Sunday, September 11, 2016

"The Seven Seductions" (Chapter 17) by TAS

The Seven Seductions

Chapter 17

(read chapter 16 here)

The ride back to school seemed to take forever. The two young women sat sullenly on either end of the back seat, separated by a gulf of seething bitterness. Tacit, hostile, eyes glued to their respective windows, the girls managed mostly to ignore Mrs. Connell’s chirruppy inquiries, feigning enthusiasm only insofar as it was necessary to maintain the façade of normality.
Gretchen rationalized the whole affair in light of the future others had mapped out for her. If Pig was the only man she had ever been with, or ever would be with, then, surely, she could continue along the expected path, chalking her indiscretions up to worldly experience—which might actually come in handy as a nun. Freed from the allure of curiosity, she might attend to her duties with a more realistic sense of perspective—relate more authentically to the laity—and, in the end, become a better, wiser teacher. One weekend’s fleshly adventure was hardly an insurmountable obstacle to her vocation—no serious impediment to a life of faith sincerely lived…
Except for that pesky requirement about honestly and thoroughly confessing one’s sins on a regular basis.
There was no way she’d go to the chaplain at school with this.
Gretchen still remembered how Papa always seemed to know exactly what she’d told Father Peitschender, supposedly under a seal of sacred confidence, and after years of stoking the old priest’s arrested-adolescent fantasies, her dread of the sacrament had metastasized into something approaching full-blown phobia. Besides, it was pointless: without contrition no priest would ever grant absolution, and Gretchen wasn’t sorry. What would she say, kneeling there in the dark? Bless me Father, for I have sinned: I willingly gave my virginity to a heathen man. I let him feel my breasts and strip me naked. I let him take me from behind on the bathroom floor. Then I laid down on a bed with him. I let him take his thing and stir it around inside me until he filled me up. And I liked it. I loved it. I enjoyed it so much that I let him have me again that same night, not just once or twice, but a whole bunch of times. And even then, it wasn’t enough. I’m still not satisfied. If I had the chance I’d do it all again in a heartbeat and never feel bad about any of it, because it felt really good, and nobody ever told me that it would be like that. And why is it OK for people to lie to me about these things, but wrong for me to tell the truth about what I honestly feel?
Oh, and one more thing, Father Mark: I’ve been touching myself this whole time while I thought about you stirring your thing around inside me. So, what’s my penance?
In the end, Gretchen had to settle for feeling guilty about not feeling guilty—being Catholic means having to feel guilty about something after all. But not about what she’d done with Pig. Intellectually, she understood that she’d broken the rules, but it was hard to summon any feelings of shame or remorse. Her actual confessions were trite, disingenuous, vapid exercises in omission, an 8-year-old’s rote recitation of trivial misdemeanors, innocuous peccadilloes and petty no-nos: “Bless me, Father: I thought about stealing a cookie from the kitchen because I was so hungry ... Bless me father: I envied one of the other girls who gets a nice allowance from her parents ... Bless me father: I was overly concerned with my physical appearance ... Please, absolve me father: I took a pencil from a classmate without permission and forgot to return it...”
Father Mark only made it worse by being so kind and patient and understanding and so unbearably beautiful. Gretchen caught herself daydreaming about the young monk and all the very un-monk-ish things she wanted him to do to her far beyond the prying eyes of the community. Could he really be like that? Was it possible that he might harbor feelings for her as well? Could any feeling of his be half so powerful as the lust she tried so hard to dampen and deny?
Yet no one questioned the sincerity of her vocation, or ever took her at less than her word—and this, in some strange way, made Gretchen feel even worse. She was preparing to take the next step on her journey, from oblate to postulant, at the beginning of her fourth year. She would enter the novitiate after graduation and take her final vows another three years after that. She would become a full member of the Cerulean sisterhood, go on to receive a Bachelor’s degree with a major in English, and, possibly,  a Master’s in whatever field the order deemed most needful to its mission. In the end, she would return to live the rest of her long, boring, predictable life at Holy Innocents or one of its daughter houses, humbly doing the Lord’s work as a teacher, unassuming in all things, happy in the life she had chosen.
But when is real life ever so simple? Gretchen understood that a day of reckoning must inevitably come. The truth would burst out like puss from an inflamed carbuncle, and everyone would know what she had done. She could be forgiven for the act itself: sins of the flesh are easy to commit and, therefore, easy to forgive. The disgrace would be bearable—some might even secretly envy her experience. But lying? Holding back the truth? Betraying the trust of her sisters? Willfully defying the authority of her superiors? Pretending to live in a state of grace? Those were far more serious offenses with far more unpleasant consequences, and punishments much more difficult to bear. 
Sitting in class some weeks after the Easter recess, Gretchen tried to concentrate as Sister Mary Felicity prattled on about free will. Mary Felicity, who  had taken her Final Vows only a year or so before, was still unsullied by cynicism. Her youthful voice was clear and sweet, her faith unquestioning and sincere. She had beautiful violet eyes, large and round like a girl in a Japanese cartoon, and Gretchen wondered if they had ever been turned up to the face of a lover, shimmering coyly as she bowed her head in submission. She imagined Felicity taking Maddy’s place in bed with Leif, the image uninvited yet wholly irresistible, and suddenly Gretchen’s sex was painfully engorged, her womanly places slick with excitement, her panties disconcertingly damp.
Gretchen became wet so easily nowadays. There was no way to turn off the spigot,  unless she could somehow clear her mind of anything that reminded her or sex. And everything reminded her of sex. Gretchen spent her days and nights in a constant, unbreaking fever of arousal like some errant soul in a perpetual condition of sin—so aptly Catholic a metaphor! What’s wrong with me? she wondered. I shouldn’t be enjoying this...
Except, she was.
Gretchen raised her hand and asked to be excused, knowing Mary Felicity would not require a humiliating explanation in front of the class. Once safely in the bathroom, the fear gripped her. How long could she go on living this lie? Sooner or later she would be found out. God would call out to her in the cool of the morning and she would be ashamed because she was naked. In the meantime, lust and dread were driving her to the brink of sanity. Oh! How she longed to run away! To flee somewhere beyond the expectations of her family and the order. Beyond the shadows of choices that were not really choices at all. Beyond this life that was hers and yet not hers in any truly meaningful sense.
What had Sister Mary Felicity just been saying about free will? “God loves us and wants us to love him in return, but our love must be freely given or it means nothing. We have all of us been given a choice to accept or reject God’s gift of love according to our own free will.”
But where was her free will, Gretchen wondered. Silently, secretly, she prayed for something to happen, an intervention from above that would force a change.
In the next stall, Maddy Connell was too busy throwing up to offer her usual snide remark. Sister Mary Valiant in the infirmary might suspect a touch of early-summer flu, but Gretchen knew morning sickness when she heard it, and it wouldn’t be long before the sisters figured it out, too. When that happened—when Maddy’s shame was revealed—there would be hell to pay. And worse, all kinds of questions about Gretchen and her part in Maddy’s corruption; all the things she may have done—or failed to do—that weekend on the island.
Gretchen saw it all quite clearly. Maddy would have to bluff her way through, hoping she wouldn’t start showing till after the start of summer vacation. If she was lucky and Sister Mary Valiant took her at her word, maybe she’d be sent home to convalesce with a case of the mono. But if the truth did come out?  Gretchen sighed. It didn’t take a great deal of thought to understand that she and this spoiled city girl were adrift in the same leaky boat, the fate of one tethered to the other, just as Tommy had predicted.
And suddenly, the young oblate knew that her prayer had been answered. Not as she might have expected, but plainly enough, and who was she to question the mysterious workings of the divine? Nor was the irony lost on Gretchen. She could easily be the one throwing up now, Pig’s baby growing inside her just as surely as Lief’s was growing inside Maddy. Perhaps this was God’s way of giving her a second chance, of revealing his true plan. Her calling. Her vocation...
Or maybe  it was just another cruel joke at her expense.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

What I Read This Summer--And Why

We’ve been having a discussion over at the Erotic Literary Salon group on Facebook based on a question I posed recently: What ultimately convinces you to read a book? I’ve noticed that there’s a kind of natural resistance in many people—even people who read obsessively—to picking up a book on somebody else’s suggestion, recommendation or assignment. People have this cat-like quirk when approaching a new book: reading it must be their idea or it’s not going to happen. You can even put a free book directly into someone’s hands, and, like a cat presented with a shiny new toy, they will almost always turn their noses up at it, at least until they think you’re not looking.

The initial question has, thus far, elicited some interesting and fairly diverse responses. There are some readers who prefer to stay in their own literary comfort zones and seldom venture beyond a preferred subgenre. Some are excited at the prospect of a new book from a respected author, while a few are content to re-read their old favorites—there is an undeniable element of sentimentality where many readers are concerned. Others have more wide-ranging and adventuresome tastes, developed over lifetimes of challenging views and discussions with friends and colleagues. Some are influenced by customer reviews; others are mostly indifferent to the opinions of their fellow readers. The decision to read a new book can be based on a desire to “see what all the fuss is about” or it can be a gesture of defiance, a quasi-political act of intentionally “going against the grain”. Many readers do stress that quality of writing is paramount. As such, these folks often desire to dip a toe into the water before they commit, preferring to see a sample or an extended snippet from the book before they take the plunge.  

As for myself, I am an inveterate literary thrill-seeker. I am drawn to the new, the unfamiliar, and the out-of-the-ordinary. There may be no new stories under the sun, but there are near-infinite ways of rearranging the basic elements of story in new and exciting ways, and what I look for is that restless creative spirit, like my own, that will not be content with the same-old same-old. I read for inspiration, creative renewal, and cerebral re-creation—and I aspire to write original books that will do the same for others. I will read—and have read—almost anything, but what I look for, first and always, is excellence in writing, style, fluency, clarity, depth and complexity of characters and plot, originality and intelligence in the approach to storytelling. I recognize no sin other than the sin of bad writing.

Reading is essential to a writer’s creative growth and maturity. For a writer, the need to read the work of others is akin to the essential human need to imbibe water: it is not a question of providing fuel to the body, but of keeping that body properly lubricated. So, reading keeps the writer’s mind sharp and running smoothly, allowing ideas to flow more freely. (And, by the way, the notion that reading will somehow interfere with one’s own creativity is a myth embraced by amateurs and perpetuated by idiots.) As such, a writer should seek out the best available models. Over the summer, I tried to do just that, and the factors that ultimately convinced me to open those books can all be referenced in the list above. I picked up the short story collections Quiver by Tobsha Learner and Macho Sluts by Pat Califa based on glowing recommendations from respected colleagues. Jonathan Kemp’s 2015 novel Ghosting was a no-brainer for me after reading his amazing short story collection Twentysix (I will shortly be reading and reviewing Kemp’s London Triptych as well). I was drawn to a trio of anthologies based on the editors’ reputation for seeking out quality, originality and superior craftspersonship in short fiction: Laura Antoniou’s Best Lesbian Erotica 2015, Rose Caraway’s Tonight She Yours (Cuckold Fantasies), and Susie Bright’s Three the Hard Way. While I won’t be going into great detail about any of these titles, all of them are heartily recommended here and now.

First published in 1998, Tobsha Learner’s Quiver has gone on in the nearly twenty years since to assume the cachet of a modern erotic classic. This collection of a dozen exquisitely crafted short stories almost perfectly embodies my sense that before one can tell an exceptional story about sex, one must tell an extraordinary story about people. It’s the characters who truly make these stories memorable, from the frustrated artist in Man of Sighs and the disaffected porn star in Peel, to the very-publicly cuckolded symphony conductor with insomnia in Doubt—to mention only a handful. The writing is luminous, multi-textured, and occasionally disturbing, but almost always inspired and undoubtedly inspiring.

While not a work of erotica per se, Jonathan Kemp’s most recent novel, Ghosting, is an understated but highly assured piece of writing, a beautifully observed masterpiece of intimate gestures—what one might be tempted at first to call domestic magical realism, though ultimately the story and the characters who populate it are as down to earth as you or I. On a London street one morning, 64-year-old Grace believes she sees the ghost of her first husband, a man who abused her without mercy, and her emotional life is plunged into turmoil as she reexamines the painful past. A gorgeous, unassuming little novel of everyday life that rises well above the mundane, bright flashes of imagination shine through on every page, but it is Kemp’s deep sense of empathy that makes Ghosting a truly exceptional book.

One is immediately impressed by the sheer diversity of voice and style in the Laura Antoniou-edited Best Lesbian Erotica 2015. I was particularly impressed by those authors who drew on mythic themes for inspiration: Arachne by Catherine Lundoff, set in ancient Greece, and the depiction of a proud civilization in ancient Africa, Kiss of the Rain Queen by Fiona Zedde, both stories in which vivid, colorful settings enhance powerfully drawn characters. And, speaking of truly great characters, one cannot help but be intrigued and ultimately drawn into the orbits of intelligent, strong-voiced, and occasionally funny women, as in Behrouz Gets Lucky by Avery Cassell, Learning to Cook by Nan Andrews, The Bullwhip and the Bull Rider by Sacchi Green, Second Date by Miel Rose, Naming It by Jean Roberta, and My Visit to Sue Anne by Anna Watson. At about 6,000 words apiece, Antoniou has given her writers plenty of room to develop their characters and get those characters well and truly laid, often in something close to microscopic detail. (Some of the stories do get a bit sing-songy in places.) Small quibbles aside; this is nothing short of a great anthology,

The 13 short stories in Tonight, She’s Yours delve into what many of us of a certain age used to refer to as swinging, now sometimes simply calling it the cuckold or cuck fantasy. (Personally I despise the word “cuck” not only because of its unsavory associations with the political Alt Right in the US, but because it’s an ugly sounding word for what is supposed to be a consensual and fun activity, as it is portrayed here.) Some of these fantasies are quite steamy, indeed: Kate Ellink’s Michael’s Moment is particularly memorable for its priapic effect, as are Winfall by Tamsin Flowers, The Third Man by Emily Bingham, and The Tea Shop by Abigail Saint Clair. A few of the stories feel a bit too ‘safe’ to be truly transgressive or effectively arousing, but when the writing is good—when the authors’ imaginations soar— it is truly superb.

I’m still working my way through old paperback editions of the Califa and Bright collections. It’s very easy to see what a revelation Macho Sluts was to a generation of writers back in 1989. So many of the things that we take for granted in erotica now had never been said out loud before; the writing is fluent and engaging, but also relentless, unabashed, fearless, angry, in-your-face—the kind of writing that foments revolution and sends shockwaves through the literary space-time continuum. If this book appears on many writers’ lists of influences, there can be little doubt as to why.  

A tad more toned down, the trio of novellas in Three the Hard Way are well-crafted and eminently entertaining. Greg Boyd’s The Widow is a fascinating two-tiered narrative, while the always-entertaining Tsaurah Litzky’s The Motion of the Ocean is a delightful if somewhat disjointed romp through the sexual revolution as experienced by one woman between the 1960s and the early 2000s. I haven’t yet gotten to William Harrison’s Shadow of a Man, but am certainly looking forward to it.

So, now you know what I read this summer, and, perhaps, you have some insight into why as well.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

"The Seven Seductions" (Chapter 16) by TAS

The Seven Seductions
Chapter 16

(read Chapter 15 here)

“Huh? What?”
Mary Chastity was startled by the cry of an owl somewhere in the trees nearby. She had paused to rest only a moment earlier—just long enough to catch my breath—halfway along the path, where the bright stars that formed the great Northern Cross blazed out gaudily against the hazy backdrop of the Milky Way. She was still gazing up into the summer-night sky, open-mouthed in wonder, her back against a sturdy ash, its ancient trunk a curvaceous effigy of maternal abundance. 
Yet now, she blinked in confusion, not altogether sure of how much time might have eluded her. The campfire story was still fresh enough in memory to play upon her imagination, and she suddenly regretted having left Magic back on the trail. Little acid drops of dread began to bubble through her bloodstream, a primal intimation of terror. Something was lurking there in the gloom—she was sure of it—hooded somehow, camouflaged by the night, watching her with the cold patience of a snake, eyes preternaturally attuned to the shadows.
“Magic?” Her voice trembled, barely above a whisper. “Is that you?”
No reply.
“Who’s there?”
“Or is it you?” She dared not say the name aloud.  “Have you been ... waiting for me ... all this time?”
Still nothing.
“What do you want?
A twig snapped in the undergrowth. Something was rustling in the bushes nearby. Mary Chastity could not move. Could not run. Could not cry out. A paralyzing chill crept down along her sides, a numbing effervescence spreading into her extremities. Her teeth chattered though the air was warm around her. 
I would savor the sweet essence of your terror as gladly as the p’roffered nectar of your love.
“Nuh ... nuh ...” Her throat was parched, her tongue leaden and thick, such words as they managed to form no more than a coarse glottal creak, a muted rumble of inarticulate despair.
      The entity came on in spite of her pleas, like mist, moving silently through the tangled vegetation beyond the path. A ghostly, tentacled thing, it reached out for her, probing blindly, and Mary Chastity held her breath against the noxious emanation, careful not to draw the evil into herself. 
Vaporous tendrils—but two of dozens—coiled around her legs, though dread already bound her to the spot. Still others poured over her body as if coordinated by some primitive intelligence, its singular imperative to seek out her weakness. The stuff crawled up through untucked pantlegs and sqeezed beneath the neckline of her t-shirt, into the confines of her compression bra, oozing lecherously around her breasts. There was something unnervingly systematic in the manner of this unhurried exploration, the way the half-solid entity elicited her body’s response as it whisked the soft, sensitive flesh about her nipples. tweaking and pinching until they began to swell and pebble...
I shall never cease to pursue you—not till this world has been consumed and all that binds me to it is but dust ...
Misty filaments, like grotesquely articulated fingers, snaked their way into her panties as something—the crude simulacrum of a warm, lolling tongue—insinuated itself between her burning nether lips.
 “Pluhz ... pluhz ...” Please ...what do you want?
      As if in response to her unspoken question, the fog gathered itself into the image of a face, a ghoulish caricature of aged androgyny, deep-lined like something carved from the bark of a tree—perhaps the same ash against which Mary Chastity had now begun to cower—dead gray eyes ogling her with lustful malevolence, cracked lips twisted into a bow of sardonic amusement.
In the name of— she tried to cross herself, only to recall the languor of her limbs. –all that’s holy...
      The spectral face began to change, mouth blurring and collapsing around the edges, widening out into a monstrous, gaping maw.
      Help me!        
      It was no longer merely a mouth—Mary Chastity understood with a searing visceral certainty—but a door, a portal, the threshold of Limbo itself, that dark, empty Nowhere, eternally silent as the grave, in which those souls, neither blessed nor damned, are trapped in their own maddening indecision.  And had she yet to make a choice in her heart? The monster had begun to inhale, and she could feel herself being drawn in...
      “You OK?”
      Magic stepped towards her through the dissipating mist.     
      “Oh ... God!” She threw herself into his arms, clinging tightly, her body racked with silent sobs. “I ... I ...”
      “Shhh, it’s alright.”
      “I’ve been so ... so ...” She looked up into his eyes. “Oh, Magic—
      The kiss seemed to come out of nowhere, the very suddenness of the gesture so utterly unexpected that she was powerless to protest. Magic’s lips were soft against hers, quietly questioning. She answered him awkwardly, shyly, overawed by his boldness, yet somehow reassured, safe in the protective aura of his calm.
      “Mmm ...” She closed her eyes, attention centered on the cadence of Magic’s breath, in and out, quiet, deep, steady, drawn through his nose so as not to interrupt the blissful connection of their lips. He brushed the side of her face with long, sensitive fingers the way a blind man might probe the details of some exquisite sculpture in a museum, ‘seeing’ her—letting her see herself—in a new, profoundly intimate way. Yet, there was something so unassuming, so benign, so ... pure about his touch, as if an angel, unwittingly descended from heaven, had found her, taking liberties to satisfy its own childlike curiosity.
      It was her first kiss.
      Her eyes popped open at the realization. Could it be true? She tried to search her memories. Yet there it was. She had never kissed—or ever been kissed by—a man before. Not like this. This beautiful boy was holding her in thrall with his lips alone, all of her, body and soul, in a state of suspended animation. Time stood still even as the world beyond them kept its inexorably appointed pace.
His ardor was increasing, his kisses suddenly more insistent as he wedged a gentle pair of fingers—nails-up—beneath her chin and tilted her face back so that their mouths might meet more directly. Magic suckled her upper lip, drawing it against his teeth as he began to explore with the tip of his tongue, silently suggesting ... what? Mary Chastity was yet too shy, too unsure, to answer him in kind, bewildered by this strange new language in which she was still far from fluent.
His hands slipped over the unseparated swell of her bosom, lingering there deliberately as if to pose a question ... well? And suddenly, she could feel that he was hard—very hard—down below.
“Uhhh—” she broke contact long enough to pant out the sound “—what are we ...”
“Mm?” He continued to plant soft kisses on her cheeks.
“... what are we doing?”
“Does it make you uncomfortable?”
“Yes, but—” everything makes me uncomfortable.
“Because, I can stop if you want me to.”
“I don’t want you to stop—” she leaned into him more closely “—it’s just that ...”
      “How did you—why did you—come back?” Mary Chastity asked. “How did you know—”
      “Heard something.” He brought his lips to hers again. “Thought I should check it out.”
      “Check it out?”
      “No bogeyman here.” He smiled at her in that waggish way of his.
      “Is that all? Was that the only reason?”
      He leaned in to kiss the side of her jaw.
      “What do you think, Chaz?”
      “I ...” she paused to consider the question. “I’ve never actually ... I mean, I’ve never—”            
      “It’s OK,” he said, nuzzling her neck. “I know.”
      “Oh ... God! That feels so...” Her voice trailed off.
      “Want me to stop?”
      “No,” the young woman whimpered as if in agony, “no and ... yes.” She pushed him away. “I need you to stop.”
“Sorry,” he said.
“No, please, Magic. It’s ... it’s—”
“Do you want me to walk you back up to the house?” There was no reproval in his tone.
“Please. Would you?”
“Just one thing?”
“Tomorrow. I’d like you to come see my work.”
      “That would be OK, right? You wouldn’t be breaking any rules or anything?”
      “No, I want to. I’ve ... been curious.”
      “So have I,” he said. “You remember where I’m at?”
      “Uh huh.” She nodded.
      “Cool.” Magic ushered her up the steps to the front door. “Oh, by the way, you forgot this—” he handed her the baseball cap she’d been wearing “—must’ve dropped it back by the big tree. Didn’t think you’d want to lose it.”
      “Oh ... thanks.” Her mind was still half-muddled.
“Tomorrow then. See ya.”
      “Bye.” Mary Chastity watched the young man hiking briskly down the curving path, into the trees and out of sight. She sighed wearily as she fumbled for the keys in her jeans pocket, only to drop them on the deck. “Oh ... fudge!” Down on her knees, she groped about in the darkness, extending her hands in broad random circles—an attempt to be thorough in spite of her beer-soaked anxieties—frantic not to miss a spot. She discovered them at last, a half-foot in front of her, far within the orbit she had outlined. Stupid! She lifted them to the lock with the greatest of care, over-compensating for the drunken roll and pitch of the deck. She stumbled through the door—the floor inside was no less fluid—up the wobbling flight of open stairs, to collapse at last, face-dowm and fully clothed upon the bed.

Far away, somewhere in the unpenetrated gloom of the forest, a flock of birds boiled up from the branches, abandoning their nests in a flury of startled wings, screeching in terror as they made their way out across the lake and beyond. In the death-like stillness that followed, no creature stirred or even dared to breathe. And then it came again; a deep-throated chortle echoing in amongst the trees. The disembodied laughter of a demon. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

"The Seven Seductions" (Chapter 15) by TAS

The Seven Seductions
Chapter 15 

(read Chapter 14 here)

God help me! I loved it!
Gretchen was still in a daze after that weekend’s whirlwind of new experience. It hardly seemed real to her. There were simply too many recent memories to make sense of, all jumbled up together, recalled in no discernable semblance of order, frenetically fast-forwarding and rewinding at random. Yet, the details that remained constant, fixed images standing out against the blurry, racing background of broader time, were impossible to dismiss. Those captured moments—no more than the impressions of fleeting milliseconds—were so immediate and vivid, and—yes!—so very real, that it was impossible to doubt their having truly happened.
She knew that she was a changed woman, though still not wholly sure of what that meant. Gretchen had never thought—or ever dared suspect—that such pleasure was possible, or that the seeds of bliss had been there all along, dormant deep within herself, only waiting to be awakened. She had never simply lived in the moment, too cognizant of consequence to let herself go. There was always a moral to be expounded, a reminder of the heavy price one must pay for pleasure, and that had always been enough to hold her back. 
Yet, in the end, it had all been so remarkably simple, so glaringly self-evident—like eating to assuage hunger.  How could she not have known?  Her deeper senses were waking from their long slumber, and, like Brünhilde responding to Siegfried’s kiss, Gretchen was terrified to discover that she, too, was mortal, suddenly, excruciatingly conscious of her body’s potential.
She had never been so alive.
And what could she do about it? How could she recapture those sensations—pure desire taking her over, possessing her, driving her until only one thought remained in her mind, a singular, uncontradictory imperative? I want to feel that way all the time ... and if not all the time, then not ever ... There was no acceptable middle ground; she must either follow through and  take the nun’s solemn vow of perpetual chastity, or she would surely become a whore.
Isn’t that what Maddy had called her that morning?
Gretchen was still spooning on the bed with Pig, cocooned in his massive arms. He’d held her all night long, watching as she slept until he, too, had drifted off.  They woke together a little before dawn, and Gretchen had let him come into her again, and even hours later she was still surrounding him, impaled on his capacious morning wood.  
“Jesus, Ausslander,” Maddy drawled, “look at you!”
It was only then that Gretchen became aware of the others in the room. Bonnie had been watching from somewhere in the shadows all through the night after she and Tyge had had their fun, silent but for the occasional stifled wheeze of smoker’s cough. Now, the four season room seemed fit to burst with an overflow crowd of brazen voyeurs: Maddy sat on Lief’s lap while Tommy, Eric, and Tyge lounged casually, watching the action on the bed as if it were just another program on TV.
“Aren’t you just a regular little slut!” Maddy sneered as much, it seemed, for the other’s amusement as Gretchen’s humiliation. She made no effort to keep her voice low or modulate the catty tone of her taunts.
“Guess it takes one to know one.” Gretchen surprised herself with the spontaneous fervor or her retort.   
      “You better watch your ass,” Maddy sniffed, “if you still want to be—”
      “We’re not friends, Connell. We never were. You used me and I let myself be used, but that’s over now.”
      “Well, look who finally grew a pair,” Maddy said. “Who would’ve guessed that the shy little mouse turns out to be the lippiest bitch in town?”
      “I learned from the best,” Gretchen said. “Anyway, we’ve both got something on each other now—and don’t think I won’t use what I know. If you tell anybody about this, I’ll come right back with what I saw in the bedroom last night—”
      “Do you even know what you saw, little Miss Hick-from-the-Sticks?”
      “I know what barnyard animals look like when they’re fucking!” Gretchen had never used the f-word before, and it seemed to re-echo in her head like a bell, tolling for the death of innocence. “Which of us do you suppose will get into the most trouble?”
“That would be you, dumbass,” Maddy hissed. “What have I got to lose? They’ll just send me to another stupid school somewhere, but you? Ha! You’ll be out on your boney little butt. They’ll take your scholarship away and ship you back to that shit-hole in Iowa or wherever-the-hell it is you come from. You’ll be lucky to go anywhere the rest of your boring, pathetic life.”
Sitting on her silent lover’s lap—his cock still deep inside her—Gretchen tried to cover herself as best she could. Pig had draped a sheet across her shoulders, though it was not enough to hide her breasts and belly from the stares of the other men; Lief and Tyge’s open, leering appraisals, Eric’s nose-wrinkled squint of silent disgust, and Tommy’s gelid glare of self-entitled condescension—the most disquieting of all.
“You’ll have to excuse my little sister,” he said. “Somebody dropped her on her head when she was an infant, and now she keeps escaping from the kiddie pool. Problem is, she can’t handle the deep end. Always gets in over her head. Forgets that she can’t breathe under water. Flaps her lips like a retarded flounder until she starts drowning. Nothing’s ever her fault—and who can blame her for believing it? There’s always somebody right there to pull her out whenever she screws up.”
“Shut up!” Maddy said. “Just shut the hell up!”
Tommy ignored her.
“We have this arrangement, you see. Call it mutually assured blackmail. Maddy the Moron doesn’t tell Mom and Dad about me and my ... preferences shall we say, while I am discreetly silent about her and whichever disgusting, sleazy bottom-feeding breeder she happens to be sleeping with at the moment—no offense, Leif.  But these three lowlifes?” (Tommy pointed at Pig as he nodded in Tyge and Bonnie’s direction.) “Most definitely not invited. And that’s something of a problem ... which is where you come in, Gretchen.”  
“Me? How?” she said.
Tommy smiled, but not to comfort or reassure her. The seductive warmth of his gaze was gone, his beautiful eyes hooded behind a pair of horrid reptilian slits, stabbing at her like savage blades of ice.
“You’re being here makes everything a lot easier for us,” Tommy explained. “Now we can say that these other guys showed up here on account of you—like Maddy didn’t have a clue. (Yeah, big stretch, I know.) She can play the dumb card like she always does—pretend like she didn’t know anything about it beforehand. Mummy and Daddy dearest will probably be none the wiser, though I suspect they’re starting to catch on. Maddy’s pulled this kind of crap once too often, and being an idiot can only buy you so much sympathy—”
“Shut up!” Maddy howled. “I can do whatever I want!”
Can you?” Tommy laughed again. “The two of you might want to rethink things before you go all holier than thou on each other. Or didn’t you realize? You’re joined at the hip from now on, like Siamese twins who can’t stand each other. You have to maintain the appearance of getting-along back at school, keep up the whole palsy-walsy act for the sisters. Otherwise you’re both screwed.”
“And I suppose you’re the one who’s gonna screw us?” Maddy said. The irony was not lost on anyone. “Like I couldn’t make life tough for you if I wanted? Who do you think you are, you arrogant queer?”
“Think, fool,” Tommy snapped. “Who do you suppose people are going to believe? No, I’d say our arrangement is still very much in force. Gretchen was simply unlucky enough to have gotten caught in the middle. Too bad, so sad, and all that other sappy happy crap. From now on, the two of you are the best of friends and neither of you can ever make a move without looking over your shoulders. One word slips out and both of you go down—and we’re talking all the way to the bottom.”
Maddy opened her mouth to protest, but a look from her brother seemed to make her think again.
“The two of you should kiss and make up,” Tommy said, “Literally. Right here. Right now. What do you think, guys? Like to see that?”
“Hells yeah!” Lief ran his grubby paws over the front of Maddy’s blouse.
“Whose side are you on?” Indignant, Maddy threw her elbows back as if to fight him off, though, in the end she did not resist as Lief methodically unbuttoned, and then removed, her top, leaving her in nothing but a lacy mauve half-shell brassiere and a plaid uniform skirt.  
“Get over there and kiss her,” Tommy commanded, “on the lips. With tongue. Make it good.”
“Ugggh!” Eric groaned, disgusted.
Somebody needs to learn a lesson,” Tommy seemed to feel a need to explain, though his icy demeanor was not warmed in the least. “Somebody needs to learn the value of shame.”
Is he talking about Maddy, or me … or Eric? Gretchen wondered.
“Get down on your hands and knees.” Tommy snapped his fingers. “Crawl over to her. That’s right. Crawl like a cleaning lady scrubbing a toilet.”
“Screw you, Tommy!” Maddy sobbed in exasperation, a caged animal, forced to do tricks for the sadistic delight of carnival rubes. And yet, she complied.
Gretchen felt a certain undeniable pleasure at Maddy’s humiliation, as, if only for a moment, it took the sting out of her own.
“Hurry up!” Tommy barked. “Don’t keep Gretchen waiting.”
Tyge and Bonnie laughed out loud.
“Stop this!” Eric stood up. “What are you trying to prove anyway? Why are you—”
“Sit. Down.” Tommy grabbed his friend by the arm and pulled him back to his seat. “You’re not going anywhere. Everybody is required to watch. No exceptions”
By now, Maddy had arrived at the side of the bed. She leaned forward to offer Gretchen the lightest peck on the cheek with a whispered “Fuck you, Ausslander!”
“On the lips,” Tommy reminded his sister, “with tongue.”
Maddy groaned, leaned forward again, and puckered.
“Not those lips!” Tommy said. “The other ones. The ones … down under.”
“What?” Maddy cried. “You’re insane! No way!”
“Do it now.” He spoke evenly. “Unless you’d like me to do my duty as a responsible adult and let mom and dad know what you’ve been up to this weekend.”
      “I’m gonna kill you, Tommy!”
“Oh, and while you’re down there, why don’t you suck the big guy’s balls. They look so nice and tasty hanging out like that.”
“Help ‘er out, Piggy-boy,” Bonnie said.
Pig groaned like a starving man suddenly confronted with too much food on his plate. He laid a big hand on the top of Maddy’s head and shoved it into Gretchen’s crotch.
“Get to it,” Tommy said. “
Maddy made a tortured, gagging noise as she took Pig’s scrotum into her mouth. At the same time, the redhead buried her nose in Gretchen’s outer folds, the sodden lips still plumped out and flushed with the effort of containing the big man’s cock.
“She’s real good,” Lief boasted. “Don’t know where she learned half that stuff, but damn! Can she ever go down!”
Gretchen had to agree, however reluctantly. Pig was moving inside her again, goaded by the promise of Maddy’s moist caress. And the feeling of being penetrated—of being fucked—both from forward and below was almost more than Gretchen could comprehend in a single instant.
“Keep going,” Tommy said. “Get him to blow his wad up her snatch.”
Maddy only whimpered in response, and Gretchen felt her false friend’s hot tears rolling aimlessly down across her thighs. Yet, if she had been made to guess at that moment, Gretchen would have sworn that Maddy was enjoying herself, at least a little. Like a sailboat tacking into a strong wind in order to weather a storm, Maddy seemed to have accepted the inevitability of her own degradation, and stoically embraced its possibilities. What else could explain the sweet finesse of her ministrations?
Pig roared from the back of his throat—a noise that Gretchen now knew indicated he was about to come. His morning wood had softened inside her, and was already slipping out when the floodgates burst, raining over Maddy’s head with a salty shower of semen and piss.
“Jesus Fuckin'-H Christ!” Maddy cried out in disgust. “You peed on me! What kind of animal does that?”
The others only laughed. Serves you right, Gretchen thought, though her limbs were still weak from the orgasm Maddy had given her.
“Dang! That was one helluva good show!” Bonnie said. “Why don’t we all get naked? Have ourselves a good old-fashioned orgy? Ever’body fuck ever'body else till we don’t know who’s who or what’s what?”
“Uggh … bored now.” Tommy yawned and stretched. “C’mon, Eric, let’s get outta here. Let these fuckers fuck.”
“Sure,” Eric said. “Oh, by the way, Gretchen—that’s your name, right? Found this on the floor this morning—” he tossed the Celtic chemise onto the bed beside her “—actually, almost slipped over it. Looks like it could use a good wash, maybe some bleach. Didn’t think it was something you wanted to lose—”
The gown was rumpled if not ruined, its maiden white sullied with a sordid spectrum of dark spatters, starchy patches of dried semen, and the blooming watermarks of a dozen anonymous bodily fluids.
“Sorry—” there was no hint of apology in Eric’s voice “—looks like your friends over there used it as a towel last night when they were ... well, you know.”
Of course, I know, Gretchen thought. I’m not a little girl any more...

(Read Chapter 16 here)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

"The Seven Seductions" (Chapter 14) by TAS

The Seven Seductions
Chapter 14

“Where’s the fire, honey?” Bonnie sat naked on the bed. Her long, steel-gray hair flowed loose and free around her waist, a veil to disguise the rougher edges of her aging body—the sagging flesh, the wrinkles and stretch marks, the ungainly bird-like disproportion of legs and belly. “What’sa matter?”
“Please let go,” Gretchen said. The old woman’s grip was hard and cruel.
“What’s got you all spooked?”
“Let go.” The girl’s voice wavered on the brink of a sob.
“Somethin’ bad go down in there?” Bonnie tossed her head towards the girls’ room. “It was that dumbass Leif weren’t it?”
“I ... I saw him with Maddy ... He wanted me to see what they were doing together ... He wanted me to see...
“Figures,” Bonnie snorted. “Ass-wipe was only supposed to soften her up some, get her nice and loose ‘fore Tyge and Piggy started workin’ her over. Hell, probably blew his whole stinkin’ wad up ‘er snatch. Talk about sending a boy to do a man’s business. If there’s one thing them boys hate, it’s sloppy seconds—‘specially when they’s tryin’ to collect on a debt.”
Gretchen had only the vaguest idea of what the old woman was talking about.
“I think he was in the bed with me—Leif was—for a while ... before he and Maddy did ... it ... before I saw them together and ... Oh dear God, I am so stupid. I am such a fool—”
“Oh, come on, hon, can’t be as messed-up as that. Why don’t you sit down here and tell your Aunt Bonnie all about it?”
“No, no, I couldn’t, I—”
“Sure you could, sugar.” The old woman pulled Gretchen down to the bed just as the floodgates opened. She drew the weeping girl to her naked bosom, gently petting her head, soothing her the way someone might try to calm a lamb on its way to slaughter.
“It ain’t fair, is it?” Bonnie fished a handkerchief from the bedclothes to dab at Gretchen’s cheeks. “The way your so-called friend uses you like that, just so she can have her fun. Hell! She was probably fixin’ to let that retard have his way with you all along.”
“Uhhhh...” The handkerchief had a foul odor about it, but Gretchen was too polite to criticize a well-meaning gesture.
“‘Cept that redheaded slag ain’t really your friend is she? Just another selfish bitch don’t care ‘bout nobody but herself. Bet the only reason she brung you along was so’s she could have a story to tell the folks, and here you was prob’ly hopin’ to have some fun o’ your own—”
Gretchen choked back a bitter sound. “I thought ... that maybe ... Tommy would—”
“He is one fine hunk of beef, ain’t he? I could even get me an idea or two lookin’ at that sweet young slab o’ ass. Such a waste.”
“It was his eyes—so beautiful! I was sure he—”
“Aw hell, hon, didn’t nobody tell ya?” Bonnie oozed sympathy. “Tommy-boy don’t swing that way.”
“What are you—?”
“Let’s just say I wouldn’t go carrying no torches for him if I was you—‘less you can lose them tities and figure our how to grow yourself a big fat ol’ dick.”
“But the way he looked at me—the way he made me feel—”
“He was messing with your head, hon, that’s all.”
“—the things ...” Gretchen sniffed, “the things he made me think about doing ...
“Listen, little girl,” Bonnie daubed the handkerchief under Gretchen’s nose. “Maybe you could still do some of them things.”
“I mean, if you was really, say like ... open-minded—”
Bonnie’s voice seemed to recede into the distance, taking on an echo in Gretchen’s head like half-familiar sounds heard from the far end of a long narrow hall.
“Open ... minded?
“—maybe you and Pig—”
“Oh ... my dear God!
“—or even Tyge, if you was feelin’ real brave—”
The suggestion had to be another sick joke. Gretchen crossed herself reflexively. “In the name of the Father and of the—”
“Hey now, none of that.” Bonnie snatched the girl’s hand out of the air, denying Son and Holy Spirit their due. “Thing ‘bout them boys? They know how to treat a girl special.
“How could you even—”
“And they’re gonna like you, cherry.” Bonnie tugged at the neckline of Gretchen’s chemise, starring into her cleavage. “Oh yeah. They’s gonna like you a whole lot.”
“No, please, I could never—”
“And you’ll like them, too, sweet thing. Oh yeah, I guaran-gol-durn-tee.” She let the elastic snap back into place.
“This is so wrong—”
“—‘specially once you see what they got for you.”
 “I can’t ... I…” Gretchen tried to wriggle out of Bonnie’s grasp. “Please, let me go—”
“Hold still now, cherry-pie.” Bonnie jammed the handkerchief into Gretchen’s face, forcing her to breathe in. The stale stench was nearly unbearable, like cat urine, it seemed to sting her skin, and bring new tears to her eyes. “No sense fightin’ it, ‘cause one way or another this is gonna happen, see?”
“My God—I feel so—”
“Whichever of ‘em shows up first ...”
“—so ... so—”
“Don’t matter which one. Couple more minutes, you’ll be beggin’ for it from both of ‘em.”
“—funny ... so—”
“And I’m gonna be right here watchin’ you beg—”
“What’s happening to me?”
“—lovin’ every minute. Nothin’ much, hon. Just that tea I made for you kickin’ in on top of a little nose candy. The Mayweed’s got you all nice ‘n’ relaxed, and enough of that All-Heal’d make just about anybody hornier than a hot tamale. Bet your clitty’s hard as a rock right about now—am I right?”
“Oh no ... please—
“Hush now, cherry-girl, it’s almost time. Why don’t you take off that nightie and lay back here with me, show off them pretty tities for the boys when they get here? Believe you me; it’ll be a lot more fun if you relax—‘specially if it’s Tyge gets to you first. Swear that boy’s gotta be part bull-whale with that thing of his. It can hurt something terrible if you ain’t ready for it. Even then, best he can usually do is fit the tip in just a little ways.”
“Please,” Gretchen drawled.
“That’s why Lief was softening up your friend, getting’ her good and slick for Tyge. Little fucker owes him and Pig a bundle. Said he’d pay up this weekend. Threw the redhead in as part of the deal.
“Please ...”
“Then ol’ Piggy-boy had hisself a good look at you. Got a whiff of that sweet cherry pie. Decided he’d like to renegotiate the deal some.”
“Please, you’re hurting me ...”
“Let Tyge have the little redhead all to himself—”
“No ...”
 “—long’s he gets the first poke at you.”
“Dear God ...”
“But Pig don’t mind sharin’ after he’s had his fun. Tell you something: that boy can ball like nobody’s business.  Ugly as sin, but. there ain’t nothin’ like watching him go to town on some sweet young thing—”
“Let me go.” The girl’s words were oddly modulated, dragged out insouciantly like a voice on a tape machine, slowed down a dozen times or more.
“Never seen nobody who could get a gal to change her mind so fast. Don’t matter how hard they try and fight it at first. Don’t matter how much they beg him to stop. Most times, me ‘n’ Tyge only have to hold ‘em down for a couple minutes at the start. But somehow Pig always gets ‘em around to sayin’ yes. Never has to say a word hisself. Half hour and he’s got ‘em eatin’ out of his hand like baby deer at a kiddies’ pettin’ zoo. That’s one show I never get tired of watching.”
“Can I ... go ... please?”
“Well, if that’s what you want,” Bonnie said. “Ain’t gonna make no difference one way or the other now—just so’s ya know.”
It took a long moment for Gretchen to realize that the old woman’s hand was no longer there. She stood up slowly in an attempt to avoid the dizziness that had nearly doomed her in the bedroom, though in the end the precaution did her no good. She stood stock still, utterly unable to move as every molecule in the air went whizzing past like distant stars leaving long time-lapsed trails. What had the old woman given her? The floor had vanished and Gretchen was falling through a dark void, throwing out her hands as she grasped for purchase. How can this be happening? Something like an electric shock surged through her body, her fall awkwardly broken as she slumped into the arms of a huge, faceless man.
He was naked, an immovable wall of hard muscle and heathen body art. Gretchen stared up at him uncomprehendingly. In her muddled state she imagined that he must be at least eight or nine feet tall, an unassuming giant, pensively shifting his weight from one foot to the other. He stroked her hair, twining the dark, straight strands around his fingers until they unwound of their own accord and fell to her shoulders, the tousled ends curling up on themselves in a silken tangle.
The man did not reply, only drew his hand over her face, ostensibly to brush a stray hair from her cheek. And then his hand was at the neck of her chemise, opening it wide, stretching the elastic to its limits. He traced the curve of her bare shoulders down to where the neckline had settled just above her bosom. Her breasts, so heavy and so very firm, heaved unsteadily inside her gown as he squeezed her nipples through the soft material, coaxing them to stiff attention.
The feeling she’d had earlier in the bedroom returned with a delicious vengeance. In the stillness, she could hear the blood pulsing up through her neck, the insistent pounding in her head like a series of muffled explosions as the stranger took her hand and drew it to his penis.
And suddenly Gretchen had forgotten how to breathe. She was vividly aware of his excitement taking fleshly form as the organ sprang to rigid life between her trembling fingers. There was a thrill in the way he touched her—the way he was uncovering the things she had always worked so hard to keep hidden, so boldly claiming what no man had ever been allowed even to imagine. She would go insane if he didn’t stop—or cease to exist if he took his hands away even for a second.
In no hurry, the stranger admired her without shame or apology. He traced the provocative arc of her shoulder blades, the sweet spot at the base of her neck, the fluid nexus of shoulders and bosom, the charming, subtle asymmetry of her ample, bell-shaped breasts. A sharp tug at the neckline exposed one of them to the air like a blushing orchid, elegantly buoyed up by the tautly ruffled elastic.
Gretchen caught her breath again as the man pressed at the naked areola, his fingers coarse and clumsy against her pristine flesh. He flattened his palm, the disfigured hand spread out to eclipse the full circumference of her breast, squeezing—almost playfully—as if to test its firmness.
She was still holding on to him down below. A tiny drop of moisture migrated sluggishly across the heel of her palm. Gretchen knew what this meant, even without understanding how or why she knew it. A long-untapped vein of intuition had opened up deep within. Primal memories had awakened. Imaginings as old as life itself had begun to stir.
He tugged at her gown again, less gently now, more impatient.
“Please,” she begged. “Please don’t tear it!”
“Go ahead,” Bonnie sneered. “Rip it off her. Strip her bare-assed. Don’t be shy.”
“Please, no, don’t.” Gretchen pleaded. “Please ... Pig?
“I wanna see,” Bonnie rasped. “C’mon, boy. Tear that sucker right down the front.”
The man—whoever he was—paused for a moment, as if to consider.
“Lucky,” Bonnie said. “Tyge’d’da had you bare-assed by now, tore it right off ya, popped your cherry and had you all lined up for seconds. He’s what I call a real man—”
“Oh ... God!
“Piggy-boy here’s kinda slow. Takes a while figurin’ stuff out even on a good day. Likes to get to know the gals he’s gonna bunk up with. Guess he’ll be takin’ his time with you—”
“Let you decide how you want it. Slow and easy ... or the other way. The hard, messy way. Whichever, don’t make no difference to him.”
“Me? I’d kinda like to watch you try and fight it a little. Be fun to see you get broke—”
“Help me.”
“Broke like a twig an’ fucked like a whore.”
“Help me, Pig—”
“Stop whinin’,” Bonnie snapped. “You take that damn dress off or I’ll start whistlin’ for Tyge. Hear me, girl?”
“I’ll do it,” Gretcehen cried, “I’ll ... take it off. Only, don’t ...  just ... don’t ... ”
She raised her arms mechanically, allowing the giant to pull the chemise up and off above her head. He tossed the gown away before spinning her around, his penis pressed into the small of her back as he ran his fingers along the elegant hourglass of her torso, down to her thighs, playing with her there until her body trembled with ecstatic anticipation and dread, springing into wakeful expectation like a flower in the morning sun, gradually opening up, unfolding, becoming wet.
Without warning, he took her hand in his and guided it to her mound.
“Play with yourself,” Bonnie said. “Let him see.”
“Shut up!” the old woman barked. “If you’s smart you’ll get yourself good and slick. Meantime, get down on them knees and open wide like you’s fixin’ to meet your God.” 
“No!” Gretchen broke away at last, propelled by a sudden burst of will. “I have to ... I have to go—” She made a sozzled beeline for the bathroom as the old woman’s threats sliced the air behind her.  
“Ain’t no place to run to, cherry-girl! Even if Piggy and Tyge have to break down that door. Even if I gotta drag you back here by the hair, kickin’ and bawlin’ like a baby calf. It’s gonna happen no matter what. You hear me?”

There was no latch on the bathroom door. Panting, out of breath, Gretchen slumped against it, suddenly, acutely aware of her vulnerability. She tried, however ineffectually, to cover her shame with clammy, trembling hands, like Eve in the Garden, realizing for the first time that she was naked. Something was happening to her, a thing she had never experienced before, a thing for which she had no words. There was something going on in that place—down there—a sensation, persistent, undeniable, sweet—the hot spring of her arousal overflowing, her womanly wetness pouring forth, glinting dully between her thighs. A shiver of excitement and horror rose and fell within her belly like a flock of startled birds.
It was wrong. So very wrong. She should not be feeling this way ... should not be, and yet ...
Gretchen moved to the sink, anxious to cleanse herself. But in the mirror—who is that?—a creature stared back at her through the myopic fog, unrecognizable, disheveled, frightened, hungry. Was this a vision of her future? Part of the fate The Nameless One had predicted for her? A wave of revulsion and guilt swept over her. Will I burn in Hell for what I was thinking? What I was feeling when—  The girl fell to her knees, genuflecting clumsily before the toilet. A sour eruption burst from her throat, the last slimy, green dregs of her tea. There was nothing more to bring up. A paltry thread of saliva dribbled indecisively from her lips. She gathered it up on her tongue and spat into the bowl as if to curse herself for being so weak, so stupid, so predictable, so utterly—human.
Was she truly damned? Surely not. What had she done, really? Oh, she may have been inspired to think a few venial, vaguely impure thoughts, but in terms of her actions? She’d done nothing wrong. Certainly nothing approaching the seriousness of a mortal sin. Nothing—so far—for which she could not easily be forgiven.
What had happened to her had simply happened, her own actions unplanned, unpremeditated, and where was the sin in that? Yet, the feeling—the thrill—she’d had when she let Pig take off her nightie, when Bonnie had uncovered her so brazenly, when Lief had made it clear what was on his mind after he—if it had been him—had done those things to her in the bed, or when he and Pig had touched that secret woman’s place between her legs, and set her body on fire. Sweet Jesus! (Gretchen remembered the pictures of the Sacred Heart, perpetually ablaze.) How could something so wrong feel so amazingly, incredibly good? It wasn’t the notion of Hell that terrified Gretchen anymore. It was the realization that she would gladly risk being damned if only to be caught up in those feelings again.
And in that moment, for the very first time in her life, Gretchen Ausslander understood that she had been given a choice—or, at least, an opportunity—one that was hers and hers alone. It was as if the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon her to lick her naked flesh with euphoric tongues of fire. Her soul burst forth like a super nova of joy, expanding out in all directions, even to infinity. Gretchen stood up, closed her eyes against the blazing radiance, and made a wish.
But she was not alone.
Pig was standing behind her. Gretchen opened her eyes to see his hulking torso, almost completely covered in tattoos, filling the bathroom mirror, though, as yet, she could not see his face. She sensed that he was peering down at her from above, looking over her shoulder, admiring her body in the dim light.
She was not afraid of him, though even a few minutes earlier she might have been scandalized by this blatant intrusion upon her privacy—she had been scandalized and terrified her whole life, it seemed. Yet now, her superficial fears were gone, vaporized in the flash of her epiphany.
“Are you ... are you him?”
There was no reply.
“Please ...” She turned to face him. “Please, I—”
“Shhhh.” Pig touched a finger to her lips. There was no need to explain.
“No, please,” she stammered. “I need to know if it’s true. I need you to understand. It’s just that ... I’ve never done anything like this before—no one’s ever shown me how—and   ... and ...”
He nodded.
“... it’s not that I’m scared of ... it.” She felt his hand cradling the side of her face. Somehow the very simplicity of the gesture seemed to reassure her, and help to steady her thoughts. “But I am deathly afraid of getting caught—of what will happen to me if people find out. I’m afraid of what I might turn into if I let this go any further. If I don’t stop myself right this minute I’m not sure I could ever stop. I think I might even go crazy. I’m afraid I might end up losing my ... my ...”
Pig tilted his head questioningly.
She sighed, swallowing the word that still terrified her. “Do you understand what I’m trying to say? I feel like I’m being torn apart inside. I’ve never had to make a choice before. Everyone’s always decided for me and the answer’s always been no. And now you want me to say yes, and I want to say yes, but I’m not sure I even know how to say yes. Right now all I know is what you made me feel when you touched me; it was the most perfect feeling I’ve ever had, and I want ... I want to feel that way again.”
She had surprised herself with this realization. Looking up into that ravaged, blade-scarred face, Gretchen might have been a girl in the throes of her first breathless crush, exuding innocence and longing, wide-eyed worship, the burning impatience of unfulfilled desire. Standing on tip-toe, she threw her arms around his neck, draping herself across his front, her firm breasts crushed aganst his belly. “Please,” she whispered, “show me what to do? Help me say yes?”
Pig stared past her face to the silver crucifix that hung between her breasts. The sight of it seemed to stir his arousal: the holy cross Gretchen had always worn for protection had now become a heathen aphrodisiac, the sacred symbol of her innocence transmogrified into a talisman of carnal delight. He dangled it in his palm like a toy, so fragile and cold against the adamant warmth of her cleavage. He drew it up to his lips and made a spitting noise across the corpus before touching it to her swollen nipples, one by one, as if to annoint her for a sacrifice.
She looked at him more closely. There was a gentleness in Pig’s large brown eyes that Gretchen had not expected; beneath that terrible mask of scars, a face that might even once have been handsome.
 “Please,” she begged him again, “I’ll do anything you want ... anything. Only, don’t let Bonnie ...”
He nodded.
“ ... or that other guy, your friend, Tyge ...”
Pig frowned and shook his head.
“Only you,” Gretchen pleaded. “Nobody else but you.”
Her eyes were drawn once again to the tattoos on his massive chest. something like a small mural depicting episodes from the god Odin’s quest for wisdom, revolving around an elaboratly graphic rendering of the All-Father hanged on Yggdrasil, the World Tree, impaled with his own bloody spear—like Jesus on the cross, she thought—a great eagle perched above his head. The smaller pictures, orbiting satellites, portrayed Odin plucking out his eye to gain Foreknowledge, his labors as a farmhand, and his seduction of the maiden Gunnlöo to obtain the Mead of Poetry.
She was intrigued by this last vignette, which seemed to mirror her own desire: Gunnlöo, the beautiful girl writhing naked under Odin, impaled on the god’s enormous member. Gretchen reached out and touched the image, running her fingers curiously over the ink. Pig’s tattooed skin was like soft leather, completely unlike anything she had expected, and Gretchen sighed her ascent: “I’ll be her for you now... if you want me.”
He did. Without warning, the silent man spun her around so that her back was to him again. He held her close, involving her in the sweltering aura of his power, wordlessly conveying his excitement, his hunger and his need. The flesh was weak, and Gretchen gave herself over to the flow of the inevitable as the last of her failing will to resist evaporated into a long, husky sigh of surrender.
He bent her over in front of him. A low growl rumbled from deep within his throat, a ravenous, primal sound such as a wild animal might make over a fresh kill. He entered her slowly, though it took a moment for the sensation to register in Gretchen’s mind, the tip of his penis, tenuously engaged in the sharp crevice of her lips, grew into her like a massive tree root slowly pushing through wet soil, and, after this, the feeling, utterly new, of encircling and of being filled, and the sudden, dizzying realization that she was no longer a virgin.
Pig paused for a moment, as if allowing her a moment to consider this new state of being. She was panting now, the soft catch at the back of her throat betraying her excitement, her mouth half open in a sensuous oval, her inquisitive sighs quickly modulating into throaty gasps of comprehension and a languid murmur of acceptance, and, when he began to move in her, something that might have been music, a breathless expression of greater, ever more pleasant surprise.
He reached under to cup her breasts, her large sharp nipples jouncing painfully against his palms. She was aware of his thickness, his hardness—if it was even possible—increasing deep inside her. His movements, too, seemed more urgent, insistent, communicating the yawning depth of his want, his determination to claim her only for himself, to possess the all of her. Gretchen pushed herself back towards him, impatient to meet each new thrust, grinding hard in silent ascent.
He grabbed her arms, bore down and drove forward until her head was suspended unnervingly near the tiled floor. The blood that rushed to her brain amplified the wanton roar of her pulse. She felt an urge to cry out—to scream—but she was drowning, voiceless, caught in an undertow of ecstasy. A violent tremor rocked her core, its aftershocks careening up her spine, illuminating every nerve, every fractal branch and microscopic tributary along the way with blinding light.
Could this be Heaven, she wondered, the simple act of letting go, of moving beyond fear or shame, or even of caring?
As if across the cosmic gulf of space and time itself, she heard his reply, a shuddering groan of release.
Moments later, their bodies aglow, flushed with exertion, sodden with sweat, she offered herself to him again—or, rather, offered no resistance to his taking her. In his arms as he carried her back to the four season room, passing a mirror in the hall, Gretchen saw herself, a tiny, delicate thing against his broad muscled chest. And in the bed, shy again, she lay with her back to him, hidden beneath the bride-white sheets, stiffening nervously at his touch, torn between terror and want, hunger for more of the heavenly food he offered, and the all-too-earthly fear of being found out.
Her disquiet was only heightened by the sounds that came from the neighboring bed where Bonnie and Tyge were having at it with noisy abandon, slopping, slurping, grunting, snarling,  roaring and squealing, rutting like the animals they surely were.
Yet, Pig was patient with her—a gentle giant—and soon, Gretchen, too, had been gentled by his steady, silent ways, just as the old woman had predicted. Like a fawn eating from the hunter’s hand, Gretchen had forgotten her fear. She breathed out the last of her doubts in a long tremulous sigh, though they did not abandon her altogether, but continued to hang invisibly in the still air above the bed.
He entered her easily as they lay on their left sides, his thrusts shallow at first, easing her into a state of amorous motion, though the muscles of her impatient cunt had already begun to quiver excitedly around his girth. “Oh? Oh? Oooooh?” Gretchen whimpered. Her voice rose in pitch through a steady crescendo of  breathless questioning. “Oh? Oh? O—OH!” The answer came as she did; sudden, forceful, plain as light.
They moved unceasingly together, graceful in spite of their physical disparity.  Patient, unhurried, their bodies resonated in near-perfect harmony, her languid sighs a hymn of praise to Odin and Gunnlöo as the strong silent man delved deep within her core to seek the Mead of Poetry again. 

(Read Chapter 15 here)