General Disclaimers: While it features no ‘on-screen’ sexual activity or explicit adult situations, this hypnofetish short does contain examples of fictional characters doing illegal, immoral and/or impossible things to other fictional characters. If you are under the age of consent in your community, are disturbed by such concepts, or want hot wet thrusting monkey-sex in your on-line pornography, then for goshsakes stop reading now!
Permission granted to re-post for free to any electronic medium, as long as no one's being charged to view it, and this disclaimer and e-mail address (email@example.com) are not removed. It would also be nice if you told me you were posting it.
Copyright Voyer, 2008.
Specific Disclaimers: This is another piece that's laid 3/4th finished in my archives for years. So here it finally is, inspired mostly by a short scene in one of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, with a little of a very minor Stephen King story tossed in.
Dedicated to Deccan Ribobe.
On the east side, the ocean running off to the horizon.
On the west, a tall jagged cliff topped with masses of thorns.
Overhead, gulls endlessly circling.
In the middle of it all, the beach.
A gull broke off and spiraled down towards the sand, which was heavily littered with seaweed, enormous chunks of driftwood and other less identifiable things. The gull landed near one of the pieces of wood, which was smooth and purposely shaped, dangling here and there with bits of rope. Clinging to it was a woman. Her long elaborate dress still showed its original fine craftsmanship, but it also now showed more of the curves of the tall firm body which it had been wrapped around. The long black hair attached to the body’s head slithered out onto the sand in tangled knots. The gull hopped closer..
The woman moaned and shifted, sending the gull squawking back to the sky. Then her eyes fluttered and she coughed, choking up a last gout of seawater from a pair of healthy young lungs, and peeled her head up off of the sand-encrusted surface of the spar. The sun beat down mercilessly as she squinted around her, her dark gaze puzzled.
Where am I?
It took a deliberate effort to unpry her fingers from their death-grip on her impromptu raft. She crawled to her knees, coughed again, then rose swaying to her feet.
The ship. The storm. Came up so suddenly.
She remembered now. They had all been up on deck, she and Alexius and Gregor and the others. Watching that bank of black clouds come racing towards them, as the crew scrambled around, trying to... to do whatever it was that ships’ crews do in such circumstances. Finally, Captain Withers had ordered, actually ordered, them to go below. But after hearing the stories, she had wanted to see... had come back up on deck when the others weren’t watching...
And now she was here. The process by which she had arrived was a jumble, but the broad strokes of the situation were obvious. It took an effort to form the strong firm angles of her face into a petulant frown, but she possessed the willpower to manage it. She then brushed wet sand off of her hands and shaded her eyes, scanning up and down the beach. Apart from the previously described debris, there were only small birds scurrying frenetically along the shoreline. A small crab or two lumbering about. The waves lapped docilely, nudging at the logs they had earlier been tossing about like a child’s flipsticks.
Then she saw movement at the base of the rocky cliff, nothing alive, but..
Water. A stream? She suddenly realized she was parched, her lips cracked. She started towards the tantalizing flicker, falling again as the remains of her skirt dragged and tangled in the wet sand. She scooped up what she could in her hands and hurried on. As she left the water’s edge the sand immediately turned warm and soft, shifting against the soles of her feet. She wondered at what point she’d lost her shoes...
Her destination was more waterfall than stream, but this was not a time to bother with petty details. The water was fresh, and icy cold. She caught a large handful and slurped it down, instantly setting off a violent spasm of fresh coughing. Her stomach churned, but there was nothing left in it to be rejected. After a moment the heaving stopped, and she took another, smaller mouthful. This went down better.
Her salt-soaked garments were quickly drying the in the morning’s heat, hardening up like plaster.
She stared up and down the beach again. No one. The various bits and pieces were itching and chafing horribly now. After a last spasm of agonized debate, she decided that if someone did turn up, being rescued would, if only just barely, outweigh any embarrassment...
She began scrabbling for the buttons that ran down her back, what ones remained at least.
Where is that wretched girl Camellia when one needs her?
She finally succeeding in extracting herself from the garment, revealing even more (but not all, oh no) of the delightful secrets she’d kept so carefully hidden from the world, even (especially) from persistent Gregor. She looked around again, defiantly, half-expecting a crowd of low-class gawkers to have materialized out of thin air. No one.
She held the dress at arm’s length and stared at it bemusedly. Then vague childhood memories surfaced, watching the Estate’s wash-staff at work, and she jammed the dress under the steady froth of the waterfall, shook it dubiously back and forth. It emerged looking slightly better, or at least no worse, and she laid it out on a convenient rock to dry. Then...
Nanny’s lessons about hygiene also came floating back to her. Nanny had been a firm believer in the notion that full immersion in water equaled instant pneumonia, beating the lesson into her charges through years of luke-warm sponge-baths. The young woman looked up at the sun, rising higher and higher above the cliff, and decided that the only way she’d get pneumonia here was if she slept in the waterfall all night. She took a deep breath and ducked in.
She emerged shivering from the falls, waded from the overflow, but she and her hair and her undergarments were clean, and they all quickly dried. The dress lay bleaching on the rock. She scooped it up and managed to get everything more-or-less reassembled in the proper order. Even dry, the dress continued to trip her up, and she was forced finally to rip off a large swatch at the bottom, scandalously revealing her ankles. As she stewed about this, her stomach growled. She looked around, vaguely hoping a... banana bush or something... had appeared when she wasn’t looking. Just as the crowd before it, it had not.
In one direction, the beach appeared to grow ever more narrow and stony, so she started trudging glumly in the other direction, alongside the endless cliff, draping the ripped train over her head as a make-shift veil.
Perhaps a quarter of an hour later, she rounded a distinct outcrop of rock, and abruptly found herself in a small, semi-sheltered cove. Another, larger, stream spilled down the cliff, and piled beside it, back against the cliffs, was a sort of microcosm of the beach: a tight tangle of logs, rocks, and other, less identifiable, objects. It was a moment before she realized that it was man-made, not storm debris. It was a hut. Or perhaps ‘hovel’ or ‘shanty’ would be a more appropriate label. But the overall effect was strangely.. symmetrical...
She approached cautiously. There was no immediate sign of life, but a much-used cooking pit lay cold and dark. A snarl of netting engulfed two upright poles. A wooden framework stood nearby, with numerous strange brown objects stretched across it. She poked at this last landmark..
“Whadda YOU peerin’ at?”
She screamed, and fell backwards onto the sand as the grainy voice cut through the silence, breaking the gull-pattern overhead. A piece of the hut detached itself and rose up. She stared back in speechless surprise from the ground.
The man.. it was evidently a man.. twitched and hopped from one enormous grimy foot to the other, clutching something in a bulging fist: a scrap of wood which might once have been longer, and painted. He stood gnarled and twisted, hunched over, masses of gray hair sprouting out in every direction, merging with the wild assortment of rags wrapped around his scrawny body. Two black eyes suspiciously peered out over a rampart of a nose which jutted from the.. foliage.
“Ah SAID, whadda you peerin’ at?” He spoke a familiar tongue, but so contorted and debased she had to struggle to understand it.
“Who.. who... are you?” She finally squeaked.
“Who.. who’m AH? You got yer nerve, askin’ me thet! Snoopin’ around. Movin’ things outta place! This is mah beach! It’n ‘longs to me! This here’s..” He suddenly paused, apparently baffled. “..here’s.. uh... Gan! Gan’s beach! Yeah. Gan. Ah’m Gan, and this here’s MAH beach.”
She struggled back to her feet, and glared at this strange apparition as she brushed off her dress yet again. Seeing how he skittered and jumped around, her fright ebbed away.
“You can keep your silly old beach. I don’t want it. I want off it. Where’s the nearest town?”
“Silly? SILLY?!” ‘Gan’ appeared to be on the verge of total paroxysm. “Yeah, it’s old, way older’n you know, missy, but mah beach ain’t..” again he broke off, and blinked. When he did this, the black pits vanished for a moment and his face became oddly featureless. “Town? Ain’t no town. Ain’t nothing here now ‘cept th’ beach. Mah beach.”
“What do you mean, there’s no town? There’s always a town!”
“AIN’T - NO - TOWN. Jus’ th’ cliffs.” (Point with the stick) “Th’ ocean” (point) “n’ th’ beach. Mah beach.” (emphatic point). N’ if you walk fer ‘nough in either direction, ain’t no more beach. Just cliffs n’ ocean.”
“You mean we’re trapped here?”
“Ah ain’t trapped here. Mebbe... mebbe you is, but I ain’t. Cuz it’s mah beach.”
“You said that already. Your beach.” She stared out over the waves for a long moment, her heart sinking as she noticed how many sharp jagged rocks were poking out of them...
She turned back to Gan.
“How did you get here? Were you shipwrecked, like me?”
“Shipw.. came in a boat. yeah. A big boat. Looong time now. Ah.. we was.. lookin’ fer somthin’. Somthin’ important. But like Ah said, it was gone. Busted up. Only thing left... the beach.. Ah found it. Others.. left or somthin’.” In one of his apparently characteristic subject shifts, he squinted at her. “What’s yer name, missy?”
She drew herself up and glared down the length of her own sharply elegant (if now sunburned) nose.
“I am.. Violeta Angelica de Anstron. My father is the fifteenth Duke of
Windcaster, loyal and favored subject of the King of the Isle of the Blue McGuffins.” She frowned. Just for a second there, her own name sounded strange on her lips.
“Duke o’.. Ah knew a Duke once. Ah liked ‘im. Where was thet? On th’ boat? Nah. Before that.” He scratched at his head absently.
“I doubt you’ve ever met any dukes.” Violeta shook off her own preoccupation in order to sneer.
“You don’t know nothin’.” The comment had no venom; Gan was still staring absently off into space.
“See here, there simply must be a way off the beach. Haven’t you tried to climb the cliffs? Built a.. a... ladder.. out of all this wood?” He ignored her. Years of training prompted her to say “Mr. Gan”, but her tongue rebelled at the concept. “GAN!”
He came back from wherever he had been.
“Eh? Climb? No. Can’t climb. Can’t move the stuff?! Come ‘n look.” He scuttled toward to the cliff, pausing en route to adjust a bit of wood by kicking at it. When she joined him, he pointed again with the stick. The cliffs were made of some sharp black rock. Violeta ran a tentative finger across the surface, and immediately drew blood. She stared at the wound in dismay, then looked more closely at the rocks.. they were strangely regular, even patterned.. She stepped back... The cove as a whole..
Something she had seen once, in her.. in somone’s old book..
“See? Can’t climb. Whole cliff is like thet. N’ those thornbarbs at the top, dripping that fizz... ‘Sides, don’t wanna climb. Got mah beach. Keep it tidy, keep itn order, beach gives me everything ah need. Wall... most everythin’...”
Violeta tore her gaze away, and looked over at him bleakly.
“And.. and no one ever comes here? Ever?”
“Useda come. Come from all th’ Wide World. Not no more.” He looked at the gulls, his expression bleak and yet satisfied. Then.. “Wall.. nah. There was them two young fellers.. how longsit bin? Year? Three years? Didn’t stay long. Left kinda sudden... wanted somethin’..”
“Left?” She seized on the word. “How did they leave?”
“Can’t recall... mebbe it’ll com t’ me..”
Violeta groaned, and resisted the urge to grab and shake him. Her stomach growled again, louder.
Gan heard the noise, and jacked his eyebrows skyward, a flourishing and complex operation.
“Oh yeah... mustbe... lurch? Nah. Forgit th’ words.. Lunch. Yah. Or dinner. Or supper. One o’ them. C’mon. Ah’ve got some grub.” His earlier anger completely evaporated, he waved her to follow him back to the.. hut. She stared as he again stopped to adjust the piece of wood, then hunger overruled her larger concerns, and she stalked after him.
The black hole in the side of the hut strongly resembled one of its owner’s eyes. The thought of ever going in there... It swallowed Gan for a long moment, then disgorged him carrying a large wooden.. she supposed it had started its existence long ago as some sort of tray.. and it was heaped with an assortment of..
She couldn’t begin to identify the objects, except for the tooterfish, easily the biggest one she’d ever seen. Gan deposited the tray on a large flat rock and helpfully began pointing.
“Got blubberwart, saltsprouts, spinecrab, prickle-eel, sea-wumpus...”
“Prickle-eel?” She stared. “Back on.. back home.. that is so rare, the King reserves it for his own Table!”
Gan shrugged, and snapped up the indicated morsel.
“Got plenty here. Net ‘em all th’ time.” He started to cram it into his mouth, then eyed Violeta for a long moment, tore it roughly in half, ate one of the resulting pieces and grudgingly offered the other to her. She plucked it gingerly from his calloused fingers, and sniffed at it.
Her mouth filled with saliva, and her stomach screamed.
She nibbled at it.
It was the most delicious thing she had ever eaten in her entire life.
Between them, they wiped the tray clean.
The young woman just had the strength to wash in the waterfall, guzzle more of its icy water.
She lay on the soft warm sand, her stomach exquisitely bulging, and stared up, as the waves crashed and the gulls circled overhead..
Yeramiah cursed and leaned into the oars, swinging the skiff around in the surf. Yonathan jabbed at the nearest of the black threatening rocks with his pike, pushing them away from the jags.
“I take oath before- the Face of the foaming Farside, this is the- last time I sail out to this- drowned place.” Yeramiah snarled between strokes.
“You say that every year, knave.” His brother retorted absently, most of his concentration focused on the rock. “You know it’s worth it. But if you’ve latched on to how he gets the skins that he does, I’ll stop coming here in a heartbeat.”
“Shut - yer - foaming - trap.”
A swell suddenly took mercy on the skiff and its occupants, and vaulted them safely through the last row of rocks and into the surf foaming benignly at the shore. Yonathan slipped the pike back into its holder and vaulted over the side with practiced ease, dragging the craft up onto relatively solid ground as the water swirled up around his oiled leather boots. Yeramiah secured the oars and followed, stepping over the tarpaulin-covered pile strapped down in the middle of the skiff.
They stood under the shadow of the black cliffs, and looked down the long, empty, beach.
“Where is the knave?”
“He’ll be here. And don’t call him knave. Not as long as we’re here.”
“The wretch is probably finally dead. Just our luck.”
The two fishermen spun around. A figure detached itself from shadows of the cliffs.
“Sake of the Face, Gan, you...” Yonathan trailed off. “Gan?”
The figure that wafted out into the sunlight looked like Gan at first glance- the same bleached-out rags, hair going everywhichway. But no. Only a glance. Taller, straighter, the hair was black, and there was no sign of a beard...
“No. Not Gan. Gan’ll be ‘long in a moment. You all got th’ stuff?”
“Yes... the ale and the grains.. and..” Yonathan gestured vaguely toward the waiting skiff. “Who...”
The figure smiled, showing a set of straight, white teeth.
“Who’m ah? Leta. Leta Gan.” Yeramiah’s eyes trailed down the.. woman’s?.. body. Yes. definitely a woman... the sun-bleached rags barely concealed the (surprisingly clean) delights underneath. He swallowed convulsively and looked away, his entire skin suddenly crawling under his own clothes. He wanted to leave this place, bad.
‘Leta’ giggled as she towed a rock into a new position. “Good thing Gan finally ‘membered why you fellers came here. Gan’s awful forgetful at times, ‘bout stuff that ain’t.. sorry.. important. Had to rush ‘round at th’ last minute, getting things ready for you. But ah’m to help ‘im remember stuff now.. Ah! Here he comes...” She scampered off down the bright sand, her long strong legs carrying her towards a figure that toiled along with a massive stack of sea-wumpus skins strapped to its back. As the two fishermen watched, they met and kissed. For several seconds.
“I don’t latch on. I don’t want to latch on.”
“He got her the same place he gets those skins, didn’t he?”
“I suppose so. Now shut yer foamin’ gob or I’ll throttle you and take my chances on getting past the rocks alone. Knowing Gan, I’ll be able to get some extra skins for your foamin’ carcass.”
Yonathan looked over at him, opened his mouth, and closed it again.
The two fisherman had departed with their skins, and all of the trade goodies had been stored safely away. Even the beach couldn’t provide everything, and trading the skins was a small price to pay..
Leta curled up with Gan, both of them swallowed up in the dark belly of their hut (their hut. It was so keen to say the words over and over...). Gan snored contentedly beside her. As always, Leta Gan was wildly, ecstatically, happy, but seeing those two fellers in their boat, smelling the ale on Gan’s breath, had brought in a strange tide of... pictures? She puzzled over them in the darkness, mixing them and spreading them before her, trying to make ‘em fit together. Weird scenes of wide green... lawns, and sipping brown liquid from thin cups and whacking... little balls through wire hoops...
The gulls squalled, all of them, all at once. A new tide, deep and black, flowed smoothly in over her mind, and effortlessly pulled her eyes shut, plunged her down into the cool, dreamless, depths. Morning came, and she got up, scraped her finger across the black Stones, stood forever in the Waterfall head tipped eyes rolled back. Her memory came out washed as clean and shiny as her body.
She gathered grub for her husband.
She was happy. Far more importantly, Gan was happy.
And most important of all, the beach was happy.
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