(I’ve been sitting on this story for days, wondering if I should attempt to finish it before posting. I think I’ll try submitting this in parts. It’s getting pretty long, anyway. Also, this is one of two stories I’ve started writing, based partially on a comment Max made to me while I was home for the holidays. I’d taken a few pictures of our wooded backyard to show him, and he’d noted how deep the woods ran…)
I stopped and leaned heavily against a tree, trying to catch my breath. My throat was dry from breathing in the cold, crisp winter air, and from striding quickly up and down rocky wooded hillsides for an hour.
An hour. I swallowed the threat of panic that the thought brought with it. Instead, I straightened up and took stock of my surroundings, peering around for any familiar landmarks.
Trees. Trees, rocks, and more trees. Everything painted in the same dreary greys and browns of New England winter. For the hundredth time, I cursed aloud to myself for letting my mind wander as I hiked through the woods – childhood woods that I’d practically grown up in. I’d come out of my reverie to see, with shock, how low the sun was, and had promptly turned around, thinking I’d be back at the house well before sunset.
It was only after walking for half an hour that I’d grown anxious. Surely I hadn’t wandered this far into the woods? Perhaps just over this next hill…
But no. After I had crested that hill, only more woods came into view. That was when I’d become truly worried. I had agreed to housesit for my mother while she was out of town, grateful for a brief respite from the city grind. I’d come to appreciate the stillness that living in a small rural town offered after moving to San Francisco. Why not give myself a little vacation after having worked steadily these past two years?
To think that I’d get lost behind the woods of my mother’s house on the second day of my vacation. There wasn’t even anyone waiting for my return, nor to come looking for me after realizing I’d been gone too long. I sighed loudly, cursing again. I had stopped checking my phone for a signal half an hour ago, opting instead to turn it off to preserve its battery. In the twenty-odd years that my mother had lived here, the cell phone signal in our area had never changed. That is to say, there never was one.
The quiet stillness that I’d been so looking forward to took on a more malignant air here, where I couldn’t even hear any birdsong. I started walking again, trying to ignore the fact that the air was growing chillier as the sun sank lower in the sky.
I aimed for elevation, thinking – hoping – that if I got high enough above the treeline, I could at least spot a road or rooftop. The terrain was rocky and, despite there being no snow, the leaf layer was slippery underfoot. As I climbed up towards a rocky outcrop, I could feel my calf muscles straining. I reached the top of the crag and sat down to rest.
The landscape remained unchanged; a sea of grey, leafless branches stretching out to infinity. I could feel the panic welling up in my throat, harder to swallow back this time. I felt like screaming, if only to give voice to all that panic and anxiety. I bit my lip to stop myself. I couldn’t lose it, not now.
Where the hell was I? Curse these damnable woods!
I nearly jumped out of my skin at the sound of another human voice. I’d been so distracted and distraught, I hadn’t noticed the footsteps behind me. I spun around.
Standing a few feet away from me, a slim hiking stick resting in one hand, was a man in a faded leather jacket. A small hiker’s backpack rested on his shoulders, and the other hand held lightly onto one strap. A short beard framed his face. I was still sitting and found myself having to look up at him. His brow was furrowed, and as I scrambled to my feet, he asked, “Are you hurt?”
His voice was gruff and low, and, if I had not felt such relief at being found by someone, I might have noticed an edge to his words. I shook my head.
“No, but I think I’ve gotten a little turned around. Thank goodness you found me! Could you point me back to the main road?”
“Of course. If you just head that way, you’ll find an old logging road about a fifteen minute’s hike away – ” He gestured off to my right with his hiking stick, and I turned to follow the direction he was pointing in.
The stick caught me in the ear. My head jerked back – in surprise more than pain, – and I stumbled. Before I could fully register what was happening, I felt a hand grab my wrist and pull it sharply up behind my back. My shoulder screamed, I arched my back, and I buckled as he put weight against the arm.
I landed jarringly on my knees. The man gave a short, sharp push of my caught arm, and I fell the rest of the way, my face landing in a pile of leaves and dirt. His knee dug into the small of my back, pinning me down against the forest floor. My brain finally caught up to the danger I was in, and I screamed as loudly as I could.
My ears rang. Any attempt to struggle made my shoulder seize in pain. His grip around my wrist was vice-like, and I heard myself pleading with him as he twisted my other arm to my back.
“Why are you – ? Please, no – please don’t hurt me… What do you want?”
His only response was to dig his fingers into my hair and pull my head back. I felt the cold air brush against my exposed throat and shuddered. He did not say a word, did not try to stop my screaming. Instead, he was tying something around my hair in a rough, tight ponytail. Then I felt the same material being wrapped tightly around my wrists. It felt like twine, a thin length digging painfully into my skin.
I whimpered. The cold sharpened the pain in my shoulder and the added pain from whatever bound my wrists to my hair.
With a final, cruel tug, he finished binding my wrists, and I finally felt him take his weight off the knee in my back. He ran his hands down the sides of my waist, then hooked two fingers through the belt loops of my jeans and pulled.
This renewed my attempts to struggle, and I twisted my hips wildly and kicked out, trying to dislodge his hands. His knee came down hard again, knocking the wind out of me. He leaned over my body until I could feel the bristles of his beard brushing against my cheek. I felt his breath warm my skin as he finally spoke again.
“Scream and struggle all you want, girl. There’s no one around us for miles. There is no logging road.”
My whole body convulsed as the weight of his words sank in. I shivered, feeling his hands return to my waist. The cold air hit my hips and ass as he slid the jeans off.
As those unfortunate enough to be within conversational or cyber-conversational distance with me already know, I have been dealing with extreme temperature issues, both in my apartment and just about everywhere else. It’s always, always cold in my apartment, and always a good 5-10 degrees colder than the outside temperature in general. And now it’s getting colder outside.
I am, in a word: fucked.
Cold does two things to me; it kills my productivity, and it severely worsens my mood. And I get cold very easily. So my current situation is making it pretty difficult for me to do anything useful. I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning (though often my bed is cold too), I get sullen and depressed, and I am just not very good company to be around. It’s agonizing enough to have to take my clothes off to take a shower.
Yes, I was a cold-blooded reptile in my past life.
On a more optimistic note, I just attended another amazing workshop by the ever-delightful Fivestar, where we learned how to make our own jute bondage rope using cheap twine. I am in awe at the magical transformation that occurs from this really quite simple process that turns gardening twine into 6mm rope. So I am now the proud owner of my first, roughly ten foot piece of jute rope.
And perhaps, if I can find a warm spacious area, I’ll be able to make my own jute rope kit for use with bondage someday soon.
Now that’s a warming thought.
Oh, baby, what’s gotten into you lately? You’ve been cold, I understand – it’s natural this time of year. But then you started to warm up, and I thought, maybe things will start to change now, for the better.
I should have known you for the tease you are. A cold, cold tease, easing off your icy skirts to reveal hints of the warmth underneath, only to hide them away again in a flurry of white. Why, why would you do this to me? It’s already been so long now…Don’t you think it’s time for a chance to get intimate again? Why don’t you warm up a little?
First cold, then hot, then cold, now you’re warming up again. I just don’t know if I can trust you to be stable. I need to have some stability in my life, you know. You’re beautiful when you’re cold, but this is just one long PMS cycle, isn’t it?
I’m sorry, baby, but I just don’t think I can do this anymore. There is no more “us.” Maybe there never was…
I cannot wait for spring
Inside, the smell of turpentine and oil paint coats every surface. Outside, the sky is grey as melting snow. You’re at your easel by the window, watching the snowy drizzle outside in the few moments before class starts. The soft drumming of water drops falling on pavement thrums a melodic rhythm in the space behind your eyes, lulling and heavy on your eyelids.
It is as if from far away that you hear the professor calling class to order. Fighting inertia, you turn away from the window.
And come face to face with a nude male standing in the center of the room, cast from chocolate – extra dark. You groan inwardly at the sugar-coated metaphor even as your tongue flicks across dry lips. You watch as the model stretches quickly before striking his first pose. His body is all sinew and tight muscle, and you have to look away, down at your paints, to stop the sudden fluttering below your stomach. Working quickly now for this five minute pose, you examine the smears of color on your palette. How can you bring out the richness of that velvet skin? You mix some earth colors together – burnt sienna, burnt umber – and add a smudge of alizarin crimson and phthalo blue. A little cadmium yellow gives the paint a hint of a glow.
Your paintbrush now saturated with the rich mixture, you finally turn back to the model. He is good, body tight as he maintains his position without too much wavering. Another point of admiration. Your eyes trace the curve of his spine, then sweeps down his defined pectorals, sleek 6-pack, and finally comes to rest on his serenely flaccid penis, hanging between splayed legs. You can’t help admiring its length, even non-erect, and a small shiver runs through you as your imagination plays with his cock, working it up to its full, majestic erection and guiding it, first past your lips and down your throat, then slowly inside you, incredibly thick and filling in a way you had forgotten was possible.
A flash of white jars you out of your reverie, and you look up – straight into his eyes. Heat rushes up your cheeks, and your eyes drop back to your still-blank canvas.
Just in time for your professor to call time.
Between a sudden onslaught of relatives and getting sick again, there’s been little time or energy to do much here. I’m just getting over the worst of it now, having reduced my tissue usage to less than half a box a day. And what timing! The last minute scramble for the perfect Christmas eve celebration is starting and the yelling and cleaning have begun. There is a white sheet of snow outside, and good cooking inside.
Hope everyone has a pleasant holiday!
Winter is a severe season for me. It is as harsh and unforgiving of weakness as it is starkly beautiful. I am blessed with a room and window facing the fullness of what sun there is during the day, and that makes all the difference. But, still, I feel the heaviness of the seasonal depression that sets in with the shortened days and sharp coldness. My instinct is to hide where it is warm and dark, and pass away the winter curled in a ball.
I’ve been fighting off some heavy memories, too, of previous winters, a previous life. Winter holds such powers of introspection and reflection; it’s hard not to give in completely. I can feel the familiar acidic bile rising inside me in remembering his face.
When does it stop? I have a better life now, or I’m fighting for one. I wish I could slice away the memories, amputate them like a diseased limb. Is it better to resolve what has happened within oneself, and accept these memories as a part of my mental footprint now, or to try to wipe the slate clean and start anew?
Either way, I have work to do.