As the traffic in which her rental car was mired inched forward and stopped once again, Sally sighed in frustration, tapping her nails impatiently upon the rim of the steering wheel. She looked at the stalled lanes of traffic on either side of her, which would creep ahead or slowly fall behind as the glacier of cars crawled forward along the six northbound lanes of the west Beltway. So far, America seemed like one big traffic jam since she had picked up her rental car at the Washington airport. 'No wonder the government here is in eternal gridlock,' she thought to herself. 'They understand nothing else!'
Her dream of getting to see the eastern American mountain ranges called Appalachia loomed large in her mind, however, and she knew that once she escaped the congestion around the nation's capital, she would be free to cross the Piedmont of Virginia and see the far-off misty haze beckoning her on to the softly rolling mountain range rising up ahead of her. She brought her mind back to the situation at hand and rolled her eyes at American drivers' vain competitiveness as they nosed-in in front of other cars ahead of her and cut across lanes, jockeying for a better position in a line of cars that seemed to move faster for a moment, only to watch the line they had just abandoned surge forward instead. Sally had her map laid open on the empty seat beside her, even though the car had a built-in GPS. She hoped none of the many smoke-belching trucks lumbering along around her would block her view of her upcoming exit sign, nor heavy traffic would keep her from changing lanes to take it.
She turned on the radio, hoping to tune in to a local traffic report, but an endless series of commercials was all the radio seemed to offer this mid-morning. Sally wondered if traffic was always this bad around the Washington outer-belt or if there was an accident somewhere up ahead which caused all this congestion. She wished the roads here were more like the familiar roads of her Caithness County in northern Scotland; far fewer people and only the occasional sheep blocking her headway. But she had come to America to realize a dream, to wander the weathered ranges of the rolling mountains that had risen long ago in the old world, broken away with the shifting continents and drifted here to the new world.
Worn down now to soft, tree-covered slopes that rolled in gentle waves from the mid-Atlantic states to Georgia, these mountains had once called many a Scots lad and lass to their wild highlands away from the madding propinquity of civilization. DC metro traffic, she decided, was just a small price to pay, weighed against the weeks ahead on the beautiful Appalachian Trail. Sally had been drawn to their romance as if by Ulysses's sirens; the wild, open country so much like her Scotland home. Indeed, the ancient mountains themselves were once part of the very Caledonian range which still back-boned Scotland, although the Appalachians had broken away and slowly circled the world millions of years ago, leaving Scotland far behind, as it now was for her.
For years they had beckoned, and the foot-trail rimming their crests was for her the focus of their allure. It seemed a marvelous wonder when she had heard about it in a documentary years ago. Its legend had filled her dreams until it was finally too much to resist any longer. Twenty-two hundred miles of wilderness footpath winding through the most beautiful crests of several scenic mountain-chains, running from New England down to the deep South, and Sally loved mountains!
She knew she would never have time to undertake its entire length, a seven-month hiking journey, so she focused her attention on the middle, where the beautiful Skyline Drive began. Her conversations with Bethany had always filled her with a deep longing to explore the woodland peaks which once crowned the highlands beyond the colonial frontier of America. She always knew she would find adventure there, and now it lay ahead!
At last! Traffic began rolling forward at a steady, if not rapid clip, and within minutes she spied her exit sign approaching on the right. She cautiously eased her car towards the right lane, and finally she was off Interstate-485 and onto the Custis Memorial Parkway headed towards the mountains. Her cell buzzed an incoming text message on the seat beside her, but she astonished herself by ignoring it and pressed on the accelerator to blend into the high-speed traffic heading west. She hadn't eaten since the snack she grabbed on the airport concourse and she hoped she could make it halfway across Virginia before she had to stop for lunch.
As she pulled into the left lane to pass a line of trucks, she caught up to an SUV with a cute little girl waving at her from the rear-window just ahead of her. She smiled and waved back. The child's long, brown hair and animated smile reminded her of how she imagined Bethany must have looked as a little girl. For years she had known her website administrator only through the internet, though their close association had almost transcended the web and made her one of Sally's closest friends - and fantasies! She had hoped Beth would be able to take some time off from work to meet up with her somewhere along her holiday itinerary in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but their vacation schedules hadn't seemed to mesh this year.
Sally pulled off to find a place to eat about an hour past noon, and she hoped the lunch crowds would be thinned out. America was filled with fast-food and ubiquitous restaurant chains with familiar names, but she preferred more interesting fare that wasn't so standardized and predictable. She wasn't even sure where she was but that was part of the adventure. She found a small mom-and-pop diner and pulled in. There was still quite a lunch-crowd, and she told herself that the locals probably knew this was a good place to dine.
She was seated at a booth by the window, and looking out across the street, she saw a number of empty storefronts. The Great Recession had hit small-town America especially hard, and nowhere worse than out in the rural areas. She pulled out her phone and checked her messages. She tried to get out of the habit while she was abroad because of the international rates and tariffs, but at least she'd purchased a SIM card for her phone that allowed her to pick up an American carrier network. She had intended to use her smart-phone sparingly, not only because of the overseas rates but because she was on vacation and didn't want her electronic connections to follow her around annoyingly. Sweet Whores, the lesbian social-network she had owned for years, could rest on Bethany's shoulders for awhile.
After a club sandwich and a bowl of soup which fell a bit short of her expectations, she threaded her way past a couple waitresses and went to the restroom in the back of the dining area. Two cute girls in their twenties were at the lavatory, giggling about something while touching up their make-up and sharing a cigarette. Sally slid past them and closed the door of the stall behind her. Their voices got low and they giggled some more, and Sally rolled her eyes at the immaturity of young girls in general and American girls in particular.
She looked at some graffiti scribbled on the stainless steel divider and saw the name 'Beth' with a phone number below and a crude drawing of two splayed fingers with a tongue in between them. No, she thought to herself! It was impossible! Her friend lived hundreds of kilometers away from here on the other side of the mountains! It had to be another Beth. She wrote the number down on a notepad in her purse nevertheless.
Sally washed her hands in the sink beside the two girls and asked them if they worked here in the diner. They never answered her question but told her they loved her accent and continued to gush about it in a charming accent of their own which, Sally assumed, all Virginians must have and not even be aware of it. The girls pulled up their boobs in their bras and admired their cleavage in the mirror as Sally excused herself and went out to pay her bill. As she waited for an older couple to settle their tab at the cash register ahead of her, she noticed the two attractive girls come out of the restroom, and they smiled and waved at her as they went out the front door. Sally wasn't sure whether they were flirting with her or if all American girls were as friendly and flirtatious as her 'Front Whore'.
She pressed on for several more hours and watched the landscape rise and grow more rugged as she approached the foothills of the northern Shenandoah Mountains. The roads got curvy and though they were wider, Sally felt more like she did driving on the highland roads of Scotland. As she climbed into the foothills, she saw signs of the vast disparity between rich and poor in America. On the outskirts of towns were beautiful, gated homes set on well-manicured hillsides, but farther out, faded and rusting trailers were perched awkwardly on the slopes surrounded by run-down sheds and old, abandoned cars on concrete blocks.
Billboards and signs were everywhere, blocking the scenery with commercial promotions for motel chains, tourist attractions, and Biblical passages preaching the agenda of the Pro-Life movement. Sally knew the divisions in America were more than economic and wondered how a nation that had once been the envy of the world was now so polarized and torn against itself. Poverty seemed to be everywhere. She stopped for gas, and as she was topping off her tank, a convertible pulled into the convenience-mart next to the gas-pumps and she recognized the two girls she had seen in the diner hours ago. She wondered if this was a coincidence or if they were following her. She closed her gas-cap, moved her car up beside theirs and went into the carry-out into which they had disappeared.
She wandered down a couple of the store aisles, but they were nowhere to be seen. She spotted a cooler that was fairly inexpensive, and she thought it might come in handy on her trip, so she took it up to the cash register along with a pack of refrigerated bottled-waters wrapped in plastic. There was an ice machine just outside, and she got a bag of crushed ice to put in the cooler with her water, then loaded the cooler into the back-seat of her car next to some of her luggage. She got curious as to where the girls had disappeared, and she locked her car and went back into the carry-out.
She checked out several more aisles, but they weren't in any of them. Towards the back of the store, she saw the restrooms and slowly pushed into the one with the 'Ladies' placard on the door. She heard the sounds of moaning and froze so as not to make a sound. She stood just inside the door, making sure it didn't make any noise when it closed, listening intently as the girls were obviously right around the corner of the tiled bathroom. The whimpering grew more intense as Sally stood there with her back up against the wall, not knowing whether to stay or leave.
She was magnetized by the soft sounds of passion just hidden from her by a divider wall. She heard gasps and groans and knew the sound of a girl about to climax. She suddenly became aware of her own fingers, one hand at her breast and the other between her legs, rubbing in intense circles until her own breathing grew deep and heaving. She leaned out and moved towards the outer wall of the hallway getting as close to the end of the partition as possible and saw a wide mirror on the opposite wall. She silently edged far enough in so she could see the reflections of the two girls in the mirror.
One was sitting on the wide counter in which the sinks were set with her skirt pushed up around her waist, and the other girl was kneeling between her widely-spread thighs, eating her out. The receiving girl had her eyes closed, whimpering and rolling her head side-to-side against the mirror. Sally suddenly realized that if the girl opened her eyes, she could probably see Sally staring at her from around the other side of the partition. She quickly stepped back out of sight with her back up against the wall again. She had a prurient desire to insert herself into their tryst while at the same time admonishing herself for even staying there listening.
Sally was amazed at the girls doing it so brazenly in a public restroom where anyone could come in and catch them! She wondered if that was the idea and they were hoping to be discovered. She remembered how Bethany was just such an exhibitionist, and the daring things she said she did out in public! She peeked out again, unable to restrain her curiosity and watched as the girl on the floor now had the other girl's breasts pulled out of her bra, caressing them as she licked her pussy deeply. Her nipples were clearly visible as Sally watched, and this time Sally didn't even care if the girl caught her watching them.
Sally realized her heart was now racing and wondered what she was going to decide to do. Her natural shyness had always kept her from doing these kinds of things herself, while she admired girls who were this free. She had always prided herself as being a lady, but her inner desires were anything but ladylike at the moment! Sally's legs were trembling, and she didn't know if it was from arousal or fear of being caught as a voyeur. The girl on the counter was obviously cumming now and she wondered if this was nearing its end or whether the other girl would be given her turn.
Sally's finger was now under her skirt and down her panties, fingering her swollen clit through her feathery cropped down. She suddenly realized that if she made herself cum, she might let out a whimper or a gasp that would give her away, but she was enjoying the moment too much to stop! Suddenly the door pushed inwards and banged hard against her, and she jumped, startled out of her auto-eroticism. An elderly woman pushed through the doorway, apologizing for bumping into her, and Sally heard the two girls inside scrambling madly to pull themselves together at the sound of the door hitting her. Sally was just as flustered as the two girls around the partition and beat a hasty exit around the surprised lady as she let the door swing closed behind her.
Sally knew her noisy encounter with the lady had probably given the girls enough time to get their clothes pulled back into place, and she started smiling to herself at the absurdity of what had just happened. She wondered if the girls would realize that the commotion at the door meant there had been someone there inside the bathroom with them listening or watching them, so she quickened her pace towards the front of the store and almost laughed out loud while the check-out girl watched her in puzzlement as she rushed past on her way out to her car.
Sally was miles away before her heart slowed down. But the next time, she resolved to be a little more daring! She could see the ridges of the mountains rising ahead of her in the distance and the road began to wind around the lower slopes, climbing to meet them. Another half hour passed as the elevations rose, and the little town of Linden was just this side of the mountain pass ahead. She was approaching the rounded crests of the Shenandoah mountains now, and she knew from her map that the Trail was coming up, crossing Route-66 west.
The sign appeared: Appalachian Trail Parking. She pulled off and found a place to park under some trees near the trail entrance. It was getting towards late afternoon, and she figured she had enough hours of daylight left to reach the first overnight shelter on the trail. She unloaded her backpack and changed into her hiking shoes, put a few icy-cold bottles of water in her pack and locked up her car. She was off!
This was just the closest section of the trail to reach by car on her first day, but she wanted to get a few miles of hiking under her feet to get herself accustomed to the climbs and descents on this lower section before driving south to take on the higher-altitude stretches. She'd read about the wayside shelters and wanted to spend her first night in one, just to acclimate herself to camping on the Trail. She crossed the road and headed south where the foot-trail rose gently to an elevation of twelve to fourteen hundred feet around the crest of one of the lower summits. She could still see farms far off in the distance in the vales below her, but soon the woods closed in upon the trail and she was under the canopy of the mountain forests.
After a short climb, she reached the Jim Molly Denton way-stop and decided she could easily make the next shelter another few miles up the trail. In a couple of hours of hiking the gentle rises and falls through beautiful woods and short stretches of open meadows, she passed her first fellow hikers coming the other way on the trail and asked them how far it was to the the next shelter. In a moment she was alone again and the eight miles to the Tom Floyd Wayside Shelter would take her a couple more hours if she quickened her pace. She could get there before dusk she decided.
Sally looked for a secluded place in the woods to pee and remembered the ubiquitous poison ivy plant native to North America. She was determined not to get an itchy rash on her privates, so she recited the old poison-leaf rhyme to herself: 'Leaves of three, let it be! Leaves of five, let it thrive!' Whether it was poison ivy, oak, or sumac, Sally did not want to accidentally touch the oily leaves and pulled her pants down in an open area bedded with dried pine-needles to relieve herself.
She thought of all the pictures she'd seen of Bethany, posing naked in the woods, and she was half-tempted to strip completely, just to see what it felt like with the wind whispering through the trees overhead and between her thighs below. She thought it must feel exhilarating having her body naked and exposed to all of nature, but she decided not to press her luck on her first few hours on the Trail. It seemed secluded here, but you never knew how soon another pair of feet (and eyes) might come winding around the trail-head. She finished her business quickly and wiped herself dry with a large tulip-tree leaf. Another daring opportunity she had not availed herself of, she mused, and she was beginning to think she would never summon up the courage to walk through the woods completely naked!
Shadows were growing long as twilight approached, and she was beginning to worry about reaching the next shelter-hut on the trail. The sun was setting low on the horizon, and the early evening sky glowed an orange-red through the trees. She had passed no one on the footpath since the couple who had told her how far the next shelter lay, and she wondered if they had underestimated the distance. She figured she could camp on the open ground if she had to, but she'd feel much safer elevated by the wooden platform of a shelter. She knew there were snakes in the mountains, but usually they stayed away from the trails, or so the guidebooks said.
For the first time since she'd left Europe, she was questioning her resolve to hike the wilderness trail alone. Many did. The dangers were few, more imagined than real, but she would have been much happier if Bethany had been able to meet up with her and they had tackled the trail together. She smiled to herself at the thought, for she remembered reading in a survey somewhere on 'Sweet-Whores' that her Cherokee friend preferred staying in four-star hotels to camping out in the wilderness! What kind of Indian Princess was that?
'Oh!' She thought to herself in surprise as she almost passed the shelter by in the gathering twilight. It was slightly off the trail and marked by a small, carved wooden sign: 'Tom Floyd Wayside Shelter.' She was relieved she'd found it and slung her pack off her shoulders and onto the weathered wooden steps. No one appeared to be around, and she was both relieved and disappointed. She felt safer by herself, but there would be no one with whom she could engage in conversation through the long woodland night. She suddenly felt very isolated, but checked her phone and it still registered a weak connection with a tower somewhere along the highway she had left miles behind.
She unlaced her hiking boots and sat on the stoop to pull them off. There was a map of the trail sealed under a Plexi-glas cover in a wooden frame nailed to the front wall of the hut. She tried to see exactly where she was but the shadow of the porch roof made it too dark to see clearly, so she gave up on map-reading until morning. By the edge of the clearing where the shelter stood, there was a hand-operated water-well pump with a catch basin under the spout, so she gave the lever a few stiff pushes and a stream of cold water eventually gushed into the basin and overflowed onto the ground while the water continued to flow out of the spigot. The pump soon lost its prime and she leaned down and splashed her face with the clear water pooled in the shell-shaped basin.
Inside the rustic shelter she found a small table with a book secured on a chain and a cupful of pens. It was a registry-book of names and comments from hikers who had spent the night in the shelter over the past several months. Sally opened her ruck-sack and pulled out a flash-light to read through the entries. The guests were from all around America, even some from other countries. She was interested in the descriptive comments left by some of the signers.
Most of the early entries mentioned the beauty of the trail as it wandered through the mountains and dales, and some were written in foreign languages, only some of which Sally could translate. She noticed a familiar word kept appearing in several of the entries: Träume in German, rêves in French... she read further and found the same references scattered through several English-speaking hikers' remarks. A couple from Guadalajara mentioned 'sueños extraños' and Sally was intrigued.
Dreams! Why did so many overnight guests mention having strange and vivid dreams? She turned the page to read more, but her flashlight flickered and went out before she could read through the rest of the entries. Sally found the similar experiences of so many hikers a bit strange and she was almost hesitant to close her eyes now, even though she was very tired. 'What kind of dreams?' she wondered.
The night was warm and Sally was accustomed to sleeping in the nude, so she unrolled her sleeping-bag and pulled the zipper so the bag spread open like a book on the wooden sleeping platform. Since she was alone, she wasn't worried about sleeping uncovered with only the thin mosquito-netting lining her sleeping-bag over her. She stripped off the rest of her clothes and walked out the doorway, daring to feel the ambiance of the forest in the nude. She loved the feeling! All around her tree-toads chirped in the darkness and various other night-sounds gave her an atavistic feeling of being one with nature.
She had finally made it to the Appalachians, and the thrill of being naked under the forest canopy tempted her off the porch to walk a short distance down the Trail. She knew that if Bethany were here with her, she would certainly join her. She imagined them both strolling hand-in-hand down the forest path together in the nude. The pine needles and sandy soil scrunched beneath her bare feet, and she jiggled herself and bounced up and down to feel her breasts swing unrestrained in the forest twilight. After a deep breath of fresh mountain air, she felt the unexpected sting of a mosquito biting her on her ass-cheek, and she quickly decided to get back to the shelter and under the mosquito-netting. In the darkness, settling in comfortably under the sheer netting, Sally scratched the itchy bite on her ass a few times and fell into sleep.
She had not been asleep long when she was startled awake by a shuffling sound on the porch. She wondered if a bear had come looking for food, and she instinctively pulled the other half of the insulated sleeping bag over her and scrunched herself up against the wall of the hut so she could look out towards the doorway. A shadow appeared and moved back and forth in front of the entrance to the shelter, and she felt around in the darkness for the flash-light or something else hard that she could throw or use as a weapon. The screen-door suddenly opened and stayed open, as something or someone held it from swinging shut on its spring. A loose backpack came sliding in across the floor, followed by what looked like a bed-roll, and Sally saw the vague silhouette of a woman's body stop in the doorway, peering into the darkness inside.
"Hello?" came a soft, almost hushed voice as the young woman stepped into the shelter with her.
She appeared to be alone, so Sally replied to her from the darkness.
"Oh!" the intruder said, startled. "I didn't mean to scare you! I've been on the trail for hours looking for a place to sleep. I'm sorry to bother you, but is there room for me to crash here for the night?"
Sally tried to light her flashlight, but the switch was stuck. She shook it and finally knocked it hard against the platform supporting her bedroll and it came on. She shone the light to her own face so her guest could see who she was talking to, and then flashed it around the small room until the newcomer could see the other platform on the opposite side of the shelter. Sally held the light for her while she unrolled her sleeping-bag and put her knapsack up on the shelf with her as she sat down. Sally widened the beam of her light to illuminate as much of the interior as possible and saw the other hiker was a fit woman of about forty years who, even in this dim light ,Sally could see filled out her blue jeans well.
"Are we alone?" her new guest asked with a warm, friendly voice.
"I wasn't expecting anyone else to show up, so I'm afraid I'm not quite decent," Sally confessed as she unfolded herself from the cover of the sleeping bag which was now getting quite warm. Her new companion glanced over at her through the sheer netting which was all that was between her nude body and her guest.
"Oh, don't worry about that!" She smiled. "I prefer sleeping that way myself. If you'll just hold the light on for a minute so I can get out of my clothes and see where I'm stashing them." The woman unbuttoned her shirt and adroitly slipped it off along with her bra and jeans, leaving her in nothing but a very scanty pair of panties which showed off her well-shaped derrière to good effect. Sally pretended not to look while the attractive, pony-tailed woman folded her clothes neatly in the corner and excused herself to go out to the pump and wash off.
Sally suddenly wished she had taken the time to wash off her own body before climbing into bed too. After a few minutes her new room-mate returned and crawled into her sleeping-bag as Sally turned off her flashlight. "You're an angel!" she thanked Sally from the darkness. "I'm glad I found you here instead of a couple of guys!"
Sally told her the feeling was mutual and said goodnight. Sally's curiosity always got the best of her, so in the darkness before they fell asleep, she asked her companion her name, where she was from, and how long she had been on the trail. She was surprised to learn that her companion was an experienced hiker and had been working her way up the foot-trail from the Smokies in North Carolina over the past few weeks. Her name was Ursyla and she found Sally's story of being enamored with the Appalachians from her far-off home in Europe to be quite fascinating, and she shared with her some of the highlights she could look forward to seeing on various stretches of the south-bound trail. Sally told her she'd left her rental car less than fifteen miles up the trail to the north, and they agreed to hike together until Sally returned to her car to drive farther to the south of Virginia the next day.
As they tried to fall asleep, Sally could hear her cabin-mate tossing on her bedroll and slapping her skin as she was obviously being attacked by mosquitoes. "Are you alright?" asked Sally. "No bug-netting?"
"Its ripped and full of holes!" lamented Ursyla. "Last night I woke up from the strangest dream and clawed my way out of it before I realized where I was! I haven't been able to patch it yet or get a new one."
Sally considered what she had said about her dream and asked her if she had had any other strange dreams before she got to this stretch of the foot-trail. Ursyla told her it had just started happening when she had gotten halfway through the Shenandoahs and Sally wondered if she should tell her about the other trail-diary entries she had read about similar occurrences. She decided it was best not to scare her with 'ghost-stories' before bedtime, and she offered to share her mosquito-netting with her so she could get a comfortable night's sleep before their journey up the trail tomorrow. Ursyla demurred, saying she didn't want to impose and crowd Sally in her bed. Sally didn't want to seem to be pressing her into the intimacy of sharing her bed so she settled back down again to sleep.
Just as she was dozing off, Sally heard a sharp slap, followed by "God-dammit!" Ursyla sighed in exasperation, and Sally ordered her over to join her under her mosquito-netting. The platform upon which Sally's bedroll was positioned was no wider than a single-bed, so Sally had to scoot against the shelter wall to make room for her sleep-mate. Sally had never shared a bed with a complete stranger before but she knew neither of them would get any sleep unless Ursyla could get some respite from the mosquitoes.
"You sure about this?" she queried Sally as she came over to join her.
"I'm sure I don't want to listen to you smacking squeeters on your ass all night!" laughed Sally.
Ursyla slid in under the netting and tried not to crowd Sally, but the only way the netting would cover them both was for them to scoot close together, tucking it around their pillow and under Ursyla on the open side of the bunk. Their shoulders were pressed together and Sally knew that any tossing and turning would pull the netting open, so she turned on her side and suggested they spoon. Sally's breasts were soon pressing into her companion's back and the next problem was where to put her hands. It was soon solved when Ursyla took the hand that Sally rested on her arm and pulled it around her so Sally's hand was held fast between Ursyla's small, firm breasts. Sally hoped her new friend couldn't feel how fast her heart was now racing, but in the quiet darkness they both succumbed to the day's efforts and fell into sleep! Crack-Boom
! They awoke with a start! It wasn't morning yet, but there was light dancing around over their heads! They were both wide-awake after what sounded like a canon firing. Its echo was still bouncing around the nearby mountains, and they both leaped off the sleeping platform and started to smell smoke. The roof was on fire!
Sally and Ursyla looked up and saw a gaping hole in the ceiling overhead, ringed by flames where a lightning bolt had just struck the roof only a few feet over their heads! They were still tingling and half-deaf from the thunderous report when they saw the flames quickly spreading across the roof! They ran outside with nothing on between them but Ursyla's panties. Sally watched the blaze quickly spread across the top of the shelter and turned to retrieve their packs from the burning hut, but flaming pieces of the roof began falling through as the fire consumed it and Sally realized it was too late. Their back-packs, their sleeping bags, all their clothes and supplies were gone with one stroke of lightning. Then the rain came!
Sally and Ursyla could barely see each other as the torrential downpour drenched their bare skin and finally doused the last flickerings of the fire, leaving them surrounded by darkness again. They joined hands and pulled each other into a hug, thankful to be alive as the rain soaked their hair and chilled their bare skin. They scampered around the clearing, blindly searching for the safest spot to shelter, but soon gave up and sat down huddled back-to-back on the wet ground.
As morning filtered through the trees, they were still sitting naked on a bed of damp leaves propped up with their backs to each other. The night-storm had passed and chirping birds heralded the normalcy of another dawn in the Appalachian forest. Sally and Ursyla washed off at the pump and shook their hair out. As Sally watched Ursyla bent over, combing her fingers through her wet hair, she noticed a necklace dangling from a fine silver chain around her neck that gleamed in the morning sun. She had not noticed it before, but after looking closely she saw that it was a silver bear-paw effigy. Ursyla looked up to see Sally staring at her and Sally quickly mentioned her necklace so her companion wouldn't think she had been staring at her bare breasts.
"Do you like it?" asked Ursyla. "I wear it every time I hike the Trail. Sort of a charm to protect me from bears." She laughed.
"Does it work?" Sally inquired.
"So far!" Ursyla smiled. "I guess I should have worn one in the shape of a lightning-bolt, huh!"
They poked through the smoldering rubble of the shelter hoping to find their keys, cell-phones, or any pieces of clothing they could salvage, but the fire had consumed or buried everything with an impenetrable mound of congealed ashes. They had no idea what to do next, nor how to explain to anyone whom they happened upon how they had come to be walking naked together in the forest. They walked north and didn't know whether they wanted to meet anyone on the trail or not, but figured it would be better than getting back to the parking area and having people see two naked women trying to break into Sally's car. But the farther they walked, the less familiar the trail seemed, at least to Sally who had hiked down the same stretch only yesterday.
The sun climbed up through the canopy of trees but they never passed a living soul, nor the Jim Molly Denton shelter which they should have found within a couple of hours hiking. There didn't seem to be any clearings in the forest where Sally had remembered seeing farms off in the distant valleys yesterday either. The woodlands appeared to stretch on forever, and by mid-morning their bare feet were getting tender from trodding the rough mountain trail. They both welcomed a rest, and sat down on a fallen log to reconsider their options.
Ursyla was an experienced Appalachian hiker and Sally enjoyed hearing her talk about her experiences on the trail. She was what was called a 'through-hiker' as opposed to a 'short-stretcher' or day-hiker. Many attempted to hike the entire length of the trail each year, but of the thousands who believed they could complete the trek, most gave up fairly early on. Only about 300 dedicated hikers could actually finish the entire two thousand miles of the crest-line footpath each year. Nearly all started in Georgia and headed north for the five to seven month journey because in early spring, snows kept the northern stretches of the trail closed in the mountains of Maine.
Experienced hikers developed what was known as 'trail-sense' if they stayed on the trail for many days at a time. They found they could attune their senses to any dangers more readily than inexperienced hikers and became 'one' with the forest and its natural inhabitants. If one spent too long on the trail, it changed them for life. The remote isolation from civilization made one yearn for the quiet of the woods, and people became intolerant of the usual noise of civilization when they tried to return to their lives amid the din of modern society. Sally wondered how the wilderness trail would affect her, given her already magical attraction to the Appalachian highlands.
A small waterfall cascaded down a rock-face on their left, and they refreshed themselves in the cold tumble of the splashing stream. Their nipples hardened in the spray and Sally once again found herself staring at Ursyla's pert breasts. A few moments later she caught herself with her finger still absently 'refreshing' her womanhood. She decided to wander off the trail to look for mushrooms or berries or something else they might eat, as neither of them had even had anything for breakfast. Sally pushed her way through a thicket of young trees where more light filtered through from above, and the thin, leafy branches brushed across her bare skin. She was more careful about her footing too because the forest floor was more cluttered with twigs, stones, and other detritus which hurt her bare feet if she stepped wrong.
Suddenly she looked up and there was a pair of eyes peering at her through the maze of trees before her. She looked around and there were others watching her too from all sides! Their faces were clear and tanned, but they wore soft, doeskin tunics with lacings and feathers woven through that really didn't seem to cover that much of their lithe bodies. Their legs were bare, and the tunics which were gathered tightly around their narrow waists ended in a short, ragged-edge skirt. Sally turned to run back up the hill but saw Ursyla being marched down towards her, held at her shoulders by two of the wilderness femmes.
Sally asked them if they had intruded on their reservation or sacred land and none of them seemed to understand what she was saying to them, but they soon surrounded her too and guided them both along another trail, passing slightly below where the Appalachian Trail wound about the mountain's summits. Sally tried several more times to strike up a conversation but met with the same mute response. All she could see were their backs and dark, black braids wagging side-to-side. After being herded downhill for the better part of the afternoon the trees became older and more deeply shadowed the woods, but before they had time to complain about their tired, sore feet they were in a clearing, standing before an imperious-looking woman with long, brown hair, who judged them too closely for them to feel comfortable. The women who had escorted them to this camp were standing off to the sides in deference to their leader.
"Why come you here?" said the one in charge. Sally was puzzled by who these women were out here in the midst of nowhere and wanted the same question answered by them!
"My friend and I were hiking upon the trail on the summit. Why did you bring us here?" Sally replied.
"These are the mountains of the Forest Princess. All the woodland tribes are hers to command!" The stern young woman declared. "Why do you walk naked through her forest? Where are your provisions?"
"We lost them when our cabin burned last night." Ursyla answered.
"There are no lodges in these woods except the tipis we pitch along our way," the young woman insisted.
"You are Indians?" Sally inquired suspiciously. "This is a reservation?"
"This is where we hunt, where we travel, where we have lived for all our generations since the Great Mother gave us these lands."
Sally was getting the distinct feeling they were much farther from civilization than they had been just the day before, and knew they couldn't have walked so far in just a day! "Where is this woodland princess?" demanded Sally. "I wish to see her immediately!"
"She will know of your intrusion into her realm if she has not sensed it already. She will appear in the time she chooses, and then the path of your journey will be hers to decide!"
With a gesture the young tribes-women guided Sally and Ursyla to a high mound where they were tied with leather lacings so they could kneel in comfort upon the soft bed of pine needles, but were lashed to the tree-trunks so they were no longer free. They were brought food and drink and their bodies were laved with clear water as if they were being prepared for some rite, and as they were given nuts and berries out of woven baskets, the young women of the tribe looked at their naked bodies with fascination.
"Where the hell are
we?" Ursyla asked Sally under her breath. Sally merely shrugged and hoped they hadn't fallen into the hands of deranged mountain folk living out some Native American fantasy beyond the reaches of the law. She knew that there were no Indians in these mountains for over a hundred years, and the nearest reservation was hundreds of kilometers south in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.
As night approached, they watched the small band of girls build a bonfire piled high with dry logs and branches in the center of the clearing of trees until it reached far over their heads. At sunset, in a breathless stillness between day and night, the fire was lit and quickly grew into a pillar of flickering light. The girls watched the flames grow, illuminating the forest around them with a circle of golden light, and then, as a drum began beating from somewhere in the darkness under the trees, they began ritually dancing around the towering pyre. Slowly they moved together, circling the roaring column as the night sky grew darker and the embers could be seen flying into the silent heavens until they were lost in the night.
Their sensuous bodies glowed in the firelight as they crouched and rose like stalking animals, pivoting and lunging at unseen quarry, then darting about with arms flying in wild arcs, swinging whips of slender leather thongs weighted at the ends with something neither Sally nor Ursyla could discern. Their movements were atavistic, graceful and seductive as wild things in the forest night. They moved in unison to the droning beat. The scene was mesmerizing and seductive. These were certainly no impostors Sally realized. Their ritual was full of meaning and intensity, even magic. They were true children of the forest wilderlands and the two of them were their captives.
Soon their voices sang out in ethereal choruses of some ancient tongue which echoed through the mountains and reached into the souls of Sally and Ursyla as they too swayed unwittingly to the heartbeat of the sacred drum. They were entranced by the tableau, and the beauty of the ritual dance took away any fear they might have had at being helpless captives of this mysterious tribe so misplaced in time. The ring of dancers tore open the lacings of their skins and cast off their clothing, twirling naked around the fire so their young skin was bathed in an erotic glow. Sally watched their every move, feeling some mystical affinity for the tribe. She found them as alluring as the mountains themselves that had drawn her across an ocean.
She wondered if these beautiful femmes were somehow responsible for the irresistible attraction she had felt for this place for so long. Were they the hidden charm in these mountains which had lured her so far from her home. The idea sank deep into her consciousness that she was here for a reason, that she had found her way through a labyrinth to arrive here and now, even though she had no earthly idea where or when she actually was. This could be like the Scottish Brigadoon, a magical people in a mystical place that couldn't possibly exist in the real world from which she had somehow lost her way.
The trance continued through the night, and as a crescent moon rose through the trees overhead, Sally began to wonder if she would ever find her way back to the world she knew, and whether or not she really wanted to! She looked over at Ursyla, tethered beside her, naked and suddenly very alluring in the red glow of the firelight. Her firm, upturned breasts bounced slightly with the beat of the tribal drum and her eyes were glazed, as if she too were lost in this separate world. What fate had drawn them together here? Sally turned her attention back to the dancers around the fire but they were now circling another figure she had not seen before and Sally wondered where she had come from!
It was as if she had stepped out of the fire to join the other dancers while she and Ursyla were not looking. Her long, dark hair whipped around her as she danced, and she danced like no other she had seen this night. She was erotic in her every movement, and the others were completely in her orbit, circling her and bowing in a deferential manner. She touched each one as if they were each special to her, and as she did they twirled down to the ground to sit at her bare feet. As they dropped one-by-one from their position around her, Sally could see her come fully into view. She was naked like the others but far more alluring somehow, as if she radiated a light of her own, not just the reflection of the fire, and as Sally watched, she turned her sparkling eyes towards Sally.
As she twirled around, her attention stayed focused on Sally and suddenly she stopped in mid-spin and her long hair continued to whip around her, then fell to her full breasts so Sally could no longer see her puffy nipples. The fire behind her shrank, as the burning boughs broke and collapsed upon themselves, crumbling into glowing embers which radiated a warmth that bathed all the exhausted dancers in a soft, red glow. All the tribes-women sitting around her in a circle were swaying to-and-fro as the last beats of the drum faded from her ears. Sally stood up and pulled her bindings taut, while the last lone dancer stepped out of the circle and approached her.
Sally's breath caught in her throat suddenly, for she knew her gait, if only by description. The mysterious girl padded forward softly, quietly; one foot before the other in the distinctive manner of the Native American. Upon her brow was a familiar headband with a thunderbird woven in colored beads emblazoned on her forehead, but otherwise she was completely naked. Her breasts bounced firmly but seductively, just as Sally had always imagined they would. Her womanly hips swayed with each step as she drew closer. Sally recognized her face as the distance closed between them.
"Beth!" Sally exclaimed in amazement.
"Bête!" corrected the Princess of the Woodland Tribes. "An appellation French trappers who came to these mountains centuries ago called me, to their peril! They came to take the furs and pelts of our friends in the woods whom they also called bête, but they soon learned to call me
by that name instead… those who lived! It is only one of many names I have been called." The long-haired Princess raised her hand and Sally's leather restraints uncoiled from her wrists and fell to the ground. "My tribe is curious about you. Both of you!" With a slight turn of her head, the women of her tribe surrounded Sally and Ursyla, lowering them to the soft bed of pine needles, then staking them to the ground so their naked bodies were spread wide. Sally soon felt fingers and tongues exploring her entire body as many young and beautiful girls kneeled all around her.
She heard Ursyla tied next to her, moaning as she also experienced the attentions of the woodland-femmes. Her nipples were sucked and pulled and her womanhood was licked and fingered by several at once. She was soon gasping and her tummy tightened and heaved as intense pleasure overwhelmed her. Sally was soon trembling with excitement as her bottom squirmed on the prickly pine needles. They knew the arts of lovemaking well, and Sally's climaxes consumed her over and over. She felt her clitoris being nibbled by an expert tongue but could not see how many girls were between her legs and at her sides.
She looked up to see the Forest Princess smiling down at her, and she dropped to her knees to kiss Sally softly but passionately, her tongue searching Sally's mouth until Sally entwined hers in return. The rest of her body was experiencing what she could only imagine nirvana to be, a pleasure so unimaginable that it seemed like one continuous orgasm such as she had never achieved. She wanted to cry out, to scream her ecstasy, but she couldn't let this deep, soul-stirring kiss ever end. It was a perfect moment which did not end soon, and Sally wanted it to continue forever, even though she was being overwhelmed by sensations she had never known before.
Soon the Woodland Princess was straddling her at her waist and Sally felt her skin being tickled by her long, silky tresses, her soft breasts brushing Sally's as their nipples hardened upon each others' touch. She slid down, spreading the wet lips of her vulva open upon Sally's mound and Sally could feel her delicate petals painting her clitoral hood with her wetness. Their breasts pressed together and their nipples danced as the exquisite kiss grew deeper and deeper. As their breaths mingled, their tongues shared moist, swirling intimacies that made Sally feel completely connected to her mysterious lover.
Her leg was drawn up, freed from her bonds by unseen hands and Sally felt her sex being gently rubbed and caressed by the soft, wet folds of the Princesses' womanhood, and she trembled as their clits dragged across one another's in an electric tingle which sent her into mind-numbing paroxysms. Their climaxes built in a crescendo of pleasure which left them both soaked; gushing their juices together into rivulets which ran down into Sally's ass-crack. They were both panting and Sally surrendered herself to every intimacy the Princess took from her writhing body. The long night belonged to both of them and Sally soon discovered she was free to move without constraint, and her lover let her be the aggressor in turn.
Sally rolled the smiling Princess on her back and took charge of their love-making. She straddled her face and felt a practiced tongue rising to penetrate her sex. With a trembling shudder, she pushed her wet cunt into her lover's mouth and felt her split being licked and sucked as if by a wild-thing driven by endless lust. Sally poured her juices out of her slit and felt them being sucked and swallowed ravenously by her prone lover. Her clit hardened and swelled as it was teased and tongued from under its hood and Sally writhed with one intense orgasm after another.
She reached behind her, pinching the Princesses' nipples, pulling and twisting them, and felt her groan into her gushing pussy. Whatever pleasure Sally was receiving, she knew she was giving her lover in equal amounts. She turned and dropped into a sixty-nine position and they both ate from each others' deep folds, giving and taking a passion which seemed to never end. Sally lost track of time and was not even conscious of Ursyla lying right beside her, but her companion on the Appalachian Trail was enjoying her own ecstasies with several of the tribe's most sensual sirens.
They had both succumbed entirely to the erotic seductions of their captors, but the Princess and Sally had become equals in their intimacies with each other, and Sally felt this was more than sex, more than just a night of sublime passion. It was a union, a bonding... a mingling of feelings for one another that could never end, even if she and the Princess were separated by distance or time. Sally knew this was why she had been drawn here, why these mountains lured her very soul across an ocean and a quarter of the way around the world. A part of her would never leave here, and if she found her way back to her beloved Scotland she would take a piece of this magical country with her.
The forest grew dark as the moon set and Sally and her lover clung together in a quiet embrace, sharing the closeness this magical night had brought them. She nestled her breasts into her lover's back and they spooned together blissfully, their legs entwined and their bare feet softly pressing together. Her companion's warmth contrasted the cool night air which refreshed her as a mountain dawn approached from the east. Sally felt her lover's breasts cupped in her hands and she softly breathed through her silken hair as it fell around her slender neck. She couldn't imagine a more perfect moment as she lay there in a contentment she had never known.
Just before the first light of dawn peeked through the trees, Sally heard the chirping of birds and felt herself dimly aware of being halfway between sleep and wakefulness. She didn't want the night to end but knew this day would begin a new chapter in her life. Early morning created an ethereal mist in the woods and Sally could just make out the black silhouettes of nearby tree-trunks against the dim light filtering through the soft green glow of the forest. She had rested through the night so comfortably that she only now became aware of the fine, dry bed of pine-needles against her bare skin. A patch of sky showed pale through the leafy canopy overhead and Sally looked to see where the ceremonial bon-fire had burnt out, but nothing on the forest floor indicated where it had been. In fact no traces of the encampment where their captors had brought them appeared anywhere around them. Sally sat up to look around and her sleeping partner awoke and turned to face her. It was Ursyla!
"But…" They both said at the same time with the same bewildered expression on their faces.
"I was sleeping with the Forest Princess!" said Ursyla, and Sally stood up and gazed around them in all directions but nothing did she see except virgin woodland with narrow beams of sunlight angling through the early morning mist. They both gave out a crest-fallen sigh and asked each other about the details of their memory of the night before.
Each of them told exactly the same account of a magical and passionate night spent with a tribe of beautiful seductresses and their incomparable mistress, who had enraptured each of them with a long night of intimately exquisite passion. They were both still naked and disheveled, and the memories of the amazing night were still fresh in their minds, but was it only a shared dream? Was the passion they so clearly remembered only experienced with each other?! They were both mystified. Sally ran her hand between her thighs and they were coated with a sheen of dried juices from her long night of love-making, and so were Ursyla's! They both began pacing the ground in circles, determined to find some evidence of the events of the night before, but everything... the camp, the fire, even their leather bonds were nowhere to be found!
They walked up the hill hand-in-hand, and after climbing for nearly an hour, they found a footpath opening out either way to their sides and the familiar trail-blazes painted on the trunks of pine trees marking the Appalachian Trail. Sally shook her head, and they both sat down on a fallen log to decide which way they needed to go. The sun was climbing in the sky behind them, so right was north and left was south. After discussing the probabilities of where exactly they must be on the trail, they both assented to north being the best direction.
Sally was convinced the trail was magical, or perhaps the whole of the Appalachians were! She'd been drawn by some fanciful attraction, almost sexual, and now these timeless woods were playing with her, drawing her into their mysteries, leading her to... what?! Still naked, the absence of clothes was beginning to seem less strange to them both and even quite natural and stimulating, if a bit difficult to explain to any other hikers they happened to meet, but oddly, they met nary a one! Sally's eyes were always drawn to the beauty of the forest, but she found her gaze also fell frequently on Ursyla's lovely behind when she walked ahead. It occurred to Sally that Ursyla must have hiked the Trail many times before, so she asked, "Have any strange things happened to you on the trail before last night?"
Ursyla thought the question over for a minute before answering. "The Virginia stretch of the trail has always been the most mysterious. The path it follows through the state seems a very circuitous one from the ground, meandering around the mountain crests of the Shenandoah's. But if viewed on a map, as it is seen from heights beyond where the eagles fly, it forms a great arc- part of a vast circle, whose center is said to have once been the realm of a mythical Indian Princess who was revered by all the Woodland Tribes, or so the legends tell."
"Then you knew all about our mysterious lover under the pines last night," said Sally.
"No one knows all about her!" Ursyla assured. "But I have wandered the trail for years, hoping the legends were true!"
"And yet I meet her the second night I am on the trail! Doesn't that seem strange to you?" inquired Sally.
"It is said she seeks a mate," Ursyla mused. "One of her stature and nobility of soul. Perhaps I am not her equal. Perhaps you are!"
"That charm you wear around your neck. It is Native American, isn't it?" Sally inquired.
"It is an effigy." Ursyla answered. "I am of Native descent. At least a part of me. I am of the bear-clan. She is wolf-clan."
"Are you of the same tribe?"
"It does not matter." Ursyla said, looking around her at the forest. "She is a Princess of all the tribes of the Eastern Woodlands… Mohawk, Delaware, Cherokee. They all know her legend."
Sally began to suspect that none knew her legend more than Ursyla, and that it was perhaps no accident she had found and befriended her on the trail. She wondered if her attractive companion was somehow in the service of this woodland princess, and Sally was being carefully led deeper and deeper into her sphere of influence and ever farther away from the world she knew. None of this part of the trail seemed familiar to her, though she had to have passed this way before. It seemed like miles they had trekked, uphill and down, following the ridges of the northern Shenandoah's, and finally in late afternoon at the bottom of a steep descent they found a deep, sparkling pond fed by a waterfall plummeting down from the rocks. It was just the refreshment they both desperately needed.
Wading in, they ducked their heads under the cascade of water raining down from above and drank thirstily from the clean, mountain flume. They bathed and swam playfully, dunking each other and swimming underwater between each others' legs. Ursyla dove under the surface and would stay under water for long periods of time so Sally would have to duck under and search for her, then she would spring up to the surface behind her to surprise Sally in a different spot. After playing this game several times she failed to re-appear and Sally grew concerned and swam underwater to look for her. Minutes went by and Ursyla still was nowhere to be found.
She swam towards the waterfall ducking under the turbulence, fearing her friend had got caught in an undertow. The rushing water was full of bubbles making visibility poor, and the force of the out-flow kept Sally from getting close to the base of the falls. She swam around to the side and felt her way along the rocks underwater until she saw Ursyla struggling to get her foot free from between two big rocks which had pinned her leg in between them. Sally fought the current and got close enough to kick one of the rocks away from Ursyla's leg and she quickly dragged her up to the surface, sputtering and choking from lack of breath. She pulled her onto a flat, sunny boulder along the side of the falls and used her palms to compress her chest to force out the water she had swallowed. Ursyla finally gasped and caught her breath, and Sally knew she'd be alright.
"Thank-you!" Ursyla coughed, and Sally smoothed her wet hair back away from her face.
"No more games!" Sally smiled as she pinched Ursyla's erect nipple and gave it a gentle tug. From behind them a shadow crossed over them and Sally looked around to see a silhouetted figure standing upon the rocks above them. Her long, sweeping hair flowed away from her naked body, lifted by the updraft created by the waterfall.
"No... no more games!" said the Princess. "You have passed two of my tests. Fire and water!"
"Then the third shall be of my
choosing!" Sally quickly interrupted. Before the Princess could say another word, she grabbed Ursyla by the arm and pulled her up and off the ledge as they both dove into the water together. Swimming away, Sally turned and shouted back to the Princess still standing high on the rocks. "I have taken your servant! You must come to me and politely request that I return her to you! This 'coup' counts as mine!" Sally was familiar with the Native American custom of 'counting-coup', and knew she had just scored a victory over the Woodland Princess, who stood high up on the rocks watching them swim away from her. Sally was not sure but she thought she heard laughter echoing across the water.
When Sally pulled Ursyla up on the small beach on the other side of the pond, she turned and watched as the lone figure on the rocks leaped high out over the water and dove straight into the foam beneath the falls. For many minutes Sally waited for her to surface but was surprised when her head at last bobbed up from the water only a few yards out from the beach where they were sitting. She waded out of the water with a sultry slink, her tanned body wet and glistening, gathering up her long hair and wringing the water out with a twist.
"You are indeed a warrior-queen, as my Ursyla has told me, and a clever one for realizing that she was mine!" said the Princess. "The coup is yours. I respectfully beg you for the return of my servant." With that she bowed before Sally, honoring her wit and courage.
"Perhaps you will share her with me?" Sally asked.
"My maiden of the Bear-Clan is yours to share." The Princess replied, and the three of them got up and ran naked into the water together. They swam and played with each others' bodies all afternoon, and Sally looked forward to a long and lust-filled night, but she swam too close to the waterfall, and when she emerged to catch her breath she was showered with a deluge of water, and everywhere she moved the cascade inundated her until she was sputtering and choking for breath.
Sally startled awake with a steady stream of water falling on her face from a leak in the roof of the Tom Floyd Wayside Shelter. She sputtered and sat up, shaking the water off her face, and climbing out of her sleeping bag, she discovered it was morning and a mountain thunderstorm was pounding rain down on the leaky shelter where she'd spent the night. She looked around for Ursyla but found she was alone. Sally was stunned!
'No!' She thought to herself. 'All that couldn't have just been a dream!' But her back-pack was sitting there and the shelter had never burned down, nor apparently had anyone named Ursyla ever intruded into her solitude in the middle of the night. She was dumbfounded at how vivid it had all seemed, and she looked at the guestbook sitting on the shelf, remembering the entries she had read the night before. She got her clothes on and was thankful that she wouldn't really have to hike back to her car in the nude!
She finished reading the comments in the guestbook which her faulty flashlight had prevented her from reading the night before. There were other strange accounts, written in different languages. One in French contained the word Bête, but Sally found it all too strange to believe and she gathered up her things, filled her water bottle at the pump and quickly hiked northward towards her car. The trail seemed familiar again, and after passing the Jim Molly Denton Waystop after a couple hours of tramping, she knew the parking lot was not far ahead. She passed several other hikers on the trail and wondered what experiences lay ahead for them should they happen to stop at the same shelter where she had spent her eventful night.
After crossing Highway 66, she climbed the rise and found her car right where she'd left it. She intended to drive south along the Skyline Drive fifty or sixty miles and see how the hiking was there. She wished she had someone like Ursyla to share the trail with, but she'd see what turned up. As she started up her car and looked in the rear-view mirror to back out of her parking place, something shiny caught her eye dangling on a chain from her mirror. Sally's eyes widened as she recognized what it was... a silver effigy in the shape of a bear-claw!
(c) 2012 Bethany Frasier
This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than Lushstories.com
with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
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