This story is a continuation of the author’s previous story, Lust Boat.  It is, in its own right, a beautiful stand alone story. – GM


Aldo looked at Goddess Marquesa’s sleeping form. She was as gorgeous as he remembered. The moonlight coming through her bedroom window revealed lines of age, or perhaps care, on her face. But no time or mood could detract from her beauty. Aldo could still feel the tingling on his cheek from the slap she gave him as the Federales dragged him off to prison. Even if she had not been his greatest enemy, she would be in all ways unforgettable.

He coughed to arouse her and she stirred. Her eyelids parted slightly, and her head turned toward the intruder in her bedroom. Having registered his presence, she lowered her head to her pillow again and closed her eyes.

“Marquesa,” Aldo said. His voice was soft, but loud enough to be clearly heard in the room.

“What do you want, Aldo?” Goddess Marquesa asked without opening her eyes. She betrayed no fear, her tone conveyed only fatigue and sorrow.

“You know what I want,” he answered.

“Better than you do,” she replied with a hint of sarcasm, turning over so that her back was to Aldo.

Aldo could not help showing his frustration at this cool reception. “Aren’t you curious why I’ve broken into your home in the middle of the night?” he growled.

“Not at all,” the Goddess replied with a yawn. “They told me that you had escaped. I expected I would see you here eventually.”

“You sent me to prison,” Aldo declared dramatically, “I’ve come here to kill you.”

Aldo stood silent, waiting for a reaction. After about a minute he heard the sound of deep, relaxed breathing. Goddess Marquesa had fallen back to sleep.

“Marquesa!” Aldo hissed. “I said I came here to kill you!”

Goddess Marquesa stirred again and gave a soft moan of irritation. Without turning to face the intruder, she said, “You haven’t come here to kill me, Aldo.”

“Oh no?” Aldo blurted, his frustration mounting. “How can you be so sure?”

“Because you love me. You’ve been in love with me practically since the moment you first laid eyes on me.”

Aldo opened his mouth as if to speak, but words would not come out. He stood frozen, trying to compose a thought, to make an argument in reply. Static seemed to fill his mind, paralyzing him.

Sensing his confusion, Goddess Marquesa turned to face him, her eyes fully open. “Get a grip, Aldo,” she ordered, her weariness and sorrow mixing with mild annoyance, “you came here for the same reason that you left me free to foil your plan on the cruise ship. You need to be near me. To see me. To hear my voice. You’re my captive whether you are in prison or not. Killing me won’t change that.” Goddess Marquesa sighed sadly, her energy seeming to flag. “Whether you realize it or not, you’ve gotten what you wanted,” she continued, “Now go away and let me get some rest.” Having finished, she closed her eyes and laid her head back on her pillow.

Aldo stood looking at her for a few moments. Finally, he asked, “You seem so sad. What’s wrong?”

“My parents are sick,” Goddess Marquesa replied without opening her eyes. “I don’t have the energy to deal with you, Aldo. Go away.” With this her breathing became deep and steady again, she had fallen back to sleep.

Aldo stood for a long while watching Goddess Marquesa sleep. He knew she was right. He had no will or intention to harm her. But he could not force himself to leave. He was fixed in place, mesmerized by her beauty. Finally he retreated from her bedroom and walked toward the exit of her house.

Entering her parlor, he paused before the front door, feeling lost. Where would he go? What would he do? He was well prepared to be a fugitive. His military training gave him skills that would help him avoid recapture. But what good would that do? What kind of life was worth living if he could not see Goddess Marquesa again?

As he stood thinking, he saw something off to one side of the parlor that drew his attention. It was a low cage, eight feet long by four feet high. Aldo surmised that Goddess Marquesa must use it to keep her clients and lovers imprisoned. No wonder that she had recognized before he did how much he loved her. She had seen it happen to so many men. It occurred to Aldo that every time he had fantasized about Goddess Marquesa in prison (which he had done constantly, even as he told himself he planned to kill her), dozens, perhaps hundreds of men around the world were fantasizing about her at exactly the same moment.

Looking at the cage, he had a moment of inspiration. Crouching down, he crawled into the open door of the cage, closing it behind him as he entered. The latch of the cage was equipped with an open padlock. Aldo slid the hasp of the padlock into place, snapping it shut and locking himself inside. Now he was well and truly Goddess Marquesa’s prisoner. He would throw himself on her mercy and allow her to decide what his fate should be.

Aldo spent a restless night in the cage, waiting for Goddess Marquesa to emerge, but she never came. After about six hours a naked man entered from a door off to one side of the parlor. He seemed unsurprised to see the cage occupied. Walking closer, he examined the caged figure. “Hmmm…” the man said, surveying the prisoner from head to toe. “You must be Aldo. Goddess Marquesa said that we could expect you.”

“Who are you?” Aldo asked.

“My name is Rick. I’m the Goddess’s house slave. One of them, anyway. Shall I let you out of that cage?”

“No,” Aldo said. “I want Goddess Marquesa to release me. If that is her will, that is.”

“You really are a selfish prick, aren’t you?” Rick scolded.

“What do you mean?” asked Aldo, surprised.

“The Goddess is distraught. Her parents are ill. But you want her to concern herself with you.”

“I love her,” Aldo protested.

“Join the club,” Rick said with a sardonic chuckle. “But if it is true that you love her, maybe you should think of her for a minute instead of yourself.”

Aldo was struck silent by this. Still he remained stubborn. After a few moments he barked, “Just leave me in the cage.”

Rick peered squint-eyed at Aldo, sizing him up. “Why do you love Goddess Marquesa?” he asked.

“For the same reason you do,” Aldo replied. “Because she is so beautiful.”

“No,” Rick snorted, shaking his head, “that is why we want the Goddess. Not why we love her. Until you understand why it is that you love Goddess Marquesa you’re blind. You need to get yourself straight. Figure out what’s what. If you can do that maybe some time in the cage will do you some good.” With this Rick walked off toward Goddess Marquesa’s bedroom.

An hour later Goddess Marquesa came through the parlor on her way outside. She was breathtaking, but her eyes looked as if she had been crying. She took no notice of Aldo and breezed past his cage out the front door. Aldo inhaled greedily as the air scented by her perfume dissipated around him. The brief sight of her had thrilled and tormented him all at once. His heart ached to think that she was suffering.

For the next hours Aldo meditated on the problem Rick had given him as if it were a Zen koan. Why did he love Goddess Marquesa? The feelings she aroused in him were so powerful, so intense, that it was difficult to parse through them rationally or even form a clear impression of what their origin might be in his mind and heart.

Hours gave way to days as he meditated. The Goddess came and went but continued to be too distracted by her concern for her parents to notice him. Rick tried to give him food and water, but Aldo refused it. “I’m not being selfish,” he explained when Rick scowled at him disapprovingly. “I don’t want the Goddess to be disturbed, but I can’t eat or drink until she allows it. Try to understand…”

“What if you die?” Rick asked, “Do you want some pen and paper to write the Goddess a note?”

“No,” Aldo replied. “Just take my body out and dispose of it so she doesn’t know.” Rick nodded approvingly.

Aldo could feel himself drying up. His blood pressure rose. He focused his thoughts on Goddess Marquesa to distract himself from the pain.

Days passed. The pain mounted. Suddenly, as the pain became almost unbearable and Aldo felt himself on the verge of delirum, it came to him in a flash. He understood why he loved Goddess Marquesa. Why everyone did. At first Aldo had thought that as a soldier he had been enchanted by her display of bravery on the cruise ship. It was true She was brave, but the bravery She had shown in Her confrontations with Aldo only scratched the surface of how exceptional She was. The courage, the strength, the enormous generosity of spirit that it took to live day-to-day as “Goddess Marquesa,” to expose Herself to the powerful energies that She aroused in those whom She allowed to desire Her, it was truly extraordinary. In a world that punished women for embracing their own sexuality, that demanded that they be passive, be objects, She had the wit, the daring, the sheer force of will to turn the rules on their head. No one who encountered Her could fail to be overwhelmed by the grandeur of her soul. Even the petty fools that sniped at Her in envy were prisoners of their own love for Her, they were just too venal to be enriched by it.

Aldo smiled as unconsciousness took him. As darkness engulfed his vision he expected death, but he could not regret its approach as he basked in the glow of his revelation.

Strong hands held his head up and forced the cup of water to his lips. “Goddess,” he whispered as his vision returned. “Am I in Heaven?”

“No, this is still California,” Goddess Marquesa replied, her tone sorrowful but inflected with a note of wry humor. “Are you mad, Aldo? I had no idea you were in this cage until I heard you calling my name. You were delirious. How long have you lain here without food or water?”

“I’m sorry,” Aldo said. “I didn’t mean to impose on You. Everything is clear to me now. I know that I belong to You, or that I could have belonged to You if I hadn’t been such a selfish fool. Send me back to prison, or let me die here in this cage. Just please know that I love and adore You.”

“I knew that already.”

“Yes,” Aldo replied, “but I am only now realizing what that really means. I know that my existence must be whatever You need it to be. Forget about me and let me fade away, or put me to work and let me serve You. I can see that You are suffering, I wish I could help. Are your parents well?”

Goddess Marquesa’s countenance darkened. “They are still very ill.”

“The Army gave me some basic medical training. Let me go tend to them. I will work for them day and night until they recover or until I am captured and sent back to prison. If You allow me to be of use to You it will be the greatest good fortune of my misspent life.”

Goddess Marquesa rose, her beautiful features cast in a look of cautious resignation mixed with sadness. “All right, Aldo,” she sighed. “Despite your past, I did see something, some spark of decency in you when we first met…perhaps there is a chance for you to redeem yourself after all….”

Goddess Marquesa held out her foot, offering it for Aldo to kiss. He pressed his lips against Her flesh, eyes closed in bliss. It was the first time he had truly prayed in his life.

The End