I tied the ferret's leash to the stick shift and pulled off my tee shirt and sports bra and sneakers. I shimmied out of my
cargo pants and panties, folded my clothes, and stacked them on the dashboard.
Cooper was already standing naked on the
grass, stretching and scratching his back. "No, it's better if you stay in
here," he told Smoky.
The dog whined.
"What? Oh, right." Cooper opened
the rear door. Smoky jumped out, ran over to a picnic table and peed on the
tubular steel leg. He gave himself a good shake, kicked grass onto his mark,
and happily trotted back to the car.
Cooper shut the car's doors after Smoky was
back inside, then met me on the other side.
"Think wet thoughts," he told me,
lightly touching the small of my back and running his hand down to my ass. My
skin prickled into goosebumps at his touch. "Think low pressure. The
clouds are our audience; make them come."
We walked across the grass to the edge of
the trees. Cooper backed me up against the trunk of a red oak.
"This tree's roots touch those in the
heart of the Grove," he whispered, planting small kisses on my face.
"We're all set to broadcast; let's make it good."
He closed his eyes and started planting soft
kisses down my neck, over my breasts. My hormones lit up like Madison Square
Garden on New Year's Eve.
This is the best job ever, I thought.
He started moving against me, breathing
rhythmically in preparation for the chant. I closed my eyes and followed his
body's rhythm. There was a brief, stretching sting as he pushed up into me, but
after that it was beautiful. I wrapped my legs around his waist and ignored the
scratching of the bark against my back. Once we really got going the pain might
actually start working for me. I don't think of myself as a masochist, but my
wires sometimes get a little crossed.
Anyway. I was glad to have the chant to
focus on, or else it would all be over too quickly. Cooper could last for hours, provided I came quietly. But
the nightmares had left me with too much pent-up anxiety to have a nice polite
little orgasm. I'd be biting,
screaming, demanding the obscene application of popsicles ... yeah, I figured
the distraction of the spell was going to be a good thing. Silly me.
The old, old words started tumbling out of
him, first as sounds that might have been little more than grunts of the
ancient pre-humans who lived at the sea and rivers, worshipping the spirits
they saw in the cool waters. Then his round grunts grew angles, grew more
refined; my mind was filled with an image of a sunburned warlock standing in
the reeds of the Nile, begging the gods for rain.
The words were coming out of me, too; my
language was different, a tongue that spoke of mists and crashing waves, of
broad, gray thunderstorms rolling over windswept North Atlantic islands.
I felt the air around us stir, felt the tiny
hairs on my arms and the back of my neck rise. The tops of the trees began to
rattle as the wind rose.
Cooper's chant rose to match, changed to
something more musical, Western and Eastern in the same breath. I caught a
flash of storm clouds boiling above a vast American plain as a medicine man dressed in deerskin and buffalo hide raised his ropy arms to the sky. I could
smell the damp plains earth and sweating leather on Cooper's skin.
My chant shifted to match; I spoke the
shadow of an old priest in a bear pelt cloak, standing in the dry forest of a
new, green land, pouring the last of his mead on the thirsty earth and asking
the Father God to grant him and his men a touch of rain.
Then Cooper's body jerked, and his chant was
chopped short by his sudden, pained gasp. I heard the scream in my mind,
smelled entrails being pulled from a still-living body and thrown on a charcoal fire.
"Oh God!" Cooper turned and gave me
a hard shove away from him. I tumbled backward over the grass.
I rolled to my feet,
feeling confused and exposed, wishing my clothes weren't all in the car.
"Cooper, what the --"
His body had gone rigid; the cords of his
neck stood out, and his tattooed sigils glowed faintly purple in the dim light.
The air was growing ominously electric, the clouds above us darkening into a
"Get away!" He sounded as if something
was choking him. "Far. Fast. Now!"