The Culling 9

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In the mansion balanced on fountains of water, there was an enormous whale watching the guests at the party.

The whale was in a tank that was hundreds of times bigger than the whole ballroom that the party was being held in. Two whole walls of the ballroom made of a crystal clear substance that were also part of the walls of the tank. The tank was large enough for the whale to swim comfortably in but it frequently swam to the bottom to peer at the small humans having the party.

The dance floor of the ballroom was also clear and we could look down at the sparkling, dancing waters of the fountain that supported the huge mansion. The fountains were constantly changing patterns but the mansion resting on the tops of them was rock solid never betraying it's shifting foundations. The setting of the summer sun made the whole ballroom shine orange through the gauzy curtains that lined the enormous windows.

Scott, one of the hosts of the party, was talking to me. He had light brown, thinning hair, lovely brown eyes with long lashes. He had a cool smile that rarely went to his eyes unless he was looking at his partner Seamus. Scott's big arms, strained the sleeves of his tight, black button down shirt that was tight enough I could see the fabric stretch every time he took a breath. "It was kind of like a pet that kept following Seamus home," he said looking up at the whale as it's enormous bulk moved past the wall. "Seamus would walk along the beach and find this whale beached there. Of course, the first time he tossed it out to sea a few miles, the way anyone would. But when it happened two more times he started to get attached."

Seamus stood up on a platform directly behind Scott, openly ogling me. He was wearing no shirt just a leather vest, a leather kilt and heavy boots. His hair was bright orange and his skin very pale and hairless. His exposed arms looked to be about 40 incredibly rugged unflexed inches, impossibly enormous for a normal man but Seamus was one of the younger, smaller men at this party for the brotherhood. He was doing a kind if stomping dance to the thumping rhythm of the music in the room. He ran one of his veined, meaty hands across the muscular brickwork of his stomach and licked his lips looking at me.

I felt a tremor of...something...all my boyhood I had known that desiring men meant death for me and here I was looking at this spectacular man openly lusting after me. It felt good.

Scott turned briefly glancing at Seamus' display and smiled affectionately, "I can't deny Seamus anything so when I was designing the house I incorporated the tank for his friend."

"It's pretty amazing," I said looking up at the vast tank although I was both complimenting the tank and commenting on Seamus' crude behavior.

I took in the spectacle of the ballroom. Michael was right about getting out to events, I felt more of a connection with my fellow brothers, our similar desires, our miraculous abilities. But I was still troubled by things.

I looked up at Seamus who was joined by Scott on the platform. Seamus was grinding into Scott and seemed lost in his partner's massiveness. Seamus was famous for not controlling his urges. The previous year he had gotten in minor trouble for masturbating across the train tracks. The crime was not the masturbation itself, but the fact that as he was moving his gigantic cock back and forth across the tracks it had struck an oncoming train, crushing the engine and killing several of the non-brotherhood passengers.

Almost none of the brotherhood were on the train (most of us prefer running which is much faster than any train can move) and of course we are, for all practical purposes, indestructible anyway. Since the 25 deaths were all breeders, Seamus had to do some community service. He was lucky no pre-ascension brothers were on that train which I believe was the main source of concern about the accident among the brotherhood.

Most of the brotherhood ranged in height from the shortest 6'7" to about 7'9" which was the height of the tallest elder. Our huge muscularity actually made us look shorter until one of us stood next to a non-ascended person and then our immensity was grotesquely apparent. In the ballroom, I would say the average unflexed arm was about sixty inches in girth.

Even among these impossibly massive men, Michael and I were intimidatingly immense. Michael's arms were almost eighty inches and mine the largest in the room by far, were eighty five inches of striated brawn, which was why we were invited and why everyone stared at us together. It was good our backs flared so wide as the width held the impossible size of our arms out away from our torsos. We were the biggest non-elder men anyone had ever seen. The smaller men moved aside in deference to our ponderous bulk.

Michael's seven feet of brutally huge mass suddenly filled the entirety of my vision. He gave me a quick hug. The roughness of his dark beard sent shivers through me.

He stood next to me looking at the small waiters weaving through the crowded room, "They are called bodybuilders. They take weird substances and constantly lift things over and over again to make their muscles bigger. Scott thought they would be a great conversation piece at the party." His hand lightly massaged the top of my trapezius muscle and touched my lower back as I stiffened looking at the small men, shirtless and childlike next to the hulking mountains of muscularity of the Brotherhood. They navigated between the canyons of moving muscle with theIr trays. Their faces were rigid with concentration as if each step was a death defying act. Perspiration ran down their bodies despite the coolness of the room. Michael whispered in my ear, "They are being well paid for this work."

"Some things are not worth any money," I grumbled, but held my peace.

Jedrek burst through the crowd bigger than most of the other guests. He walked up to me and clasped me in a hearty hug, "Many good wishes, Gregor and Michael! I wish you joy." he stepped back staring at me in the eye and then he touched the center of my chest, "You have learned the sacredness of the Brotherhood. Of Love."

Some part of me wanted to respond cynically but Michael was a continual joy in my life despite my other misgivings.

I smiled and clasped his large shoulder with one hand, "Jedrek, I have not always been grateful to you. But today and now I am filled with thankfulness."

He beamed at us both and shook Michael's hand, smiling broadly. "Gregor and Michael, I have new reason to be thankful myself. I have taken a husband as well. I would like to introduce you to Ryota, the man who finally captured my heart."

A broad black haired man stepped up to me. The cast of his features reminded me of the men that Jedrek had killed in the forest. He was slightly shorter than Jedrek but just as hugely, thick. His clothes were a different style. An almost iridescent ivory material was worn loose and belted around his muscular waist. The material crossed across his wide upper torso exposing almost half his chest. I could see the rippling power of his hairless, pectoral muscles clearly as he moved his hand to clasp mine.

He spoke with a deep, melodious voice, "Gregor and Michael, it is truly a pleasure. Jedrek speaks well of you. I come from Nihan just off the southern coast of your country." Ryota's smile vanished in a moment and he looked seriously at me. "Jedrek, has told me about your misgivings about this country. I need to tell you about my own shame."

Jedrek nodded curtly as Ryota lead me away out the large glass doors to the balcony.
The doors completely sealed the loudness of the party away from us, I could not even hear a distant thump of the music. Outside there was only the slightest of breezes and the soft sound of the fountain. The sun was setting and the air was charged with color.

Ryota smiled a brief smile, his teeth flashing white against his tan skin and black goatee. "This is a hard story for me but I think it will help you to understand the value of the men of Taiga. The value of what they do here," he gestured with a forearm writhing with muscle towards the ballroom.

He sighed deeply and continued, "My people practice the culling, I think we do it better than yours. The wise women were militant about stamping out the male threat. They keep track and search down every male child for the culling.

"My brother and I were born on the same day. We both knew at an early age that we would be killed when we went to the culling. There were a network of caves in the mountains and places where only a young person could squeeze into. We found a place with a spring of water deep in those caves. No one knew of it. For months, we secreted supplies to that place. We laid false trails and sealed parts of paths off. We hid in those caves for a long time. We only had each other and one terrible night we gave into temptation and," he paused a pained expression on hid face, "we ascended."

I suddenly understood his shame, not only two men but brothers.

"We thought we were cursed, that the grotesque size was our brand of shame. We blamed, hated each other. We tore the mountains apart, fighting. It was useless we were both too strong to be killed."

"We ran away and both of us soon became powerful leaders and divided the country between us in a civil war. I was miserably lonely and occasionally took men as lovers. Thanks to the culling none of them desired me, they loved me only as their powerful leader. My desires killed them."

He looked sad, "I became aware of a trader, bigger than a bear, who could easily fight off any who opposed him. My first thought was fear and I sent many men to their deaths trying to kill him.

"Then I met this man, Jedrek. He wished to trade I wished to fight. We fought. We were matched in every way, not since my brother had a man moved as fast as me and struck blows that could stagger me. I felt myself drawn to his body, his red hair and beard and soon I was in his arms and making love with my equal and telling my story.

"Gregor, this place is our best hope to live together in peace. It is a refuge from the evil that twists us from our birth. Jedrek tells me you hate it, accept it and your birthright, it is not evil. The evil is out there." Ryota's massive frame was lit by the lights of the ballroom. The air was blue and dark with shadows.

Ryota's dark eyes bore into me, "It is a refuge from the blood that the brotherhood pays every day. That the rest of the world asks of us to pay for our power."

That night in the safe warmth of my bed with Michael, I dreamed of my village of my childhood.

It was the day of the culling and I was standing in the row of boys shivering in terror and guilt. Agnieska, the wise woman released the flower pollen in a fragrant cloud over the stinking crowd of us boys.

Gratitude came on me as the pollen fell on me, hiding my shame from the world. I became aware of a clear space in the pollen cloud as if an invisible force was pushing it away. Guilt and terror made my heart hammer in my thin chest. I saw Ulric's stricken face as the pollen drifted on to the other boys away from him. The witch's knife flashing through the air.

The ground shook and twisted and writhed and pierced poor Ulric's body as it deformed itself. The very earth shrieked with pain as it roiled around me and all was lifeless. I woke sweating.

I knew what I needed to do.

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