LaPorte Caves – Chapter 17
Written by circes_cup :: [Friday, 10 March 2017 12:00] Last updated by :: [Friday, 10 March 2017 19:57]
SYNOPSIS TO THIS POINT
A wrong turn in a Kentucky cave dropped Julia and Howard into a world run by amazons who derive their extreme power form a drink called Nourishment. Initially, the couple wanted only to return to earth. But then, Julia found her own lips on the Nourishment, and soon found herself in a body imbued with immense strength, intelligence, and pleasure. And Howard, although initially set on returning to Earth, didn’t take well to her suggestion that the amazon world might just be to much for him to handle. There was nothing Howard liked more than a challenge. And so the couple made a pact: briefly return to Earth, send a few emails that signal an extended absence, and then return to the amazon land, where Julia would explore her body while Howard proved his resilience and endurance to her – and himself.
This story contains adult sexual content, and violence. If you are not of age to read this stuff, don’t. No resemblance between these characters and real people on Earth is implied or intended.
Julia took a deep breath of the fresh Kentucky air as she waited for Howard finish lacing up his boots. It had been only a fifty-mile return trip from Tony’s house, and only a few thousand feet of elevation gain, so the jog had taken her all of twenty minutes. She found the exertion of at twice the speed of freeway traffic to be refreshing, especially relative to the lazy walk through the caves. Her only wish was that she could have gone a few hours more.
“I have to say, it’s a beautiful day here on Earth,” she observed.
“I guess it is,” Howard stood up. “You seem to be in a great mood. What did you do while I was working on the emails?”
“Figured some stuff out about myself. Took an old problem of mine and finally cracked it. In a bunch of places.”
Howard’s words send a mushy, happy feeling through Julia. Sometimes I forget how much I loved this guy, she thought. Julia stretched, her limbs erupting into deep curves of inestimable power.
“That’s nice.” Howard rose to his tip toes, balancing himself against her rock hard torso, to offer her a peck on the cheek. But he was too short. Julia still had to crouch down to receive it. “It’s good to see your self-esteem growing. Someday soon, it might be as tall as the rest of you.”
She looked at the entrance to the cave, uncertain. “Howard, I’ve been thinking. You don’t have to go back to the amazon side right now if you don’t want to. It’s a very safe place for the Claimed, like I said yesterday, on the log. But if you want to go un-Claimed … I don’t know … a lot of shit can happen to the un-Claimed.”
Howard shook his head. “You don’t know me as well as you think. I love a challenge: I’ll never back down from one. Success has never been about strength alone. It’s about stamina, cleverness, the whole package. I suspect can hold my own.”
“I know you can, honey, on Earth. But next to the amazons, well, your strength is so puny.” She ignored the hurt look on his face. He needed to hear the truth. “I saw some stuff this morning that was pretty scary.”
Howard didn’t answer. He just lead the way into the cave, its darkness once again enveloping them. Then, he stumbled, and nearly fell, his inferior male eyes clearly struggling with the gloom that would not have been a problem for an woman.
Julia should have been happy, she knew. She had carte blanche to revisit the amazon land, and her Howard wanted to come along. But something about it didn’t feel right. He was arrogant enough to think he could handle anything. Back on Earth, it would have been true. But the amazon wold would either humble him or kill him, and it was anyone’s guess which would happen first. “Howard, stop walking for a second.” She took a deep breath. “If you’re going to spend more time with me in, I want you to get Claimed. Even though we’re going for only a few weeks. For your safety. I would feel better.”
“We can talk about it tomorrow.”
Julia frowned. That was his way of saying no. “At the very least, I want you to stick right by my side. Or Ruth’s or Mindy’s or some other woman who will protect you. Don’t just flip to a random page in the Lonely Planet guide and go on a fucking adventure.”
That earned a weary laugh from Howard. ‘Sure, whatever, it’s a deal. Let’s get this cave walk over with. I’m ready to go when you are.”
He didn’t look it. When he flipped his headlamp on, she could see that his eyes had that glazed look that game when he needed rest.
The trip back through the caves was dull. Howard seemed to be going slower and slower and he spoke less and less. Julia tried to break up the walk with conversation.
“Honey?” she asked from behind him.
Howard grunted some sot of “yes”.
“I owe you an apology about your night with Amanda. You two rutted like wild animals that night, and I blamed you for cheating on me. But once I understood of my new body, I realized that you had nothing to do with it. A girl’s pheromones are super-powerful. She hijacked your body the way a terrorist hijacks a plane. I had no idea at the time that you were blameless, and I’m sorry I got angry with you.”
“Uh-huh.” Howard stumbled a bit as he spoke. “Don’t … uh … don’t worry.”
“Thanks.” Julia felt the outer edges of her eyes closing: she must have been smiling, without even realizing it. “I could do the same thing to you, you know. But I know you don’t like the muscular me, and because of that, I’ve made a conscious decision not to command your body in that way. I would like more than anything for you to like my shape, but it’s your choice what you like, and I want to respect that.”
When Howard finally turned his head, Julia saw that it was was ashen – almost grey. What was he suffering from? Maybe grief – a brief taste of the world he loved only to return to the one he didn’t? That didn’t make sense: his determination to finish what he had started was genuine. No, something else was up.
The rest hadn’t been enough. They had remained on the Kentucky surface only for an hour. Aches that had tortured Howard’s muscles quickly returned. The downhill slope was, as usual, more painful that the uphill, as it gave his body momentum that had to be arrested by his thigh muscles with every step.
But what made it worse was his foot. The wound from the swamp had reopened in full now: had had lost so much blood that his boot made a sloshing sound as he walked. As the blood continued to escape him, Howard felt his energy dissipating, his vision beginning to fog over.
He reassured himself that their journey was almost complete – that they were almost there. But when they arrived at one of the central junctions, Howard knew those hopes had been premature. On one wall, Julia had inserted markers to spell “Earth”. On the other wall, markers spelled “The Weald”, the name for the amazon land. This was the halfway point. They had so much further to go!
The pain of the journey increased, until every muscle, in every part of his body, seemed to scream out with every step. He stumbled once, twice, and fell down entirely, tripping over an irregularity in the cave floor just as the passage dropped away from him. He hit the stone floor with punishing force. And what was worse, he felt the saw blade wound in his hand re-open as well. Howard stood, or tried to stand, and then wobbled back down again.
“Honey are you ok?” It was his girlfriend’s voice, blissfully ignorant. Her mind was supposedly imbued with new power, but it seems to be accompanied by its own streak of cluelessness, he concluded.
“Yea, I’m OK,” he groaned. “I can handle it.” But even as he said these words, a blackness was shrouding his field of vision. He felt his limbs turn to jelly, then was gently hoisted off the ground and draped over the solid marble that was his girlfriend’s shoulder.
Howard slid in an out of consciousness during the walk home. With every step his girlfriend took, her unyielding shoulder bore into Howards ribs and his stomach, introducing new explosions of pain in the one part of his body that had previously been spared. But the pain didn’t last long, darkness periodically overtook him as she carried him through the remainder of the cave, loaded him into the car, and drove him back to Ruth’s house.
He woke up in the living room. The house was quiet.
“You’re in pretty bad shape, honey. I wish you had told me something – that you needed more rest, that you were wounded in your foot, that you were struggling.”
Howard groaned an rolled over, the blissful softness of the couch a vast improvement over his girlfriend’s shoulder. He wondered if he could date the couch for a while instead of her.
“Unfortunately, the family seems to be out, so I have to figure out how to help you on my own.” Julia rested one heavy hand on Howard’s shoulders and activated a touchscreen on the wall with the other. A webpage game up, replete with the dense language of this land. Howard did his best to read it, but he was only reminded how rudimentary his reading skills still were. However, he did recognize a picture of the hospital on the screen – the same building that had welcomed them into this world.
“Huh, that’s funny,” she said, thumbing through the page. “The hospital says that ‘Men with access to a Nourished woman will not be admitted until home remedies are exhausted.’ I have no idea what that means. Hang on, I need to understand this a little bit better.” Julia began paging through the screens at a lightening pace, a blur that Howard’s eye’s could barely follow. “Odd,” she continued, gaze still fixed on the screen. “I guess we’ll have to take care of this ourselves.”
“The screen is just a blur. Can you even pick up anything at that pace?” Howard groaned.
“Shh,” she responded. “Just another hundred pages.” After less than a minute, she clicked the tablet off and knelt down in front of him. She examined his foot wound, pulling the gash gently apart and the pressing it back together. She did the same with his hands.
“They’ve both opened up,” Howard said. “Those wounds need stitches.”
“We show up at the hospital with these wounds they’ll just turn you away. The hospital literature was very clear. Take a bath,” she ordered. “Use the women’s bath, where there’s more room. Spray clean water on the wounds to get the bacteria and stuff out. I’ll find some medical tape to hold the wounds closed until they are healed.”
Howard did not have the energy to formulate more opinions of his own. He soon found himself in the tub of the women’s bath, immersed in water.
Julia arrived shortly thereafter with the medical tape. But rather than simply leave it, and give Howard some privacy, she lingered in the doorway of the bath. She watched him, arms crossed.
“What?” he asked as he unbuttoned his shirt.
“You scared the crap out of me, you know.”
“I’m not a baby, Julia. I can handle myself.” Howard stripped out of his full-sleeve shirt, revealing a torso and arms that were covered in bruises and cuts.
“My lord, Howard. Look at you! You’re covered in black and blue! As if the all the blood loss wasn’t enough?” Julia descended to her haunches: the spectacle of his damaged body was clearly too strange to believe from eight feet in the air. She hooked a finger inside the waistline of his pants and tugged, dispatching with them as if they had been constructed of nothing more than parchment paper.
His lower half was just as abused as his upper half – bruises combined with the gashes he had received from sharp edged sticks buried in the mud. Howard could hear Julia’s sharp intake of breath as the additional damage was revealed.
His girlfriend rose off her haunches, putting her hands on her knees like a baseball outfielder between pitches. This brought her eye-to-eye with her smaller boyfriend.
“Howard, I want you to promise me you are going to start to respect your limits. You are weaker than me, slower than me, and more fragile than me. That’s harsh but you need to get used to it. If you try to do everything I do, then you’re just going to get yourself hurt … or worse. So, promise me you won’t.”
Howard shuffled his feet in discomfort.
“HOWARD.” Her voice resonated off the hard walls of the bathroom like a war drum. Her arms and shoulders, easily capable of tearing him in half, tensed with her frustration.
He felt his willpower buckle. “Sure,” he said. “I promise.”
That earned him a soft kiss on the lips.
“I’m going to join you in the bath.”
Howard thought of objecting, but Julia had already slid her shorts and panties off. She grabbed her ripped and abused cotton shirt by the collar and tore it off, depositing it in the trash. “It’s too small for me anyway,” she explained as she climbed into the bath.
Howard followed her in, his sore muscles welcoming the heat of the water. She helped him get clean, the water turning pink as it dissolved the caked blood on his skin.
Once he was clean, he soaped and washed her back, his hands wandering with tremulous anxiety over her v-shaped expanse layered in thick slabs of muscle. So pronounced was the woman’s musculature that he had to sink a thumb along the deep channel that marked her backbone: it was too tight for the sponge.
Before long, however, he began to feel woozy. The exhaustion, the heat of the bath, the soreness of his muscles – it was all adding up to a sense of vertigo and drowsiness.
Julia must have noticed. She stretched out and rolled into a supine position, chin jutting at the ceiling. She arched her back a bit, causing her torso to erupt out of the water, suds sliding off the two domes of flesh that menaced Howard with their sheer scale.
“Come here,” she commanded.
“Julia … I’m feeling like I might pass out. I’m not sure that I want to cuddle right now …”
She shook her head. “I read the the basics on first aid here. The hospital website was right. You don’t need to go. Come here. You need give my ‘girls’ some attention, with your lips.”
“Julia!” Howard objected. The girl was as offensive as she was oversexed.
But his objection never made it beyond those words. She grabbed him by the back of the head, and with the strength of a small freight train, pulled him into her. He wanted to appeal to her reason, her sense of basic common sense. But her nipple, thick with expectation, pushed his lips apart and filled his mouth. Howard felt his jaw opening to accommodate the intruder.
He wanted to struggle away. He wanted to ask what was happening. But his growing delerium overtook plunged his thoughts into darkness.
When Howard awoke, he was on the bed in the guest room, the slant of the daylight suggesting that it was mid-morning. Julia was gone. Howard stumbled off the matress, reeling unsteadily from … from what? Something that happened in the bathtub? His memory was a fog.
Slipping on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, he slid out of the bedroom, then out of the house entirely. The beach was bright with the morning sun, and the air was heavy with salt. Howard felt his lungs breathe deeply. He had expected that he would feel groggy from his lack of sleep. But no, he felt …
Howard tensed his arm slightly. There was a bit more muscle there than usual – just a tad. But it brimmed with unspent energy.
The gauze on his hand was soaked in dry blood, brown with age. He moved they fingers tentatively. They didn’t hurt anymore. Carefully, he slipped the gauze off. Underneath was a healthy hand – no open wound, not even any scarring. Only hours ago, that gash had needed stitches. Howard removed his shoe, looking for the gash there. But it was the same result: no wound, no scarring. That’s not possible, Howard realized. Not possible, unless …
… no, it couldn’t be. No man here was superhuman. He had seen dozens of them and had learned a great deal about this society since arriving in it. Nobody had ever mentioned a superhuman man.
And yet, there was something different about him now. Howard was from a different genetic stock that the other men there, he realized. And he may react differently than they to genetic stimuli. The Nourishment that he had forced down his throat several days earlier was also a potential differentiator – no other man here would dare ingest that stuff. All told, Howard’s as a slightly different case than the other men here. He grabbed his bicep: was it a bit harder? Yes, he was a different case indeed. His heart began to pound as the implications sank in.
Yes, yes, he was indeed more energetic, his skin more sensitive, his spirit more alive. He felt it everywhere, but especially …
… down there. He dipped a hand into shorts. It felt somehow more substantial than he had remembered it. He felt it stiffening a bit, too, at his touch. I wasn’t even thinking sexual thoughts, and yet I’m … ready.
“Hey stud!” The voice was Amanda’s. “You’re awake!”
He yanked his hand out of his shorts and whirled to face her. She was in a silver suit so skimpy that Howard did not, at first, realize that it was a one-piece. A two-inch-think strip of fabric ventured out from her crotch, crossed the unforgiving terrain of the abdominal region, and then paused when it reached a point just above her navel. There, it split in two, each resulting strip completing daring, solo summit one of her mountainous breasts before trekking down the other side. Those strips then crossed the hard escarpment of her shoulders before venturing across the uneven terrain of her muscled back, to finally rejoin each other over the small of her back.
Part of Howard wanted to say no. It had been an action-packed few days, and he needed a breather. Amanda must of sensed his hesitation.
“We thought you were sleeping. Mindy and I are taking Julia and some of the boys cliff diving in a few minutes. Wanna come? Feeling up to it?”
That last part of her question stirred something inside Howard. Never one to back down from an activity, of course he was feeling up to it. “Sure, you’re on.”