Simon grew numb. He sat on a huge rock facing west, having watched a reluctant sun surrender to the night. Stars shone so brightly that the shrubbery surrounding him cast faint shadows on the ground. He lay back to absorb the earth’s fleeting warmth. The stone underneath him grew cold… hard and cold as the diamonds glittering indifferently overhead. He thought how easy it was to feel lost and insignificant.

 

The bath was almost warm compared to the room’s chilly temperature. The candlelight flickered softly over the tub's Lilliputian lake. Having turned away discreetly as Jodi slipped from her night shirt, Brandy now spread soap over the potter's back and shoulders—wondering what anomaly might lurk sight unseen.

"Feel good?"

"Wonderful… So, tell me about your none-too-talkative friend. Why, for instance, have you two not become lovers."

"How did you know?"

"Oh, just a feeling. I get feelings about people sometimes—especially about the ones with lots going on. You know, underneath the surface? He’s like that. You both are, really, only in different ways."

"What else do you ‘feel’ about Mister Hitchhiker?"

"Are you sure you want to know?"

"Why wouldn’t I?"

"I think he’s only pretending; he’s not really mute… "

Brandy was impressed—and suddenly apprehensive about hearing more.

"… and he’s dangerous."

"Simon? What do you mean; how?"

"He has power. Lots. But I don’t think he’s aware yet, or knows how to use it."

"Jodi, what are you talking about?"

"Haven’t you noticed? He’s done things, I’ll bet, odd, improbable things you couldn’t explain."

"Where are you getting all this?"

"I told you; I have feelings about certain people."

"Well, I’ll admit he’s a little peculiar… which doesn’t make him ‘dangerous’ necessarily."

"Well, maybe I'm wrong. But I get the distinct impression he’s heading for trouble, like he's standing on the backs of two wild horses racing down a road that's about to fork. Soon he'll have to choose or be ripped apart."

"And what if I refuse to let that happen?"

Detecting Brandy’s protectiveness, Jodi changed approach.

"You’re really fond of him, aren’t you?"

"No. Well, a little, I guess. I can honestly say I’ve never met anyone like him."

There followed an awkward silence… Brandy feeling a twinge of déjà vu (surely this conversation had taken place somewhere). Jodi seemed contrite (having said too much too soon).

"You were going to tell me how you two hooked up, something about getting stuck way out in the desert?"

"Oh, that. It was weird… A lot of things, I admit, have been pretty weird… Do you have any shampoo?"

"Over by the sink."

Returning with the bottle, Brandy worked up a lather in Jodi’s lackluster hair—while deciding an 'expurgated' version of events might better serve.

 

A subtle light shone on Simon’s spellbound face, penetrating his eyelids with a grayish glow, the forms beneath distinguishable like ghosts through an agitated ground fog… revealing pin-cushion plants and trails as dark as charcoal… featureless, or anemic, as in a snapshot's negative… white (Caucasian) cacti, in a (Blackamoor) plain, en guard…

through which Simon passed unmolested
yet warily

focused on a solitary beam

(lighting one of too many options)

walking without a sound

his shadow out in front

bleached and afloat

an undulating shape

in which he seemed to recognize

nothing

nothing whatsoever

impressions lost in a sequence of day-for-night vignettes:

his being cold displaced by a neutral sensation

upon passing under an archway

to stairs gaunt as ribs

descending

step by step

(through Lavalieré's garden?)

where She, The Goddess, loomed humungous

with her over-ripe tits

her groin agape

her labia distended

Simon inching

stutter-step

like a hapless marionette

lured

compelled

enveloped

by the lap's rapacious maw�

 

 

"So, what do you think, Jodi? Is it possible for one person to find his way into another person’s dream?"

Jodi had been encouraging Brandy’s tale with nods and occasional comments, partly out of interest, partly out of wanting to stay submerged. She was getting waterlogged, however. To stand and step out with her back turned would have been relatively simple. Why risk ridicule, rejection, or sentiments akin to disgust?

"Brandy, if I don’t get out of this water I’ll dissolve. Look, already my palms have shriveled into prunes."

Though sounding nonchalant, Jodi's voice betrayed a quaver—triggering, in her guest, anticipation of some unsightly growth, hideous tumor, or disagreeable clump of misbegotten flesh; Brandy offered to leave.

"I’ll wait for you outside."

"No, please!… Stay."

In an effort to spare them further postponement, Jodi stood, stepped out of the tub, then pivoted front and center—light from the candle falling unobstructed on her glistening "little man."

 

caught as by a riptide

a boa-constrictor squeeze

Simon felt his loins consumed

then siphoned by the giantess

sapped of all resistance

sucked likewise of seed

a smear of rouge eclipsing his vision

blanched perimeters blotted

by walls awash with incarnadine emissions

lewd

prehensile muscles

draining his life force

to gratify a belly

bulging and revitalized

blooming like an orchid

feeding on remains

then letting Simon drop like a desiccated goatskin...                                            

 

Having fantasized far worse, Brandy was not repulsed by what she beheld—a single peculiarity. Jodi’s body, otherwise, was perfectly normal (except, perhaps, her figure was trimmer than most).

Trying not to shiver, Jodi fixed her hopes on Brandy’s candid feedback.

"Well?"

"You want my honest opinion?"

Jodi nodded.

"To my subjective eye, you're positively beautiful… "

All smiles and blushes of a sudden, Jodi threw herself into Brandy's arms.

"… beautiful and soaked to the skin. Here, let me dry you off."

A new sensation swept through Jodi's consciousness (as Brandy wrapped her in terry-cloth and patted her dry), gratitude now exchanged for sweet titillation. To think that someone would neither laugh nor pull a droll face at seeing her disfigurement, was such a dream come true Jodi buzzed with joy. Carried away, she sat on the tub edge, moved the candle between her knees, and allowed it to illumine her (tumid) malformation.

 

witless and collapsed

Simon watched

as the Goddess flexed Her brawn

as She

prized one foot

then the other

from her bronze-bound base

stepped down from the pedestal

straddled her paramour

—thighs wide, arms akimbo, breasts huge as cow udders

regal face triumphant

(distorted with a haughty sneer)

the North Star glinting over Her shoulder—

Simon cringing

with hapless mortification

Eyes un-shuttered by a shudder, he abruptly snapped wide  awake!

 

"Go ahead, if you'd like. Take a good close look."

Brandy, clearly intrigued, accepted the invitation. She knelt, tilted her head sideways, then leaned so close her breath tickled the hair on Jodi’s mons. Normally, where there would have been a clitoris, a tiny penis protruded (replete with functional foreskin and miniature glans). Except for this, Jodi’s sex looked unimpaired (what Brandy could see of it).

"It’s called ‘female pseudo-hermaphroditism’—clinically, that is—with ‘a urogenital sinus at the base for both urethra and vagina.’ What that means in English is ‘everything works.’ "

"Does it, you know, grow like a guy’s?"

"Touch it and see."

From Brandy’s point of view, this all seemed rather innocent—two girls locked in the lavatory for a  game of "Show & Tell." But when the tiny organ throbbed under her investigative fondling, a wave of guilt urged Brandy to cease and desist. Might not 'dalliance' with Jodi jeopardize something much more 'durable' with Simon. But how to disabuse Jodi without offending her? To recoil would be to reject. To proceed would be to encourage. The situation was delicate (though not without precedent; Brandy had made love to females before: once as a teenager at a girlfriend’s slumber party; more recently during a backstage interlude at the club. Both experiences had been pleasant (if vaguely inadequate), gentler (sexier even) than couplings with men. She looked at Jodi—tense with anticipation (her features diabolical lit as they were from below)—and struggled for some graceful means to discontinue.

"I’ve often thought how odd it would be to have a body part that got big all by itself. Or are you making it do that?"

"No. You are."

Fully extended, Jodi’s "little man" was the size of Brandy’s thumb.

"It looks like the blunted horn of an itsy-bitsy unicorn."

"And will you cradle its head in your maidenly lap?"

Leaning forward, Jodi planted a playful kiss on Brandy's brow… then kissed her again in earnest, this time on the lips. For an uninhibited moment, both mouths sought tongues. Then, reminded of Simon, Brandy pulled away.

"But, Jodi, I’m no virgin."

"And I’m no unicorn. Here, slip into this; you’re all wet from me and these puddles." She handed Brandy the flannel nightgown. "Why don't we 'retire,' as they say, to my boudoir? 'Living room,' that is. We can light a fire in the pot belly stove. Would you like some tea?"

Brandy, irresolute, gave a circumspect nod.

 

Like a rock dropped into a tar pit, Simon’s consciousness once more sank... slowly re-converged with the molten-lead night… images of the statue sinking along with him… everything seeming similar… indistinguishable… sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings collectively undefined… choices indiscriminate… confused within a vacuum… sole sensation that of an unnamed dread.

With a self-preserving lurch he escaped from sleep unharmed.

Shocked and vaguely disoriented, Simon got to his feet. The water tower was where he remembered it, as was the path up which he had climbed. He must have dozed off. For how long? His only indication was the chill in his extremities. He cupped his hands to his mouth, warmed them with his breath (visible in the moonlight), then stuffed them into his pockets and backtracked down the trail.

 

The stove's...

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