moaned.
“It’s best that you rest because in a few hours, the Gods will be expecting a sizable semen sample. If that doesn’t happen, the Gods will hold you for another day and try again.”
The gag was too hard to chew on. I tried to blow it out.
Zusoiti kept talking. “If you prepare yourself for a respectful donation, the Gods will be pleased.”
I thought, perhaps, that if I pulled rhythmically, very hard, that everything would start to loosen.
Zusoiti said, “It’s foolish for you to indulge your fears when that will inhibit your performance. Listen to me. I will soothe you if you will embrace the glory of the Gods, for I am the guardian of the purple light, messenger of the Keeper of the faith. The names are to be spoken only by me.”
I was beginning to fall into a panic. Zusoiti was sounding more and more irrational. I never realized until now what a religious fanatic she was. I had thought the traditionalists were just harmless rustic rabble, irrational bumpkins, like discredited Shakespearean witches of only metaphorical value.
I never thought such persons would gain any political power or status in the community. I always thought growing up that ‘high priestess’ was a quaint ceremonial title — I never took it seriously. I could only moan.
“I will remove your gag. I hope you will be reasonable.” She removed it.
“You psychopath,” I said. “What you call the Gods are not what you think. You’re delusional. You must …”
She pushed the gag back in. “Paradise can be yours,” she said, “if the Gods choose you.” She seemed to want to go well beyond what the Gods had already done. “It would be best that you rest and regenerate,” she reiterated. “They can keep you alive with intravenous nourishment only for a limited amount of time.”
Leaning over me, Zusoiti brushed my face with her purple hair. A purple medallion was swinging from her neck. She said, “I must attend to Zawmb’yee. If you cooperate, things might be better for her. She did violate the rules, y’know, and the Grand Council has given me the authority to take custody of her after the Gods release her. I might be persuaded to be lenient.”
I made a noise. I tried to kick.
“Yes, well, I suppose there is value in struggle. Go ahead and exhaust yourself. I’ll be back.”
Swinging her medallion, Zusoiti sauntered over to Zawmb’yee, carrying a large purple bag with odd emblems on it. The medallion glowed, then beamed like a search light. Zawmb’yee tried to kick her, but was out of range. Zusoiti circled around her, came up behind her, and shined the beam in her face. “Hmm, I think the Gods are finished with you,” she said. She removed the gag.
Zawmb’yee said, “What do you mean? Ouch. I got jabbed again. What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
“I’m not doing that. The Gods have completed their work. You will soon lose consciousness for half an hour as is proscribed in the visions of the Gods. The Grand Council has authorized me to take custody of you thereafter to determine your punishment.”
“Are you nuts? … I will …”
“So you are sleepy now, and I will do my duty. Have a nice nap.” Zusoiti laughed.
Zawmb’yee stopped moving. All the hoses unlocked and fell off. Zusoiti stripped the dress off her, removed the armlets, and turned her over. Zusoiti gleefully unzipped her equipment bag to pull out purple things. She handcuffed Zawmb’yee’s hands behind her back, and put a purple leash around her neck.
“There!” she shouted across at me. “What shall I do with her?”
Zusoiti Stalking Prey
Zusoiti looked back at me like she was stalking prey. She returned to hover over me. “Shall we try this again? I’m removing your gag, but if you’re disrespectful I’ll put it back.” She took it out. “Understand?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Wouldn’t you agree that the struggle has gotten you nowhere, and that you’re quite exhausted?”
“Remember the stairs you came down to get here”
“Indeed! While you’re waiting for the Gods, we can do an exercise about mountain stairs. Close your eyes. Imagine you’re standing on a grassy plateau. There are beautiful violets. You are stepping through the violets to a ledge where the stairs begin with a wide blue step … How are you feeling now?”
“I’m tired …”
“Yes you are. Aren’t the mountain stairs beautiful in the warm sun?”
“I think I remember mountain stairs like this in a dream.”
“Yes, dream stairs can be wonderful — can’t they?”
“Well, imagine you step through violets down a blue sorrow step. Crying, you descend onto a green envy path, downward onto an inevitable orange step that falls into a red one. A step down into violets … and you see my favorite color. Do you see it?”
“And the violets make you sleepy …”
“Where are you going now?”
“I’m going down to the blue step, but I’m so tired …”
“You must continue. They are spiraling mountain stairs now with grassy ledges. You are spiraling down from the blue to a grassy green landing, tumbling into orange, falling into red passion, taking another step down into violets where you hear me welcome you into gentle blue sleep on the grassy meadow you have reached by the orange rock, and the violets of my authority …”
I faded off to sleep. Zusoiti didn’t seem like such a bad person after all.
I woke up at the top of the stairs where Zawmb’yee and I first entered the ngtqua and got caught in the flood. Zawmb’yee was standing to the side of the front door that was now open, but Zusoiti was holding her by her leash. Zawmb’yee yelled, “Run.”
I started to get up and found that my hands were cuffed behind my back. I walked towards the door.
Zusoiti pulled on a chain and I was yanked back by a leash that was around my neck. Zusoiti flashed her medallion at me and said, “Do you have something to say to me?”
I said, “Zusoiti is the only true prophet and I will do as she wishes.”
Zawmb’yee gasped. She tried to pull towards the door.
Zusoiti said, “Good. I am the only true prophet. I will reward you. Zawmb’yee will be your slave for six months.” Zusoiti unlocked my hands and removed my leash. She put Zawmb’yee’s chain in my hand and said, “Take her and go.”
I pulled Zawmb’yee out the door. I said, “Come quickly and don’t talk.”
I yanked her by her leash, pulled her along the narrow ledge, made her jump down. She was resisting, but I pushed her to the right of the Sword of the Silver-red Stalagmite, past the Qukwerpfm.
She screamed, “What happened to you. What are you doing. Let go of me.”
I put my finger to my lips, pointed at the walls and then to my ear. I yanked her severely along.
I said, “I’m taking you to my quarters, slave. This is your just punishment. Be admonished that Zusoiti is the only true prophet.”
I hurried her along and made her run. I told her there would be further punishments if she didn’t cooperate.
We reached the exit of the caves. I threw her down on the ground and unlocked her handcuffs and leash.
I said, “I had to pretend to believe in Zusoiti as prophet so we could get out of there. Zusoiti is a lunatic, and she had microphones in the cave.”
—- END of ” 7. Captured by the Gods ”
8. Utcoozhoo Arrives