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The Creature from the Black Lagoon

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Title: Written on the Land 

Author/pseudonym: Tinnean 

Fandom: Creature from the Black Lagoon 

Pairing: David Reed/Creature 

Rating: NC-17 

Disclaimer: Not mine! Never mine! Okay, sorry, I’ve got myself under control now. This belongs to Universal-International, from the story written by Maurice Zimm. 

Status: new 

Date: 9/01 

Series/Sequel: No, but a variation of this pairing made an appearance in the It! The Terror from Beyond Space fiction, The One Who Got the Bullet Was Lucky. 

Summary: What appears to be a fossilized clawed hand is found on the Amazon. It leads scientist David Reed to uncover what he had buried in his subconscious years before. 

Warnings: cross species sex of the same gender, implied m/f, spoilers for the movie. 

Notes: According to the movie, the Creature was from the Devonian era, and was either 150 million years old, or the sole survivor of his species. I’ve decided to take this an entirely different route, and I have changed his looks a bit. For those who haven’t seen the movie, scientists travel up the Amazon in search of the rest of the body a fossilized hand belongs to, concluding it might be the connection between mammals and amphibians. The last thing they are prepared for is the living, breathing reality of the Creature.

 // represents mind speech.

This is for Athea, who really wanted me to give Dr. Dave to the Creature; for Gail, who’s willing to come along, no matter what; and as always, for Silk, because without her, I wouldn’t be doing this. 

Written on the Land


The pictures had been in my head for as long as I could remember, showing me things, showing me places, showing me beings that had never been seen on Earth. They told me with images that I was not alone, that someone was always with me. That I had a friend. 

Oh, my mother and father were there, and I knew they loved me. But they loved each other more, and looked on me as an intrusion, minor perhaps, but an intrusion nonetheless. My parents could live with me, but they could just as easily live without me. 

When I was old enough to hold a crayon between my fingers, I began to reproduce the images I saw behind my eyes. Mother patted my head and assumed I was drawing imaginary things. 

As I grew older, she told her friends that I had such an interest in fish, I was sure to be an ichthyologist when I grew up. I didn’t know then what an ichthyologist was, or I would have told her that the creature I drew wasn’t a fish. 

It was something my friend had often seen on his own world. For as I grew older, I realized that these thoughts were coming to me from someone who was not of this Earth. 

I knew what he looked like, although I didn’t know what he looked like, if you understand what I mean. He was very tall and very strong, and he had deep blue eyes and thick black hair. He was the most handsome man in the world, and no matter what I did, he loved me unconditionally. 

The only time I tried to tell her about him, she got this really uncomfortable look on her face and wound up taking me to a doctor who specialized in little boys who didn’t leave behind their imaginary friends. He kept asking me if Father touched me in inappropriate places. Or if he spanked me on my bare backside. 

I finally got tired of his stupid questions and told my parents I didn’t want to see him anymore. When they pressed me for a reason, I dispassionately repeated the doctor’s insinuations. 

I had never seen Father turn that shade of purple before. 

There was a lot of intense discussion that night, between my father and my mother. “For chrissake, Vivian! He’s only a boy! I should think you’d be proud he had such a vivid imagination!” 

“But this spaceman he claims talks to him…” 

“Do you want our friends to think I abuse the boy?” 

The next day, she called the doctor and cancelled my appointments with him. 

I breathed a sigh of relief, and learned never to talk about the friend who showed me such amazing tableaus. If Mother ever asked about him, uneasily awaiting my reply, I would give her a patented child-humoring-an-adult look and simply say, “Motherrr! I’m too big for that stuff now!” 

And she believed me. 


By the time I was ten, the images had long been interspersed with words, and my friend had told me of the many exploits of his crew. He was the captain of an exploratory ship that had been sent out to rechart planets with which his Confederation had long since lost contact. 

Whenever he spoke of this, his thoughts were tinged with sadness, although he refused to tell me why. The last time I pressed him about this, however, I somehow managed to slip behind the screen that shielded his innermost thoughts and saw the reason. 

He was not expecting to return to his home world! His commander had sent him out on a wild goose chase. His ship, Dev’o’s Honor, was running short of everything: supplies, fuel and equipment, and with each planetfall he lost more and more of his crew. 

It was a suicide mission! 

I withdrew in horror, and he never knew I had seen his deepest fears, that his ship would be condemned to wander through space until nothing living remained aboard. I had also seen the love he bore his chief engineer, and although I didn’t quite understand it, a stab of jealousy ripped at me. 

He. Was. My. Friend! 

Jealousy was an unfamiliar emotion, and this reaction shocked me. 

I was so ashamed of myself that I drew my own mental shield around me, effectively closing my friend out. 

His attempts to speak with me were rebuffed, and I could feel his confusion and sorrow. 

But he thought I was a good boy, and I could not let him see how bad I really was. 

After a couple of days in which I sternly lectured myself on the proper behavior of friends, I felt it was safe enough to reach out and touch his mind again. 

The relief of my friend was so great that I was filled with self-loathing, but again I shielded my emotions from him, telling him simply that there had been problems that had required all my attention. 

He never questioned that there had been problems before and I had never shut him out. 

And it never dawned on me that it was a two way street—if I could shut him out, then he could just as surely shut me out. 

But what he was concealing from me was far more life-shattering than I could ever have imagined. 


It was a protest, a howl, a scream of rage, railing against some unknown injustice. And it tore through my skull, yanking me violently out of a sound sleep. I had never known my friend to be so out of control. 

I whimpered from the pain in my head, the confusing images flowing in oranges and reds, vermilions and cochineals and colors I couldn’t name, slicing into my brain. 

Curled into a ball, my arms wrapped around my head, I burrowed deeper under the covers. My lips were bitten raw as I battled to keep my sobs as silent as possible. 

I wanted my mother, but I knew if I went looking for her, I’d simply be told I was too big a boy to come crying to her in the middle of the night, and she would order me back to my room. 

Protests of my own were flung from my mind into the vastness of the void. “Stop! Please stop! You’re hurting me! Please, please, please!” 

Abruptly the pain vanished. It was as if a soothing blanket of comfort settled over me, as if caring arms embraced me. 

//Hush, little one.// 

I should have been really frightened, but the warmth of that voice in my mind drove all my fears away. 

//What’s wrong?// I ventured to send the question out into the night. 

//Nothing is wrong, my precious little friend. Come the dawn, everything will be fine. I regret disturbing one so young.// 

//I’m not a baby!// I thought huffily. I had caught the image of something small and helpless. 

A ripple of wry amusement caressed my mind. //Go back to sleep, little one. And thank you.// 

//??// I was becoming very drowsy. 

//Your timely objection brought me out of my anger, and perhaps I shall be able to prevent this calamity which is about to overtake my ship.// 

//!!!// Suddenly wide-awake, terrified for my friend, it was a wordless protest. 

Soft tendrils of thought enfolded my mind, reassuring me that all would be well. //Sleep!// 

Unable to do anything by obey the subtle pressure that was nudging me back toward slumber, I projected a message I had never dared before. //Love you.// I wished I could hug him. 

//And I you, little one.// A sensation very like a kiss brushed my forehead as I drifted into sleep. 

The next morning when I awoke I reached for the mental connection with my friend. 

Only to find it gone.


Note: I did the best I could with the Portuguese, but desculpe. 

Part 1 

I sat up abruptly in bed, sure I had heard my name being called. 

The silence of the night met me. I rubbed a hand over my eyes and stilled as I realized I was not in my own room at my college dorm. 

The naked body next to mine in the rumpled bed was sprawled in sated slumber. My companion snuffled and snorted. Was it only yesterday that I had truly found that appealing? I eyed him uneasily, then carefully slipped out from under the covers. My clothes were scattered all over the room, and I quietly hunted the stray articles down. Stepping barefoot into my shoes, I tiptoed toward the door. 

“Davey? Don’t leave yet, love.” 

I felt as if my stomach wanted to crawl up into my throat. “I have to, babe. I’ve got a paper I have to finish and an early class I have to audit. I’ll…er, I’ll call you, okay?” 

I was out the door before he could answer me. Of course I’d never call him, never sleep with him again, never have anything more to do with him. 

He called me ‘love’. Maybe it was a slip of the tongue, but then again, maybe he meant it. I had told him from the start that all it could be between us was just sex, that I didn’t believe in love, but it looked as if he hadn’t believed me. 

Either way, I couldn’t take the chance. Loving someone hurt too fucking much. 


 The next morning, I sat in the front row of the lecture hall, enthralled by the guest speaker. Dr. Carl Maia was a compactly built Brazilian with dark good looks and a fascination with his chosen field of paleontology that flashed in his brown eyes. 

He spoke of the strange things that had been found along the Amazon, which was so long it almost bisected the South American continent. 

Leaning forward to take in each word that fell from his lips, his full, sculpted lips, my own lips parted and I felt my… interest begin to stir. Periodically his tongue would peek out to moisten them as he paused to gather his thoughts. 

“And so,” he said, bringing his lecture to a conclusion, “we continue to learn from those that came before us, whether mammalian or amphibian, or a curious blend of the two. Remember, gentlemen. And you, also, young lady.” He nodded graciously to the one coed who sat before him, her skirt hiked high above her knees. “The record of life is written on the land.” 

There was applause, and the older man beamed appreciatively. 

I would have liked to remain behind, to talk further with him. That remark about the link between mammal and amphibian was intriguing. 

However, his interest looked to be claimed by the young woman who was now leaning forward, giving him an eyeful of her bounteous endowments. That sweater couldn’t have been any tighter if it had been spray-painted on her! 

I stifled a sigh. It wasn’t important, anyway. He really wasn’t the type I usually made a play for, short, blond and androgynous. 

And he was a professor. I made it a point never to get involved with my instructors. I knew the end result would be that they would fall in love with me, and when they realized I would never reciprocate, I would wind up with a failing grade. I couldn’t chance it. My goal was to be the youngest PHD in the university’s history. 

“One moment, young man!” 

Startled, I turned as Dr. Maia gave the girl a rueful smile and left her sitting there, rather disgruntled. 

“You wanted to speak with me, Dr. Maia?” 

“You are David Reed, yes?” 

“Yes, I am. How did you know?” 

“I have my, how do you say, sources?” His smile was charming, and I regretted that I would be unable to taste it. 

“What can I do for you, Doctor?” 

He linked his arm with mine and urged me to begin walking with him. “We go have a café, coffee, yes? And you will tell me what you thought of my discurso? Speech?” 

I was flattered. Usually, when I was interested in someone I was the one who made the first move. Life was too short to wait for the object of my fascination to decide to approach me. And if I were turned down, well, there was always the next one. 

I had a reputation for being a Don Juan, but I was about to be instructed by a master. 


We went to a coffee house off campus, and Dr. Maia procured us two coffees, black, no sugar. I wondered how he knew my preference. 

His dark eyes gleamed as he raised his cup to sample the brew, and then he grimaced. “Ah, my young friend, someday you must come to Brazil as my guest, and you will sample real café!” 

I studied the fragrant liquid in my cup, hesitant to let him see the desire that was sweeping through me. “I’d like that very much, senhor.” I began to trace random patterns on the tabletop. “What did you wish to speak with me about, Dr. Maia?” 

“Seu pai, your father, he disapproves of this trail of broken hearts you leave behind wherever you go. He wishes me to persuade you to change your ways.” 

The smile I tossed him was slightly bitter. “That is an old conversation between my father and I. He wishes me to give him grandchildren at some point.” 

“This is the hope of most parents.” 

“It will never happen. Did he by chance tell you that those broken hearts I’ve left behind all belong to the male of the species? That I have no desire to bed a woman?” 

“To get a child, it is not necessary to love its mother,” he remarked dispassionately. 

“This is true, but it is necessary to want its mother, at least enough to achieve an erection.” I shrugged. “For me, that is impossible.” 


“And why did he choose you for this task, senhor?” Father would never permit such intimate family skeletons to be revealed to an outsider. 

“I have a little experience in these matters myself. Although I prefer to take men to my bed, I have a number of children in Rio. It can be done.” 

“No!” I stood abruptly, my chair almost tipping over, and took some bills from my pocket to toss onto the table. “I told you, that is not an option for me! Never!” 

Perhaps he saw how the knowledge of never fathering a child ate at my secret soul. Perhaps he was aware of how the weight of my father’s disapproval was like acid on my emotions. Perhaps… 

Perhaps, nothing. It was unimportant. I turned to leave, and the other man seized my wrist, pulling me to a sudden halt. 

“I have completed the commission your father set out for me. You will do as you will, being true to yourself.” Dr. Maia turned over my restless hand, his fingertips caressing the thin skin above my pulse, which rocketed out of control. “Now I may speak for myself. Am I being presumptuous in thinking I might persuade you to consider taking an old man such as myself into your bed?” 

My lips parted and my cock became rigid. I dropped back into my seat and moaned softly, a sound that only he was close enough to hear. “You are not an old man, senhor. And truthfully, I would like nothing better. But then you would fall in love with me, and when I couldn’t love you back you would fail me!” 

“Quite the cock of the walk, aren’t you, young David?” 

“That does sound conceited. Perdoe-me, senhor. Pardon me.” I rose once more to take my leave of the suave Brazilian, but his next words shocked me to immobility. 

“You overlook one simple fact, young man. I am merely a visiting lecturer; my course is not graded. And I promise you, if I am so foolish as to fall in love with you, I will not hold you responsible.” 

Of course he would. I had learned that the first time I let a lover sink himself into my willing body. I had liked it, but not to the point that I would commit to a monogamous relationship. 

But I wanted him. And I never denied myself a body I wanted. 

“Very well, senhor. Your place, or mine?” 

His teeth flashed in a blinding grin. “Perhaps you know of someplace else, caro. It would not be wise for me to be seen with such a charming young man in my rooms on campus.” 

Of course. It was imperative to be discreet. “If you’ll come with me?” 

“Oh, yes, David. And you will come with me!” 


We entered the room, and I found myself being kissed by the Brazilian. His mouth was lush and soft, at odds with his hard embrace. The heavy weight of his cock pressed toward my groin, and my own arousal grew. 

He stripped off his shirt and opened his trousers, freeing the thick bulk of his cock. Dr. Maia’s body, unlike that of all my previous lovers, was starting to relax into middle age. The hairs on his chest were shot through with silver strands, which had not yet reached his head. Crow’s feet defined the outer corners of his eyes, while deeply etched lines bracketed his mouth. 

His hands were all over my body, searching out the erogenous points that would have me a whimpering mass in his arms. He pulled my polo shirt up over my head, keeping my arms trapped there in its confines. I bit my lip to stifle a groan as his fingertips tangled in the fine hairs of my underarms, and he tugged gently at them. 

When the other man let my arms drop behind my back, he became busy with the button that fastened my slacks, letting the backs of his fingers graze over the hardness hidden by the material. 

He unzipped my trousers and let them slide to my feet. “Sit, David!” he ordered hoarsely, and I dropped down onto the bed. Dr. Maia got my shoes and socks off, and then my pants. He pushed my knees apart, and settled himself between them. 

I had never had a lover who restrained me before, and I was unbelievably aroused. I found my cock straining toward his mouth. The Brazilian probed the slit with his tongue, then lapped at the clear bead of precome pearling at the tip. 

Breath was whining between my lips and I struggled to keep my eyes opened, needing to watch him do this to me. 

“Do you like this, caro?” he asked, the warmth of his breath washing over the moist head of my cock. Dumbly, I nodded my head, and he gave a quiet huff of laughter. He rose and stretched forward, leaving me nowhere to go but backwards onto the bed. The rough material of his trousers abraded the skin of my hips and thighs. 

“Please!” I moaned, rocking up to deepen the sensation. 

Dr. Maia angled my thighs over his shoulders and leaned down to take my mouth in a kiss that mimicked the act we would soon be engaged in. As his tongue thrust in and out of my mouth, his slick fingers searched for my hole, circling it and driving me wild with tentative dips past the tight ring of muscle. 

Still restrained, I was mindlessly enjoying what he was doing to me, and I would have hovered on the brink of orgasm for as long as he permitted. For it was he who was controlling everything I felt. But then he removed his fingers and replaced them with the broad head of his cock, sliding deep into me. 

My lover wrapped his hand around my dick, and began to jerk me off as he plunged into my passage again and again. His mouth fed on mine, and before I realized what he was doing, he slammed into a powerful orgasm, filling my tight channel with his heat, and triggering my own climax. 

He sank down on me, letting my legs slide off his shoulders, and with a satisfied groan, he tried to pull me into an embrace. Casually, I slid away from him and shook my arms free of my shirt. 

“That was wonderful, Dr. Maia. Thank you.”

He chuckled. “Perhaps you should call me ‘Carl’, David?” 

“Of course,” I murmured as I walked into the adjoining bath to clean myself off and return with a washcloth for the Doctor. But I would not call him by his first name. 

 “Spend the day with me, David.” 

I picked up my clothes and started dressing. “I must return to the campus. There’s a paper I have to finish.” He was easily the best lover I had ever had: on a scale of one to ten ranking at least a nine. But if I allowed him to sleep with me in his arms… 

He waited until I had my hand on the doorknob. “What are you afraid of, David?” 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, caro.” This was becoming too personal. 

“I think you do. I think you’re afraid, not that I’ll fall in love with you, but that you’ll fall in love with me!” 

I turned to give him a brilliant smile. Fortunately, the room was growing dim, and he could not see that it didn’t reach my eyes. “Adeus, caro.” 

I shut the door behind me and leaned against it, trying to steady my breathing. No. I would never fall in love, not with him, not with anyone. 

I would kill myself before I let that happen again.


Part 2 

“Dr. Reed?” My secretary hovered in the doorway to my office. 

“Yes, Gwen?” I asked distractedly as I dug through all the papers scattered across my desk, desperately searching for what I would need to present my speech to a group of businessmen, in hopes of obtaining funding for a pet project. “Goddammit! Do you know where I put the…” 

Calmly she approached my desk, slid aside a stack of textbooks and dangled my notes from her thumb and forefinger. I grabbed them, then dropped them abruptly back onto the flat surface. 

I pressed my fingertips into my scalp, massaging the increasingly irritating sensation that tickled my brain. 

“That odd feeling again, boss? Maybe you should go for an x-ray, or something.” 

“Wouldn’t do any good, Gwen. Soft tissue, remember? Won’t radiograph. Besides, can you see me explaining that to a doctor? ‘Y’see, Doc, my brain itches!’” 

The sensation vanished as suddenly as it came and I sighed in relief, but it was not long lived. I still faced the prospect of that speech I had to deliver. 

My bowels felt as if they had turned to water. My mouth was so dry the Sahara was a rainforest in comparison. 

“Why do I let myself get talked into stuff like this?” I asked rhetorically. 

“We need the dough, boss!” 

I ran my hand through my hair and straightened my tie. “Am I presentable?” 

“Oh, yes! You’re very presentable!” The warm, masculine tones had me spinning around. 

“Sorry, boss. This is Dr. Mark Williams from the Oceanographic Institute at Port Jefferson. Who was supposed to wait in the outer office!” 

“Actually, I deal with public relations and fund raising there.” He grinned, ignoring my secretary, and extended his hand. 

As his fingers closed over mine, I licked my lips and smiled back at him. 

“I told him he needed to make an appointment but…” 

“That’s all right, Gwen.” I couldn’t take my eyes off the other man. “You wanted to see me?” A few inches taller than my five foot eleven. Blond. Tempting. “Sorry, but I’m really short on time today!” I ran my gaze over his body regretfully and licked my lips again, wondering what he would taste like. He smiled in return. 

“No, I’m sorry. I won’t be in town long, and I really wanted to meet you, to meet with you. I’m staying at the Ritz-Carlton downtown. Perhaps we can get together and have drinks afterwards?” 

“Afterwards?” Hell. There was that presentation to be gotten through. “Yes, of course. I’d like nothing better. If I can manage to survive this!” 

“Boss, you’ll be great. You always are!” 

I scowled at my secretary. “Yeah, but my father isn’t always in the audience!” I gathered up my notes and gave one last tug to my suit jacket. I couldn’t resist a final glance at the stranger in my office. Those blue eyes regarded me with ill-concealed interest. “Why don’t you find something to amuse yourself until I can get back to you?” I closed my eyes in mortification. That was a really smart come-on. 

But then the blond grinned wickedly. “Count on it!” 


I stacked the pages on the podium, clasped my hands together, and leaned forward, scanning the faces of the men assembled before me, making sure I made eye contact with the ones I had selected at the outset. This informed them that it was personal to me, not just business. And it demonstrated how very much in earnest I was about my topic. 

My mentor for my dissertation had highly recommended this method of connecting with my audience. 

However, I avoided that spot in a back row where Father sat, sure I would lose my concentration if I looked at him. 

But down in the center was someone who drew my eye back to him again and again. Not quite my usual type, he was a green-eyed brunet.  The expression on his face clearly said, ‘I want to fuck you, long and hard and right through the mattress!’ I moistened my lips, wondering if he would linger behind when my presentation was done. 

“In conclusion, let me just say this: we are depleting our natural resources at an alarming rate. One day, in the not too distant future, mankind will need to look to the stars for our very survival. Many of the planets will not be hospitable.” I thought of the worlds I had imagined as a child, and how very hostile some of them had appeared. “What we learn from the creatures who have survived through the millennia here on Earth can well insure our survival as a species. Thank you.” 

I searched for that one familiar face, but Father must have slipped out while I was concentrating on the opposite side of the hall. My shoulders slumped; I’d disappointed him again. 

Leaving my notes behind, I stepped down from the stage to meet with the men who would decide whether it was financially worth their while to back my latest project. 

Mostly I got, “This is very intriguing; we’ll look over the figures and get back to you.” 

But that one representative, that green-eyed siren, lingered after all the others had left. I retrieved my papers and crossed the floor to the door. “Was there anything else I could tell you that might weigh your response in my favor?” 

He reached out to stroke the lapel of my jacket, gazing at me under his lashes. “Nice suit,” he murmured, sliding his fingers between the buttons of my shirt. Those clever fingers searched for my nipples, and his nails scraped across them. I completely forgot about the scientist I was supposed to have drinks with and found myself growing hard. It had been a while, and despite his height and coloring, I decided I wouldn’t mind getting laid by this man. 

I ran my hand under the hair I had allowed to grow to reach my collar and flirtatiously flipped it through my fingers. “This old thing?” I teased. “Why, I only wear it when I don’t want to impress anybody!” 

“And what would you want to wear if you intended to impress me?” 

I pursed my lips and pretended I had to give that serious thought. “Nothing?” 

His smile became rapacious. “Are you part of the deal?” 

I was mentally juggling my schedule so I could free up enough time to spend with this bit of sex on the hoof, and I wasn’t paying much attention to what he was saying. “Excuse me?” 

“Are you part of the deal?” he asked again. “If you are, if you’re nice to me, I can guarantee you the financing you require.” 

“Just a second. You’re saying that if I sleep with you, you’ll get me the money?” 

“Well, you wouldn’t be sleeping, I can assure you!” he puffed arrogantly. “But sure. Make it worth my while, and you’re on the next plane to Africa!” 

Before I could punch his pretty nose, someone tapped him on the shoulder. He turned and stepped into a punishing right cross. 

“Thanks,” I said shortly, barely glancing at the man who came to my rescue. “But that wasn’t necessary. I can take care of myself.” I stood above the son of a bitch who was searching frantically for a handkerchief to stem the tide of blood that gushed from his nose. When I finally thought I had myself under control, I squatted down beside him. He flinched from my glare. “You thought I would whore myself for this project?” 

“Why not? Everyone knows you’re easy, that you’ll have sex with anybody!” he whined nasally. “Why not with me?” 

“I’m not a whore! Just be thankful I didn’t hit you.” 

“You? You couldn’t punch your way out of a paper bag!” 

“That may be, but I’m not in a paper bag. I would have hit you so hard I’d have done more than break that classic nose of yours!” I rose and started to walk away from him. 

“You won’t get a penny from my corporation! Not a fucking red cent!” 

“Ask me if I care! Bastard!” I stalked out of the building, my hands clenched in fury at my side. 

“Wait up!” 

I snarled but strode on. Someone hurried after me, grabbed my arm, halted me. I rounded on whoever was trying to interfere with my departure, ready to take a swing at him. 

“Hey! Take it easy! I’m on your side!” Blue eyes laughed at me. 

It was the scientist from the Oceanographic Institute. He had been the one to knock down the green-eyed businessman. “Dr…Williams, is it? Well, I won’t thank you again for interfering. I could have dealt with that cocksucker.” 

“Oooh! Testy, aren’t we? I like that!” 

I felt the angry heat rise in my cheeks. “You want to see how hard I can throw a punch?” 

“Pax, Davey, pax!” He stepped closer, the tips of his shoes nudging mine. His hand caressed my upper arm, then traveled up to fondle my shoulder. 

I looked from his hand to his eyes. “You know what they say? When a man has his hands on a woman’s shoulder, it’s because he really wants them on her breasts.” 

“You’re not a woman.” His smile was a promise of sex on satin sheets. 

“No, I’m not. So tell me. Where do you want to place your hands?” 

He brought his mouth close to mine, as if he intended to kiss me. “I want them all over your body! And I promise you, I won’t do something as stupid as offering you money to do it!” 

I studied his eyes thoughtfully, and he stepped close enough to me that his hip brushed against my groin, feeling the hardness imprisoned by my trousers. He cocked an eyebrow, and I nodded, making my decision. “Let’s go back to your hotel, if you don’t mind?” 

“Certainly. I was about to suggest it myself!” 


The phone rang just as he was entering me. 

“Ignore it!” I ordered, pressing back on the length that was piercing me. 

“Can’t!” he gasped as he struggled to hold himself still. “I’m expecting an important phone call!” 

“The front desk will take the message!” I squeezed my inner muscles to encourage him to start fucking me. 

“It’s too important!” He withdrew with a shudder, and I winced from the tiny pain. He snagged the phone. “Williams. Oh. Yes, he’s right here, hold on please. It’s for you!” He had the nerve to look unhappy about that. 

“This is Dr. Reed. Gwen, what’s wrong? What? Oh, my God, that’s fantastic! No, don’t do anything, I’ll be right there!” Mark’s hand ran over the back of my thigh to the curve of my ass. His fingers explored the crevice between my buttocks, searching for my slick hole while his other hand stroked himself to maintain his erection. “Um, on second thought, give me half an hour, all right? Thanks, Gwen, you’re a jewel!” 

As I replaced the receiver, Mark was urging me back onto my knees. He fit his cock to my opening and slid all the way in, until I could feel the wiry hair of his groin against the cheeks of my ass. 

But I was too distracted to enjoy what he was doing, Gwen’s news having been what I’d prayed for. I kept glancing at my watch, fretting as the minutes ticked by. 

“Come on, baby. Come for me!” 

Oh. That was what he was waiting for? I licked my palm and began stroking my cock and within a few minutes I was pouring hot semen over my fingers. Mark felt the ripples of my tight channel, which triggered his own orgasm. 

As soon as I politely could, I rolled out of bed and retreated to the bathroom to clean myself off. I brought him a warm washcloth and then started to get dressed. 

I stood before the mirror, knotting my tie, studiously avoiding the eyes of the man in the bed behind me. 

“Do you really have to leave now?” Mark asked. 

“Yes. Sorry.” I smiled ruefully and shrugged, but I really wasn’t sorry. 

I was going to Africa to study lungfish! 

And my father had been the one to provide the funds!


Part 3 

On my way to the airport, I found a note stuffed in my pocket. It was from Mark Williams, the scientist from the Oceanographic Institute at Port Jefferson, and someone I had gone to bed with once. 

Which was par for my record: I never slept with anyone more than once. 

The note said, “Look me up if you ever need a job. You’re a good speaker, and an even better scientist! If I wasn’t prettier, I might be jealous!” And he signed it with a sprawling ‘M’. 

I crumpled it and shoved it back in my pocket. 

It wasn’t Mark’s fault he hadn’t rocked my world. None of my lovers ever did. I came because of what I did to me, not because of what they did. 

I put him out of my mind. 


I was tired, hungry, and jet-lagged. And cranky. That nagging itch in my brain had gotten worse the further away from home we had flown, and I couldn’t even escape it in sleep. 

The man who was seated beside me on the flight to South Africa had no such problem. He had fallen asleep five minutes after the plane took off and spent the entire time with his head on my shoulder, drooling on me and snoring in my ear. And no matter how gently I moved his head, or how roughly I shoved it off me, it wound up back on the same spot. 

And let’s face it, there’s only so much time you can spend in the lavatory. So I was not in the best of moods when we landed at Pretoria International Airport. 

I picked up my luggage at baggage claim and looked for the transportation that was supposed to take me to my host’s home. 

A young man standing by the exit caught my attention, and my cock quivered to attention. Oh, yes! Daddy buy me that

Suddenly I didn’t feet quite so exhausted. Blond, blue-eyed, about three inches shorter than I. With a pouty mouth that was so fuckable I nearly swallowed my tongue. 

And, I sighed as I dragged my eyes away from him, definitely too young. At least twelve years too young. 

Besides, someone was supposed to meet me and drive me to the house where I would be staying. 

But I kept glancing back at the pretty boy. He was flashing a hand-lettered sign at every older man who came out of the concourse, and it was obvious he was becoming impatient. 

Casually, I strolled toward him, thinking that perhaps I would strike up a conversation, a simple conversation, while awaiting my ride. I caught his eye, blinked thoughtfully, than appeared to think better of approaching him. Dropping my suitcases beside me, I took a pack of cigarettes out of my inner pocket and made a production of shaking one loose and placing it between my lips. 

Before I could reach for my matches, a lighter was flipped open and held before my cigarette. I gazed into eyes so blue they could rival the Caribbean, then cupped his hand between both of mine and drew it toward my mouth. I touched the tip of the cigarette to the flame and drew in a lungful of smoke. 

“Thanks very much,” I said, and blew some smoke from my mouth while letting the rest trickle through my nose. 

“You’re very welcome. Are you waiting for someone?” 

I nodded. “But my ride isn’t here yet. Are you meeting someone?” 

He nodded. “Some old fogey friend of my father.” He thrust out a hand. “My name’s Jack Halliwell, by the way.” 

“Halliwell?” I reached for the placard he was holding, and grinned wryly. “I’m David Reed.” 

He swallowed hard. “*You’re* Reed?” 

“Yes. I think I’m the old fogey you’re waiting for, although it’s my father who is your father’s friend.” 

He blushed, and I wanted to caress that heat in his cheeks with my lips. 


On the drive to his father’s house, I learned that Jack was not quite as young as I thought him. For some reason, twenty-two to thirty is not quite as daunting as eighteen to thirty! 

And he gave off signals letting me know he was definitely interested in …knowing… me. So I decided I’d just let him chase me as hard as he could. Until I caught him. 

His father was either oblivious or uncaring. He suggested his son assist me in any way that would be useful, and the young man’s blue eyes flamed with desire. 

We spent some time getting to know one another, and I gave him my standard warning against falling in love with me. He grinned cockily, took the cigarette out of my mouth and put it into his own, assuring me it would be quite the other way around. 

I took the cigarette from his lips, snubbed it out in an ashtray and kissed him, but I wouldn’t let him take me to bed. Not yet, anyway, and not in his father’s house. He became petulant, but I ignored it. 

This was a time for work, and I needed to meet with my colleagues from the University. They were quite likeable and extremely helpful. Quite often I passed long, interesting days closeted with them, examining their findings, and comparing them with mine. 

Jack was unhappy about the amount of time I spent away from him. That pouty mouth should have been a dead giveaway, but again I ignored it, absently patting his cheek. 

As his father’s only son, indeed, his only child, Jack Halliwell had never been denied anything. He let me know, in no uncertain terms, that he wanted me now, and if I didn’t accommodate him, he would find someone who would. 

I shrugged casually and went back to studying a monograph on the mating habits of the African lungfish. “If that’s how you want it, Jack. My career means more to me than a spoiled boy.” 

There was nothing like a little passive aggression. I ignored him for the next few days, spending the hours at the University and making day trips to a riverbank that was known to harbor lungfish. 

Fascinating creatures! 

On the morning of the fourth day, while I was breakfasting, he came into the room sulkily. “I want you in my bed, David.” 

I raised an eyebrow and regarded him dispassionately. “Is there a reason why I should cater to what you want, Jack?” Here was a boy who definitely needed to learn that he could not have everything he wanted, when he wanted it. 

He worried that plump lower lip between his perfect white teeth, and suddenly I could understand why his father had given him everything he had ever asked for. “I’m sorry, David. I just want you so much! Let me prove to you I’m not a spoiled boy. Let me spend today with you.” 

“I’m going to the Apies River, Jack.” 

He ran his finger over the breast pocket of my shirt, unerringly finding my nipple. “Please, David?” 


I had been searching along that riverbank for burrowed nests of the lungfish, and I was hoping I might finally get to see one hatching out. But it wasn’t going to be that day. 

Which was just as well, since Jack was proving too tempting for my own good, and he so obviously thought he could make me fall in love with him. 

He was going to fail, but I wasn’t about to turn down the opportunity for some hot, sweaty sex when it arose. 

It was late morning when the younger man finally made his move. The other members of our party had returned to the University and we were alone. He pushed me back against a River Bushwillow and fastened his mouth on the pulse that was beating erratically in my throat. “I’ve always wanted an older man!” he muttered hoarsely. His fingers made quick work of the buttons of my shirt and walking shorts, which slid off my hips. 

Jack pressed on my shoulders, and then he went down on me as I sat with my legs sprawled and my shorts around my ankles, his lips stretched wide over the flushed head of my cock. His tongue teased the vein on the underside of my shaft, and then probed the weeping slit, humming with satisfaction as I moaned and thrust up gently into his mouth. 

Jack’s fingers slid past my balls and searched for my hole, dipping past the snug muscle and stretching me. With a gasp I came, spilling myself down his thirsty throat. 

“My turn now, David,” he murmured as he shared my taste with me, thrusting his tongue deep into my mouth. Jack had a tube of lubricant in his pocket and pulled it out with a flourish. I stripped off my clothes while he opened his shorts and his quivering erection sprang free. My lover coated his dick with the slick stuff, which smelled faintly of coconut, and smeared some over my hole and into me. 

Leaning back against the trunk of the tree, he had me straddle him, then pulled me close to his chest and braced my back with his legs. Crouching over him, I parted my cheeks and lowered myself onto his cock slowly. I felt the burn as he breached my opening. My weight forced me down on his entire length, and when I had him completely engulfed, he rocked his hips up roughly, trying to bury himself even deeper. 

My cock was caught between his groin and mine, and the rough hairs tormented it. I drew in a deep breath and flexed my thighs, rising up and then sinking back down, letting him fill me again and again. 

The humid heat was oppressive, and I was panting heavily. Sweat dripped from my hairline along the curve of my cheekbones. It rolled across my pectorals and matted the dusting of hairs that covered my chest. 

Just as it was becoming too uncomfortable for me to maintain my position, he moaned and took my mouth in a deep, voracious kiss, sucking vigorously on my tongue. And I could feel the heat of his climax filling me. 

When he finally slid out of me, I slumped bonelessly to the sandy bank and groaned, “I just want to sleep a million years!” 

He raised the hair off the back of my neck and planted a kiss there. “Go ahead, love. I’ll take a dip and then come get you.” 


Only he didn’t. 

Stupidity compounded upon stupidity. 

I let him have me beside that benighted river and then fell asleep. By the time he returned to awaken me, I was suffering from heat stroke as well as severe sunburn. Even my cock was a bright, painful red. 

Jack got me to hospital, castigating himself for losing track of the time and repeating over and over how much he loved me. I tried to say I had warned him about falling in love with me, but my lips were too badly blistered to speak clearly. 

Once at the hospital, I was whisked to a private room where the electrolytes I had lost were replaced with IV fluids, and they smeared creams and unguents over the worst of my burns. I spent ten and a half of the most miserable days of my life in that white, sterile room. And it was not merely because I was in physical discomfort. 

Jack Halliwell felt that because he loved me, or rather, thought he loved me, then certainly I had to love him back. He brought me flowers and boxes of chocolates, and sat at the side of my bed trying to hold my hand or stroke some part of my body that wasn’t blistered or peeling. 

“I’m sorry, love! I’m so fucking sorry!” He was pressing kisses to my palm, and tears dripped onto my hand. 

“Not your fault, Jack,” I lied. I was extremely emotionally distressed. 

“Yes it was! I left you on purpose!” 

I didn’t know that. Spoiled, I could understand, but this…? I wondered what kind of person had I gotten myself involved with. 

He continued as if unaware of my uneasy silence.  “I know how dangerous the midday sun is. I knew you’d get burned but I didn’t realize how badly, I swear it! I wanted to punish you for leaving me alone. You were right, and I am a spoiled bastard, but I promise you I’ll never hurt you again! I just love you so much!” 

Were his statements a little too vehement? 

A nurse walked in at that moment, and ‘tsked’ at Jack’s swollen eyes and reddened nose. 

“Here now, sir. This isn’t good for either of you! Go on home, and get some sleep. Your friend will still be here when you come back!” 

That’s what she thought. 

Jack gave a watery smile and leaned forward to kiss me. I turned my face, and his lips grazed the corner of my mouth. “I’ll see you tomorrow, love.” He tugged gently at my hair and then walked out of the room backwards, never taking his eyes from me, forcing one last wobbly smile. 

“What a nice young man.” 

I ignored the nurse’s words. “When can I get out of here?” 

“I beg your pardon?”

“I need to go home. When can I expect to be released?” 

“Well…well…you’ll have to discuss that with your doctor.” 

“Get him in here. And until I leave, I don’t want that young man allowed in my room again!”


Part 4 

I crossed the tarmac of the airport to the terminal where Gwen Castle was waiting for me. 

Gwen was more than just my secretary. She was a confidante and a friend. 

She took one look at my face and snatched my briefcase from my hand. “Baggage claim is this way, boss.”

We walked in the direction to which she pointed in silence. I could feel her stealing brief glances at my face. I should have been used to it, but I wasn’t. I had drawn stares since I had walked out of the hospital against the doctor’s orders. 

It would take days before the violent red of the sunburn subsided. 

“Is it painful, boss?” 

I gave her an affronted look. 

“Stupid question. Of course it’s painful. Sorry.” She stole another peek. “Um, I have a message from your father.”

“My father is aware that I left Africa?” I laughed shortly. “Sorry. My turn to ask a stupid question. Of course he’d be aware. It was his best friend’s son I fucked.” 

I usually tried to keep my sexual orientation out of the office. She winced at my language. 

“Sorry again, Gwen. Okay, let me have it.” 

“Uh, it’s verbal, boss.” 

Oh. Well, it couldn’t be too vitriolic if he was having someone, and a woman at that, repeat it out loud. 

Then again… 


I stood outside the house where my parents lived. 

Normally, if I had received a message such as my father had seen fit to pass on through my secretary, I would have severed all ties without a second thought. But it was just so wrong that I be banished from my family because of a spoiled boy who lived on the other side of the world. 

I squared my shoulders, moistened my lips and climbed the shallow steps to the front door. It was locked, which wasn’t so unusual. However, when I tried to insert my key, I found it wouldn’t work. 

My fist clenched on the key, the metal biting into my palm, and I leaned my head against the door. Father certainly wasn’t pulling any punches this time. I straightened and gently pressed the door chime. 

“David.” Mother blocked my entry into the house. Her eyes widened as she took in the reddened skin of my face. “He doesn’t want to see you.” 

“I gathered as much, Mother. Why?” 

She looked dumbfounded. “You have the audacity to ask ‘why’ after what you did?”

“It was nothing more than I’ve done before. What got him so upset this time?” 

Her velvet brown eyes, so like the ones I saw each time I looked in a mirror, were chill. “Jack Halliwell had to be hospitalized.”

“What? Why?” Jack had been fine, physically if not emotionally, when I had left Pretoria. 

“It seems he fell asleep after you were done with him. You left him out in the South African sun, and he nearly died from sunstroke!” 

“That’s not true! I was the one in the hospital!” 

Mother must have realized I couldn’t very well lie about something like that; my face still bore the brunt of my sunburn. She looked suddenly uneasy. “Your father received a wire from John Halliwell.” 

“Of course. He’d believe someone else over his own son. Did he look into it to see if that telegram originated from Dr. Halliwell?” 

“No. There was no need to doubt his oldest friend…” 

“Tell me something, Mother.” I grappled with the key on my ring. “If I wasn’t gay, would he have been quite so willing to believe I would do something that vicious? Would he ever take my word over anyone else’s?” Her lips pressed tightly together, her eyes miserable. “No, I didn’t think so.” 


“And what of you, Mother? Do you really think I’m capable of something that irresponsible?” 

She looked away, unable to meet my eyes, and it was like a physical blow. Now I truly was alone. 

//Never alone, my precious one.// 

Where had that thought come from? 

I shook my head and dismissed it. I had more serious problems to contend with. “Just so you know, Mother, I was the one left in the sun. I was the one who spent ten days in the hospital!” 

I handed her the key. 

“This doesn’t work anymore!” she told me numbly, unable to tear her eyes from the livid skin of my face. 

“I’m aware of that. I just thought you’d like to have it accounted for.”  I turned away from her and walked slowly down the steps. “If you need to get in touch with me…” 

“You no longer have a position at the University!” 

“No, I don’t, do I?” Father’s message had also taken great pleasure in mentioning that he had gone to the Dean and requested my job be terminated. That had hurt almost as badly as the fact that he was so ready to believe I could behave so despicably. “Gwen Castle, my former secretary, will know how to get in touch with me. Good-bye, Mother. Tell Father…” My voice started to crack, and I paused to draw a steadying breath. “Tell him I’m sorry I was never able to be what he wanted; what either of you wanted.” 

//But you are what I have always wanted.// 

“What did you say, Mother?” 


“Mother?” I mumbled. “What did you say?” 

A patient hand on my shoulder shook me awake. “I’m not your mother, sleeping beauty, and I’d appreciate it if you’d stop drooling on me!” 

“What?” I blinked eyes that were sandy from sleep, and he caught his breath as he looked into them. 

“Why is it I always get the drunk ones?” His voice dropped to an undertone. “And why is it this one is so fucking cute? Will you wake up, petunia? We’re about to land!” 

I struggled to sit up in my seat, my gut clutching in relief as I realized that it had been that recurring nightmare, that my father hadn’t disowned me, that I was still had a job I loved. 

I also realized that I was rock hard from that last whispered message in my dream. That voice was so familiar, like a scent that I could almost identify. I smoothed my hair and straightened my jacket, then obeyed the stewardess’ request to fasten my seatbelt. 

“Sorry.” I murmured a sheepish apology to the man who sat next to me. “I don’t usually fall asleep on transatlantic flights.” 

“Yeah, well, don’t let it happen again, sweet pea.” There was a chuckle in his voice. 

“Actually, it wasn’t alcohol, it was painkillers.” 

I could feel him observing my sunburnt face. “So, what did you do? Fall asleep in the sun?” 

“Yes.” I left it at that. I wasn’t about to mention that I had been stupid enough to trust an amoral young man with whom I had just had sex to see that I wasn’t burned to a cinder. 

“Tough break. Too bad you’re in pain.” He walked his fingers over the back of my hand as it rested on my lap. “It might have been fun if we could have spent some time together after we landed in New York.” 

I looked him over carefully, and then gave him a relaxed grin. “I’m never in that much pain, blue eyes! I’ve got a couple of hours before my connecting flight is scheduled to depart.” 

His eyes began to glow. “I know the perfect place!” 

The plane had just finished taxiing to the gate, and we were able to unfasten our seatbelts. My seatmate stepped into the aisle and stretched, then moved back so that I could have some space to stand in front of him. The aisle became so crowded that he was forced extremely close to me. 

Concealed by the crush, his hands slid under my jacket and fondled my ass. I braced my legs apart for better balance, and those talented fingers wandered down to stroke my balls, before trying to find my hole through the material of my trousers. I could feel every movement of his fingers, and I glanced over my shoulder at him, smiling to let him know I was enjoying his efforts. 

Blue eyes, blond hair, and closer to my own age this time. Definitely much better. 


Gwen was waiting for me when I deplaned for the last time. I crossed the lobby of the terminal, noticeably limping. 

My latest lover had been a bit larger than I was used to, and I was still sore. 

“Wow, you look awful, boss!” 

“Thanks, Gwen. I love you, too!” 

She grinned and led me to baggage claim. “Got a message from your father.” 

I stopped abruptly as all the blood drained from my face. Had that nightmare been prophetic? “What did he say?” 

She handed me a folded piece of paper. “I don’t read other people’s memos.” My eyes flew up to examine her expression. Gwen looked unconcerned. 

While waiting for my luggage to come around on the carousel, I opened the note and began to read in growing disbelief. 

“What’s up, boss?” Gwen asked as she snagged the first of my suitcases and swung it to her side. 

“Father says he’s had an urgent telegram from Carl Maia.” 

“Dr. Maia? The Brazilian archeologist?” 

 “Yes. He’s found something really unusual, and apparently he needs an expert on lungfish.” 


 I nodded. “Father will explain everything when he sees me. He wants me to have dinner with him and Mother at seven tonight.” 

“Well, that should give you time enough to get home and unpack. Will you need a ride later?” We went out into the warm afternoon sun. 

“Thanks, Gwen, that won’t be necessary. Besides, if they see you with me too frequently, it will only get their hopes up. And as nice a girl as you are, you’re really not my type,” I added apologetically. 

“I know, boss. Wrong plumbing. For which I am eternally grateful. You go through lovers the way I do Kleenex!” She got into the driver’s side and I closed the door behind her. When I was settled in, she turned the key in the ignition and pulled out of the parking spot. “What’s it like, David?” 

She only called me David when she wanted me to know she expected a straightforward answer. “What’s what like, Gwen?” 

“Having a little black book that rivals the New York City White Pages?” 

It was lonely as hell. “Oh, you’re exaggerating, Gwen.” 

“Am I? Well, you’re not going to insult my intelligence by telling me you were limping when you got off that plane because you had a cramp in your leg, are you?” 

“No, no cramp, Gwen.” 

“Another notch in your little black book.” She sighed. “Why are you so afraid to let anyone get close to you, David?” 

“In case you hadn’t noticed, having sex entails letting someone get very close.” 

“And that’s another thing. You always have sex, never make love. Why, David?” 

“Sex, love, it’s all the same thing, an itch that needs to be scratched.” 

“If that’s how you view it, then I really feel sorry for you, David. You’re missing out on one of the greatest experiences in life.” 

“I doubt that. Forget it, Gwen; I really don’t want to be having this conversation.” 

“All right, boss. But if you ever change your mind…” She pulled up in front of my apartment building. 

“You’ll be the first to know, I promise.” I kissed her cheek and climbed out of the car, getting my suitcases from the back seat. “I’ll see you in the office on Monday.” 

She waved and pulled away. 

I let myself into my building and entered the elevator, mentally going through the suits in my closet, trying to decide on which one to wear. 


It was with great trepidation that I approached the front door of my father’s house, but thankfully my key worked. 

Mother entered the foyer as I closed the door behind me. She crossed the floor, her hands held out to me. I clasped them in my own hands and leaned forward to kiss her cheek. Her velvet brown eyes searched my sunburned face, and then she embraced me. 

“Um, is something wrong, Mother?” 

Her eyes were misty. “Nothing is wrong, David. You’re my son, and I love you.” 

Now I knew something was wrong. “Is Father all right?” 

She smiled and gently patted my cheek. “He’ll tell you all about it, David. I was just about to see if dinner was ready yet.” 

I stood in the hall, staring after her, feeling as if I had suddenly tumbled down the rabbit hole. 

“David? Is that you?” 

“Yes, sir.” I entered the study and found him standing before the fireplace, a glass of sherry in his hand. He set it on the mantle. “I got your message, Father. What…” 

Before I could finish my question, he came to my side and put his hands on my shoulders. His black hair was threaded with silver now, but he carried himself erectly, and I still had to tilt my head back slightly to look into his deep blue eyes. Tenderly he touched the patch of skin on my forehead that was peeling. 

“Father?” I was becoming really frightened. 

He pulled a telegram from his pocket and handed it to me. A sick feeling settled in my stomach. “What is this?” 

“This…” he swallowed hard, “is a brief report from the hospital in Pretoria. Oh, my God, David! We nearly lost you!” His arms came around me and he hugged me to him. 

“I’m…I’m sorry, sir.” I didn’t know what to say to him. 

His laugh was a broken sound. “I’ve never approved of your lifestyle, David. I’ve never understood it. But you’re my son, and I love you. I may not have always shown it, I know I never said it enough, but…your mother and I love you very much. And if we feel the need to hear the pitter patter of little feet…” 

I closed my eyes in pain, knowing my parents would never have the grandchildren they craved through me.

“We’ll just get a puppy!”


Part 5 

Dr. Maia met me at the airport in Rio de Janeiro. I was afraid that, given our past history, things might be a little tricky between us, but Carl had the Continental attitude toward sex. It had been a pleasant interlude, but now it was time to get on with business. 

And although I was relieved to be spared a confrontation, I was also a little hurt that it hadn’t meant more to him than that. 

//It will be more than that between us, little one.// 

I looked around uneasily, but no one was talking to me. I drew in a deep breath. While that annoying itch in my brain had almost vanished, these episodes were becoming more and more frequent, until I felt as if that damned voice had taken up residence in my mind. 

There was a name for someone who heard voices in his head. I bit down hard on my lip and resolutely shoved the thought away. 

Dr. Maia strode up to me and wrapped me in a bear hug. “David! How wonderful to see you again after all this time! Como sao voce? How are you? I have been following your career with great interest, and I am so proud of what you have accomplished!” 

“Thank you, Dr. Maia.” I returned his hug gingerly, a little shocked by his appearance. Although it had been ten years since I last saw him, his hair was now pure white, and he looked his sixty years. “That’s very kind of you.” 

“Nonsense, my boy!” He examined me carefully. “Are you all right?” 

I touched my forehead, where the last of my sunburn was fading. 

“No. No, not that. Your eyes…they look…”

I forced a laugh. “Too many flights in too short a period of time, senhor.” 

He accepted my explanation. “Come. Let us go to my apartment here in the city. You can freshen up, and then I will take you out for that Brazilian café I promised you.” 

“That would be very nice, thank you.” 


I stiffened. Did he want me in his bed again? “Dr. Maia?” 

“Carro, David. This is my automobile. If you will get in?” 

I smiled weakly and got settled in the passenger seat. He put my suitcase in the boot and got in beside me. 

With a broad grin, he stamped down on the accelerator and shot out of his parking spot, not even looking to see if the way was clear. I gulped and slid down into my seat. 

“My lover is away right now.” The archeologist was chatting casually, his eyes more on my face than the road before him. 

“T-truly, Dr. Maia?” I gripped the seat with one hand and braced the other against the dash. 

“Carl, please, David. We are such old friends, yes?” 

My eyes darted frantically from his to the road, and I bit my lip to stifle a moan. 

“Ah, my Rinaldo, he is muito macho! Very male!” His car was drifting to the opposite side of the road. “Tolo! Idiota!” he shouted over his shoulder at the hapless driver who swerved just in time to avoid a collision. “These streets are filled with fools and idiots!” Dr. Maia grumbled petulantly. 

I tightened my sphincters, desperate to avoid a childish accident, which seemed imminent at any moment. 

“Now, about what were we speaking? Ah yes, Rinaldo! He is a Spaniard, you know. Very hot blooded. Very jealous!” There was pride in that last remark. 

“Will--will I meet him, Carl?” 

His little vehicle darted into a parking space that almost seemed too small for it, and he turned off the ignition and bounced energetically out of the car. 

I, on the other hand, got out a section of body at a time. First my legs, then my hips, followed by my torso and then finally the rest of me. I stood swaying for a minute, giving the archeologist a sickly grin. 

“No, Rinaldo is out of the country just now. Perhaps another time. Come, my friend. Come.” He escorted me into his apartment, and I breathed out a sigh of relief. 

I’d definitely make sure that wherever we went for that coffee was within walking distance. 


We were only in Rio for a day or so, just long enough for me to get my bearings. Then we left for the Institute. 

A small prop plane took us north, to the Instituto de Biologia de Maritima at Moragio Bay, which had its own minuscule airfield. 

Dr. Maia showed me to the quarters where I would be staying until he could arrange for funding for his trip back upriver. I dropped off my suitcase, and then we walked out to the Bay, where I would meet with fellow scientists. Carl had hopes of enlisting them on this voyage. 

A diving platform in the center of the bay rocked gently from the wash of the motorboats that brought divers onto and off of it. We were ferried to it by a swarthy man a few years younger than I, who eyed Dr. Maia coolly. I wondered if perhaps there was some sort of relationship there, but the Brazilian for once seemed to favor reticence. 

Gently the skipper brought the boat into contact with the platform. 

A curvaceous brunette undulated up out of the water now, to sit on its edge. Her swimming partner had his hand on the wood beside her. She flipped off her mask and smiled down into his face. 

“Tarde boa, meu amiga!” Dr. Maia called as we stepped out of our boat. “Good afternoon!” 

She glanced over her shoulder, smiling at the compact Brazilian. “Carl! You’re back!” She leaned forward to say something to her companion, then slid off the straps that held the oxygen tanks to her slim, hipless body and rose to join us. 

“David, this is Dr. Kay Lawrence. She has been working at the Instituto for the past six months, and she's a treasure! I value her opinion highly! Kay, this is David Reed.” 

I took her hand. “Dr. Lawrence.” 

“Kay, please. I’m so thrilled to finally meet the man who wrote that incisive monograph on aestivation of lungfish!” 

Not many people realized that these creatures had the ability to lie dormant in a mud tunnel lined with mucous for up to four years, although a few months during the dry season was far more likely. “You’re too kind,” I murmured. 

She turned to the blond who was seating himself on the platform and stripping off his own underwater gear. Strong back, clean lines to lean hips. Definitely my usual type. I wondered why my interest wasn’t beginning to stir. 

“Sweetie?” she called. “Come meet Dr. Reed.” 

The blond rose to his feet and sauntered to where we stood, and I blinked rapidly to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. It was Mark Williams, the scientist from the Oceanographic Institute. 

“Dr. Reed and I already know each other, darling. Hello, David. How have you been? I was rather starting to think I’d have to come drag you down here personally!” 

//You took this to your bed?// 

I stared at him silently for a long moment before I was able to force words between my lips. “You’re the last person I expected to see in South America, Mark.” 

“David, David, David!” he flirted. “Where are your manners? The correct way to greet an old friend is ‘Hello, Mark, it’s so nice to see you again!’” 

A cautious smile tugged at the corner of my mouth. “”Hello, Mark,’” I parroted. “’It’s so nice to see you again.’” 

“You two know each other?” Kay didn’t seem too happy about hearing that, and she wrapped her arms around the other man. I wondered about her reaction. 

“Now, darling, you have no need to be jealous of David. We were just…” His smile became wry. “We were just ships that passed in the night.” He turned his attention to the Brazilian. “So, what did you find, Dr. Maia? Kay refuses to tell me anything. She’s such a spoil sport!” Mark circled his arm around her waist and drew her close enough to drop a kiss onto her shoulder, but his eyes were watching mine. 

“Let us return to the Instituto, yes? Paul, we will be going back now,” Carl informed the man who was behind the wheel. He urged us all into the boat. Conversation on the ride back was desultory, at best. He kept an eye on the skipper. “You still wish to come upriver, Paul?” 

“Si, pai. I will be ready to leave when you are.” 

Father? Dr. Maia was this Paul’s father? The young man caught me watching him and began to smile. His glance crawled over my body, and I looked hastily away, feeling almost…frightened. 

Dr. Maia didn’t notice the ravenous look his son was giving me. He was observing the other two occupants of the motorboat with interest. “When are you going to marry the girl, Mark?” 

The blond grinned at him, forgetting for a moment that I was there. “As soon as she gets a raise and can keep me in the style to which I plan to become accustomed!” 

“Did you know that Mark and Kay were engaged, David?” the archeologist asked. I wondered if he wanted to keep me out of Mark’s bed for his own sake or for the woman’s. 

“No, I didn’t know. Congratulations,” I said. Mark looked torn, as if he had been hoping for a stronger reaction. 

We had reached the dock and climbed out of the boat. The skipper and the archeologist exchanged gazes, filled with contempt on the part of the son, and regret on the part of the father. 

Abruptly, Dr. Maia cleared his throat. “Come. I will show you what I have found. It is most interesting, I think. And I think you will find it so as well!” 

We followed him into the laboratory where a number of other scientists waited with scant patience for Dr. Maia’s find to be unveiled. 

The archeologist removed a large, odd-shaped object and began to unwrap it. 

It was the fossilized extremity of some type of creature, in extremely poor condition, having been exposed to the elements for too long. 

“Pleistocene man, perhaps?” One of the other scientists prodded the elongated digits with their razor-like claws. 

“No, this was some kind of amphibian. It spent a lot of time in the water, and going by the size of this specimen alone, it would have been extremely powerful!” 

Dr. Maia beamed at me as if I was his prize student. 

“Where did this come from, Carl?” Kay asked. 

“This was all that was found in a limestone deposit dating back to the Devonian age. Perhaps the remainder of the creature is on the river bottom. At this point that is not so important.” 

I uttered a protest as I turned the bone turned to stone over in my hand. “This could well be the bridge between mammal and amphibian! Nature has tried a thousand ways to do this, and failed. Even lungfish proved to be a dead-end, and have not evolved since the first one developed lungs and shed its gills!” 

The archeologist’s eyes glittered. “I have something even more intriguing to show you!” This time he removed the package from a refrigeration compartment and was very careful in how he handled it. 

Kay gave a gasp of shock. Mark made a sound of revulsion. And I just stared in amazement, wondering where I had seen something like that before. 


I was almost driven to my knees from the anguish that was in that mental howl. None of the others noticed my distress. 

And then it was gone, and I realized how used I had grown to that presence in my mind. 

And I suddenly remembered having felt that bereft once before in my life. 

Shakily, I pulled myself together and stepped forward to observe the object that Dr. Maia was holding. 

Greyish-green, scaled, it was …a paw? a foot? an extremity? Whatever it was, it was easily twice the size of a large man’s hand. Webbing joined the digits, four fingers and an opposable thumb. Buried within the flesh of the fingertips were retractable claws that could rival a velociraptor’s in length and deadly sharpness. 

I stroked a finger over the palm, whose scales were surprisingly soft and pliable, almost sensuous to the touch. I looked at Dr. Maia in confusion. “What species is this, Carl?” 

He shook his head. “This is not my field of expertise, my young friend. I sent that telegram to your father as soon as I returned from my camp on the Amazon because I was rather hoping you might be able to help me with identifying that, David.” 

"Me?” I laughed shortly. “All I can tell you is that this is no lungfish. How did you come across this? And why is the joint so mangled?” I touched what would have been the wrist. The bone was jagged, as if it had been broken rather than sawed through, and the flesh and tendons were torn. 

He sighed heavily and gave a fatalistic shrug. “My man, Tomas, came across the body. Normally, he is a good man, a steady man, but…He swore that creature was a demon whose powers could only be destroyed by rending it limb from limb.” 

I felt sick. “And the rest of its body?” 

He gave another shrug. “Quem sabe? Who knows? He refused to tell me. I left Luis and Tomas to guard the camp and returned to the Instituto to gather more men. And to get a bigger boat. I need you to come with me on this expedition, David. This line of research is right up your alley. I am sure of it!” 

Mark was now petting the specimen. I could almost see the dollar signs light up in his eyes, easily overcoming his distaste. 

“Look at the structure of the fingers,” Kay murmured, leaning against Mark. “Obviously for land use.” 

I wanted to tear the hand from the two of them. Instead, I struggled to keep my arms at my side. 

“A find of any real importance can be of great financial value to us also,” Mark was saying. “Forgive me if I sound more like a banker than a scientist, but I have to look at the practical side! It takes money to run an institute such as this.” 

“Mark.” Kay tiptoed her fingers up his smooth-skinned chest. “Your board of governors can’t disapprove.” Their eyes were locked. 

“They certainly can’t! Dr. Maia, you’ve got yourself an expedition!” 

“Excellent, excellent!” Carl Maia said briskly, “David, you will come?” 

//Little one, you must come!// 

“What?” My head shot up, and I was flooded with relief. He was back; he hadn’t left me again. 

Again? I felt confused. 

“I asked if you would come upriver with me, David.” 

“Of course, Carl. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” 

The Brazilian rubbed his hands together. “Excellent, excellent! We’ll leave for Manaus in the morning and from there take a boat upriver!”


Note: Paul Sarone (played by Jon Voight) is from the 1997 movie Anaconda.

Note #2: This contains bondage and attempted rape.

Part 6 


I paused as I was about to raise my cup of coffee to my lips. “Yes, Carl?” 

“I wish to talk with you for a moment, my friend.” 

I nodded and took a sip of the rich Brazilian brew. If I ever returned to the States, I’d have to make sure I had a supply shipped in. 

‘If’? Of course I’d be returning home. I meant ‘when’. 

He looked around to be sure there wasn’t anyone close enough to overhear us. “I must ask you to stay away from Paul.” 

“Your son.” I felt heat rise in my cheeks and turned away from the older man. “Naturalmente, senhor. I understand your feelings in this matter completely, and I would not dream of offering his father’s leavings to your son.” 

“Basta! You understand nothing, David! Paul is…” He ran his hand distractedly through his silver hair. “Paul can be very dangerous. His mother was a Paraguayan, who had hopes he would join the priesthood,” he told me, as if that explained everything. “He has run with the selvagens, the wild ones, all his life, and takes great pleasure in hurting those he perceives to be weaker than he.” Carl suddenly looked his sixty years. 


Dr. Maia gripped my hand as it rested on his shoulder. “My son is, how do you say in English? He is a bad seed. And he knows that I have a fondness for you.” He caught my glance of dismay. “Oh, not that one afternoon we whiled away an hour in bed. But he has heard me speak of you. You are what he is not: intelligent, handsome, successful.” 

“Carl, he is a very attractive man.” 

“It is true that he has a certain look about him. That is why I felt I must warn you away from him. His appearance is deceiving. He would eat you for breakfast!” He smiled ruefully at my aggrieved expression. “Yes, he would, David. Paul Sarone is my son, and I love him as much as anyone can, but he is a bad man! Beware of him!” 

Something behind me drew his attention, and his eyes widened. He swore beneath his breath and hastened away. 

I turned to see his son standing a few feet from me. I wondered if he had been close enough to overhear his father’s warning. 

Paul Sarone’s lips twisted in a parody of a smile, and he let his eyes leisurely roam over my body. They were hot when they finally returned to tangle with mine. I shivered. I could have beaten him at this game, once. But since coming to South America I found I no longer had any desire to take one man after another to my bed. 

I didn’t want to cause trouble, however. I dropped my eyes and walked away, placing my cup on a table and leaving the dining room to go to my quarters. 

The bathroom was down the hall. I showered quickly and returned to my room, thankful to see there was a key in the lock. I turned it and laid out my clothes for the next day, then got between the cool sheets. 

I closed my eyes, but I kept seeing that poor, severed hand. 


The waters of the Amazon team with life. Creatures dwell there, dependent on each other for survival. Species of fish hang just below the surface waiting for unwary insects. Small animals wander down to the water’s edge to nibble the lush plants or quench their thirst, or become the meal of the deadly amphibians that bask on the banks in the remaining warmth of the late afternoon sun. 

Abruptly, this particular part of the Amazon was abandoned with a flash of tails. The creatures that lived there knew danger when it approached. 

The being arrowed swiftly through the murky, cloudy river, leaving barely a ripple behind to mark his race to a cavern which he had not visited in over twenty of this planet’s years. 

His eyes easily adjusted to the dim light, and he altered the angle of his descent. He sped to the depths, the… fins on his feet providing the powerful strokes that were needed to propel him downward. 

Ric’u could not believe what he had seen through his little one’s eyes! How could the security of that cavern be breached? 

He found the opening to the passageway that led to the cavern and flashed through it. Here and there he marked the changes to the limestone walls, the torches that were placed at intervals to light the way for the above ground dwellers, but he could barely spare a frown for it, even as his anger rose. When he had chosen this cavern as the final resting place for his chief engineer, it was because it had been in the deepest, most inaccessible part of the river. 

The fury that his people had learned to control under threat of extermination was struggling to take over. 

With an effortless stroke, he was out of the water and onto the shelf that held the remains of his chief engineer. //Nooooo!// He saw that his worst fear was realized. 

The body had been yanked from stasis. The soft, pliant skin that Ric’u had loved to stroke had been peeled half off and left, as if the perpetrator of this vile act had been summoned away. Much of the body had been hacked and torn and strewn about the rocky ground. Ric’u had known that the hand seen through his little one’s eyes could belong to no other creature than the D’ilian, but seeing this wanton desecration rocked him to the depths of his being. 

His rage broke free, and with a roar that reverberated throughout the cavern and the underwater passage that led to it, he dove back into the water and swam strongly to the opening that would lead to the river and the world above. 


The two men left to guard the camp were in their tent for the night. A lantern swung from the center pole, casting a warm glow over the occupants. Luis was watching his friend with worried eyes. “Are you sure this was a wise idea, amigo? Dr. Maia will not be pleased when he discovers that you have done!” 

Tomas sneered at the smaller man. “Dr. Maia will never find out what I have done. If you ever speak of this to anyone, I will cut your throat and pull your tongue out through the opening!” 

Luis shivered. Although the archeologist had placed him in charge, he deferred as always to his stronger-willed friend. He was very uneasy, however. Since discovering the body of that…*thing*... the meia raca, the half-breed, had been acting more and more strangely. 

“It was just bad luck that Dr. Maia found me with the hand and took it with him,” Tomas scowled. “That foolish old man actually believed me when I gave that stupid excuse of hacking it off because I believed it was a demon!” 

“I do not think this is a good thing to do, Tomas!” The smaller man bit off a jagged fingernail and spit it out.

There was a sound from outside the tent, but both men were too involved in their conversation to notice it. 

Tomas grinned, revealing discolored teeth. “Tomorrow I go back down and remove the rest of that soft hide! I will get muito dinheiro, much money, you bet! And the rest of it I will offer to the ignorant campones. The peasants will think what I sell them will cure everything from bad love-making to bad luck!” He picked up the pale green flesh he had brought back up after the final dive of the day, and gestured obscenely toward Luis. “Bend over, amigo, and I will fuck you with demon cock!” 

Luis grinned weakly at the half-breed and began to back away from him, not sure if his friend was serious or not. 

Neither noticed how suddenly quiet it had grown outside the tent. The birds and animals that inhabited the jungle night had fallen silent. 

The silence was shattered by a scream of outrage. 

And then by screams of terror. And of agony. 


I jerked awake, sweat and tears soaking the pillow beneath my head. I tried to wipe my cheeks with my hand, but I couldn’t move it. Panic seared through me as I realized it was bound to the brass bedstead. My other hand was restrained as well, as were my legs, leaving me spread out in an X. 

“You got a sweet ass, you know that, menino?” A calloused finger traced the crevice of my buttocks, then reached lower to stroke across my balls. I yanked futilely at the cords that bound me. “Yes, struggle, boy. That makes it all the better for me.” 

“Who are you? Why are you doing this to me?” 

“I did not think you would know me, baby bird. I am someone you would never think of taking to your bed. But you took my father there, and so I will have you also.” 

“Paul? Paul Sarone? What do you know of my relationship with your father?” 

Rough hands parted my cheeks and an intrusive finger probed the ring of muscle. “My father thinks because I did not choose to go to school, that I am stupid, and blind as well. But I have heard him speak of you, and I have seen how he regards you.” 

I tried to flinch away from the blunt invader, but the younger man laughed coarsely and I suddenly felt a moist tongue swipe across my opening. Confused by the conflicting sensations, I relaxed in spite of myself. 

“You are a slut, David Reed!” Paul sneered. “You will spread yourself for anyone who has the right equipment between his thighs, yes?” 

I groaned at the sharp sting as he shoved two fingers into me so hard that he drove me toward the head of the bed. Then he began to move them in my reluctant passage. 

“You are not what I would prefer to take to my bed.” 

“Then why are you doing this to me?” 

“I will take what my father had!” 

He was hurting me, his nails scraping the delicate inner tissues, but I managed to grit through my teeth, “Your father took nothing! I gave to him willingly!” 

The fingers withdrew brutally, and were replaced by something hard and blunt. With nothing to ease the way, I was certain to be torn at the very least. 

I cast my mind outward toward my…friend, seeking whatever solace he might bring, only to find I had flung myself against a fury that burned with the fires of hell. I screamed aloud at the painful contact. 

The door to my room was hurled open and Mark Williams stood there, silhouetted in the dim light of the hallway. “What the fuck? David?” 

Paul Sarone growled as he rose to a crouch over me. “Leave us!” he ordered. He straightened to loom threateningly over the other man. “This baby bird is mine!” 

Mark curled his lip. “I don’t think so, amigo.” He pointed something concealed in his bathrobe pocket at the younger man. “I’ll shoot your fucking dick off!” 

Swearing foully in what must have been his mother’s tongue, I could just barely see as Paul Sarone got off me and tucked himself away, casual to the point of being insulting. He leaned close to my ear and fisted his hand in my hair, jerking my head painfully. “This is not finished between us, passaro do bebe!” he hissed. 

He gave Mark a final, insolent glower and then sauntered out of my room. 

I released the breath I hadn’t even been aware I was holding. “Thank God you happened to pass by, Mark!” 

“Are you okay, baby? Let me find something to cut you loose.” 

“There’s a razor in my shaving kit,” I told him, still shivering with reaction. He found it and started slicing at the thick cords. 

“You should have locked your door, David. You’re too sexy for your own good!” 

“I did lock my door!” I rubbed the chaffed skin of my wrists. “I don’t understand how he got in!” 

Mark walked to the door and examined the lock. “Ah, these things are flimsy in the extreme. One good push and it was history!” 

“Fuck!” I muttered, wincing a little as I sat up and my abused ass came into contact with the mattress. “How come you were up this time of night, Mark? Visiting Kay? I’m sorry, that’s none of my business. I’m just thankful you were up. And that you carried a gun with you!” 

“About that gun, baby…” He put his hand back in his pocket, and when he withdrew it this time, it was folded into a classic thumb up and forefinger extended. I burst into slightly hysterical laughter. “And as for Kay and I, well, we have an understanding of sorts. I won’t touch her until we’re married.” 

“Oh. That’s sweet.” I was surprised he was willing to do without sex for that period of time, and said as much. 

“I’m not doing without sex; I just don’t have sex with her. Actually, that’s why I was coming to see you. I was hoping we could sleep together again. Of course, after what that bastard did to you, I expect you’re too sore?” He sighed when I nodded, but smiled in resignation. “Perhaps when you’re feeling better, then.”

“Mark. I don’t think so.” 

He sighed again. “I thought your reaction to  me was rather cool; I was afraid there might be someone else.” Fortunately, he didn’t notice the startled look I sent his way. He started for the door. “Will you be all right here?” 

I got stiffly to my feet. “Yes, thanks.” I dragged a chair over. “Once you leave, I’ll get this under the doorknob. That should keep Paul Sarone out of here.” 

“Are you sure you don’t want to spend the night in my room? I promise you’ll be safe.” I shook my head, and he grinned. “Okay, try and get some sleep.” 

He squeezed my naked shoulder and walked out. 

I wedged the chair beneath the doorknob and went back to bed.


Note: Apparently, the rules of rigor mortis didn’t apply to 50’s movies. Also, the description of what was found in camp might be a bit over the top. Be aware. 

Part 7 

I came down to breakfast early, having found it impossible to fall asleep. I kept listening for someone to try his luck with my door. 

Dr. Maia waved me to join him at his table, but seated beside him was his son. 

Paul Sarone’s eyes promised that he was not done with me. When I thought of the long journey upriver, and the time that would need to be spent at the site in his company, I shuddered. 

I gave Carl a weak smile, and sat down at another table, joining Mark. “Jesus, you look like shit, David!” Mark commented. 

“This is true, my friend.” Dr. Maia had approached quietly, and I gave a nervous start. “You did not have a good night?” 

“He had the worst night!” Mark said, sending a scowl across the room toward the younger man. “Your son likes to play rough, I think.” 

I kicked him under the table, and while I had the satisfaction of seeing him wince, it was too late. Dr. Maia studied my face with concern. 

“What did Paul do?” 

“I merely accepted what your friend was so clearly offering!” Sarone was standing at the end of the table. 

“I offered you nothing!” I snarled. 

His lip curled. “No?” 

I forced myself to relax. “Do you find it necessary to bind all your lovers to the bed, Sarone? Is that what you call ‘offering’?” 

“That’s a lie!” 

“Is it?” Mark had been speaking with Dr. Maia in an urgent undertone. “If I hadn’t heard David cry out, you would have raped him!” 

Dr. Maia looked defeated. “I have tried so hard with you, Paul.” 

The younger man’s eyes became feral. “You take his word over mine? Over your own kin?” 

“I know you, Paul. I know of what you are capable! I think it would be best for us all if you return to Rio.” 

Paul Sarone threw the chair next to him to the floor and stormed out of the dining hall. 

At that moment, Kay Lawrence came to the table with a cup of coffee and a plate of eggs. “Did I miss something?” 


A small, six-passenger plane got us to Manaus. We boarded the boat that had been chartered for us. 

The Rita was the most miserable excuse for a boat that I had ever seen. A beat-up old fishing trawler, she was hired out to anyone who wanted to charter her for a fishing trip or…other reasons. 

It seemed that while Mark’s board of governors approved of the expedition, they were only willing to go so far to fund it. And the Rita was the best he could manage. 

We were sitting on the deck, watching the thick growth of the underbrush as we drifted past. 

“You would think they could have provided us with something better than this barge!” Mark grumbled, glaring around at all of us. He was unhappy with the accommodations, with the heat, with the insects, which seemed intent on making a meal of him. 

 “I wasn’t exactly expecting the Isle de France,” Kay murmured. “But still…” 

“Not too many skippers were willing to go as far upriver as we want to go,” I informed him, trying to casually defuse his ill temper. 

Captain Lucas came up from below decks in time to hear the complaints. He grinned, revealing the gap between his front teeth. “Why for I need a pretty boat to carry fish on this crazy river?” 

He swaggered to the bow of the boat and seated himself behind the wheel. The skipper folded his hands over his belly and leaned back in his seat, competently nudging the wheel with his knee, steering the boat deeper and deeper up the never-ending river. 

For long moments there were only the sounds of the jungle and the soft slap of the water as the Rita cut through it. 

“I thought the Mississippi was amazing, but this…there are no words to describe it!” Kay said in awe. 

I sat next to her. “The Amazon makes the Mississippi look like a winding brook. This hasn’t changed in a hundred and fifty million years, the same flora, the same fauna. It’s been this way since the dawn of the Devonian era.” 

“It sounds like the beginning of the world!” 

Mark walked over, wedging himself between the two of us, touching us both. I stepped aside. “It is. Anteaters here are gigantic, with the strength of a bear! Centipedes are a foot long! And Amazonian rats are as big as a sheep!” 

“Incredible!” Kay breathed. 

“But you should see the catfish!” Lucas lit a cigarette and threw the match overboard. “They grow to be nine feet long! They’re killers! Everything in this jungle, all killers!” 

The captain stretched his arm up and with a brisk tug pulled the cord that sounded the boat’s whistle. Animals on the bank fled into the brush, while crocodiles slid gracefully into the water and disappeared. 

That was man for you: wherever he went he found it necessary to disturb the quiet flow of life. 


Finally the trip neared its end. Lucas brought his boat into the tributary that flowed past Dr. Maia’s base camp and jockeyed us as close to the shore as possible. The Rita didn’t draw much water, but we would need to take the dinghy to get to land. 

I suddenly had a sense of déjà vu, of having been in this place before. It was so strong I shivered with it. Something very bad had happened here, I was positive of that fact! 

“Tomas! Luis!” Dr. Maia called loudly. He was frowning. Clearly, he had expected them to meet the boat. “I gave my men orders that one was to stay in camp at all times! Lucas, sound the whistle again, por favor.” The sound was forlorn in the sudden quiet of the jungle. Carl shouted again. “Tomas! Luis!” 

Mark went down to his cabin and returned with a couple of rifles. “Let’s anchor and take the row boat.” He handed me one of the weapons. “Kay, stay here, please?” 

“Mark, don’t treat me like a…like a woman!” 

“I’ll stay with you, Kay,” Dr. Thompson, a late addition to our party, offered with a grin. The biologist was clearly reluctant to set foot on land just yet. 

“Please, angel. Just until we see what’s going on,” Mark begged her prettily. 

She scowled at him and then shrugged. “Oh, very well. But don’t think I can’t take care of myself! Because I can!” 

“Of course you can, darling.” Mark snatched a kiss. He turned to hand me a rifle, his fingers sliding over mine, and got into the dinghy. 

As Zee and Chico, Captain Lucas’ disreputable crew, rowed us to the bank nearest the camp, I grew more and more uneasy. I had the sensation that eyes were upon us. 

Dr. Maia and Mark discussed the best way to showcase the skeleton they hoped to find, when it was finally found and returned to the Instituto. 

I heard them speaking, but it was just background noise. The shore had appeared to be shrouded in fog, and my eyes narrowed in a futile attempt to pierce the veil. It was only as we got closer, and the wind changed, that I realized it was smoke. 

“Jesus!” The bank was a burning ruin. 

“Matriz do deus!” Carl breathed. “Mother of God! All our supplies were stored here! What could have happened?” 

Lucas spotted a safe place to land a short distance from the destruction and steered the boat toward it. “Perhaps they were playing with matches, senhor, and this is why they do not answer!” His attempt at humor was like whistling in the dark. 

He stepped onto the bank and found a limb to tie the boat to. 

“They would never be that careless!” Dr. Maia exclaimed. He jumped from the dinghy and lost his balance, going down to one knee. I caught him before he could fall completely. “Thank you, David.” 

He signaled me to come with him, and we hurried on ahead, anxious to see the condition of his base camp. When we were out of sight of the others, he touched my arm and brought me to a halt. 

“I am sorry for what my son did to you, David.” On learning what the younger man had attempted, Dr. Maia had coldly dismissed him from our party. “To say that Paul has always been difficult is a vast understatement. I was afraid he might cause problems on this journey, but I never dreamed he would try to assault you.” 

I couldn’t meet his eyes. “Some men would feel it was just retribution, Dr. Maia.” 

He grasped my shoulders and gave me a shake. “Why? Because you enjoyed a variety of partners? David, you are speaking foolishness.” 

“Am I?” Lately, I had started to feel that the things I’d done, the men I’d taken into my bed, had just been a way to replace something I had lost. I turned away from him and continued down the path. 

The feeling of being watched crawled over my spine. But that sensation went spinning out of my mind as I rounded a mass of scrub and entered the clearing where camp had been set up. 

The silence was eerie. Boxes had been shattered, jagged pieces of wood splintered, stabbing outward at odd angles as if uncontrolled fury had been vented on them. Sacks had been sliced open and their contents spilled over the ground. The canvas of the tent flap hung in shreds, cloth tears. 

I stared in disbelief. I had seen this! Somehow, the night that Paul Sarone had attacked me, I had seen what had happened in this camp! 

Hesitantly, knowing what I would see within the tent, I extended a hand and drew the tatters aside. Behind me, Carl Maia gasped in distress. “Luis!” 

A man lay on his back, his arms frozen above him in rigor mortis. The expression on his face was one of terror in the extreme, and it was as if his eyes still beheld some unspeakable horror. 

The others had caught up with us by this time, and crowded into the remains of the tent to see what had become of the man left in charge of the camp. Mark backed out hastily, and I could hear him vomiting. 

“Luis!” Dr. Maia groaned. “What could have done this? Look at the gouges in his chest!” His heart appeared to have been ripped out. 

Captain Lucas regarded the body dispassionately. “Perhaps a jaguar, senhor? When they kill, their claws go like so.” He demonstrated an abrupt, downward motion. 

“Tomas! Where is Tomas?” 

I had been searching the tent, anything to keep from looking what was left of Luis. There was a dark, damp patch of ground a couple of feet away from the body, and I went down on one knee to examine it more closely. 

Spatters seemed to lead out of the tent, and I followed it, now seeing the trail left in the torn ground around the camp. As I neared the lush undergrowth that surrounded this spot, vivid drops of blood became visible.

Gripping my rifle more tightly, I parted the brush and went searching for the man called Tomas. 


It was my own fault. My eyes were focused on what I thought I saw on the other side of the clearing I had come across: golden eyes, a predator’s eyes, with vertical pupils that were narrowed to slits of fury. It appeared that the pupils were slowly beginning to expand. The brush rustled, whatever was there was about to take a step toward me. With cautious movements I backed away. 

My cry of shock brought the others to the tiny clearing I had discovered about a hundred yards from the camp. 

I hadn’t observed the carcass that dangled from the tree. I had walked right into what remained of Dr. Maia’s man. 

I turned to face them, my face, my hands, my clothes, all covered in blood. 

With a slow, repetitious sound, blood dripped to the floor of the forest. The body had been skinned. When I remember the uncontrolled fury of whatever it was that attacked the two hapless men, I knew that most likely it had happened while there was still life left in the body. The head was missing, along with the spine, and I could imagine the long column of vertebrae being violently ripped from the body. 

I was unable to tear my eyes from the gory sight. I knew that at any second I would start screaming, and I would be unable to stop. 

And then it was as if soft fingers stroked my face, drawing my eyes away from Tomas as they cut him down. 

Regret filled the mind that touched mine. //I am sorry, little one. I never thought anything could drive me to such destruction. And I never thought you would see what I could be capable of!// 

I dropped the rifle and ran across the clearing. 

//Don't leave me! Please, don’t leave me!// 

But no one was there.

~End Part A~

On to Part B