3. Kissing a Masterful and Handsome Boy

Though Tereus often breaks off to sample a new vice or carry out an elaborate practical joke, he and Claudius quickly become inseparable. They take long, rambling hikes through the mountains that ring the village, and talk with adolescent enthusiasm about philosophy and literature. They fall asleep holding hands and gazing into each others’ eyes. Tereus lures […]

2. Sound Advice from Agamemnon

In the profoundly epistolary age in which our story takes place, it was usual for parents to send their boys to school with letters that mingled advice, admonishment and logistics. Over dinner that first night, some of the older boys read their parents’ letters aloud to ribald laughter. This one’s mother hopes he’ll guard against […]

Journal of the Plague Year 2020: Free Baja Arizona

Today I looked at Arizona’s numbers — I’m experimenting with using the Johns Hopkins website, which is updated more frequently than covidtracking.com, but sends my iPhone into a frenzy of error messages and page reloading — and I panicked. Here’s how we look on coronavirus.jhu.edu: Arizona, US Confirmed: 79,215 Deaths: 1,641 Recovered: 0 Active: 77,574 […]

13. Free Fall

Over the years that follow Sieia’s flight, Lucius and Valeria start to fill their nursery. Through some strange miracle, Lucius is an affectionate husband and father. Not only can he tell his children apart, he has an intimate knowledge of their likes and dislikes, and their intellects and temperaments. He and Valeria are aware that […]

12. The Few Positive Duties of Fatherhood

For the second time, Tereus’s valet informs him that Lady Sieia has gone missing. This time, she’s gone to some trouble to deceive her keepers. She packed her doll and a change of clothes undetected, and left the house on foot at midday. When the butler summons the second footman to be questioned, he’s missing, […]

11. Foreshocks

Tereus wakes gradually. The light seems wrong. It’s afternoon or evening, or a storm has rolled in and obscured the sun. He feels so fucking miserably ill that it takes him a moment to appreciate that he’s not in jail, and though the skin is broken on the knuckles of both hands, he’s not covered […]

4. Unhappy and Uncertain

The brothers trot along for another moment, until they reach the edge of the creek. They dismount, hitch their horses to the massive remains of a felled tree. Tereus spends a moment with Paris, watching to see if he’ll try to pull free. He seems inclined to crop grass quietly with Marcus’s mount. Tereus remarks, […]

3. Of Course It’s Been Terrible

A few years after the scandal breaks, Tereus’s brother Lucius is recalled from his diplomatic posting on the continent. His superiors make it clear that, though he’s given satisfaction personally, the stain on his family name has become a political liability, and he can no longer hold a position of trust in the government. Lucius […]