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Babylon Nights
by Oxartes © 2008

 

Babylon Nights"Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king and his lords, his consorts and his concubines, might drink therein. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his lords, his consorts and his concubines, drank in them..."    Daniel 5:1-3


A mist rose from the river, its wispy tendrils covering the paths and byways of the vast terraces. An older man walked through the deserted gardens and sat down on a stone bench. A hooded figure emerged from the fog and joined him.

The man sighed. "So many relics in Babylon these days."

"Then we should blend right in."

He smiled. "Tell me, was there a corner of the gardens that we didn't do it in?"

Queen Adaya blushed. "Um, no. We were pretty thorough."

"But then your brothers came out of the furnace, alive."

"And old Nebuchadnezzar took me for his harem and eventually married me to Belshazzar."

"Who scorns you as one of his grandfather's hand-me-downs."

"Oh Daniel, you were right, we should have run away together. I wish we could be a couple."

"Just being here is treason enough. Belshazzar may be a capricious tyrant who flaunts his infidelities but he is still your husband."

"What if he were not?"

Daniel glared at her.

"Darius the Mede has said that he will reward anyone who helps get rid of Belshazzar."

"Interesting. But the King is very careful."

"I will make him careless."

"How?"

"One of my Lydian slaves is quite the sorceress. She has agreed to help in return for her freedom. You can help too."

"How?"

"Come to court when you're called and be dramatic."

"Dramatic?"

"Like you were with Nebuchadnezzar and his dreams."

"Oh, that. But you know that God frowns on witchcraft."

"God helps those who help themselves, Daniel. And besides, it's not like He's doing anything." Queen Adaya rose and disappeared back into the fog, leaving the seer alone on the bench.

Ah, Lord he thought, Truly, Your ways are inscrutable but I fear she has a point. Daniel enjoyed the stillness for a few minutes and then made his way home.

*        *        *


Belshazzar woke with a start. "Who is it? Who's there? GUARD!"

A Scythian guard came running into the King's bedchamber, sword drawn. "Your Majesty?"

"Have you admitted anyone to my bedchamber?"

"No. The standing order is to admit no one while Your Majesty sleeps."

"Correct. But search the chamber anyway. I thought I heard something."

The guard suppressed a sigh and dutifully searched the bedchamber. "Nothing, Your Majesty."

"Hmmph. I could have sworn I heard something. Dismissed."

The guard bowed smartly and left. He was careful not to roll his eyes until after he had turned around.

Belshazzar lay back down and pulled the blankets over him, certain that one of his concubines, maybe that Nubian minx, was hiding somewhere in the room. There!

"HA! Gotcha!" He whirled around and sat up. "Come out, come...out..." His voice trailed off.

A great, glowing hand hung in mid-air in front of his bed, impatiently tapping its fingers as if on an invisible table. The hand waved.

"Who are..."

The hand raised its index finger.

"I...I should be quiet?"

The hand flashed a thumbs-up. It motioned for him to lie down.

Belshazzar obeyed.

The hand peeled back the King's bedclothes, exposing the royal prick. The hand impatiently tapped its fingers again.

Belshazzar hardened.

The hand flashed another thumbs-up.

It caressed his balls and traced a finger along the underside of his cock.

Belshazzar moaned.

The hand abruptly raised its index finger.

"Ah, right." The king bit into a pillow.

The hand closed slowly around Belshazzar's twitching cock and stroked it up-and-down, squeezing while it pumped.

Belshazzar thrashed around on the bed, biting into the pillow, as the hand stroked his prick.

The hand placed its index and middle fingers on the underside of the tip of the King's cock and stroked furiously until Belshazzar came all over his belly and chest, stopping only when he was completely spent.

The King looked up, euphoric and exhilarated.

The hand wagged a finger in a mock scolding, flashed a thumb's up and disappeared.

*        *        *


The Queen's Lydian slave closed her spellbook. The Queen wiped her hand on a rag.

*        *        *


The hand appeared every night and gave Belshazzar the most fabulous and imaginative handjobs of his life. He was stroked, caressed, massaged, pumped, palmed, fingered, fondled, knuckled, thumbed, nailed and fisted. He came like he had never come before. He didn't breathe a word to anyone about how he was spending his nights. The king guessed that it was Ishtar. Why shouldn't the Goddess of Babylon service the King of Babylon? After all, who paid for the upkeep of her Temples?

After three weeks of regular, nightly, service, Belshazzar was in a grand mood. He decided to summon his greatest feast ever. He invited no less than 1,000 lords and had the vessels from the Jews' temple in Jerusalem brought in for himself and his lords, consorts and concubines to drink from. He pointedly did not invite the Queen and cackled with glee at the prospect of galling the hell out of the old bat yet again.

*        *        *


The feast was in full swing. Wine flowed like the Euphrates and would soon turn the banquet into an orgy.

Belshazzar eyed the statue of Marduk as a courtier retrieved the plate of food and goblet of wine that had been set before the god and brought them to him. Jealous, aren't you? the King thought, That Ishtar likes mine better than yours? The courtier handed him the goblet. Belshazzar held it up to Marduk. Well, here's to that slut wife of yours! He drank deeply...and spewed a geyser of wine all over the Egyptian ambassador. The ambassador started to yell but fell silent, along with everyone else in the hall.

A great, glowing hand had appeared and hung in mid-air. Everyone watched as the hand pointed at Belshazzar before writing four words in Aramaic on the wall next to the candlestick. It flashed a jaunty thumbs-up at the dumbstruck king and disappeared.

Belshazzar's legs gave out and he toppled backwards onto his throne. "Bring me my enchanters, Chaldeans and astrologers!" he wailed.

These came rushing in but even though the king promised power and riches to the one who could interpret the strange words, none could.

The Queen heard the commotion from her tower and hastened to the banquet hall, where she found Belshazzar throwing food at his wise men. "Useless!" he howled, "You're all fucking useless!" He spied the Queen. "Look!" he shouted, pointing to the glowing words. "The hand! The hand did that and these morons," he seized a whole suckling pig and hurled it at the wise men, "don't have a godsdamned clue!"

"Call Daniel the Hebrew, my lord," the Queen said, "the one who helped King Nebuchadnezzar, and he will declare the interpretation!"

"He had better!" The king turned to a terrified guard. "What are you waiting for?" he snarled, "Go get him or I'll have your head!"

The guard bolted off to fetch Daniel. The Queen found a seat next to the fuming Egyptian ambassador.

*        *        *


Daniel fixed his robe as best he could as he trotted after the guard. The latter had spouted gibberish about a giant hand and strange words that nobody could read. Daniel guessed that it was the doing of the Queen and her Lydian slave. He waited outside as the guard entered the hall.

"Oh, fuck protocol!" he heard Belshazzar bellow, "Get out of my way!" The king himself pushed the curtains aside and grabbed Daniel's robe, "Get in here!"

Belshazzar dragged Daniel—who noticed the Queen next to the Egyptian ambassador—into the center of the banquet hall and pointed at four words on the wall. "Tell me what that means and those," he pointed at a purple robe and a gold chain-of-office draped over a chair, "are yours. Don't, and you're fish food!" The king now pointed at a window that overlooked the Euphrates.

Daniel wanted to look at the Queen for guidance but dared not.

"Well?!" Belshazzar demanded.

He stared at the words, astonished. Where did she learn obscure Aramaic code? Most rabbis couldn't read this!

"WELL??!!"

Be dramatic, she said."You profane God's sacred vessels, you and your consorts and concubines. You drink to idols! Now, hear the words of God, King Belshazzar, and be humbled!" Daniel pointed to the words and thundered, "MENE, MENE—God has numbered your kingdom and brought it to an end! TEKEL—You have been weighed in the balances and been found wanting!" Daniel took a deep breath. "UPHARSIN—Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians!"

Belshazzar was silent. Daniel lowered his arm, expecting to be executed forthwith.

"Oh, bravo! Bravo!" Belshazzar clapped his hands and burst out laughing. "I can take a joke! Very good!" The hall rang with laughter as everyone, except for Daniel, the Queen and the Egyptian ambassador, followed the King's cue. When the noise had died down, the King had Daniel adorned in the robe and invested with the chain-of-office. "Take High Councilor Daniel to the Akkad Palace, which shall now be his. Your God must be in league with Ishtar," Belshazzar whispered to Daniel, "Now go, I want to get on with my party! Drink up, everybody!" he cried to the crowd.

A guard hastily led a baffled Daniel from the hall.

*        *        *


Belshazzar was found the next morning, lying on the floor of his bedchamber, his head smashed. It was widely assumed that he had tripped and fallen, while in a drunken stupor, and cracked his head on a gold table. The army protecting Babylon went over to Darius the Mede, who swiftly occupied the city and was proclaimed king. His sober, orderly regime was welcomed with relief.

*        *        *


- FOUR WEEKS LATER -

The woman, bent over a railing on one of the terraces, grunted as her partner grabbed her hips and thrust into her. He reached around and stroked clit. They moaned and rocked furiously, crying out as they came.

Daniel slumped over Adaya, wrapping his arms around her tummy and caressing her tits. "Mmm, we're like a pair of rutting newlyweds."

"Old man, we ARE a pair of rutting newlyweds."

"Nice of King Darius to spring for the wedding."

"Well, you are a High Councilor. Hey, are we going to do it in all of our old spots?"

"Dumb question. Tomorrow by the pond?"

"BY the pond?" Adaya straightened up and pulled down her robe.

"Oh, right." Daniel fixed his tunic and took her by the hand. "Clear up one thing for me."

"Sure."

"Where did you learn obscure Aramaic code? I mean, most rabbis couldn't read those words."

"What?" Adaya stopped and looked at Daniel. "I was going to ask you where you learned Lydian magic."

"Waitaminute, the hand and the writing at the banquet, you didn't do that?"

"No. I assumed you did. You mean you didn't? Then who..."

There was a long, low roll of thunder.

Daniel and Adaya looked up.

"I think He's laughing at us," Daniel whispered.

"Let Him laugh!"

Truly, Lord Daniel thought, smiling Your ways are inscrutable.

Adaya squeezed his hand. They started back toward the Akkad Palace, swinging their arms.

_______
© 2008 Oxartes. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

Bio: Oxartes, 43, is the married papa (proud, on both counts!) of two children. He is a professional copyeditor and proofreader who has discovered that he like to write erotica as a hobby. "Writing is like therapy," he says.


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Oxartes

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