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Twisted Bronze Arms

Copyright © Emmi Lawrence

All rights reserved. No part of this story may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission from the author.

Short Story (Approx 3000)

I couldn’t keep still. Despite twisted bronze metal for my arms and legs and glittering sapphires for my eyes, I found ways to shift my body into unnatural positions. The statue on the other side of the iron gates and rusted portcullis turned his face, just slightly, so he couldn’t see and though I scoffed and called to him to join me, he refused to even acknowledge my existence.

That was what happened when built second. Second best, second born. I’d heard that somewhere, somehow. Probably one of the artisans as they’d melted and molded my body into shape. A shape I immediately slouched off in favor of more comfortable positions, because I did not want to spend all eternity standing with my arms outstretched as if welcoming refugees to clamber over my limbs.

Some days I whirled around and leaned upon the wall to enjoy examining the tiny city dwellers who spent most of their time eating and sleeping or finding ways to irritate one another. I assumed there were many things I didn’t get to see go on when they were inside their homes and businesses, but my curiosity didn’t extend to those things. Thus, I stood outside that gate on a pedestal for a long while before I discovered one of their more wondrous secrets.

It happened at night, while I’d been attempting to morph my stiff body into a dance move I’d seen a young girl perform in the street a few days prior. The two guards hurried up the staircase and plastered themselves to the left of the doorway of the watchtower. Head level.

Despite the darkness, I could see enough within the moonlight to tell their clothes were askew and their bodies connected in sensual ways. I watched them strain and grunt and push and pull at each other, their muscles shaking and their faces contorting. When they peaked, their motions going jerky and their groans quickly stifled, I felt my bronze body tingle pleasantly. They straightened themselves, exchanged a quick, perfunctory kiss and separated, though one called out to the other after they had some distance between them. Called something about a hard night that made them both laugh. I didn’t get the joke.

What I did get was my first erection.

I stared at it, the bronze curves around my groin swollen and straining. That tingle didn’t go away, sizzling in my limbs, reminding me of the way it’d felt when I’d been heated into shape. With some misgivings, but not enough to contain the wondrous feeling rising in me, I whispered to the other statue.

“Does this happen to you? Is this…normal?” My voice a metal echo groaning into the night.

“Normal,” he responded. He had a pleasant voice. The kind that scraped over my body sharply. “Neither of us are normal.”

Now I exhaled, letting the clang of it startle the men and women who camped outside the walls, living in the shadows of protection. “Can you at least look?”

“Are you showing your ass again to those we are supposed to welcome?”

“No. And that was funny. You could have laughed. Please look. This is…” I didn’t know. I knew what the guards had done and I enjoyed the tingle in my body, but I didn’t feel as if I truly understood.

He turned his head, the motion slower than I could have done, but then, I had more practice. As his own glittering sapphire eyes focused on the swelling extending from my groin, his mouth parted in surprise.

“That’s…”

“That’s what?” I urged. “What is it? What do I do with it? I want what they had, but…” But I couldn’t move that fast, couldn’t vibrate and rock rhythmically.

“Not feasible,” he finished.

Then he returned to staring out at the long, dusty road that twisted down through the surrounding hills. No amount of cajoling could convince him to speak again, so I finally stopped bothering and glared at the edge of his eyes as they began to sparkle in the early morning light.

The swelling at my groin subsided, taking the tingling sensation with it. I was left feeling unsatisfied. Unsatisfied, with a gnawing need clawing through my metal limbs.

Over the next few weeks, I studied the inhabitants of the city closely, keeping an eye out for people pairing off into dark corners. I hoped the guards would return to give me another example of their pleasure, but they never did. Instead, I caught glimpses of couples, some men, some women, all pressing into each other in that rhythmic slapping of their flesh.

I envied them. My own body moved at a slower rate, even when I pushed myself beyond what my metal limbs should have been able to endure. I clanged and scratched during my clumsy attempts. Enough so the other statue twisted from his stance to stare at me.

“You’ll crack yourself,” he warned.

“But—”

“Is mimicking their frivolous desires so imperative you would risk ruin? They will melt you down. Remake you from the start until the statue standing there is nothing like the statue you are today.”

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Maybe get someone more like you. Content to just stand here forever with no thoughts of your own,” I snapped, the frustration in my tone a low echo that took long moments to finally fade.

His eyes glittered in the fading sun, but in a cold, detached fashion. “If that were true, I wouldn’t warn you. I’d let you destroy yourself.”

His logic, while I couldn’t fault it, didn’t warm me. “I’m not like you. I can’t remain still. I want…” I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, truth be told.

But that didn’t seem to matter to him. “I want too, but it’s dangerous.” He returned his gaze to something far in the distance, out where the trees overtook the road.

After a moment, my anger fading, I asked, “What was he like?”

“She,” he corrected. “She’d been my original counterpart. Curvy. Emerald eyes. Liked to talk. A lot.”

“I bet that annoyed you.”

“I liked to listen.”

That surprised me enough I didn’t respond.

His lips curled up. “I don’t dislike you. It’s just…hard to look at you because they used most of her to make you.”

“Oh.” That seemed incredibly inadequate. So I added, “How did it happen? Why’d they do that?”

“She wanted to travel,” he said softly, his voice a tiny chime, barely carrying over to me. “Wanted to see the world everyone always spoke of. So she got off the pedestal and started down the road. She tried to run when they found her the next morning. But she didn’t get far.”

A sudden ugly feeling curdled in my bronze body, from my toes embedded in the stone pedestal, to the fragile tips of my fingers. I didn’t want to be melted down. Didn’t want to feel the heat once more or the invasive hands of the artisans. Especially not if I was to lose my awareness, forget I once existed.

“What did you do?” I asked.

“What could I do?” He turned, this time moving his entire body to face me, his arms relaxing from their outstretched, welcoming gesture. “I am no faster. And she’d already become cracked when she fell. Her forearm broke off and her hair fractured. I could hear her knells of pain, but couldn’t do anything to aid her.”

“And you think I’m going to fall when I do this?” My hand still grasped my swollen, lifted appendage, its shape longer and thicker. That tingling sensation I’d come to be familiar with purred through my body.

“I think you’re going to snap it off,” he corrected, his unblinking gaze boring into me. Not in judgment, but in concern.

“This is how they do it though.” I began to release myself, my fingers creaking as they scraped against one another. “This is how they feel what they feel. We’re made in their image, so why can’t we do the same?”

He shrugged. A slight, casual movement that barely moved his body.

I blew out a sigh in exasperation, the sound startling the guards within the towers enough I heard them shouting at each other to check the gate. I listened to them silently, watching the light reflect off the windows, the distant ones within the city glowing golden.

I did not mourn for the statue who had come before me. How could I? Had she not met an early demise, I wouldn’t exist. But regardless, I felt morose over her fate. More for what it meant for me. What if I grew more restless the longer I remained? What if I someday decided to see what lay on the other side of the hills?

I already couldn’t remain still. Already wanted more than I’d been made for. My neck groaned as I looked down at myself. Already I wished for a pleasure that I might never understand.

The restlessness grew into discontent the longer I dwelled. My fingers curled into fists as my body lost its gleam when the sun sunk behind the far away woods.

“So what if I break? I watch them fall all the time and they just get back up.”

“They heal,” he said.

“And they can’t fix us? They have to destroy us for trying to experience life?”

He frowned, his lips tugging at the bronze lines of his cheeks. “We’re not alive.”

“Then what are we?”

He shrugged again. “Does it matter?”

“To me.”

“I’ve seen many people come and go within this city. I’ve seen the graveyards fill with the same crying babes who appeared years before. I’ve heard what they say about us, thinking we don’t understand. To them, we are immortal, yet not alive. It doesn’t matter how we classify ourselves.”

“And you base what you believe on what they think?”

“No. I base my future on the power they hold over us. If they think we are not alive, then they think they are not killing us. I don’t find them evil. They just are. And we can either understand and take measures to ensure they have no reason to melt us down. Or we can understand and not care whether they do.” He paused, then added, “I’d prefer if I didn’t have to watch them tear you down and carry you away to turn you into someone else.”

“Truly?”

“Yes,” he said simply, a dollop of surprise registering in his countenance.

I returned my gaze to my erection. The swelling hadn’t dissipated. A need pulsed through my metal body with that ever present dissatisfaction creating a hollow of desire that had no where to go.

“So I should just give up on learning anything? What kind of life is that?”

“I didn’t say that.”

Evening began to morph, night stretching over the city in tiny increments. He looked beautiful within the shadows and last straining rays of the already set sun.

“I just don’t want you to move in ways your body will regret.”

That depressed me even further.

“Don’t—”

I looked up when he didn’t finish. “Don’t what?”

“Don’t stop being who you are. It’s refreshing. Just…”

“Just stop doing all the things that make me who I am?” I suggested sardonically.

The sparkle in his eyes dulled.

“Forget it all. Go back to pretending you’re nothing but a hunk of warm bronze only here to please the masses.” As I started to turn away, I added, “She probably thought you boring. No wonder she wanted to leave.”

The sound he made echoed dully across the city, but I refused to take back what I’d said.

When night had completely set in and the stars decorated the deep blue sky, he spoke again. His voice was so close, it startled me. “That was cruel.”

I twisted my head as fast as I could, the metal moaning. For the first time since I’d been risen into place, he had stepped off his pedestal. He stood with his head at my chest, sapphire eyes dull in the darkness, full of so much pain.

“But,” he continued, “she did think I was boring. She told me every day. She was always laughing when she said it though. Said we had been made opposites on purpose. Her representing the hunger and need for more out of life while I held a contentment that most people strive for but can never attain.”

I stared at him for a long moment, caught in his gaze, my body beginning a tingling that, by now, was very familiar. “You’ll outlive us all,” I whispered. “Be growing moss as the city sits unused and broken.”

“And that,” he said, “would be a travesty without you.” Then he reached out, ever so slowly, and grazed my stomach, the touch so light the metal of our bodies made little noise. “We balance one another. I can’t stop the wanderlust or the curiosity, nor do I wish to, but maybe…” He stepped even closer, the move full of intent. “Maybe we can share, just a little, so that you’ll find the contentment you need to remain here.”

The worry in his voice was nothing but the echoing tap of metal contracting with the chilly air. I leaned down, suddenly burning with want despite the sun having disappeared long ago, taking its fire with it.

The gentle chime of our lips meeting reminded me of the bell tower inside the city. But the feeling that accompanied that touch? Nothing could compare. I swelled as I’d done before. I wanted to vibrate and pound like those guards had done, but could not move that fast. When I even tried, he stopped me with a quiet word, reminding me that our bodies would not heal on their own.

Instead, he touched me with a careful, purposeful hand. I eased into his methodical motions, learning quickly to love the quiet, unhurried caresses despite them not mimicking anything I’d seen among the city dwellers. We were different, after all. Something larger, not alive according to some, but full of feeling and want.

There couldn’t be frenzied embraces. We could not crush into one another. So I followed his lead and slowed myself so that when I moved, my body did not groan and creak.

His shaft would have glowed gorgeous in the sunlight. In the darkness, it was only marginally less so. Huge and hard like the rest of our bodies. Not brittle, but easily the place that would crack were we to fall.

He joined me on my pedestal, though the two of us barely fit. We had to press so close to keep from losing our balance. The tingling in my body sparked everywhere his bronze touched mine. Excitement rose in my heart and echoed into my groin. His lips were smooth and firm against my neck, gliding…gliding…so very slowly.

Despite the lack of rhythmic pounding or the sharp sound of metal clanging, something amazing roared to life within my body. A furious jolt of pleasure. An unimaginable pulse of perfection. I could not contain the joy that surfaced and exploded. Nor did I wish to.

My shout echoed loudly across the city and the world beyond. People startled out of their beds. Guards rushed along the ramparts. One of them even paused to stare at us, her mouth opened in surprise. I wanted to laugh, but I couldn’t, too caught up in the passion resonating within me.

“Curiosity,” he whispered into my neck, the sound vibrating straight through to my core. Then he gasped and let out a long tone, like a soulful moan on the wind. He held still in my embrace as the pleasure I had just experienced rushed through him.

After, he lifted his head, his eyes full of wonder and satisfaction.

I curled my lips and asked softly, “Is this something you did, with her?”

“Never. We were young. The city was young. Younger. It never occurred to either of us, just as it took a long time for you to even notice their antics. I actually assumed it wasn’t possible.”

“I guess their way wasn’t.” I looked between us, but could not see lower than our chests since we stood linked to each other.

He smiled and though the night made it difficult to see clearly, I thought the sight was the most beautiful one I’d ever seen. “Our way makes sense for us,” he said. “No chance of hurting each other.”

I couldn’t respond, too focused on how well he had managed to create the contentment he’d spoken of. I could feel it in my casing and my frame. A satisfaction that goaded me into staring into his eyes rather than off into the distance or down into the city.

“We should do this again,” he whispered, his voice like a creaking metal hinge, opening a door to something spectacular. Then he disengaged and leaned an elbow against the wall, making the guards shout and scamper about.

“A lot,” I urged.

“A lot,” he agreed softly.

In the next few days, weeks, months, the concern he’d had for my brash nature faded, morphing into excited experimentation. I admit, I strode to his pedestal far more often than he came to mine, but he never once professed an irritation at my invasion or ever attempt to turn me away. He welcomed me with open arms, just as he did the travelers who passed through the gate between us.

Some days I’d sit on his base and lean against his legs. Some days he’d stand by mine and tell me stories from the decades he’d lived before me. Occasionally we’d slouch with our feet outstretched together, forcing pedestrians to skirt around us. We’d sit, letting the thick wall support our hardened bodies. We’d touch. We’d kiss. We’d love in our own way, sharing experiences as the years slipped past and the city thrived.

And the strange thing was, none of the inhabitants ever seemed to mind.

The End

I think this one started from a first line given to me by someone as a story prompt. I didn’t like the line though, so I ended up cutting half of it off and changing a couple of words of what was left. So, yeah, it didn’t really come from that original line. I don’t remember what it was, regardless, so it obviously wasn’t that important.

As for the story itself…I seem to have a tendency to make people out of things. I did that with the first couple of stories I ever sold professionally too. I kept envisioning those dancing golden statues that seem to be in every video game and fantasy book ever, the huge things always standing outside of giant cities. Figured that the job might get a little boring after a few hundred years.

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