SSC: The Drum Messenger

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Another erotic story from the FLOGMASTER!

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SSC: The Drum Messenger

(***, M/F, Intense, Historical, paddling)

Communications in the old days. (Approximately 496 words. Originally published 2000-06.)

Yarja woke alert and functioning, an hour before dawn. Today was the day. After a moment treasuring the thought, she rose, splashed water on her face from the basin, dressed, and departed. Breakfast would come later, after her first shift.

At the tower, Vuric smiled. "Excited?" he asked. Her throat was so dry she could only nod curtly. Together, they began to climb the spiral steps.

Eight minutes later, panting heavily, they reached the drum room. As always, Yarja felt a chill of wonder and delight at the spectacular view. From the drum tower, with its four arched windows, one in each of the primary directions, one could see the entire valley spread out beneath them. The roof of the city, far below, looked like a collection of flat stones placed edge to edge, with the narrow street cracks in the paving.

At the center of the drum tower was the drum itself: a huge barrel open on one side. It was pointing east. Vuric pounded twice on the side to let the drummers know relief had arrived. A moment later, two figures emerged.

"You are early," said Kemer, bowing low. He passed Vuric his ear coverings.

Daro gave hers to Yarja and stripped off the snug drummer leathers. Yarja wrapped them tightly about her middle, her fingers trembling slightly.

When the replacements were ready, Kemer, with another solemn bow, presented Vuric with the drummer paddle.

It was magnificent, intricately carved, the main surface smooth and gleaming from polishing. It was two spread hands in width, and one leg long. It wasn't as heavy as the dimensions suggested, for the thick board was hollow, but it was awkward and required two strong hands to swing. There were a half dozen slits, each a hand long and a finger thick, to allow passage for air and to increase the paddle's velocity. The back was engraved with the names of legendary drummers whose sacrifice had helped save lives in times of crisis. Yarja could only dream that one day, her name might be so inscribed.

Yarja climbed into the drum barrel. It was so tall even Vuric needn't stoop. At the end was the bending bar, and she draped herself over it, her leather-covered bottom awaiting the first message of the day.

It wasn't a long wait, for minutes later a panting message boy arrived. Vuric lifted Yarja's left earpiece.

"Your first day begins with a general broadcast," he laughed, and Yarja groaned.

He lifted the paddle and pounded the words eastward. On the horizon, another drum tower received the message and passed it on, until, by dawn's breaking, it had traveled over a week's journey.

After sending the message, Vuric and Yarja rotated the drum to the north and repeated the long message.

"Just west and south remain," he grinned as they spun the drum. The drumgirl rubbed her leather seat ruefully and sighed. General broadcasts were a bitch.

The End

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