In The Ferns

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here’s my blog entry about this story


She glanced over her shoulder to see him following her again as he would on warm nights. She knew him well, but hid her face, swinging her hips in a subtle invitation to follow.

This was the game they played. Their eyes would meet across the bonfire and she would steal herself away. He would follow a couple minutes later. She’d dart in and out of corners and around trees before finding a secluded spot. He would catch her and pin her against a wall or tree then tell her how seductive she was and how he couldn’t resist following her. She would would tell him they shouldn’t be doing this even as she would unbutton his shirt or guide his hand under her dress.

Today she played the chase a little too hard and found herself in the field of ferns at the edge of the village, her stalker no doubt lost in town. On the surface that was her intention but underneath she wished it had required more effort. She removed her shoes to walk barefoot in the mud and continued wandering away.

She shouldn’t play with him like this, she reminded herself, thinking of the disapproving stares from her family. Still, she kept looking back toward the village to see if he would come to the edge of the field. The long, silky flora caught in the intricate folds of her dress as she walked, stripping their leaves and decorating her with a light powder. The wetness crept up her feet and tickled her ankles.

It was probably for the best that she’d lost him. The villagers would never approve, as the two came from different walks of life, but still something seemed to be missing tonight, something freeing.

After one final glance to make sure no one had noticed her, she stripped off her dress. She had already lost him, so if she was caught, no one would think it was the thought of her follower that made her want to be naked. Carefully, she folded her clothing and placed it with her shoes in the center of a large copse, propping it out of the mud.

Wandering toward the forest, she took a deep breath of the warm, musty, post-rainstorm air. she checked repeatedly for followers. As she hit the edge of the woods, she considered returning to grab her clothing, looking back to trace the route behind her. Her heart jumped and her legs tingled as she looked out on the acres of ferns between her and the village. She had been so preoccupied that she hadn’t paid attention to where she’d placed her clothes. Thousands of identical blades of foliage lay before her.

Walking back, she searched for her footprints, feeling the soft earth squeezing between her toes with every step, occasionally broken with the smoothness of random leaves or the crunch of small sticks. She shivered as goosebumps ran from her feet to the nape of her neck. Running her hands up her body she noticed her nervous sweat despite the chill of naked skin.

She searched, wandering this way and that, scanning the ground. Her eyes jumped from one fern grove to another, hoping for a glimpse of the fluttering white of her dress. The sun had already gone down; the moon overhead, the fireflies, and the bonfire in the distance provided the only light, flickering randomly across the plant life.

She looked back at the village, trying to remember the orientation of the church steeple and market as she was removing her dress. It all looked the same. Finally she sighed and put her face in her hands.

A rustling from behind her.

“You look lost.”

She spun, her feet splashing. An arm moved over her breasts, the other hand settling between her thighs to cover herself. She shrunk away instinctively. Her stalker stood tall and calm before her in his pleated shirt and dark rawhide vest, a flat, calm expression under his dark stubble.

“Do you need a hand?” He stepped closer.

“Are you following me?”

“I couldn’t help myself. You were alluring in your clothes, but now…” he took a step forward as the corners of his mouth curled upward.

She stumbled backward. “No,” she started, “this isn’t…”

He waited. “What was that?”

“I don’t know. Can you go—can you help me find my clothes. Just don’t look at me. I didn’t mean for you to find me like this…”

“You never do.”

She stepped around some brush to hide, but as she ducked down, she slipped. Her follower jumped forward but was too far away to help. She fell to her knees, her hands splashing to the ground.

“Let me help you,” he said, stepping behind her.

Her hand moved to cover herself, smearing mud across her back. At this point, it didn’t matter. Her head dropped and hands sunk back into the mud. Twigs dug subtly into the flesh of her legs, contrasting the sloppy earth surrounding her fingers. For several long moments she simply remained on her hands and knees, feeling his gaze against her back.

Finally she let him pull her to her feet. Standing against him, she remained turned away. If she looked, he would see her reddened cheeks.

He wrapped his arms around her. She trembled and looked up toward the evening’s bonfire in the distance, expecting someone to jump out and catch them. At the same time she relaxed against him, as though he could keep her safe from prying eyes.

“Help me look for my clothes?” she stammered.

“I hid them from you.”

“No!” she said, pulling away. She stood straight and glared at him, as though suddenly unaware of her nakedness. “Why would you do that?”

“Because I think you’re beautiful like this…” He smiled from the edge of his mouth as he slowly removed his vest.

She turned and started to run toward the forest, the muck now coating her shins and splattering across her thighs. She looked back a moment later to see him taking chase, but when she hit the edge of the woods, the sticks on the ground threatened to cut her feet and the blackness of the thick forest made her slow her pace.

He caught her by the shoulder. “Now you’ve really lost your clothes,” he said.

She looked at him, grinned and laughed. “Looks like you caught me.” She backed against a tree and he stopped in front of her. He held out his vest and wrapped her hands, wiping away most of the mud. He tossed the vest on a nearby fallen tree.

“You shouldn’t have followed me,” she said, holding her arms across her breasts.

“I couldn’t resist,” he said as a flicker of moonlight caught the redness of his cheek. “You always give me that look. You entice me to this. Why do you call to me like that with your hips?”

“Because I can’t resist either,” She reached out a hand to his shirt and slowly began pulling it from the waist of his pants.

A piercing hoot caused her to freeze before recognizing it as a simple owl emerging for the evening. She took a deep breath. “I know I shouldn’t be doing this. One of us needs to stop.” Her hands ran slowly around his waist as she looked up to check the village and the bonfire in the distance. “Make me stop.” Her fingers took hold of the first of his shirt buttons.

He took her hands and pulled upward. She whimpered as he clasped both her wrists in one big hand and pinned them against the tree above her head.

“They don’t care as much as you think,” he said in a deep, confident tone. He took a step closer, pressing his body against hers and pinning her against the trunk of the tree. He kissed her shoulder, her neck, and his lips brushed against her earlobe. “Some of them already know,” he whispered. “They could be talking about us right now. Maybe they’re wagering on whether or not you’ll give in to me and admit your desires.”

She shivered at the thought of the townsfolk laughing at her, imagining her just as she was, seeing her vulnerable lust despite all her attempts to conceal it. She struggled against him, pulling against his hand, but he simply gripped harder. A tingling grew between her thighs and her legs began to tremble as she realized she could not break free.

“If you say you want me to leave, I will,” he said. “But then you would be lying to yourself.”

Relaxing her legs, she slid down slowly until her body hung from her wrists. She looked up helplessly.

“Somehow I’ve never seen you naked before,” he said as he gazed into her eyes, his features barely visible in the moonlight. “I’ve taken you so many times in the alleyways, from under your dress, but I’ve never seen you like this. Your body glistens, even in the darkness.” His hand traveled across her, from the back of her neck, across her breasts and down her thighs.

“What are you going to do to me?”

He brought his cheek next to hers. “You make me feel like I’m forcing you. Perhaps you’re right, maybe we should stop.” He pulled away, but still his long arm and strong hand held her wrists tight against the tree. “Maybe I’ll head back to the fire.” He looked at the patch of ground at the edge of the ferns. “Unless you want me to throw you down in the mud and take you openly and honestly, like a man should; not like a thief, sneaking around and slipping inside you from behind.”

She looked at the mud as his finger found her sweet spot and slowly began circling. Her lips trembled as she spoke. “We shouldn’t…” Her hands struggled at the same time, wishing she could get to the buttons of his shirt to reveal more of him. Still, she was glad she could not, and felt comfort in the compromising position.

“Admit it,” he said. “I want to hear you say it… ‘I want you to throw me to the ground and take me’.”

He gazed at her for a long moment. “Tell me you want it, or ask me to leave.” He paused and cocked his head playfully. “Repeat after me, ‘I want you to throw me into the mud and take me.’ Say it.”

The words came forth, slowly and clearly, as though controlled by some inner force, demanding relief and acceptance of the truth. “I want you to throw me in the mud and take me.”

“‘I want you to make me squeal.’”

She paused, gritting her teeth, but she knew it was true as though he had picked the words from the thoughts she hid even from herself. “I want you to make me squeal.”

He smiled and cocked his head as he slowly moved toward her lips. “Isn’t it nice to finally admit it?”

She closed her eyes as they kissed and let herself drift away. For a brief moment all she felt were the tips of their tongues playing together, toying, daring each other to go deeper. She imagined she could spend the rest of the evening like this.

There was a subtle presence behind her, a neighbor standing and watching, and a coldness, as though all the respect she’d worked for would suddenly wash away. Waiting for a scolding voice, she imagined turning around to demand her right to be with whoever she chose, but as the moments passed, she realized no one was there. Finally she peeked over her shoulder to see nothing but brush, trees and long shadows blending into the blackness of the forest.

He pulled away and left her lips fluttering on their own. She opened her eyes just as he released her wrists. She stumbled before clutching his shirt and digging a foot into the loose earth.

He put a hand to her waist. “Go lie down in the mud,” he said.

Her eyes moved to the ground as she felt her heart thumping. She laughed nervously.

Stepping back, he began unbuttoning his shirt. “Lie down in the mud,” he repeated, motioning toward the patch of wet earth.

As she took a few steps, she wondered if he seriously expected her to throw herself in the slop like an animal, but as the mud seeped between her toes and crept to her ankles, the idea became more inviting, as though she was meant to do this, and her nervousness was just a trick of the mind that she must learn to overcome.

She stood, staring at the mud, squishing her toes, begging herself to drop in as he had ordered, but holding back, as though it were a filthy alternate life into which she would be helplessly pulled.

She felt her nakedness, knowing how embarrassed she should be in front of him, that she should be covering herself, telling that same lie of the flesh called clothing and modesty.

This thick, gritty substance was right. The wet ground was where she was meant to be.

Her heart jumped as his arm came around her waist. She turned. He was naked now, staring patiently down at her. “I told you to lie down in the mud,” he said.

She grinned, her face turning hot, and wanted to tell him that he had no right to order her around… but that would be a lie, and the glint in his eye showed that he could see how desperately she wanted to obey.

Her eyes moved toward his chest, having only seen it from a distance in the afternoons when he would till the soil alongside the other men of the village. His hair would be matted from the day’s work and glistening with sweat. Now he was clean, and it puffed out enticingly from his muscular frame as her fingers found their way instinctively to it. Her fingertips brushed across the surface of his chest, tickling her senses as she told herself to take a complete grip on him.

Suddenly her feet were out from under her, sliding forward. Her weight hung against his arm, which gracefully supported her just under the shoulders.

He smiled momentarily as he held her over the mud. He stared into her eyes as his arm slipped from under her and she dropped with a muffled splat and a sharp scream.

Her chest expanded and she opened her mouth to shout, but finally saw him whole, his naked body silhouetted in the moonlight against the trees on one side and the ferns looming above her on the other. As her body tingled, the sensations seemed to rise up from the earth to consume her.

He stared down at her, his eyes following as she involuntarily spread her legs just an inch, in invitation.

Her eyes wandered the lines of his muscles and as much as she wanted to look at him, she wanted him closer. She smiled and waved her fingers, guiding him toward her. He stepped forward and stood over her for a long moment and she gazed at the part of him that had been inside her a dozen times, but which she had never truly seen. He would pull it out between the buttons of his pants and slip it under her dress and she would glimpse it only for a moment before feeling it entering and overwhelming her.

Now it was all out in the open, and somehow it felt safer. If someone saw them, she would have no way to deny it and would be forced to defend her right to be with him. In the end that would be far better than being caught in a lie.

She splashed an invitation.

“No,” he said. “Don’t splash… I want to touch you while your front is still clean and pure.” He slowly dropped to his knees and his fingers gently ran across her breasts and stomach to her thighs, tracing one long, wet, dirty streak.

His member stood straight, beckoning to her. Reaching cautiously for it, she ran her fingertips delicately along the shaft to the tip, and, quietly transfixed, started back toward the base. She wanted to kiss it, to run her tongue along it, just to know what it felt like. Opening her mouth invitingly, she couldn’t make herself speak.

Finally her eyes moved up to meet his as he moved over her. His hands sank into the mud beside her with a slurp, his hips coming down to meet her.

Her head slipped backward as he entered her, the sensations washing upward, forcing her eyes closed as the leaves and stars above her seemed to twist into another world.

Their bodies fit together as he came to rest atop her, pressing her further into the mud.

The sensations slowly subsided as he lay nearly motionless. She opened her eyes again. He smiled and moved to kiss her, an eye suddenly catching a moonbeam.

She closed her eyes again and relaxed as though she could spend the rest of the night with him inside her, lying motionless except for their lips. “No need to rush,” he whispered, his lips moving from hers to seek out clean spots of skin about her neck, chin, and earlobe.

Finally his hips began their movement, slow and precise, thrusting, sliding in and out.

Her arms splayed out and slapped into the mud as her flesh seemed to expand in ripples. Her legs curled around his back, smearing mud wildly. Her feet locked, drawing him closer as his rhythm increased. Her body seemed to blend into his shoulder and neck, and her presence rose upward, to look out on the bonfire in the distance and wonder, for just a moment, if anyone was asking where they were before the feelings dragged her back to the dampness and the sensory explosions pulsing from her body.

She moved, thrusting her hips as though she could force herself inside him and become one, and have that release that was tickling her, just out of reach… the release she would have to work for.

Her arms splashed, splatters of mud crossing her vision, catching the moonlight like shooting stars. She moved with him, hearing a low, uncontrolled whimpering from the back of her throat. Her arms splashed harder and harder in frustrated joy, desperate to increase the feelings, to truly become one with his body and one with the mud and earth.

Her head spun, but still she wanted more and found her arms slapping across his back, her fingernails instinctively finding his flesh and digging in.

He bared his teeth and grunted, throwing his head back before smiling back at her and biting his lip, accepting her challenge. He thrust harder, his pelvis pounding against her, her backside sinking deeper into the earth. Still she wanted more and her nails dug deeper and his face twisted in sudden anger.

You’re hurting him, she thought, but couldn’t make herself stop, as though the subtle threat that she would tear his flesh if he stopped were her only means of communication.

As her whimpering increased, he grunted a deep growl, matching the twitch of her fingertips, and their voices melded into an animalistic song of passion.

He pulled back, throwing his arms up to grab her wrists and drag them away from their clawing. He gripped both wrists in one massive palm, forcing them into the wet earth above her head. She struggled, gritting her teeth and screaming at the effort, desperate to close the distance between them, but her arms continued to sink slowly into the mud, held hard and tight in his hand.

The thrusting came again and again and the sensations rippled through her flesh. She struggled and twisted, but he held tight and finally she let herself relax, secure in his control.

She sank into the helplessness, focusing on his hands wrapped tightly around her wrists, her breasts swaying in the open breeze and the throbbing waves from below, and she simply let it happen.

She screamed as the pulsing threatened to take her to another world, violent spasms running up her body as they pounded together. She considered holding back as though this pleasure never should have been, but as it slowly overcame her, she told herself that it was all a lie. The only truth lay in the forest, the ferns and the flesh.

Allowing herself to come into ecstasy, her mind drifted away as her screams echoed vibrantly and openly through the forest. The pulsing continued, up and up and up, as though the earth itself were rupturing beneath her.

Finally she heard him cry out, much quieter.

She lay panting as he lowered himself to rest against her and breathed into her neck. After a long moment his fingers loosened and slowly released her wrists.

No, she tried to speak. Don’t let me go… hold me down… I want to be yours… but she simply gazed back into his eyes as he released her.

The cold of the mud below came quickly to mind, stinging her suddenly as though a moment earlier she had existed in a world void of temperature, a world without any concepts more complex than passion or lust.

The cold night air slipped between them as he finally rose. She looked up as he stood above her. He held out a hand, but instead, her arms lay just where he had left them, as though she could still feel his hands around her wrists.

“Can you bring me my clothes?” she asked.

To her strangely delightful confusion, he shook his head. “No,” he said, and shrugged with a gleam in his eye. “I didn’t touch your clothes… to be honest I haven’t the slightest idea where you put them. Come on. Let me help you up, and I can carry you to the stream and we’ll wash up.”

She raised a hand to take his, but at the last second, locked her back and refused to budge. He stood questioningly, holding her hand.

“Would you like to wear my clothes back to the village?” he asked. “I can sneak back by myself if you’d like…”

She thought for a moment, then pulled his arm, trying to drag him back downward. After a moment he gave in and dropped back to his knees, then splashed down atop of her.

“No,” she said. “If we get caught, then we get caught.”

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