Its passions will rock thee
As the storms rock the ravens on high;
Bright reason will mock thee,
Like the sun from a wintry sky.
From thy nest every rafter
Will rot, and thine eagle home
Leave thee naked to laughter,
When leaves fall and cold winds come.
–Percy Bysshe Shelley, When the Lamp is Shattered
“Gege, hurry up!” Wearing an orange lifejacket, his brother waved to him from a yellow rowboat some way off.
Xu Ping pulled a tired smile.
The metal paddle felt heavier and heavier in his hands, and his sore muscles were threatening to quit on him any second now. The orange life jacket was burning under the blazing sun, and it felt like a winter parka in midsummer, making him suffocate.
Dropping the double-ended paddle onto his lap, Xu Ping stopped to rest.
He wanted to shout to his brother to tell him not to paddle out too far, but when he opened his mouth, he found that even his vocal chords were exhausted.
The tiny rowboat beneath him was rocking on the ocean surface dizzying Xu Ping.
He turned towards the beach from which they had departed and saw that it was already far off.
There was a skerry around seven kilometres southwest of the main island that was big enough for two people to sit back-to-back during high tide, and the water there was clearer with more coral and schools of fish. It was a good spot for scuba diving, said Uncle Lin.
Xu Ping raised a hand to his forehead. The golden light reflecting off the water was so strong that he could barely see.
He heard his brother’s excited voice. “Gege, hurry! This way!”
He looked down at his palms. The water was very close, rocking his little vessel like a baby’s cradle. He could see the fishes not far below him, but their dim, quiet world seemed not to be disturbed as they swam idly away, his existence undetected to them.
Xu Ping pulled another tired smile and picked up the paddle.
Xu Ping tied his boat to a rock and plopped down beside his brother, panting. “Water.”
Xu Zheng unzipped his backpack and took out a bottle for his brother.
Xu Ping gulped it down so hastily that water was dripping down his cheek.
“Gege is so weak.”
Xu Ping shot a look out of the corner of his eye but didn’t bother to retort. After twisting the cap back on, he passed the bottle back and collapsed onto the rocky islet.
Xu Zheng crouched down beside him.
“What are you staring for?” Xu Ping questioned in a breathless whisper.
“Gege has really, really white skin and really, really long legs.”
Not knowing how to respond, Xu Ping turned his face away.
“And a really, really pretty neck.”
Xu Ping hummed a quiet answer.
His brother’s hand brushed his ear and lingered on his neck.
“I want to do it with Gege.”
Xu Ping’s face instantly burned, but he eventually regained composure. “Didn’t we do it yesterday?”
“Not the same.” Xu Zheng hugged him from behind sneaking a hand underneath his t-shirt to pinch his nipples. “I really want to do it now.”
His words brushed Xu Ping’s ear making the elder shudder.
Xu Ping turned around. “You rowed for so long. Aren’t you tired? I can barely lift my arms.”
“Yes, but I still want to.”
Xu Ping closed his eyes and sighed. “Can you wait until tonight? Until it’s just the two of us in the room…”
“But I can’t wait, Gege.” Xu Zheng interrupted. “I was thinking of you all this time, about your body. But Gege rows so slow.”
He planted a kiss on Xu Ping’s neck.
“Can we, Gege? There’s nobody here. You did it with me yesterday on the beach.”
He quickly stripped off his t-shirt baring his muscular torso.
Xu Ping stared dumbly at his brother.
Without any sense of shame, Xu Zheng stood up before Xu Ping and unbuttoned his pants taking off his underwear, too. He kicked the garments aside as he exposed his tight thighs and swollen genitals under the sun.
Xu Ping’s mouth opened to say something, but he found his voice was shaking so much he could not.
Xu Zheng knelt down on one knee and took off Xu Ping’s sneakers and white socks.
Xu Ping tried to retract his feet, but his brother clutched his ankles.
He studied his gege’s toes for a while and then bent down and planted a firm kiss on the back of his foot.
An airplane flew across the cloudless, azure sky drawing a straight white line.
The ocean breeze was swaying lazily while the water lapped at the reef.
A white seagull swooped low.
Xu Ping fluttered his eyelids. He felt hot everywhere except his calves.
Slowly, he opened his eyes and saw his brother’s face that had tanned in the past few days and the short stubble along his jaw.
“What time is it?” he asked hoarsely.
His brother pulled him closer into his arms.
Xu Ping lifted his head from his brother’s shoulder to find the sun leaning west. The previous blue sky had become lighter like a pair of old, washed jeans.
“The sun’s setting…” he remarked quietly.
Xu Ping lowered his gaze and saw that both of them were naked. His brother was sitting against the rocks with him in his embrace.
He jerked his legs to find them submerged from the knee down.
“The tide’s rising. Why didn’t you wake me up?”
“Gege fainted,” Xu Zheng answered.
Xu Ping’s face reddened and he didn’t push any further.
For some reason his brother was very excited today, clutching him by the waist and thrusting into him ceaselessly with a member that seemed larger than usual. His brother didn’t show any signs of stopping even after Xu Ping had come on the reef several times. In the end, Xu Ping was so exhausted and his entrance was so sore and stinging and hungry that tears starting flowing.
He twisted his head back to beg his brother, “Stop, Xiao-Zheng, stop it. I can’t take it…”
Upon hearing this, Xu Zheng paused slightly, and Xu Ping felt the member buried inside him growing even bigger and harder before his little brother pushed himself into his body once, and then again and again.
After that, Xu Ping’s memory went black like a screen being unplugged.
“Gege is so weak,” Xu Zheng said hugging him. “I’m taller than Gege. My arms are thicker. I’m stronger than Gege.”
“Okay. Then what?” Xu Ping asked.
“I want to break Gege. I want to keep doing it until Gege is broken.”
Xu Ping stared back with spooked eyes.
“I’m scared,” Xu Zheng continued.
“Gege fell asleep. I hugged Gege.” He lightly touched Xu Ping’s eyes, nose, and mouth and then spread his fingers out. “I want to swallow Gege whole. Here, here, here…”
He lowered his head and took Xu Ping’s fingers into his mouth one by one.
Xu Ping’s eyes widened and slowly brimmed with tears.
He looked down, and the tears hit the reef.
He grabbed his brother’s hand, spread his fingers out and took them into his mouth.
“You know,” he mumbled. “I do, too, Xiao-Zheng.”
The tide slowly submerged the lower rocks as the sun leaned farther west.
Xu Ping faced away from his brother while dressing himself. “Are you hungry?”
But his brother answered a different question, “So hot.”
Then he plunged straight into the water.
Xu Ping yelped, “The tide’s coming in. It’s really deep now. Don’t go in!”
The only response he received was the waves slapping against the reef.
The ripples that Xu Zheng created soon disappeared. The wind kept the surface of the ocean uneven. Birds cawed as they flew towards the island.
Xu Ping stood on the skerry for some time.
His brother’s head popped up ten metres away as the man started to paddle back to the skerry.
He clung to the edges of the rocks and stuck out his right hand. “For you, Gege.”
It was two clear marbles. Maybe some tourists had lost them while scuba diving.
Xu Ping took them and smiled. “Thank you.”
He grabbed Xu Zheng by the arm and hauled him out of the water before wiping him dry and dressing him.
“We come again tomorrow!” his brother said.
“We have other plans tomorrow,” Xu Ping replied.
The ten-day holiday passed by in the blink of an eye. It was almost time to say goodbye.
Xu Ping patted the sand off of his brother’s pants and straightened his t-shirt.
He looked up with a smile.
“Do you like it here? This island?”
His brother considered for a while before nodding.
Xu Ping didn’t continue that conversation. He picked up the backpack on the rocks and said, “We’d better go back now. It’ll be harder to tell the direction when it gets dark.”
He untied the hawser, pulled the boat closer and hopped in.
He had put on his life jacket and grabbed his paddle when his brother jumped into his own boat.
“I’ll race you,” he said to Xu Zheng before pushing off the skerry and sliding into the water.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
ayszhang: The countdown begins...
Brother - English Translation by ayszhang is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.