them

Reads: 152  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 2

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Adult Romance  |  House: Booksiesilk Classic Group

Featured Review on this writing by sweet lemon

In so far as she could tell there was only one of them. At least, she had only ever seen one, felt one, and one of them was more than enough for her to handle. A vanishing breed. The last of the species. A male, on the verge of extinction. A male, and her, a female. Just the two of them, sharing secrets at twilight.

the verge of extinction:

In so far as she could tell there was only one of them. At least, she had only ever seen one, felt one, and one of them was more than enough for her to handle. A vanishing breed. The last of the species. A male, on the verge of extinction. A male, and her, a female. Just the two of them, sharing secrets at twilight.

The sinking sun cast a blinding orange sheen on the surface of the muddy lake. Chocolate, molten chocolate, the kind she used to find spewing from chocolate fountains when she served them at weddings. She no longer served them. In fact, she didn’t serve anybody - only him, the male. And he served her. The cocoa-coloured water looked warm, smooth, and inviting. The sun sank, reddening the treetops. A milky luminescence spread across the lake’s surface: brilliant white blurring to yellowish orange, gold: the fog that heralded them.

Wild swimming was her passion. Swimming was all she had left. She’d lost her job in the lockdown, lost her little room, online friends, her family. Lost her will to live. She was staring into the abyss, homeless and lonely, when she found the muddy lake hidden away in the forest. Wearing all she owned: a faded, floppy orange t-shirt, a pair of slim, straight, mid-denim jeans, grubby sneakers with no socks, her treasured black, one-piece stretch swimsuit,

‘My little onesie,’ she smiled, her wistful smile, readying herself to swim.

The abyss, she supposed, wasn’t so bad now that she was used to it. Being homeless, here in the forest, meant never having to pay the bills, reply to messages, go to work, clean her little room. She scavenged all the food she needed after dark, after her lengthy wild swim, from a nearby food bank, found her toiletries in fly-tipped bin liners, had no need for cash for now,

‘How long can I live like this?’ she asked herself, watching the red sun set, ‘How will I cope when the summer ends? When the autumn chill sets in. And the lake floods. Where will I live this winter? Will there be frost, snow, ice? How will I stay warm? How will I live, with him?’

Her heart sank. She hated the idea of winter: muddy-coloured waters turning clear, sodden leaves sinking down to the soft squelchy bed of the lake covering him, her male, while he hibernated, buried in the warm mud. While she sat, huddled, and shivering on the bank, mourning her lost love.

They communicated telepathically, through facial expressions, use of sign language, and, underwater, she’d developed an uncanny method for mouthing simple phrases, blowing rafts of bubbles at him when she spoke, phrases such as:

‘Hello!’

‘Wait!’

‘Up!’

‘Down!’

‘Bye!’

And, when she finally managed to catch her breath and swallow a lungful of air:

‘Let me get my swimsuit off!’

Excited at the prospect of seeing him, feeling him again, she sat on the bank, removed her sneakers, wriggled out of her jeans, pulled off her t-shirt, and waded into the lake up to her chest. There was a wooden railing sloping into the water. She gripped it for support, steadying herself. Her shaggy ginger-gold hair, all split ends, tangled knots, hanging over her face, she searched the muddy morass for signs of life, preparing herself for her wildest swim yet.

‘Where are you?’

The thick grey cloud of mosquitoes descended on her out of thin air, settling in her scalp, nestling in her folds, pricking at her skin, injecting their saliva, sucking her blood. She slapped her face and neck, rubbing her knees and elbows in a vain bid to stave them off. She cowered as the pests had their fill of her, itching and scratching herself, rows of puce bumps erupting in blunt infant volcanoes on her jawline, in her armpits, her soft creases.

‘Come on!’

A raft of crocodile-sized bubbles finally appeared in front of her, moving in a wiggly line towards her from the shallows on the other side of the lake. The sun set, her golden hair was bathed in moonlight, the bubbles disappeared. She smiled, kicking her legs, splashing her arms.

It could only be him.

the periphery of vision:

He lay motionless, save for his undulating adipose fins and big tail, just below the surface. Eying her using the periphery of his vision, not knowing who she was, what she was, how old she was. Assessing her on instinct. Assuming she was female. Was she female? There was no way that he could tell if she was a female. No way that he could possibly know. Other than through his own basic instincts: his senses: of taste, touch, vision, and smell. He’d become accustomed to her face, staring down at him, covered in shaggy ginger gold hair. Familiar with her hourglass figure, standing, gripping the rail for support, clad in black, steadying herself, in readiness for her swim, plagued by a swarm of insects. Aware of her musky fragrance: the aquatic had an acute sense of smell. Acquainted with her feel, whenever their bodies touched, her taste whenever they kissed.

He'd had a mate once, many sunsets and moonrises ago, a female aquatic who’d birthed him a foal. Tragically, the effort of giving birth had killed her. The foal had died soon afterwards, unable to be suckled by her mother. He’d sensed their loss, lying with them on the lake bed as their bodies rotted and decayed. Then, to his utter disgust, he had fed on them: skin, flesh, bone, cartilage, muscle, brawn, hearts, brains, faces, until they were part of him, living on, forever inside him.

He didn’t know he was the last of them. His brain and six-foot body responded only to nature’s clock: misty sunsets, haunting moonrises, murky dawns, midday suns. He spent all day sucking mud and rotten organic matter into his cavernous mouth, sifting out the worms, molluscs, insect larvae, and grubs to eat, before blowing the mulch out through his gills creating eruptions of bubbles on the surface.

He came alive at sunset! That was when he surfaced, swimming up and down, round and around the liquid chocolate lake. The aquatic led a simpler life than her. He felt emotions, yearnings, for his dead mate and her foal. Heartache over his new love. He felt lonesome, never lonely plundering his way thru his solitary existence until it was time for him to die.

He’d breathed, swam, fed, slept, and excreted, until she came into his life: to be with him at sundown for as many sunsets and moonrises as he could wish for. He heard her wild swim call!

The moon rose high in the night sky, casting eerie shadows over the dingy lake’s surface. He rose up through the water. The lake became a churning, bubbling, exploding cauldron: swells, whirlpools, wash waves. She cried to him chanting her magic spell, she drew him in,

‘Up! Up!’

And he was there for her floating on his back. Showing off as usual! Wanting her to swim!

‘Wait!’ she smiled, the happiest smile of her life, ‘‘Let me get my swimsuit off!’

the very essence of freedom

She peeled off her swimsuit, slung it over the railing, with a fine disregard for boring old propriety, and announced to the natural world,

‘Won’t be needing that where I’m going!’

He grinned at her, lurking just below the surface, his otter’s snout, his seal’s whiskers, his catfish rubbery lips, twitching with subliminal delight. She made him content, happy - in as much as he could feel happy. A happy contentment he hadn’t felt since his loving mate gave birth to their foal, their sublime moment, her miraculous water birth in the shallows, the moment she died.

She sank into the cloudy water, up to her neck in warmth, love, passion, head-over-heels in love with the only creature in the world who’d ever shown her any affection. He rolled! He rolled in front of her, belly-up, exposing his muscular chest, his smooth pelt. Shewing her his naughty bits! She marvelled at him, reaching out, stroking his furry cheek, rubbing his chest, caressing him.

Clouds rolled over the moon. It absolutely pissed down! Rain, falling, streamy stair rods, teeming down in thick spatters, crowding the lake with whirlpools, vortices of their love. Her shaggy gold-ginger hair stuck lank and cloying glued to her scalp like a wet balaclava, rivulets of purity running down her smiling face.

The rain aerated the stagnant water bringing new life to the pond, exhilarating them. He came alive for her, thrashing his big tail, contorting his eel-pout torso into mind-twisting shapes. She pushed her arms up out of the water, waving him on, spurring him on, crying,

‘Love it when you’re happy!’

She thought of all her lonely nights on the streets sheltering from the rain in dirty subways, porches, sleeping on late night trains without a ticket, never getting caught, never begging. She’d never allowed herself to beg, in the hope that one day…

‘He’s gone! Gone where?!’

.. she might find love.

Ripples, splash pools, rain pressed on her matted hair, her mind. Questions shaped in her..

‘Up! Up!’

He didn’t heed her call. She thought how lonely her life would be without him, her only true friend. She knew, deep in her heart: she loved him. But could he love her? Questions,

‘Up! Up! Damn you!’

No sign of him. She despaired. Past doubts about them resurfaced. Was he really the last? How could she be sure? Supposing there were others. Females. Supposing he had a mate, a baby (she struggled to conjure up the word) pup? Suppose they were watching her, just below the surface. She began to feel ashamed of herself, stupid. He was just an animal, granted a living miracle, a relic from some far-off distant past, an alien? She searched the starless skies, insistent rain whipping her cheeks, stinging her eyes, making her blink and squint,

‘Please tell me he wasn’t an alien.’

Wasn’t.

Her pet is all he was. Her tame pet. And she’d let him go.

Furious with herself, she reached for her swimsuit.

the uncertainty of being:

She wasn’t new to this. The initial excitement of attraction. Her mounting arousal during foreplay. The thrill of her denouement. Her so-called passionate act of love. Love! She’d never truly experienced love. Sure, she’d had her moments: fleeting, fiery, ones. Barely legal encounters with sweating schoolboys, petting-in-the-park after tennis, after mixed doubles. Before her parents were killed in the car crash, and her truancy began. Then there were the romantic candlelit soirees: sharing platters with toxic cocktails, Eva’s wine bar. Staring across the table at him, gazing into his lovestruck eyes, holding hands, going back to his place. Her one-night stands. She wasn’t beautiful, not by any means, but she was an attractive, sexy, deceptively plain woman who used love to survive the uncertainty of being alive. She recalled her midnight trysts in the laundry room, after weddings, at the hotel, her up-against-the-walls with banqueting managers, chefs, waiters, casual barmen.

After the closure forced by the pandemic when she lost her job at the hotel, her little room, she’d turned feral: existing in a wild-uncultivated state; ferine: a savage, brutal beast of a woman who stooped to any depths to survive. Scavenging for fodder, titbits, scraps, eating other people’s waste. And, when there was no waste, she had turned to them, the strangers in dark alleyways. There’d never been a need for her to beg. She thought of the thick wad of soaking-wet twenty-pound notes stuffed into the back pocket of her soaking-wet jeans. Thought of them, warm, dry in their family homes, pretending to be faithful to their wives.

She thought of him, lurking somewhere deep in the muddy depths. What had she done to scare him off? She thought of them. How could they survive as a species without her help?

The rain teemed down from the heavens. Her shaggy, gingery-red hair was saturated, all split ends, tangled knots. Her black, onesie, well-stretched, swimsuit hung off the railing, like a sodden dishcloth. A muddy pool formed around her clothing. She smiled to herself,

‘Can’t go home. Don’t have a home. This is my home. I want to stay here with him.’

She wasn’t new to this. She’d been used, abused, loved, rejected, so many times before. And she wasn’t about to be rejected now,

‘Hello?’

She felt someone rub his soft pelt against the backs of her thighs, her buttocks, the small of her back, laughing aloud,

‘Hello?’

She felt his big tail curl around her belly.

She had never felt this relieved in all her life, this happy, euphoric. She cried out loud,

‘Down! Down!’

He wanted, needed her, for his mate. He’d never needed anyone this badly in his lengthy life, not since his beloved mate died giving birth to her foal. He felt a need, a compulsion, a need he hadn’t felt for sunsets, moonrises, dawns, suns at their zeniths, thunderstorms, leaf falls, rainy showers, autumn winds, winter frosts, spring airs. He felt the need to mate.

‘Down! Down!’ she cried, taking him into her tender-sweet embrace, ‘Down! Down!’

And then, entwined as one, they swam!

her manatee of love:

She took a deep breath, then clung onto him, her arms, and legs, tightly wrapped around his slender torso. Proud of her, protective of her, his naiad, he propelled her thru the fudge of the pond, as far as the reed beds, where they could mate. They surfaced. Wet. She’d never been so joyously wet in all her life, her mind whirling out, alive, with the thrill of the ride,

‘So, this is love! Our freedom! He is who I live for! My blissful mate! My manatee of love!’

The rain poured down, matting her ginger-red hair with a teak helmet, enclosing her face in Bournville streaks, exposing the sunburnt scalp where her hair was starting to thin. She envied him his simple life: his life without strings, love without worry? She’d never know.

She felt a delicious tingling sensation sweep through her body. Felt his body tense. They reached the reedbeds. She let him go. He lay on his back, smiling. She stroked his cheek, rubbed his snout, kissed his lips, ran her soft hand over his smooth pelt. Pausing to tweak his four nipples. Sensitizing his body in a way he hadn’t felt since foreplay with his mate. He wanted to, needed to mate with her. She wanted his foal, fondling his naughty bits till he felt ready to proliferate the species! Creating a genetic variation? He would never tell!

She straddled him, and they copulated in the shallows, animals of entirely distinct species, searching for a fresh start. It came as no surprise to her when he ejaculated prematurely, filling her with his semen. She had that effect on him. Her bucking bronco! Making her shudder from head to toe. Making her sit upright, bare her teeth, and snarl at him. It was all over, bar their gasping, in thirty ecstatic seconds. Exhausted, she fell asleep, with her head resting on his chest, she slept on him, until…

Dawn broke with a burst of hot sunshine, warming her body, cheering her mind. Truth be told she was famished, starving hungry. It had been an entire day since she last descended on the food bank in search of scraps to eat. She listened to his twin hearts beat, his pulses, relieved to find their exertions hadn’t killed him. One could never tell with them. She was shaken out of her slumber by the sound of gunshots fired in quick succession.

‘Someone’s up early shooting rabbit, pheasant? No, July’s far too early to shoot pheasant.’

There was a second volley of shots, worryingly nearby, five, fired in quick succession.

‘Clays? Clay? Pigeons? Clay Pigeons!’

The shooting stopped. She felt him stir in the shallows, roll onto his front, face down, and go back to sleep, his head fully submerged.

‘Alright for some, isn’t it,’ she cursed, ‘Some of us have to eat, some of us have to get dressed.’

She recalled her tee shirt and jeans lying in a muddy pool on the bank, her onesie hanging off the railing. Her filthy clothes would have to be washed then hung up to dry before she could go to the supermarket or risk her sneaky visit to Olive’s deli bar. She thought of the wad of notes in her jean pocket, congealed, stuck together. At least it had stopped raining. Or had it? The sky darkened, turning overcast. It started to rain again. She started to fret.

‘I could be stuck here on my own for hours while he sinks to the depths to find breakfast.’

Her tummy rumbled. She was still pondering her ridiculous predicament when she heard the low growl of a man,

‘Is that really you, with him?’

the intervention of humanity:

She recognized his voice at once, ‘Yes, it’s me.’

He was appalled at her behaviour. There was no doubt in his mind as to what she’d just done with him, no doubt at all. She’d enjoyed sexual intercourse with an aquatic, ‘had it away’, as his mate always said, with one of them. His stomach heaved. He controlled the muscle spasms, his contractions, tensing his abs until the primal urge had abated. Instead, he took his anger out on her,

‘What in hell’s name do you think you’re playing at, lying in a muddy pond in the pouring bloody rain, having sex with one of them. You look like a mermaid, know that? A bloody mermaid. What do you look like?’

‘A mermaid,’ she repeated, quietly, obediently.

She covered her breasts and sank into the water whispering to him as she went, ‘Down!’

He didn’t move, just lay motionless sound asleep in the shallows. She knew he was asleep, touching his heart one last time as she sank. The man glowered at her as if she were crazy, which in truth she was – nutty-mad as a rampant March hare on fertility drugs. What other explanation could there possibly be for her errant behaviour? He pricked his ears for her, like a deer being stalked,

‘What was that?’

‘Down. I’ve been feeling down, lately. What with losing my job, my little room, and that.’

The rain eased. The man pulled down his wet olive hood, revealing a wet olive deer hunter hat, a damp olive tee-shirt. Everything about the man was olive, camouflaged, except his face. His face was kind and round and warm, in spite of his anger at her. He cared about her, deep inside his stone-hard heart, loved her in a strange way. Love can make you kill.

She watched him pull the oily rag out of his olive fleece, systematically polishing dry the barrel, body, stock, and sight of his sniper rifle. A stray bullet of awe flew out of her mind,

My man, she boasted proudly, saves patient’s lives, then hunts, and takes them away! He doesn’t shoot clays. Oh, no! My man shoots animals. Wonder if he’ll shoot my lover?

To her relief, the man broke the rifle. He then proceeded to break her heart,

‘What did I say about coming here, playing with them? Told you never to play with them, didn’t I?’

‘You did.’

‘Then why did you?’

‘I can’t help myself. I get these urges. I know I shouldn’t really. I can’t help how I feel. I love him.’

Him? So, now there was only one of them left. The mate he’d seen floating in the shallows. Her dead foal must have been his. He felt a gram of pity for them, for her. She had nothing left to live for, only him. Feeling a rare surge of sympathy for her, the man took off his olive fleece, and extended it to her. She rose up out of the carob-coloured water, his naiad,

‘Here, put this on before you catch your death,’ he said kindly, ‘Are those your togs lying in the mud over there?’

She blushed, donning the warm fleece, struggling with the zip, stepping out of the water. The zip was stuck, she couldn’t do up her zip, his zip. Her manatee of love slid from sight, out of mind, safely, in the murky depths. The fleece barely covered her torso, she blushed, smiling, laughing, at herself,

‘I can’t do the zip!’

‘Here, let me help you.’

Her ginger-red hair was matted, stuck to her scalp. He could see pale freckled flesh where her hair had thinned. Her hair ran, like thick treacle down her neck, her chest, adhering to her skin, gluing to her firm round breasts. She looked beautiful, all dripping wet like that. He quickly zipped her up, taking good care to look over her head,

‘How does that feel?’

Her heart leapt in time with the rhythm of his voice.

‘It feels lovely and warm and dry, thank you.’

He smiled for her, a kindly, caring, considerate, warmly meant smile. The sun broke thru the trees, warming their spirits, dancing vainly upon the surface of the chocolaty mere. She watched his line of bubbles fade then disappear, as surely as her love for him began to fade. She padded around the pond, knelt, and gathered up her dirty clothes. When she looked up, the man was there, standing over her, beaming, holding out his Jack Pyke olive hunter’s trousers for her to wear. She received them from him, as if they were his alms,

‘You’re very kind,’ she grinned, appreciating his hairy, bandy legs, the olive welly socks, staring at the broken gun hanging, at an angle, over his strong arm, ‘What do you shoot?’

‘Oh, the gun, you mean?’

‘Yes, the gun. What do you kill?’

He sensed a protective, defensive bitterness in her voice mixed with sudden apprehension: her concern for their survival? Wondering where her animalistic love for them would end,

‘It’s not what you think,’ he explained, ‘I shoot targets, clays, at my local club. I’ve never shot an animal in my life. Look, you’re covered in mud, soaking wet, hungry, I imagine. My mate died last year of breast cancer…’

‘I’m so sorry.’

He could tell from the timbre of her voice, she meant it. The baggy hunting trousers swung from her hips like heavy drapes onstage. She hitched them up, clutching them to her waist.

‘I keep a cottage on the edge of the forest, not far from here. It’s only small, but there is a spare room, with a warm bed, hot bath, soup on the cooker, hoagie on the plate…’

‘I’m not sure I should.’

‘Promise, I won’t go near you. You’re free to leave whenever you want. I want to help?’

She’d nowhere to live. Nothing to eat. No bed to sleep in. She was covered in mud. What did she have to lose? She cast her last lingering glance over the lake where they mated.

She left her manatee of love, left him for a real man.

He lay under the surface, wracked with heartache, searing pain, yearning for his lost mate.

the epitome of luxury:

The man was as good as his word. He did keep a cottage on the edge of the forest - not far from there. It was only small, delightful, a doll’s house for grown-ups, rose beds and wild cherry trees, an overgrown thatched roof, grubby wattle-and-daub walls, leaden windows. A woman’s house, a home without a woman. A house without a woman isn’t a home at all. She wondered if, maybe, she could become his woman, his mate, wondered if she could commit herself to a new life, at home with him, cooking his meals, washing his clothes, ironing his laundry, sharing his bed,

‘This is beautiful,’ she said as he threw open the weathered oak door, inviting her inside.

His face broke into a happy, I-want-to-look-after-you, kind of grin, ‘Mind your head!’

She stooped to avoid bumping her head on the low lintel aware that by entering his abode she was crossing a kind of personal threshold, risking her life on a man she barely knew,

‘Give me your wet things,’ he said taking her muddy clothes from her, ‘I’ll put on a wash.’

 He let her into his living space, letting her go first. She smiled well, feeling herself relax,

‘This is beautiful and homely and warm and..’ the sight before her took her breath away.

The door opened into a living room with a stone floor scattered with old runners and rugs, whitewashed walls, a low uneven ceiling, an open hearth, a stairway winding out of sight. In one corner of the room stood a Welsh dresser stacked with willow pattern China plates, tureens, jugs, cups, saucers. There was a faded oak leaved table with solid oak chairs. The walls were coated from floor to ceiling with framed pictures, photos of the most beautiful woman she’d ever seen. She turned to face the man and saw that he was weeping. She held his hand. Neither of them spoke. She’d never forget his mate’s haunting blue eyes, her sad-spoilt look, the solitary misery written across the man’s face, for as long as she lived.

Shivering, dripping wet, still clutching his baggy trousers to her waist with one hand, she tightened her grip, reassuringly, with her free hand. He cheered up, loving his warm glow inside, the wonderful feeling of having someone to care for after all these years,

‘You’re shivering. There’s a hot bath, warm bed, fresh clothes waiting for you upstairs. Shall we go?’

His mate’s clothes, she reflected, following the man up the winding staircase as far as the bathroom. She watched him deposit her wet clothes in a wicker snake basket underneath the hand basin, run a steaming hot bath, laced with lavender scent bath foam and relaxing aromatherapy oils. There was a loofah, a lady’s bath hat, back scratcher, a bar of coal tar soap on a rope, her pink towels hanging off a heated rail. All for her! Sheer, unadulterated luxury, the likes of which she’d never known. He ran her bath for her, turned off the taps, turned to go,

‘Have a lovely bath,’ he smiled at her, affectionately, ‘The spare room’s over the landing. I’ll turn the bed down for you. Have a good sleep. Call me when you’re ready for supper.’

She let his trousers fall to the floor, unzipped then took off his fleece. He caught a glimpse of her, nude, on the bath mat. Her beauty was intolerable. She reminded him of his mate. With her mannerisms, her face, her lust for life. When she replied, he had to look away,

‘I will. Thank you for being so kind to me.’

‘Don’t mention it.’

He went to his bedroom and lay flat on his back on the bed thinking of his dead wife. She climbed into the steaming hot bath, sank up to her neck, shut her olive eyes, and dreamed of them, mating in the shallows.

the bliss of feeling oneself:

After she’d washed the mud out of her hair, rid herself of him, and scrubbed their dirt out of her pores, she stood up in the bath rinsing off her body under the shower. Bliss! There was a tideline, their filthy scum, stained around the bath when she climbed out. She found a green scourer, and pulled the plug, scrubbing the ceramics clean, as the water level fell. Once she’d scraped the bath spotless, opened the windows to release the steam, towel-dried her gingery-red hair, limbs, and torso, rolled on his mate’s deodorant, smoothed her face with her scent, dusted her flesh with her talc, and purged clean her teeth - using her toothbrush - she went to bed.

Her bedroom was twee: affectedly quaint, pretty, and sentimental; the walls were covered in bright portraits of the man’s dead mate: heartfelt mementos, cameos of a stolen love.

The Florence antique pinewood bed, pleasantly decorated with an olive floral quilt, duvet, and matching puffed-up pillows, looked comfy, rustic, enough for her to get a good day’s sleep. Ignoring the bedside table lamp, a guide to forest walks, and a brass alarm clock, she threw open the dusty curtains letting morning daylight pour in, pulled back the covers, and leaped into bed. Tired out, she fell asleep the moment her head hit the pillow.

He nudged her bare shoulder, shaking her gently when the sun was at its highest, coaxing her awake at noon. She blinked the sleepiest bits out of her eyes, acclimatizing herself to the harsh sunlight that washed the room with warmth,

‘Can you draw the curtains closed, please?’ she asked him, squinting.

He drew the curtains, switched on the beside lamp, stooping out of view, reappearing with a decorated beanbag crowned with a wooden tray. Sitting on the tray were: a big bowl of piping hot tomato soup, an oatmeal hoagie split lengthwise, toasted, dripping with melted butter, an open jar of crunchy peanut butter, an overripe pear, a glass of sparkling mineral water, and a ramekin of black cherry yogurt. She felt as if she was taking her breakfast at a five-star hotel, she’d never been so pampered by a man before. His smiling face said it all: he was loving every second of caring for her, nursing her better, loving her like his mate,

‘I made you some lunch.’

She sat up in bed so that he could rest the tray on her lap, ‘That’s very kind of you, thank you. I’m starving.’

‘You must be,’ he smiled, placing the tray-bag on her lap, ‘When you’ve finished, leave the tray on the floor. I’ll collect it when you’ve had a good sleep. You must be exhausted, after all that.’

He left the worst line unfinished. No point flogging a dead horse. After all, she wouldn’t be seeing him again.

She took a spoonful of soup from nearest the rim of the bowl where it was coolest, didn’t want to burn her mouth. She ate the soup savouring every mouthful, tearing off big chunks of hoagie to chew between slurps. He turned to leave the room. She swallowed, too soon, burning her throat, searing the roof of her mouth, in her run haste to blurt out the question,

‘Hello?’

He stood in the doorway, admiring her. She looked beautiful, sat up in bed like that, eating her soup and bread, ‘Yes?’

‘This was your mate’s room, wasn’t it, before she died?’

The man stared at his socked feet, nodding sadly, ‘Yes, she used to love the morning sun.’

the verge of extinction:

In so far as he could tell there was only one of them left, and one was enough. A vanishing breed. Last of the species. A male on the verge of extinction. A male, and him, her other male. Just the two of them, sharing secrets, at twilight.

The sun sank, reddening the treetops. A milky luminescence spread on the lake’s surface, a brilliant white, blurring into yellowish orange then gold: the thin fog that heralded them.

The abyss, he supposed, wasn’t so bad - now that she was there to share it with him,

‘I can’t live without her,’ he told himself, as the sun set, ‘How would I cope when summer ends, and the autumn chill sets in? How would I survive winter, the frost, snow, the ice?’

‘I’ll stay warm with her. I love her, dearly. Why should I ever want to live without her?’

He waited by the far bank, camouflaged in olive green, indiscernible from the treeline,

‘Where are you?’

A raft of bubbles appeared in front of him.

Her manatee of love lay just below the surface, eying the man using the periphery of his vision, not knowing who he was, what he was. Assessing him on instinct. Assuming he was female.

He came alive at sunset. He surfaced. Swimming up, down, around the liquid chocolate lake. The aquatic led a simple life. He felt emotion, yearnings, for his dead mate, her foal. Heartache over his new love. He felt lonesome, never lonely, plundering his way through his solitary existence until it was time for him to die.

He’d breathed, swam, fed, slept, excreted, until she came into his life: to be with him at sundown for as many sunsets and moonrises as he could wish for. He heard her wild swim call!

The moon rose high in the night sky, casting eerie shadows over the dingy lake’s surface. He rose to the surface. The lake became a churning, bubbling, cauldron of swells, whirls, wash waves.

The man cried out to him, chanting her magic spell,

‘Up! Up!’

And he was there for her floating on his back, showing off as usual, wanting her to swim! He grinned at her, lurking below the surface, his otter’s snout, seal’s whiskers, his catfish rubbery lips, twitching with delight. She made him content, happy, a happy contentment he hadn’t felt since his mate gave birth to their foal.

He rolled in front of her, belly-up, exposing his muscular chest, his smooth pelt.

Her pet is all it was. Her tame pet. And she’d let it go.

It was just an animal, after all, granted a living miracle, a relic from some far-off distant past, an alien?

‘Please tell me it isn’t an alien.’

Wasn’t.

Furious with them, he reached for his sniper’s rifle.

The man had never killed an animal in his life.

She was woken by the sound of gunfire, a volley of shots, fired in quick succession.

The shooting stopped.

She felt him die inside her. She felt nauseous, sick, a sickness that she’d never felt before.

She felt them stir inside her.

And, all the while, the foals grew in her belly.


Submitted: January 06, 2023

© Copyright 2023 harriet-jacqui x. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

DampKitten

You've done some work on this since I've last read it, the ending in particular. It's absolutely brilliant. There's so much emotion here, tenderness, and longing. There are so many factions and angles. This is far beyond sex into the depths of the psyche, and any seasoned reader would be impressed with this masterpiece - so unique and foreboding, such a twist through the depths of our muddiest apprehensions, our darkest desires, our needs and confessions. Your language, your imagery, and your development are fantastic. You have combed the pelt of this piece to a luxurious sheen. Breathtaking...

Sat, January 7th, 2023 5:51pm

Author
Reply

I don't think I'll ever forget those wonderful words of yours, kitten - "combed the pelt to a luxurious sheen!" thank you and Happy New Year!

Sun, January 15th, 2023 4:44pm

sweet lemon

Apart from being a silk classic you have unwittingly bought to the readers attention the proven new science that the human male spermcount worldwide is only about half what it was fifty years ago.

Your creature in the pond.The last of its kind is prophetic

Sun, January 8th, 2023 12:07am

Author
Reply

Thank you so much sweet lemon - yes, he's all you men, in a few years time - extinct due to sperm eradication! x

Sun, January 15th, 2023 4:52pm

Other Content by harriet-jacqui x

Short Story / Adult Romance

Poem / Humiliation Sex