Season 2, Episode 5: Frost – Part 3
Written by Tof Eklund
Read by Tawn Krakowski
In the flowering temple, Dmer stretched out his hand to meet the vine snaking toward him. As it curled up his arm, its thorns prickled his skin, a promise of things to come. He shivered and raised his gaze to his goddess. She walked over to him and bent in close to whisper in his ear
“Second thoughts?” she taunted, but he heard the concern underneath.
“No, my lady, I am yours, and I am ready.”
“Dmer,” she said, her voice actually soft for a moment, “even if this works, I will never give you up. I will not abandon you.”
“Thank you, my goddess.”
In the cottage, Isa and Bess sat next to each other on a fresh pallet of straw, prepared, it seemed, in anticipation of their arrival.
“Isa,” said Bess, “Ja said he loves us and you said we love Ja.”
“Yes,” she replied, “don’t you love Ja?”
“I do,” he said, “but what about us? Do we love each other?”
Isa’s heart lurched, and her throat was dry. She thought about the physical perfection of the green woman, the dryad, and her own flaws.
Bess continued, “I mean…I love you Isa. Do you love me?”
Suddenly the crushing weight lifted. “Of course I love you, Bess. How could I not love you?”
They met in a kiss.
“Filthy dog!” the dryad called out, “is that the best you can do?”
Dmer swayed and strained on his feet, maintaining the ritual pose even as the bands of thorny vines dug in deeper, and deliciously mixed sensations of pain and pleasure arced through him.
“Good dog,” she said, coming in so very close to lick his forehead, taking away the trickle of blood that was coming down from the crown of thorns just below his scalp.
Ja was there, right in the blood, right between tongue and forehead, and the spirit was reaching, reaching out for something that was also in-between, looking for a single leaf, the thinnest threadlike root, anything on that edge between life and death.
“Ahhh!” Isa cried out as Bess’ tongue worked back and forth between her legs. It wasn’t like the all-over intensity she experienced when they coupled with Ja, but it was somehow more immediate, it let her focus on that one spot and exactly what Bess was doing.
She stretched her legs and her calf slid against the hardness of Bess’ cock. He shuddered, and she made up her mind.
“Bess,” she said, “I’m ready to have it in me. I want to try that.”
He looked up at her, his blue-grey eyes visible over the curve of her belly, his expression questioning.
“Ah!” she exclaimed. Bess’ lips and tongue were still kissing and licking her. “Yes, Bess, I mean it! Ah! I want you in me!”
Dmer’s vision swam. He felt hot and sticky and a little feverish. He’d been to the brink of orgasm and back more times than he could count, and could no longer tell if the overwhelming aching in him was desire to come or desire to pass out.
“Spirit, have you found it?” she called. It took Dmer a moment to remember that the ghost was there with them.
A hole in the ground, a loss, a rape, a murder, a chain sundered with a great hammer. Ja stretched in new, strange ways, trying to sense something that the dryad assured him was there, a single loose thread in a monochromatic tapestry, a single blade of grass in a field of wheat.
“I can’t…” Ja’s voice echoed.
“Please!” came the anguished reply.
“Does it still hurt?” Bess asked.
“Yes, but it’s feeling good now as well,” Isa replied, “keep doing that.”
She lay on her back on the pallet, the blanket that normally covered the straw pulled up and away from her lower body, to avoid staining it. Isa could feel Bess inside her, a mix of comforting presence and raw sensation where her maidenhead had been.
Bess looked down at Isa as he slowly thrust into her. It felt good, and it felt very different from anything he’d felt before, but he wasn’t sure what to make of her reaction. It had obviously hurt when he’d pushed home the first time, and he knew what Isa’s face looked like when she was in pleasure. Her expression didn’t look that way now, not quite that way.
Isa looked up at Bess, his long arms and narrow chest, his pale skin and his broken nose. He was beautiful and she loved him. She hoped he was enjoying this and wondered if he’d be done soon.
Bess looked down at Isa, her round cheeks and narrow eyes, her tan skin and the rat’s-nest of her hair. She was beautiful. Bess noticed that her right breast was bigger than the left. He thought it was cute and tried to say so.
“Your breasts,” he said. “One’s bigger.”
She looked at him and her eyes filled with tears.
“No, no! It’s beautiful!”
“Isa, I love you, all of you.”
“Even my waistline?”
Bess looked confused. There was her belly, and the leg he had raised up near his shoulder—she was beautiful. “Of course.”
“Oh, Bess.” Isa wrapped her arms around him.
Something was wrong. Cold air flooded the temple. Roses wilted; others were suddenly gilded with frost, and fell off the vines with a crash.
Ja could see it, feel it, taste it. There it was, at last. That was it, right? The spirit reached for it.
Hundreds of miles away, in an overgrown garden, something stirred.
No, that wasn’t it. Wait, this—this thing. It hurt, it burnt to stretch further, but to have come so far only to have nothing, no.
Stretched thin, much too thin, a pinprick fault at some central point grew, spreading into a rapid unraveling. Senses all at the very periphery of that stretched self, Ja realized it too late, had only a moment to brace as self fragmented, exploded, was cast away.
The backlash hit Dmer. Overtaxed, he gasped as unspeakable, inarticulate, hideous visions streamed before his eyes. Then he passed out, falling into merciful emptiness.
Suddenly alone, watching the ritual collapse, unable to spare the ghost, too slow in that moment to catch her servant as he fell, Athos ah Kathos burst into tears of blood. Those precious drops of life fell on the shallow depression in the center of the temple where they burst into multicolor flame.
In that despairing rain, a seed might have grown into a great tree; a mortal wound have closed and healed; a harvest to feed hundreds might have been reaped. But from that small, dead spot, came nothing.
“Ow! Bess, stop!”
Bess halted. “I thought it was feeling better.”
“It was, but now I’m just sore.”
“Okay, I’m pulling out.”
Isa grimaced as Bess slowly withdrew his cock. She barely felt better empty than with him thrusting into her.
“Why didn’t you tell me to stop?”
“Before. You should have told me to stop sooner.”
“I thought…I wanted you to enjoy it.”
“Not if it was hurting you!”
“Bess, will you just hold me for a while?”
Bess lay down next to Isa and she rolled to one side so they could spoon. Pulling up against her back allowed him to place an arm across her belly, but it also brought his cock up against her backside.
“Oh!” Isa said. “You’re still hard.”
“Sorry. Ignore it.”
“But…don’t you want me to do something about it?”
“No, not now. I’ll be okay. Isa, please don’t ever make yourself do something just because you think I’ll enjoy it, okay?”
“Oh…but I wanted to do what we did. I don’t regret it.”
“Yes, I just got sore after a while. Bess, please trust me to tell you what I want and how I feel.”
“Okay. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“When do you think they’ll be done with the ritual?”
“I don’t know. I’m worried.”
Isa and Bess had cleaned up and were asleep when the door to the cottage flew open and Dmer stumbled in, chased by a flurry of snow. The bang of the door and the rush of cold air woke them as he stumbled into the cottage.
Partially dried blood, still red and sticky, crusted his face and arms. His gaze was distant, one pupil dilated, the other shrunk to a point, and he was pale almost to the point of transparency. He held his robe bunched up in front of him, wrapped around something.
“Dmer!” Isa exclaimed as Bess rubbed his eyes.
“What in the seven hells?” Bess gaped, but Isa was already getting up.
“I…I have to…” stuttered the priest as Isa sat him down and Bess brought him some of the now-cold nettle tea.
“We’ll take care of you first,” said Isa, insistent. “Ja and your goddess can handle themselves.”
“No! Listen!” Dmer choked. “We failed…she didn’t let me go, she held onto me, just like she said, but Ja…” he sputtered, “…I don’t know. Look, this…” Dmer unwrapped his robe. There in his arms lay a mask of frost, fragile as an eggshell and already beginning to melt. The features cast therein, those never clearly seen, were nonetheless familiar.
It was the face of Ja.
© 2012 Copyright Tof Eklund
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