What art thou... that fearest not the sea?
- Moschus of Syracuse, Europa.
The Indo-European thunder god, like most of his kin, goes by various names; in Sanskrit he is Rudra The Howler, in the Norse sagas he is called Thor, in Italy proper under Rome he was called Jupiter. But in the Sicily of classical antiquity he went by a more primordial name; Zeus. As Zeus Brontios, The Thunderer, he assumed his most terrible aspect.
Claudia swiftly understood how the ancients had come to revere the name and dread the ire of this god of storms. For several hours she had watched the thunderstorm as it lashed the coast around Agrigento. She had seen it roll in slowly from the east at around dusk then, gradually, unleash the full compass of its power. She quickly realized that this was a thunderstorm unlike any that she had ever experienced. It was tangible and immediate in its presence, daunting in its violence, and awe inspiring in its scale. Nothing could have prepared her for the sheer cacophony of thunder or the brilliance and frequency of the accompanying lightning. Yet she was unafraid; fascinated rather by nature's ability to mount such a thrilling spectacle. Something inside told her that it was wiser to feel a kinship with the elements, to respect them and glean insight from their awesome majesty.
She stood at the conservatory windows, hot espresso in hand, and surveyed the teeming rain-scape outside. The rain had started just after sunset and had steadily poured down, veiling the garden and softening its outlines. Then the howling winds had come and the all- enveloping darkness. As she watched, the swaying trees blurred, becoming abstract kinetic forms until they were brought back into sharp focus for an instant by the lightning. Many vague shapes formed in the gloom only to be dispelled from her imagination by the light. She saw wyverns and hippogriffs, basilisks and chimeras. But no, they were merely the fig trees, acacias and olives, the mulberries and bay laurels that her grandmother had known and loved.
Later, around midnight, after having tried to sleep for over an hour, she arose only to discover that the ferocity of the storm had increased. She clicked the inbox on her laptop only to read, No new messages, for the third time and for the third time she re-read Sabina's e-mail of four hors ago,
"Just arrived in Lausanne. Hmm, feels like my second home. The staff at the hotel La Rochfoucauld were very happy to see me. I have an appointment at the clinic on Wednesday at 9am sharp. Wish me luck Claudia. Btw, I still get a tingle whenever I think about our night together. Love Sabina."
A week had passed since Claudia had kissed Sabina goodbye at the airport. Barricelli had been there but only briefly. The professor had looked troubled and did his best to hide it; making his excuses and departing shortly after Sabina's plane to Switzerland had taken off. Tired and drained, Claudia had wandered aimlessly through the shops and boutiques in the neighborhood of the airport for an hour before heading back home to Tintamare.
On the previous night, Sabina had slept soundly after drinking the mysterious glass of water. Claudia, in total contrast, has stayed up all night; constantly checking her friend's heartbeat, her breathing and watching over her vigilantly. Her initial frustration and anger at seeing Sabina collapse after drinking whatever it was that the entity had given her, had led to feelings of powerlessness and deep anxiety. Still, something deep in her mind also told her that there was nothing more she could do. At dawn, as in her dream, Sabina had woken; happy, totally unconcerned and rested.
Claudia smiled and shook her head as she recalled her friend's calm, fresh face that morning, right before Sabina had said,
"Oh dear, you look dreadful."
She now poured herself a small glass of Courvoisier, swirled it slowly several times and took a sip. Its immediate effect was marvelous; mellow, warming and soothing. She paced around the room and soon drained the glass. Pouring herself another, she was reminded of Josh who had introduced her to it back when they were first dating. Never having tried it himself, and wanting to impress her, he had brought a bottle with him when she had first invited him home to dinner.
"Loser," she whispered teasingly and laughed.
The bottle had remained unopened but their evening together was something that she still remembered fondly. She had met Josh in their first year at university but had not been particularly impressed by him; thinking him vain and a little arrogant. He was a swimmer and had won many state and national championships. She had seen him at several parties, always in the company of various girls, all of whom seemed to follow in the wake of the college's latest male sporting hero. He had eventually asked her out on a date and she had flatly refused. He had tried again several weeks later and she had again said no. But during the summer holidays that year he had intrigued her with an invitation,
"Saturday, 9am, Silver Sands Beach - come watch me surf."
It was just a simple, handwritten slip of paper, placed in her letterbox, but it did impress her.
"Oh, so you can swim, surf and write," had been her initial reaction. But later that week the prospect of visiting Silver Sands; one of her very favourite beaches, seemed too good to resist. Josh certainly cut a fine figure on the waves. She found herself watching him with growing interest as he competed against a strong field of local and international surfers.
There was poetry in his limbs and the grace of a true athlete in his body as he moved over the surging water, becoming one with the waves. Each time he caught a wave, the sea picked him up with gentle, loving hands as though he weighed no more than a feather and she played with him and he with her. As the day wore on, the pure, liquid gold of the setting sun silhouetted him against each curling wall of white and blue. He would vanish utterly as he slid into the iridescent barrel of each wave, to emerge at the other end before the whole fragile structure came crashing down chaotically behind him. Time and again she saw his body rise triumphantly from the teeming white water to venture out again into the bass roar of the waves and the mournful paean of the breeze.
She had never believed in predestination or in astrology, but with the benefit of hindsight, she now felt as though some peculiar alignment of the spheres or some rare blend of nature's elements had indeed taken place on that Saturday. The sultry, late November heat had, as always, worked its magic upon her; loosening her limbs and making her skin tingle. As she sat on the beach that evening, the salt laden sea-breezes revived her senses and the delicious aroma of the surf filled her with a deep, unspoken longing; a longing to live and to experience life to the fullest.
At the close of the day's competition, she had watched Josh catch his last wave and ride it faultlessly until, with its energy spent, it brought him into the shallows. With the breakers crashing against his body and the breeze running its fingers through his shoulder length blonde hair, she saw him then as the very epitome of an athlete and a man.
As she watched him in silent meditation, he hauled his surfboard up onto the crowded beach and then, with no idea that she was there at all, he did something that would make a permanent impression upon her; he unzipped his black wetsuit to the waist and let it hang behind him. As the black neoprene was peeled back, there emerged a beautiful, glistening torso, whose every muscle spoke eloquently of frequent, prolonged exertions. He turned to face her momentarily, without seeing her, and at that moment Claudia felt something of his innate energy, the energy required to compete against the fierce sea itself.
Her eyes never once strayed from him as he strode lithely towards the podium but gradually his form was obscured by the crowd. It was then that Claudia felt the first true stirrings of desire. They were, as always, instinctive and deep-seated. She massaged the warm sand with her toes, adjusted her bikini bottom, collected her things then padded towards the podium. She was just in time to see him accept his trophy for second prize. The trophy was a modest affair but he still held it up proudly to the crowd's applause.
"Second huh? That'll bump your ego down a notch surfer boy."
She moved closer to the steps and looked up at him as he came down. For a moment she thought that he wouldn't see her but she was wrong.
"Claudia," he said wide-eyed. "So you came."
She did not reply but merely nodded her head disconcertingly.
"See," he smiled, "I scored second prize."
"Nice little trophy," she replied offhandedly without looking at it.
"Um, I'm finished here for the day. Would you like to go grab something to eat?"
"Ok....but I'll drive."
"I was just going up to the Boardwalk CafÃ©."
"No. I know a much better place."
"Okay, I'll just say bye to my crew."
Without reply, she turned and walked briskly away, leaving him staring at her mass of black hair.
"Lose them!" she called over her shoulder as she strode towards the car park. He caught up with her just as she got into her car and turned the ignition key. He gave her a quizzical look which she answered with a sly smile. Intrigued, he got into the car on the passenger side and she drive off. About five minutes into their journey he asked,
"Ah, so where did you say we were going?"
"I didn't but don't worry, I'm not going to kill you. I just want you to fuck me."
* * * * * * * * * * *
Had Claudia's elderly neighbor been home that evening she would have heard a loud bump at about 6pm, coming from the wall of Claudia's living room. The bump was followed by several more then by the loud click of the door that Josh had pushed shut. With his other hand he was slowly making his way under Claudia's tee shirt and up her back; seeking the clasp of her bikini top. Claudia's hands meanwhile had already found much to do; exploring Josh's full compliment of muscles.
She pressed him hard against the wall again, connecting deeply with his mouth as she encircled his waist with impatient hands. They kissed intensely for several minutes but often paused to look into each others eyes,
Are you the gorgeous cocktease that used to parade around the library in that short, short tartan skirt and who used to give me the coldest of cold shoulders....
And with that thought, his hands would bind her to him; his tongue would dart into her mouth, fence with hers and lick her fiery full lips.
Are you the same hot, narcissistic bastard that I couldn't give a damn about until today...
And with that reflection, she clasped his back and bit his lower lip; only letting it go when she had caused him playful but appreciable pain. It was the pain of an instant only and Josh found that he quite enjoyed it. It was an invitation to hurt her back; it was a call to greater and more serious things. But Josh was a gentleman at heart, the last thing he had expected that day was to find himself naked in the living room of this most desirable of women. The last thing on his mind was to cause her any sort of pain. Claudia however had other ideas, as he would soon discover.
As he kissed and nibbled her neck and throat his hands traveled down to her hips and then to her bikini clad ass cheeks. His hands easily became lost in her cascading black hair. It was one of the things that he found most attractive about her and he now took his time becoming acquainted with its rich, wholesome aroma - the aroma of the beach, his favourite of all places.
Claudia's fingers had by this time reached the very base of his torso. Tactile and salty as his skin was with the sweat of competition and the salty tang of the sea; she found him extremely alluring. Pulling away from him reluctantly, she looked down and smiled,
"Let's um... see the rest."
Without delay he pulled the lower half of the wetsuit off to reveal a pair of wildly coloured board shorts. He then mumbled something about taking a shower. Claudia wouldn't hear of it and guided him instead to the arm rest of her leather couch. She knelt down and tossed her hair away from her face with one shake of her head. The effect on Josh of this simple motion was intense; he felt his cock jerk into life as though an electric current had just passed through it. Claudia looked up at him and slowly bit her bottom lip. She smiled and sat back teasingly. Slowly, she untied the cords on Josh's shorts and peeled back the Velcro.
With both hand she then pulled them down, causing Josh's semi-erect cock to bounce up and down in front of her face. She giggled and pushed his foreskin back to reveal a plump, pink head. She now looked up to see him gazing at her intently. She smiled, gripped the base of his cock tightly and began to pump. In a matter of seconds Josh felt his cock strain and harden under Claudia's skillful hand. He looked down at her masses of shining black hair, her tanned shoulders and the suggestive angle of her knees on the floor. How many times had he watched her go by on campus or gazed at her in the university library; undressing her with his eyes or tracing her svelte outlines in his imagination; pretending it was his hand running down her back to the pert, compact package that was her ass? Now here she was; bikini clad and as divinely beautiful as ever, with his rapidly hardening cock in her hand.
He tensed as she ran her hand tightly up and down his shaft, following its upward curve to the head and returning to the base where his balls contracted and relaxed in response to her attentions. She was pleased with her work so far and looked up at him. He smiled at her sweetly and with that, Claudia sank her lips down onto him. She continued pumping his shaft while, with her lips and tongue, she teased and tickled the head of his cock. He sighed and placed a hand on the side of her head. Claudia soon found herself carried away by her task; as Josh's cock continued to harden, so the intensity of her efforts increased. She saw that he had a tapering, upward curving shaft; just the type she liked. It was thick at the base and sharp at the head and she could already imagine it spreading her labia as it invaded her inner depths. Hmmm, Hi surfer dude...
She now gripped his cock just below the head and flexed it back. It made a satisfying, tactile handful, while his heavy balls; hanging loose in the heat, quickly tightened as her mouth closed in on them. She bit, licked and sucked them gently. Her mouth watered as she again savoured the saltiness of his skin. He had a wholesome, sweet aroma that reminded her of baked bread. With his warm flesh in her mouth, she imagined herself a jaguar; a predatory feline of the forest. It was her favourite fantasy and it made her wet as did the sight of the beautiful rigid cock before her. It was a toy, a plaything as was the man attached to it. Her lips engulfed it again and her hand pumped its base with increasing energy. Josh tensed his hips as he felt the force that Claudia was bringing to the task. He breathed deeply and found himself diverting his eyes from the delicious scene before him, but to do so soon became impossible as Claudia's ravenous mouth and her relentless hand worked him into a frenzy. She felt his hips tense and relax several times during the course of her task. She smiled slyly; this was just the beginning.
Now she took his shaft out of her mouth with cords of sweet saliva trailing, and looked up at him. Her face was a mask of desire; a painted personification of lust. One look into her fiery onyx eyes and he was transfixed; a slave in thralldom. She pumped hard at the base of his cock now, ensuring that she made firm contact with his balls with every stroke. She saw beads of sweat brewing on his brow and a deep longing in his eyes. She nodded with satisfaction and licked her lips; still tasting the salt of his skin.
In the past, the mere sight of her was always enough to divert his attention, but now, every other thought was blotted out as Josh lost all control. The muscles in his hips tightened and his cock achieved that last, crucial degree of hardness. He came; clenching his teeth, rolling his eyes back and shooting rope after rope of thick, white come over her shoulder and onto the carpet. A surge of pleasure coursed through his body, radiating from the base of his spine until it filled his entire being.
Claudia giggled with seemingly mild amusement as Josh came; her hand continuing to pump and massage his shaft. Josh groaned and sighed; he gripped the edge of the leather couch and pressed his fingers into its supple surface as the fierce waves of his orgasm washed over him. When they began to subside at last, he looked at Claudia and breathed deeply. Her response was so smile faintly; as though nothing of any great import had happened. This somewhat annoyed him but he tried his best not to show it. Claudia was a subtle and elusive creature, best not to provoke her.
With out so as much as a word, she slid forward and clasped his knee for support. She stood up and pushed him down on to the couch. Looking down at him, she slipped both her thumbs behind the ties of her bikini bottom and slowly slid it down. The look on his face as she did this spoke volumes. She stood there for several seconds and allowed him to see his prize then she stepped closer and swayed her hips from side to side. She ran her palm across her midriff and down over her brush stroke of raven pussy hair.
"Better than some old surfing trophy, huh," she whispered. Josh nodded his head absently as his eyes took in her fluid curves and fine proportions.
She swung one leg over him and positioned her pussy just above his mouth. With that she stripped off her bikini top releasing her grapefruit sized breasts. She shook her hair again; knowing full well that this turned him on. Josh reached up and hooked one hand around her upper thigh. With the other her spread her labia and gently licked her lips. Her sweet aroma and the taste of her body delighted him. Claudia began to bounce up and down, gradually letting more and more of his tongue tickle and caress her pussy lips. Josh's mouth watered and he darted his tongue up into her velvety folds every time she came down. Before long he pulled her towards his tongue and ran it all the way along on either side of her slit and finally into it. She squirmed and giggled with pleasure every time he did this, but after several minutes it was time for her to take charge. She reached down and spread her pussy, allowing him to see its inner pinkness; the very object of his desires and those of just about every other man who knew her. But, he reminded himself, It's me here now, no one else - me!
He plunged his tongue as far into her pussy as it would go; licking and lapping at it and luxuriating in its satiny smoothness for several long moments. Claudia ground herself against his face and felt his tongue, lips and teeth making contact with her sensitive skin; he could tell that she loved it. Juice dripped out of her onto Josh's face and mingled with his sweat. Their combined aromas were something fine and new for him to savour. He looked up at her; up along her flat stomach and her perfect navel, to the valley between her gently heaving breasts, to her tanned throat and her sharp chin, then to the black storm clouds on either side of her indescribably beautiful face - a visage whose sheer perfection had never ceased to unsettle and astonish him. Now here she was with her eyelids shut, their long heavy lashes like the resting plumes of a peacock, her mouth just open, so that he could see her coral tongue licking the inside of her lips. He ran his hand up her hips and rested it against her side. She sighed deeply and pulled away from him.
Now she slid onto her back on the floor with legs folded and her knees held high. Josh needed no invitation and settled himself between her legs. He spread his fingers and gently pulled her labial lips apart. She was wet and pink, his tongue having obviously done a better job than he had anticipated. She shifted and wriggled closer to him. With that, he lowered his mouth onto her clit; circling it and lapping at it lightly at first then bringing his tongue to bear fully upon it. Claudia arched her back and gripped his hair, forcing his face fully onto her slick pussy. There Josh stayed and happily toiled away with unrelenting effort until he heard her moan and cry out, then moan again and dig her tiger's nails into the back of his head. The pain was well worth the pleasure that he was giving this woman; a woman who had haunted his dreams and given him more sleepless nights than he cared to remember.
She slipped her hand onto his shoulder and pulled him up next to her. He could almost feel the contented glow radiating from her as they hugged and nuzzled on the living room floor,
"What did you think of my golden honey comb," she whispered.
"Delicious, a real treat."
They kissed and rolled around on the floor, enjoying the feel of skin on skin and the sublime freedom of nakedness. At times they bumped into the furniture, but neither of them cared for they were far away; lost on a boundless sea of their own making. At length Claudia's hand found its way to Josh's cock. She was delighted to feel its hardness again and to rub the tactile skin with her palm. Her pussy continued to drip its sweet nectar and now she rubbed some of it onto Josh's chest then onto his lips where he tasted it and smiled,
"Your golden honey comb..."
"Yes, it's wet and waiting for you. Fuck me."
He knelt between her legs and she reached out; grasping his cock and playfully flicking his foreskin back and forth several times. She wriggled closer and ran her palms down his muscular sides. He shifted his weight from one knee to the other and looked down to see her hair; her incredibly beautiful hair, spread on the floor like a vast black halo framing her face. He was awestruck.
"You're not dreaming."
"Oh yes I am, I am."
With that, he plunged his shaft deep into her and she raised her hips, taking his entire length in one stroke. Their faces met and they kissed intensely. Claudia raised her legs, crossed them and rested them on Josh's back allowing him to penetrate her deeper. The pure sensation of her satin smoothness, the exquisite moistness and grip of her pussy were more wonderful than he could have hoped. He lifted her off the ground and shifted his hips forward, thrusting harder and harder until his balls, made loose by the heat, slapped against her ass. Claudia ran her palms across his tight shoulders and down his back; tracing the lines of his muscles with her nails as they flexed and worked at the task of pleasing her. And please her they did. She tasted his lips and licked his shoulders; she bit his neck hard, causing him to wince but not to miss a stroke. His cock felt more rigid than he ever remembered it and his limbs, far from being tired after an entire day of surfing, tingled and surged with energy.
Claudia felt her pussy clamping down on his cock and with his every thrust, wave after wave of pleasure passed through her entire body. Again, she felt herself being carried away as his cock bit into her deeply. Josh breathed hard and fast, his hands traveling down Claudia's smooth sides and tracing the curve of her ass and thighs. He worked his cock and her pussy harder and harder until, all at once, Claudia tensed and dug her nails into the flesh of his back. She came; holding him close and uttering words that he could never have imagined her saying. He was profoundly happy.
After a pause to catch her breath, Claudia pushed Josh onto his back. She marveled at how good his cock looked; curving and glistening with her own juices. She wasted no time in climbing on top of him and easing his shaft back inside her. The feel of him, dividing her insides and filling her to the brim, was pure bliss. She bucked and bounced up and down, grinding harder and harder against his loins. Josh's hands found her smooth back and came to rest on her ass. One hand kneaded her ass cheeks and the other kneaded her perfect breasts. She growled and glared down at him like the tiger she imagined herself at heart to be. But again, it was her bouncing hair that most caught his eye; it had a life of its own, that indefinable quality that made it move to the music of his heart. She lifted her arms then as though she was dancing at a rock concert. The subtle change in her centre of gravity and all the relentless beauty before his eyes, made his blood surge. He caught his breath and clamped his hands on her hips. Arching his back, he shot spurt after spurt of hot seed into her hidden depths.
Claudia loved the feeling of his cock as it attained its final, most rigid state and she welcomed his warm seed inside her. When his orgasm had subsided, she slipped off him and collapsed by his side. His arm slipped under her neck and she rested hers on his chest. Their legs entwined and he kissed her. They lay in contented silence for a long while listening to the chatter of the lorikeets in the lemon scented gum trees outside and the rumble of the Melbourne trains just over the road.
She took another sip of Courvoisier and lay back on the bed again. It was the biggest bed she had ever owned. Alone in it now, she felt small and vulnerable. The storm outside raged on; its fury unabated. From around the room, Eleanora's African masks stared down at her with pitiless hollow eyes. Oh how far removed this new Sicilian world of hers was from Australia - the land of her childhood. There was more mystery in this one house than she would have encountered in a lifetime in Australia. She noticed the back dildo on the table by the bedside and picked it up. Its shape and size always reminded her of Josh and she smiled when she remembered the first time she had used one on him.
Later that same night they had made a pact not to leave the apartment for the entire weekend, to remain nude and to fuck as much as possible. And fuck they did; on her bed, against the wall in the kitchen, and on Claudia's computer desk. Later they chased each other around the kitchen table and through every room; laughing and reveling in their freedom from the mundane world. Claudia finally cornered Josh in the bathroom, slammed the door and pushed him into the shower. The shower was equipped with a detachable showerhead which Claudia used to wash the salt, the sweat and the considerable accumulation of their combined juices from Josh's body. She made him stand against the wall with his legs spread while she washed and scrubbed his shoulders and the small of his back. She then traced a line with her nail slowly down his muscular back to the cleft of his butt. She rubbed his cheeks with her palms and lathered his ass with her best moisturizing soap. His ass was a wonder; compact and finely toned, it formed a perfect, tight rectangle. She slipped her fingers lightly between his cheeks and tickled the sensitive skin within, then with her whole hand she lathered his ass, making him spread his cheeks. Her fingers found his hole and circled it sensuously. His subsequent enquiries were met with enigmatic or evasive answers to which he jokingly responded,
"I always knew you were a little weird."
"Shut up surfer-boy, can't you see I want your ass?"
He looked at her with more than a little uncertainty in his eyes but her salacious expression totally disarmed him.
After they had showered, she led him into the bedroom where she told him to lie on his back with his legs spread. Claudia climbed onto his back and spread his ass cheeks. His pert little hole was ripe for the picking and she licked her fingers, letting her saliva drop between his cheeks. Slowly she circled his ass with first one, then two fingers teasing and tickling his butt hole. Eventually Josh relaxed and began to enjoy the sensation of Claudia's wet fingers tracing lines, circles and spirals across the inside of his most intimate area. After doing this for quite some while, she opened a bedside drawer and took out a tube of lube. She rubbed a substantial amount on her hand and plunged it back into Josh's ass. She now stimulated his every sensitive area until she could sense that he was ready.
From a box under her bed she produced a long, thin dildo. She showed it to him with the promise that she wouldn't hurt him. He looked doubtful but she ignored him. She applied more lube to his ass and started to rub his hole with the head of the dildo; loosening it before she pushed its tip gently into him. He reacted with a sigh and to her satisfaction she noted that he was once again becoming erect. Now she started pushing the dildo in and out, pressing it up against the front wall of his hole. She found that he was enjoying this so she made him roll onto his side. Now she slid down and took his cock in her mouth; rolling back his foreskin with her lips and locking her mouth around the head of his shaft. She gently suckled on him with lips, tongue and teeth while building up a rhythm with the dildo in his ass. He held her head with both his hands and she could hear him breathing hard after several moments. He opened his legs and flexed them as Claudia's mouth gathered momentum. She plunged the dildo deeper and deeper into his ass as he gradually surrendered himself to this newfound pleasure. Claudia then stopped abruptly and delved once again into the box under her bed. She now produced a vibrator and smiled,
"Congratulations Mr. Mackay, you have moved onto the next level."
He just shook his head and smiled, then flopped onto his back, bringing his knees up and folding his legs. This gave Claudia total and unrestricted access to his ass. She knelt between his legs and rubbed the vibrator up and down his cleft, teasing his ass with its tip. Josh propped his head up with a pillow to watch her. He was dazzled by her beauty once again; the mere sight of her naked body and her exquisite face made him want to surrender to her totally. To demonstrate his submission he spread his ass cheeks. She smiled and nodded then eased the vibrator in. Even though she switched it on to low, the effect on Josh was instantaneous. Waves of delicious pleasure washed over him, causing him to become harder and harder. Claudia liked what she saw and after several minutes she bowed her head and took his cock back into her mouth. Again she concentrated her energies on the head; sucking, licking and raking it with her teeth. Gradually she turned up the power on the vibrator until she saw that Josh was gripping the bed clothes and arching his back,
"You're mine now surfer-boy."
His breath became audible and he tensed his thighs; prompting Claudia to massage the base of his shaft with her hand while her mouth remained firmly clamped onto its head. She left the vibrator to do its work and soon felt Josh buck. She kept a firm hold on him until he stopped moving and tensed one final time. Now she slipped the vibrator out of his ass just as he exploded in her mouth. She could feel the rigidity of his shaft as it unleashed spurt after spurt of hot juice into her mouth. She swallowed it all and thereby sealed a resolution with herself; this was now her man.
She crawled up to him and nestled herself in his powerful arms. He needed no words to express how she had made him feel; one look at his blissful face was enough. He kissed her passionately and she clung to his warm body; caressing it long after he had fallen asleep while she listening to the distant sound of crickets calling under the harvest moon.
Claudia eased the black dildo out of her pussy and dropped it onto the floor. It always fulfilled its purpose but could it ever replace a real man; could it ever be anything like another Joshua Mackay? She opened her eyes and the Melbourne summer of a year ago began to fade from her mind, to be replaced rapidly by the tangible reality of a storm racked Tintamare.
"My poor house," was her immediate thought.
The house now creaked and shook; the window panes rattled and shuddered, causing Claudia to get up. She was suddenly struck by the fact that she was going to draw the curtains for the first time since she had moved in. But as she was about to do so, a bolt of lightning threw the garden into view. Again, it was only for an instant, yet an instant is all the eye needs to notice something out of place, something unexpected. She paused and stared out into the howling storm. After several seconds the lightning came again and there it was, dim but visible - the shape of a figure.
She was transfixed and felt her heart beating palpably. Another bolt from Zeus's mighty hand and there it was - a human figure, standing no more than fifty feet away. It stood rigidly like a statue in the rain. She looked hard but its facial features were totally indistinct. Her mind raced and she wondered momentarily if it was some late night visitor or some traveler caught in the rain. But that was an absurd idea, why would anyone be standing in the rain on such a night?
She stared hard through the gloom for several minutes. She wanted desperately to believe, she wanted to be certain that here at last in plain sight, was the entity that had haunted her house. She continued to watch it with a mixture of fear and fascination, then she became angry; forming the notion that someone was trying to scare her by putting a manikin in her garden; a ghastly mock up of what Sabina had described in her dream. Whatever the thing was, she was unable to draw her attention away from it. As the lightning continued to flash she saw it again and again - immobile, enigmatic and sinister. But Claudia was a risk taker by nature. Selling her townhouse in Melbourne, quitting her job and moving to a remote house in Sicily to live alone, would have been impossible otherwise. Worse, at times she was brave and passionately reckless - if the right buttons had been pushed. This was such a time.
"Damn you, I'm not going to stand for this."
Anything else she might have uttered then died in her throat as the figure raised its hand towards the sky. It was a rapid, awkward motion as though made by remote control. It was enough. She dressed hurriedly and descended the stairs; picking up the house keys from the table and the old bayonet from its hiding place in the kitchen. Stealthily she opened the front door and closed it behind her, locked it and firmly grasped the keys. She held the bayonet low to make it less apparent. Now she felt the curiously warm impact of the rain on her face. The wind too was warm but impaired her vision as it sent water streaming into her eyes. She responded by shaking it out and running through the trees towards the pathway. She ran as silently as she could, rounding a tall bay laurel at last, to stand within shouting distance of the intruder.
What she saw made her gasp and raise the bayonet. It certainly had the shape of a man; tall and broad shouldered but totally lacked any other discernable features. It stood perfectly still in the storm as though it had been created from the ether through the alchemy of wind, rain and lightning. Claudia looked for clothes, hair or any identifying feature but there was nothing. Instead the thing's body was covered in what appeared to be one piece of highly polished chrome. Even in the dim light and through the rain, she could see the brilliantly reflective surface. As the lightning flashed overhead, she desperately tried to make out a face but there too she saw nothing, just a blank mirror.
"Who the fuck are you? What the hell do you want here?"
She screamed in rage and raised the bayonet, lunging towards him with the utmost ferocity and with her teeth clenched. Whatever awkwardness she may have discerned in his movements earlier was now gone as he swiftly raised his arms in an almost pathetic defensive gesture. Then, just as swiftly, he turned and fled. Breathing hard and with adrenalin racing through her arteries, Claudia watched as he sprinted with astonishing speed down the path towards the cliff. She lowered the bayonet but still maintained a firm grip on it, and ran after him.
Her first thought was that he was going to descend the stairs to a boat moored down on the tiny beach. She kept him in sight for a full minute until the jagged line of the cliff became clearly visible straight ahead. Instead of slowing down, he produced a final, astounding burst of speed and leaped from the cliff. Claudia was at once horrified and relieved. She felt her foot slip on small loose stones near the very edge of the precipice then she came to an abrupt halt .Bracing herself against a rock, she stared far down. Sure enough, there in the boiling sea, illuminated only by the harsh white glare of the lightning, she caught a last, fleeting glimpse of a silver figure before it disappeared into the waves.
Coming next....Claudia Incarnata Part VII