Another World

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River spent most of her time outdoors. There were few indoor places that she really wanted to be. When she had to be home, she hid in her room with a book and headphones on, trying not to hear her parents fighting. She could barely remember times that they weren’t fighting. The woods around her house were more her home.

She did have friends—well, primarily one friend. Alice. They would explore together on their bikes: sometimes into town, sometimes along the deer paths in the forest, sometimes up the foothills towards the mountains, sometimes down to the river. They had met when the two were thirteen, in art class at the middle school. Alice was new and River was lonely. They both enjoyed alone time, but it became evident very quickly that they preferred each other’s company to anybody else’s. They would visit each other’s houses and make crafts or write plays that they would perform. They lived in a fantasy world, far past the age that most people do. They would make costumes out of leaves and prepare feasts of inedible wild berries.

When River was sixteen, Alice convinced her to let her dye her hair. Alice’s hair was very dark, and to dye it any color would require an ocean of bleach. River’s hair, however, was a light blonde that turned even lighter in the summer. They made an afternoon of it, playing records in the background while Alice rubbed dye in her hair. The color was lavender, and they both laughed when it was done, as River spun in circles, her shoulder-length hair flying, sending little droplets of purple all over her bathroom.

They let the color fade down until her hair was long and had only tips of purple. She was seventeen now.

They both excelled at school, but would play hooky sometimes if it was an exceptionally beautiful day and the earth was calling them. It was their senior year, and it was autumn, and the trees were on fire, and they could barely sit in their classrooms.

It was after a day spent quietly by the river, lying on rocks, leaves falling around them, that they got the news. Alice’s family was moving again, this time to Japan. 6,600 miles away. Wordlessly, they grabbed their bikes and rode up the hills, climbing higher than they ever had before. They finally stopped, exhausted, to drink water and rest by the side of the road. Alice cried. They held each other.

A few weeks later, River helped Alice’s family load their things into a moving van. They didn’t promise to write or to stay in touch—it didn’t need to be said. They sat on a mattress in a moving van, frozen in this afternoon. River ran her hands through Alice’s hair and hummed a song they had made up.

That night, River snuck out of her house and walked to the clearing in the trees nearby. She laid down her blanket and spread out on it. She watched the stars. “Alone again,” she murmured. Sleep came sooner than she expected.

For her eighteenth birthday, she blew out a candle on a cupcake and got to listen to her parents fight about her future. College seemed so far off. All she wanted was the woods. If she had to pick a career, park ranger seemed the closest to something that would actually fulfill her. But she thought seriously about just surviving somewhere—bringing some seeds and tools and foraging and living in the woods. Alone. She was meant to be alone, she supposed.

It was the dead of winter and the fact that she was an adult now meant nothing to her. Later that evening, she lay in her bed, trying to drown out the yelling with her heaviest music, but everything felt hopeless. What was the point of going to sleep? Going on in general? The only person who had ever really loved her was gone, and the possibility of seeing her again was so distant, so vague, that it didn’t seem real.

This was it. She couldn’t take anymore. She grabbed her backpacking gear and began to pack. Warm clothes, light clothes—she didn’t know how long she’d be gone. A few books. The stuffed deer that Alice had sewed her. The necklace they had made together, one for each of them: a felted acorn on a cord. A journal. She tiptoed to the panty and took what she could—nuts, dried fruit, canned beans, granola bars, bread—enough for now. She had money from walking dogs and could buy more food when she came across it.

She sat on her bed, eyes closed. What was missing? This almost felt right. But there was something…she lay down and searched the ceiling. Then it occurred to her, and she made her way to the bathroom. Grabbing her scissors, she cut her hair back to shoulder length. Searching in her cabinet for what was left of that old dye, she followed the instructions and rested while it soaked in. She took what was probably the last shower she would have for a while, and then slept, setting her alarm for sunrise.

When the alarm went off, she jumped out of bed, feeling more rested than she had since she and Alice would sleep together, curled into a ball. She left a note in the kitchen saying that she was safe, but she had to leave. Pulling a fleece-lined illegal bahis hat on over her short lavender hair, she wrapped herself in warm clothes and took off into the snowy wilderness, her necklace nestled under her sweater, scarf, and coat.

She walked until the sun was high overhead. She still knew where she was—she had crossed the iced-over river, and was skirting along the edges of the nearest mountain—but if she kept going at this pace, she would be out of her depth by tomorrow. That was fine by her. She built a fire and sat by it quietly, eating baked beans from a can. She wrote in her journal, noting all the birds she had observed and musing on the silence of winter, with all the insects dead or quiet.

She slept in her tent that night, covered in long underwear, wool socks, and a fleece hat. It was peaceful.

When the sun rose in the morning, she packed up and went on her way again. This land was less familiar to her—she knew generally where she was, thanks to her map and compass, but hadn’t been here before. When she came to a stream, she cracked the ice and filtered water into her bottles.

She was sitting, pumping, watching the water flow through the filter’s tube, when she heard a sound in the woods behind her. She turned her head quickly to see a stag observing her. He was clearly aware of her, but also exhibited a nonchalance that made her smile. He munched on the bark from a branch, keeping a lazy eye on her. She had always wished she could talk to animals and have them be her companions, her friends. Without really knowing what she was doing, she began to walk closer to the stag, a gentle hand outreached. He didn’t run away, but looked at her almost knowingly. She was close enough to touch him, but instead sank to her knees and reached out her hands, seeing if he would come to her. After a long moment, he leaned his head down and nuzzled her hands. Her laughter was quiet but full of innocent delight.

He looked into her eyes and stamped his foot gently, turning away purposefully, and looking back at her again. It seemed imaginary, the way he was so clearly indicating that she should follow him. But she had always been quick to fall to imagination. She finished pumping water while he waited, and then she trailed after him. They walked all day, her attention so fixed on the stag that she lost complete track of where they were.

Was this real? Was it getting warmer even though the sun was going down? She began to shed items of clothing, moving on as though in a trance. Like stop-motion photography of winter turning to spring, the snow melted around her, and green grew up in abundance. She had to stop to change out of her long underwear, and the stag waited patiently for her. Newly clad in brown hemp shorts and a grey tank top, she followed him into the unknown again.

This land didn’t look anything like what she knew. The earth was incredibly rich, almost volcanic, and the plants were seemed more tropical, or at least temperate, compared to her hardy New England flora. This was seeming more and more like a dream by the moment. Had she gone entirely off the deep end? Did it matter?

Darkness seemed to be taking forever to fall. The sunset sat stubbornly in the sky like a child who doesn’t want to leave a playdate. They reached the top of a mountain, without her even realizing that they had been climbing a mountain. Luminous colors painted the view below—definitely not New England. She was in some kind of gentle jungle.

She didn’t pitch her tent that night. She slept under the stars, curled up with her companion.

Dawn broke and she awoke to find herself resting alone. She looked around and her heart jumped at the sight of a young man sitting on the peak of the mountain, legs dangling over a rock at the edge. His skin was a light brown, almost like the fur of the stag. His hair was a jumble of almond-colored curls. But what really struck her was his nudity. She stared at him for a while, looked around for her animal friend, and then stared at him for a while longer.

Finally, she crept over to where he was and stood a little ways behind him. “Hello?” she said tentatively.

He turned around to smile at her. His eyes were large and expressive, with long eyelashes. His irises were amber and a dark brown that looked like the soil. He was beautiful.

“Hello,” he said, still smiling as though speaking to an old friend.

“Do…do I know you?” she stammered.

He reached out a hand, which she took instinctively. He guided her to sit next to him. She blushed at being so close to his naked body but tried to keep her eyes level with his.

“We’ve been traveling together,” he said, confirming what she hadn’t dared to wonder.

“But…how?”

“This isn’t where you are from. Life works differently here. We can be all forms. I visit your world sometimes. I was drawn to you. I could tell you were lost. That you needed a home. So I brought you here.”

“I wasn’t lost. I had a compass.”

“Not illegal bahis siteleri that sort of lost.”

She wasn’t sure what to say. Their hands were still touching. She did feel…at peace here.

“Is this your home?” she asked, awash with curiosity.

“Not quite. We’re on our way. I live by that waterfall,” he said, pointing down below, where she could see a magnificent waterfall catching the light of the sunrise. “I think you will like it.”

They sat together in silence for a while. The air was sweet here. She felt like it was holding her, wrapping her in its warmth. When the sun finally broke free of the horizon, he stood up, pulling her up with him. She started for her backpack to find food, but he shook his head and indicated for her to look overhead. The trees above them were heavy with fruit. He climbed up and picked some. They were sweet, fresh, and filling. She closed her eyes while she bit into them and felt absolute bliss.

Soon they made their way down the mountain, towards his home. They walked all day, stopping only to eat fruit from the trees. There were so many different kinds, and she was delighted by every new one. He encouraged her to drink water straight from the streams. It tasted pure.

It was sunset again by the time they reached his home. She gasped when she saw it: a huge, multi-story treehouse alongside the waterfall. The vapor from the waterfall cast rainbows across her vision, and she reached for his hand. He smiled at her and squeezed her hand.

The sun shot streamers of violent light into the sky, holding on for dear life as it sunk into the treeline. He jumped into the pool at the base of the falls and gestured for her to follow him. Without thinking of modesty—perhaps because she had gotten used to his bare form—she stripped off her clothes, completely bare besides her delicate necklace, and slipped into the cool water, her slight frame enveloped by its healing ripples. They swam together, cleansing their bodies of sweat and dirt. Her light violet hair shimmered. She couldn’t take her eyes off him. He was lithe but powerful, like the stag. His face held so much gentleness and kindness.

They floated together in the water as the stars began to come out.

“Why me?” she asked, simply.

He held her hand again. “You’re pure of heart. You belong here.”

It was her turn to smile at him.

Finally, they climbed out of the water, and she left her clothes on the ground without a thought. They climbed into the treehouse, up to the very top, where the roof was only slats with space between to see the messy splatter of stars. There was a soft bed, made of a substance that felt almost like moss. He had a quilt that seemed out of place—he explained that he had found it abandoned on one of his excursions to her world. They curled up together under the quilt, exhausted from their journey, but wide awake with excitement and appreciation of the life all around them.

Their hands played under the cover, exploring the ridges of each other’s knuckles and the softness of each other’s palms. Their bodies were so close, so warm, trembling with life. As he ran his fingers lightly over her sensitive palm, he pressed his lips to hers. Kissing him was like drinking sunlight. She ran her fingers through his hair as their tongues had a wordless conversation. He moved his mouth down her neck as his hands spread her arms out, touching their tender undersides. She whimpered as he found her breasts, taking one nipple into his mouth and then the other. He held her arms down gently as he explored her collarbones and chest with his searching tongue.

She had never experienced anything like this before. Not even a kiss. And this was everything, all at once. It felt perfect.

He let go of her arms to move farther down the bed, and she quickly moved her hands to touch him, feeling the soft hair on his forearms and across his chest. She followed the hair down to his bellybutton but he moved down out of reach with a smile. Spreading her legs apart, he kissed her inner thigh, starting from her knee and moving higher and higher, before switching to the other one. She was wet and aching for him. He moved up to kiss her one more time, his hard cock brushing against her wetness, before sinking down between her legs with a purposeful lick.

She sighed with lust. The stars felt like they were massaging her whole body, while his tongue darted around her swollen clit. She couldn’t take how good it felt, and wrapped her legs around him with a pathetic whimper. He traced around her every fold before slipping his tongue inside her, eliciting a moan. He kissed his way back up to her clit and watched her raptured face while he pressed a finger into her tight virginity. She gasped as he slid it deeper inside her, opening her up. He found her g-spot and tapped against it, making her cry out, her back arching in shock.

Running his other hand lightly across her sensitive breasts, he swirled around her clit canlı bahis siteleri and probed inside her. River was drowning in some sort of blanket of pleasure, and yet she felt lifted up at the same time. The stars beat down on her and she opened her eyes wide to take it all in. Her body began to shake and the pleasure ran through her blood, filling her with what felt like a combination of liquid star silver and fresh orange fruit. She couldn’t tell if she was screaming or absolutely silent. Her hips were rocking back and forth against him, but she froze as the sensation of his touch paralyzed her and filled her body with a feeling that felt so wonderful it was almost painful. Was she crying? Her orgasm erased her from reality for what felt like hours.

When she came to, he was lying next to her on the bed, holding her. She turned to him and they kissed with quiet rapture.

She pulled away just for a moment—”I love you,” she whispered.

He kissed her back. He didn’t need to say it. They fell asleep together.

The sun came timidly into the sky the next morning, washing everything with the palest blue. They awoke at the same time.

Silently, they climbed down the treehouse to the pool. The roar of the waterfall was a comforting constant. They swam again, and it was like a purifying ritual. River could feel all of her burdens that still remained wash away. She felt like a leaf in the water.

After drying off in the sun, he suggested they go exploring and climb the next mountain over. She laughed with surprise and delight when he transformed into a massive wild cat, and indicated that she should sit on his back. She held on tight as he padded through the jungle, splashing through streams. She rubbed his ears and he purred as he climbed higher and higher. When they reached the scraggly rocks near the peak, he turned into a man again, and they scaled it together. They lay in the sun, feeling the wind evaporate their sweat.

When the heat of the high sun on their bare skin grew too strong, they went back under the cooling trees. They picked and ate fruit, throwing pits playfully at each other. They set off again, and came across a beautiful fallen tree, covered in moss—a whole ecosystem built on death. They explored it together, touching the mushrooms and the lichen.

Suddenly he grabbed her hand and pulled her to him, pressing their naked bodies together. She shivered with desire. He ran his fingers up and down her arms, stopping finally to massage her neck and kiss her. She felt him grow hard against her as they kissed, his strong hands kneading her soft skin. He pulled away for a moment and looked deep into her eyes. He twirled her lavender hair in his fingers and tucked it lovingly behind her ear. His other hand found its way between her legs. He smiled when he felt how wet she was. He could tell from the look in her eyes that she wanted him, all of him.

He kissed her once more and then firmly turned her away from him, pressing her back down until her chest was resting on the fallen tree. He rubbed her behind teasingly as she ached for him. Spreading her legs apart purposefully, he rubbed his thick head against her wetness. She moaned. This was so animalistic, so raw, so pure. She just wanted to give herself over to him completely. This was all she wanted.

He groaned lustfully as he pressed into her. She could feel her body opening, accepting him. There was some discomfort, but mostly just the incredible sensation of being filled and completed. With each inch he pushed in, he would pull out and slide back in, taking his time to let her body adapt to him being inside her. His penis was long and thick, and fitting inside her was no easy task, but he was patient, and her moans encouraged him. When he finally filled her completely, he rested in place for a moment, just feeling her enveloping him. Her walls gripped him tightly. She ran her hands over the soft moss of the tree and felt her whole body pulsating with need for him. She was finally a woman.

He slid out and thrusted back in with force, making her cry out with shock and pleasure. He wrapped his calloused hands around her small waist and began to fuck her. She didn’t know how to handle how good it felt. She moaned each time he pounded into her, hitting all her trigger spots perfectly. She felt like her whole body was full of him—he was so big and powerful, and he was claiming her. It occurred to her that she was his mate. The thought excited her and she gave into her animal nature entirely, spreading her legs wider and letting him press deeper into her. It was hard to think anymore as he fucked her harder and harder, his raw passion guiding his frenzy. River whimpered as she felt herself approaching orgasm again, but this was different from last time. It was more savage. He took her harder as her screams filled the forest. He could feel her spasming around him, and the massage it gave him was too much to bear. He cried out as he exploded deep inside her, his voice joining hers in the cacophony of the jungle.

They were still for a moment, panting, resting, as his seed soaked into her. He leaned over, resting on her back, holding her. Her vision was spotty from the incredible sensation of what they had just done.

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