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The Hours #17

October 26, 2016 Leave a comment

When I woke, the sun on my face was nothing compared to the warmth of Samantha’s back pressed against my chest. I thought of the night before and found myself envious of Carl. He had known this woman, and all of her charms, and for a moment I was glad he was gone. I had indeed loved Mary, but it was without knowledge of the woman that Samantha was. Now that I knew, I vowed to make her the husband she deserved.

“Good Morning.”

I grinned and waited while she turned to face me. She smiled, and the whiteness of her teeth against her dark skin was dazzling. I smiled back as I pushed my head forward to place a gentle kiss on her lips.

“I was worried you might regret last night.”

“I regret nothing.”

She let out a tiny giggle. “Neither do I.”

“I cannot wait to get you home,” I said.

“Why?”

I lifted myself up on my elbow and looked at her with one raised eyebrow. “So I can make you my wife.”

“Why would you do that?” Samantha lowered her eyes. I was stunned for a moment and she took my silence as an opportunity. “With your title such a marriage would not be tolerated.”

“I do not care.”

She looked up at me with hope, and I kissed her again. This time, I had no intention of breaking this kiss. I ran my hand down her side, gripping her bottom and rolling her to her back as I moved my body above her.

Then I heard a growl.

We looked up to see one of the hairless rat bear things on the other side of the creek from us. It’s front feet were in the water, but it wasn’t looking at us.

I followed its gaze and gasped. Something, and I could not even relate it to a living animal that I had ever seen well enough to describe it with metaphor,  was walking towards us. It had what appeared to be more than one head and one of them focused on the rat while the others swept back and forth.

The rat hissed and there was a splash. I tore my eyes away from the nightmare and saw that there were actually half a dozen of the monster rat creatures. Had this thing not come upon us, Samantha and I would have been torn apart.

Samantha gasped and I turned back to see something that could have been a cross between a scorpion’s tail and an elephant’s trunk lifted up from the nightmare’s back and the rats shrieked. The appendage twitched and there was a flash as something flew out.

A rat died, squealing, as a four foot long quill pinned it to the ground in the same way that a scientist pins a moth to a cork board.

I don’t know if it wasn’t interested in us or if it just didn’t see us, but whatever the beast was, it stalked past us as it continued to shoot the pack of rats with those enormous quills. Once we were out of the thing’s line of site, Samantha and I scurried to grab our cloths and escape as quietly as possible.

 

Categories: serial

The Hours #16

October 19, 2016 Leave a comment

As the day progressed, the stream was joined by two others and might have been better called a river when we came to what I judged to be a good place to camp. The water ran wide and shallow between two high cliffs. There was a small overhang that left an indentation tall enough for me to stand in. We were close to the edge of the cliff and I believed we could run out if anything came at us in the night.

I found a few small fish in a slight pool and was able to net them with my shirt. We roasted them and ate before full dark had come upon us.

“You seem to have missed your calling as a fisherman,” Samantha said. “Those were very good.”

“Thank you,” I said. “I believe the secret to the recipe is the soiled shirt.”

She smiled widely, and I grinned. Staring at her until her smile faded.

“Why do you look at me like that?”

“I was thinking of everything you have told me about your relationship with Carl.”

She stiffened. “Oh?”

I lifted my palm to her. “You have been a good companion. Without you, I would not still be alive. I think Carl misjudged you when he said that the marriage was not favorable.”

Samantha’s mouth fell open.

“He and I spoke about you and I must admit that I judged you poorly. I gave to much import to the conditions of your birth and status. Carl did as well. You would make any man an excellent wife.”

Samantha sat there in silence for a long time. “Those are kind words,” she said. “But after my tale, we both know that no gentleman will ever be willing to have me.”

“You ladies put far too much weight into the value of your virtue to a nobleman.” I shook my head. “There are many ladies who do things before their wedding night. There are many who have known more men than their husbands, both before and after. You will not have issue and I will carry your secret to my grave.”

She chuckled before leaning over and placing a small kiss on my cheek. The impression of her lips burned on my skin while Samantha rested her head upon my shoulder. “You are very kind.”

“My father would have skinned me for being anything other.”

The night wore on in silence for a while and I felt the visit of Morpheus approaching. I wondered about keeping watch, and was about to ask when Samantha spoke. “You saved my life today.”

“As you would have mine.”

“Thank you.”

I meant to tell her that she was welcome, but Samantha leaned up and interrupted me with a kiss. Not on the cheek, but a full kiss, slow and soft.

When our lips parted, I swallowed and regretted being able to hear it.

Samantha moved, taking a seat on my lap and wrapping her arms around my neck. “You are a fine man,” she said. “You have been kind and brave without asking a thing of me. That is more than any other man I have known.” She rested her palms on my chest, her dark skin standing out in stark contrast to my inner shirt’s almost white fabric. “I do not attempt to replace your Mary, but if you want me, I would be yours.”

I answered her with a kiss and forgot all about taking turns keeping watch.

 

Categories: serial

The Hours #15

October 5, 2016 Leave a comment

Though I do not know what providence guided us through the cursed woods, some higher power delivered Samantha and I to a smalls stream. Unlike the river, whose muddy depths had concealed the nameless terror that stole away my best friend, the stream was clear. Upon seeing the water, Samantha rushed forward and fell to the ground. She plunged her face in, slurping water to quench her thirst until she was forced to rise and gasp for air. The poor woman repeated the process several times before pausing to look around.

My own throat burned with thirst. I wanted nothing more than to fall beside her, or perhaps simply leap into the stream and roll in the water, but instead I stood over her, club in hand, waiting and watching.

When she felt satisfied enough to look up at me, Samantha’s eyes widened in realization. “Oh,” she said. “Thank you. I did not consider watching. I was just …” As she trailed off, her eye fell with a look of shame.

“Don’t worry about it,” I said. “I would have insisted you go first anyway.”

She nodded as she rose and picked up her own club.

The water was such a blessed and soothing relief that I almost laughed after the first mouthful. While I didn’t lie on the ground that way Samantha had, I did plunge my face in so that I could drink it in as fast as possible.

A few minutes later we traded again. Whether it was because she did not feel as pressing of a need or because of the shame she had felt for making me stand guard over her, Samantha didn’t lie down to get her drink. This time, she drank from a single cupped hand, never releasing her club from the other.

This probably saved her life.

Another of the hairless rats, though smaller than its brethren, charged at us from across the stream. It darted out from beneath the brush and leapt at Samantha. Her hand was lifted ot her mouth when it came, and she let out a muffled squeak as she lifted her club.

The vermin was airborne as it crossed over the water. Fortune was the girl because its mouth wrapped around her staff, pushing the limb towards her body and knocking her backwards with its weight.

Samantha caught the free end of the stick with her raised hand and pushed back, which lifted the over-large rat away from her a bit. The thing’s claws raked the front of her, shredding her camisole and gouging at her corset. She growled at it, her face showing the strain of pushing the monster away.

Her strength was insufficient to  throw the creature off of her, but it was enough to lift its head up level to my waist. I stepped into the swing and caught the loathsome beast in the ear with my swing.

The force of the strike made my hands tingle and itch. The overlarge rat rolled off of Samantha, though it never released her club. It twitched and jerked for a moment, then rolled further away from the girl. I seemed to have  knocked it senseless, for it was having trouble finding its feet.

My next swing, straight down. drove the creature’s nose into the ground and shot blood out of its ears. It twitched and released its fluids, but did not rise.

I helped Samantha to her feet and looked her over. Her corset had survived, though it was now all that really covered her upper body. She was lucky that she wasn’t bleeding, though there were angry whelps crossing her bosom. I placed a finger tip just beneath the top most scratch, sliding it across down as I examined her injury. I had not considered the impropriety of it until she took my hand in hers and pulled it away.

“I think we need to leave,” she said. Her chest was heaving and her breath came in frightened gasps after the exertion of the fight. “Which way?”

“Let’s try following the stream,” I said. “Perhaps …”

My thought was interrupted by another one of the rats. It scampered out and rushed to its fallen comrade. We watched as it set to the feast that I had provided it with looks of disgust on our faces before making our silent exit.

Categories: serial