LaPorte Caves – Prologue
Written by circes_cup :: [Sunday, 28 June 2015 15:47] Last updated by :: [Monday, 29 June 2015 09:19]
This story contains adult sexual content. 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.
Just put her out of your mind, Julia told herself. He’s not even going to notice her.
But he did. His head tilted backward and as he watched the woman make her way up the rock face, periodically adjusting her ropes as she ascended. She moved quickly. “She’s got good form,” he remarked.
“You mean, a good ass,” Julia clarified. The woman up there had a trim waist and long legs. She was in good shape. Even worse, she was cute. She exuded a spunky confidence – the kind of girl that did not balk at a full day of exertion in the wilderness. And exactly Howard’s type. It was for that reason, above all others, Julia hated her.
“No, I mean a good climbing form. You should try to imitate her.”
“You can’t imitate genetics, Howard. If they could bottle whatever she had, I’d buy a whole case.”
“You can always improve, right?”
“I mean, your climbing. You can always improve your climbing.”
But she wasn’t listening anymore. Instead, Julia was already on her way up the mountain. She tried to match the pace of the woman that had gone before her, but it was hard. The object of Howard’s attention was built for this-- long limbs, good athleticism, endurance, no extra weight.
Julia, on the other hand, was built for knitting. After only a dozen feet, her limbs felt like rubber. Sweat beaded her forehead. Luckily, they were going only as far as the cave entrance, an intermediate point that was another twenty feet up. Even better, that sporty little chick ahead of them passed the cave entrance entirely; she was going further up the mountain. That meant she would not have to witness Howard making sickening small talk with her inside the cave.
Be calm, Julia told herself. It’s not his fault that she’s cute. You’re lucky to have him. You need to be happy around him, so that he likes you more.
By the time they reached the entrance to the cave, thirty feet above the forest floor, Julia was panting.
“You’re doing better,” Howard observed.
Julia only panted in reply.
“You’ll improve,” he offered.
Howard said that a lot, and it made her sad. She might improve a little, but she would always lag behind, always be slowing him down. Howard loved athletics and the outdoors more than anything. And whenever she was with him, she was a burden.
Julia coiled up her climbing ropes and slid them over her shoulder like a bandolier. She extracted a fleece layer from her bag, followed by a headlamp. For most people, adventure in this area was limited to a scramble up the side of the mountain, lunch at the top, and a rappel back down. But for Howard, that wasn’t enough. Howard had heard that there were caves inside the mountain, many of which had barely been explored. And that was like catnip to a cat. They were going straight into the middle of this rock. Julia wondered whether she would be claustrophobic.
They turned on their headlamps and poured the beams into the darkness. The passage leading into the mountain was partially blocked by rubble – rocks ranging in size from grapefruits to basketballs.
“I think I can fit through if I go sideways.” Howard threaded a leg into the narrow opening.
“I can’t,” she admitted. Her face reddened.
“Oh, sorry” Howard extracted his leg. “Here, let me clear some rocks out of the way.”
Howard worked quickly. Julia helped with the smaller rocks. The opening widened.
After a time, the only remaining rock was the largest of them, slightly larger than a basketball. Howard crouched for a better angle.
Julia leaned against the cave wall to watch him. His muscles were not large, but they were lean, toned, efficient. She loved watching his body do athletic things. In fact, she loved watching his body do any kind of thing. She felt her desire for him swell as the coiled springs of his limbs slowly expanded, displacing the rock with a rumbling sound.
“How’s that?” he asked, stepping aside.
Julia pecked him on the cheek. “My hero!”
She wasn’t exactly kidding. Julia loved the fact that he was strong – not body builder strong, but rather, capable. No challenge ever daunted him. Athletic, smart, confident – the man had it all. And he used it all, to take care of her. She remarked once again at her sheer luck at meeting him.
Life hadn’t always been this good. When they had met, Julia had been in the dumps. Her unimpressive performance as a fine arts major in college had lead to an even less impressive career as a sculptor. After winding up under massive debt, she had decided to give up on sculpture entirely. She enrolled in correspondence courses for computer programming – coding, for short. With all these new apps coming out, she figured, who doesn’t make a fortune coding? Well, the answer, apparently, was Julia. She found herself unable to follow rules, unable to think in a structured and linear manner. When she got bored, she got creative. The sculptor in her came out. And when she got creative, she got it wrong. The programs bombed. The apps bombed. And she got fired – six times.
Defeated, she found herself moping about the house. Layers of fat become rolls of it. Walking up the stairs was a drag. So was seeing old friends-- hearing out their boyfriends, their jobs, the kale juice diets and pilates classes. So, she spent more and more time alone-- jobless, loveless, and penniless. Her step dad didn’t want her there – not with her mom long since gone. He asked her to move out. And when that didn’t work, he stopped asked and started demanding. And after eight solid months at this nadir, she backed into another car while pulling out of a pharmacy parking lot. That turned out to be Howard.
The fender bender lead to a first date, and then a second, and from there, everything started looking up. As luck had it, Howard was a programmer, too. And unlike her, he was pretty good at it. He had a corner office at a large technology company – the only one in town that hadn’t fired her yet. He got her a job, and under a boss who seemed determined to coax out whatever talent she might have. As their romance bloomed, she moved into his house, and it was a big house. He lent her the money to buy a car – funds that he simply would have given her if she had let him. It was a nice car, too – a BMW that attracted the occasional jealous comment from her new co-workers.
In bed, he was gentle with her. He said sweet things, and told her she was special.
Nonetheless, the true measure of Howard’s affection lay not between the sheets, but outside, under the open sky. He loved hiking and running and swimming and all manner of outdoor adventures. He insisted that she come along. It was, she realized over time, a sign of endearment. If he didn’t like her, he wouldn’t be sharing these activities with her.
Howard glanced into the darkness of the cave and took a swig of water. “I wonder why they call them the Laporte Caves,” he asked.
“They’re probably named after a nearby town,” she concluded. “Aren’t there are lots towns with French names in the Midwest?”
“I suppose. But there are no towns named Laporte in this part of the state. I grew up here. There’s nothing with that name for a hundred miles.”
“Who knows,” Julia shrugged. “You’re the one who took six years of French.”
“We both took six years of French. It’s just that you didn’t retain it.”
So true, Julia admitted. He was better at that, too. And, in fact, that was the problem: he was better at everything.
Howard scratched his adorable head. “Laporte. La porte. That would mean ‘the door’, or ‘the gateway’. But, the gateway to what?”
Julia stared into the darkness ahead of her. She didn’t like caves. And she didn’t like tight spaces. Her friend had told her that she was a bad match for Howard, that she was too much of a homebody. But she couldn’t let herself be scared. She couldn’t let those other women have him.
“Let’s go find out, together.” Julia yanked her climbing harness tight, and stepped forward into the darkness.
“Um, maybe we’re here?” Julia asked, pointing at the map of the cave.
“And why do you think that?” Howard prodded back.
Julia adjusted her headlamp and looked around. Limestone walls blazed white in the light. She turned to look down the passage, hoping for a sign, a landmark. But the unforgiving blackness simply swallowed the beam. The other direction offered only more blackness.
“Looking around won’t do you any good,” Howard chided. “You need to work with the map and use your reason.”
“But I don’t know,” Julia responded. She wrapped her arms around her chest to ward off the cold. “And I’m tired. And this cave is creeping me out.” In the distance, they could hear water slowly falling into a pool. DRIP – DRIP – PLUNK.
“You can do this,” Howard prodded.
“I can’t,” Julia crossed her arms and glowered. The gesture made her feel even less attractive than she normally felt.
“Julia …” Howard sounded exasperated.
He had a right to be exasperated, Julia knew. The cave exploration part of the trip had been her idea. She had read about it in a women’s magazine somewhere. A good couples activity, the pages had suggested, presenting her with pictures of happy, fit couples exploring underground worlds of breathtaking beauty. But now, they were in a world of less-than-breathtaking beauty, and her arms and legs were killing her. And her head hurt like hell from the anxiety of trying to match the endless twists and turns of the caverns to the squiggles on the map.
“Try again,” Howard encouraged. “Where do you think we are?”
Julia looked at the at the map once more. It was like staring at a honeycomb. “I think we’re here,” she pointed. “Because it’s a four-way junction – after two three-way junctions.” She explored his facial expression. “I’m wrong, aren’t I?”
“Yes.” He replied in resignation. He pointed at the opposite end of the map.
She knew he was right. Howard was great at abstract thinking.
The path ahead another near-vertical scramble, about 12 feet in height. Howard scampered up quickly and turned to wait for his mate. Julia put her arms on the rocks and heaved herself up, only to slide back down again. Her biceps felt like rubber. Come on, Julia, her mind screamed! She strained her arms again and --- OOOFF – managed to scramble a few more feet, belly flopping onto the next ledge up like a harbor seal onto a rock.
Howard was still waiting for her at the top. “You seem annoyed.”
“I’m just mad at myself for being so weak and stupid.”
“You’re not weak and stupid,” he retorted.
“Compared to you I am. And it annoys you.”
Julia had secretly hoped that Howard would refute her. But instead, Howard just turned, and kept walking.
Pain. It coursed through Julia’s body as though she been pounded by a hundred bricks. She couldn’t remember exactly how she had lost her footing. All she could remember was tumbling down a steep slope in the darkness – falling over and over and over again.
And daylight. It bludgeoned her closed eyelids with its brightness. Julia forced her eyes open. Howard was lying on the ground next to her, struggling into a sitting position.
The were on a forest floor. Beside them, a rock slope rose out of the forest at a steep angle. There was an opening in the rock some 50 yards above them. That must have been the opening out of which they had tumbled. The slope was steep up there. Despite her lack of outdoor experience, she knew that a return to that opening would be impossible.
“Are you OK?” Julia asked.
Julia wished could have said the same for herself. As she stood, she realized that her ankle was sprained. Her shoulder, too, had been battered. “What do we do now?”
Howard looked at his damaged equipment – broken headlamp, ruptured backpack, missing gear. “We can’t go back through the cave, that’s for sure-- not given the condition of our equipment. Let’s walk out of the woods, follow the stream courses downhill. In this area, it shouldn’t take more than an hour to find civilization. Then, we hitch a ride home.”
Julia looked around. Something about the forest felt unfamiliar to Julia, as if it were an approximation of the forests she’d seen in the past, and yet slightly different as well. The pine trees, for example: their needles were colored not a deep green, but a purplish green. Had she ever seen a tree colored in that way? “Howard, this place feels strange to me.”
“I’m sure we’ll be fine.” Howard lead the way into the woods..
Julia had a bad feeling about this. With her ankle, the walking was painful. And the way was uncertain.
The walking went on for hours.
Everything indeed looks slightly different here, Julia noted. The hills slope a different direction. The sunlight is somehow more pale. That’s strange, Julia thought. In Kentucky, almost nothing is further than an hour from some sign of civilization – a road, a cabin, a farmer’s field, a hunter’s truck.
They walked for hours more.
And hours on top of that.
And they walked more still. The condition of Julia’s ankle made the walking excruciating. The sun dipped low on the horizon. Night would be here soon.
They came across a still pond. Fruit trees surrounded it, dangling their boughs over the water.
“We need to eat,” Howard observed.
Julia’s stomach agreed. Her the pack had been torn off her shoulders during the tumble out of the caves, lost somewhere within the mountain. It had contained all the food – for both of them. Since the accident, they had consumed nothing. Some splotches of yellow caught her eye, and she pointed. “That tree appears to have some fruit on it.”
“I’ve never seen fruit like this before,” Howard remarked, pulling a bulbous, yellow lump off a branch. “We have no idea whether it’s safe.”
“I’m getting too hungry to care.”
Howard took a tentative nibble. He spat it out. “It tastes bitter.”
Julia took an even smaller nibble. Then a bigger one. The flesh of the fruit was sweet, rich, inviting. She took a large bite. Her taste buds came alive. “Tastes OK – to me,” Julia replied.
It was an understatement. When she swallowed, a contentment flooded her body. It satiated her immediate hunger. But it satisfied something deeper as well, something she couldn’t name.
“I don’t know about this, Julia. It could be toxic. Eat only what you need to keep going.”
Even if Julia’s ears heard him, her mind certainly did not. Julia polished off the first piece of fruit, and bit, ravenous, into a second one. Only minutes later, she was on her fourth. A sticky river of juice ran over her chin. Her limbs seemed to come alive with new life. Her sprained ankle and battered shoulder hurt less.
Howard, meanwhile, searched the forest for other things edible. He found none. Finally, he conceded defeat. “We should get some sleep. There will be more chances to find food, and I expect civilization, tomorrow.”
The couple huddled into a cleft in the tree. He raised an arm, inviting her close. She burrowed into him. The woods were full of noises – unfamiliar ones, bird songs that seemed unfamiliar, and a strange whooping sound that she was certain she had never heard before.
“Are we going to be ok?” she asked.
She listened to the night noises. “What about bears and wolves and stuff?”
“I’ll keep you safe,” he promised.
And Julia knew that he would. She collapsed, contented, into the warmth of his chest. She was lucky – so lucky – to be with a man who was so capable, so strong. He could do everything better than her. Where would she be without him?
She slept soundly that night.
When morning came, she awoke refreshed and energetic. As Howard groaned and clenched his hungry stomach, Julia scrambled up a large boulder and gazed at the surrounding landscape.
“Not a sign of civilization anywhere,” she observed. “Isn’t that strange?”
This time, Howard didn’t answer. And somehow, the lack of an answer disturbed Julia all the more.
“We’d better load up on what provisions we can,” he said as she scrambled back down the boulder.
For Julia, more provisions meant gorging herself on another seven pieces of fruit, and stuffing a half dozen more into her fanny pack and her pockets. “We might be lost Howard, but I have to say, I feel great! I feel like I could walk for hours.”
And walk they did. With every passing mile, Howard seemed to stumble a little bit more, walk a little bit slower. He needed sustenance, they both realized. Julia suggested he try the fruit again. He forced one down with a pained grimace on his face. But it clearly did him little good. In fact, it seemed to be making matters worse for him: within an hour, his forehead felt feverish to the touch, and he had an oddly vacant look in his eyes. He vomited the fruit back up.
Julia, meanwhile, began to suffer from a different condition. As she walked, she developed an odd sense of vertigo, as if she wasn’t really in her own body.
“The fruit may be toxic,” Howard cautioned. “Its effects on you seem to be different than its effects on me, but in both cases, toxic. Don’t eat any more.”
“You’re right, I shouldn’t,” she replied, plucking yet another from a low-hanging limb. “But I can’t stop. My head feels a little bit woozy, but the rest of me feels simply fantastic!”
They found themselves in a hanging valley: ridges on either side and a shear drop-off ahead. They decided to go over one of the ridges. As their path steepened, Howard huffed and puffed all the more. Julia found herself out ahead of him, forcing herself to pause periodically so that he could catch up. After scrambling up and over a boulder, the expected sound of Howard’s footfalls did not follow. She backtracked, and found him at the base of the boulder, leaning against it, winded.
“I need a break,” Howard admitted.
“No you don’t, silly. You’re always the one with all the endurance.” She offered a hand down to him. “Come on.”
He grabbed her hand and she pulled. Her arm, which had always been fat and bones, swelled slightly. She tugged, and produced more of an effect than she had expected: Howard had to scramble to keep his feet under him as she dragged him up the slope.
“You’ve got a good arm,” Howard observed.
A smile spread across Julia’s face. She was getting more athletic. That felt good. And Howard seemed to like it. That felt even better.
Around midday, they had to pause as another bout of vertigo hit her. Something about the fruit was affecting her system, and not in a good way. She bent over, hands on kneecaps, and counted to twenty. The sensation slowly passed.
When she opened her eyes, she shouted. “Footprints, Howard!”
It was the first sign of civilization since the cave. They were human in shape, following the stream down, as Howard and Julia were doing. There were two sets of prints, one smaller and shallower, one slightly larger and deeper. Julia pointed at the deeper ones. “Whoever made those prints must have been freakishly heavy,” she said.
The prints disappeared once they crossed harder ground. Julia and Howard kept walking. She could hear Howard’s stomach grumble periodically. He would need food soon, or he would start wasting away.
By the evening, they had made it over the ridge line and partway down the other side. The couple found a place for their second night in the wilderness, another waterfall surrounded by a grove of the fruit-bearing trees.
“I feel worse,” Howard said.
“I feel better,” Julia said. She stood and stretched her way through the dappled rays of dusk.
“You look better, too,” Howard observed.
Julia examined herself. Was it true? Perhaps the exertion was causing her to shed a few pounds. Either way, the important part was that Howard liked what he saw.
“Why don’t you try washing up?” she asked. “That always makes you feel better. It might take your mind off the hunger.”
Howard approached the pool at the bottom of the waterfall and stripped out of his clothes. His skin was a patchwork of bruises from the fall.
He dipped a toe in. “It’s pretty cold,” he announced. Rather than climb in, he crouched at the side of the pool and bathed, using a handful of moss as a sponge.
Julia joined him later, dipping a toe in as well. The water felt nice. “Thought you said it was cold?” she asked. She was glad to slip out of her dirty garments, and even more glad to get her bra off. It had been killing her for some reason. Julia soon found herself up to her thighs in the pool, the water cascading down on her.
Her skin came alive under the waterfall’s caress. Julia had never remembered a simple shower feeling so good. The woman ran her hands appreciatively over her body.
Julia could no longer deny that something was different with her. Arms that had been unable to throw a baseball thirty feet now had a little bit of muscle tone. A midsection that had always been thick with flab was now less rounded. Her thighs and butt, which had always felt huge in her hands, now seemed more compact, firmer. Her skin, too – where were the bruises she had sustained only a day before?
And, finally, her boobs – hadn’t they always been an A-cup? Looking down at her chest now, she could see that the falling sheet of water was being warped by protrusions that were somewhat larger – perhaps the size of her fist, perhaps a B-cup.
The water beat against her breasts vigorously. That should be painful, Julia thought. But her nipples disagreed, hardening and sending a pleasant warmth through her body.
When she emerged out from from the waterfall, she saw that Howard was clutching his stomach in discomfort. She felt badly for him, but then became distracted by the adorable dimples of his chin, the playful curls of his hair over his eyes. He looked good to her, sexy. Her nipples hardened, pointing themselves toward their quarry.
She sloshed her way across the water, the sound causing him to look up from his misery. His eyes locked on her body. His lips parted slightly, as if he needed more air. The mere sight of her had never caused this reaction in him before. Her spirits soared.
The water on her bare skin cooled in the breeze, and made her skin tingle pleasantly. Her nipples stiffened further, basking in the coolness of the evening air, in the warmth of his gaze, aching for his touch.
He stood. They were only inches apart. His lips, so, kissable, were just above her nose – lower than they ever had been – and not because Howard had gotten any shorter.
“You’re taller now,” he whispered.
Above, the leaves of the trees rustled their approval.
Julia took his hands and smoothed them over her butt and thighs. She felt him squeeze her newly toned derriere.
“And firmer,” he added.
Julia nodded. “And hornier, too.”
She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed herself into him. Her small breasts flattened against the muscles of his chest, thrilling at the pressure, the embrace. “We should find food for you, soon. You’re starting to waste away.”
“I know,” he admitted. “But right now, I don’t care. You look so beautiful to me, it almost makes the pain go away. I want you, Julia.”
“You’re putting sex with me above your own survival?”
“I can’t even think of anything else. All I want right now is you.”
Julia felt the space between her legs dripping with desire. He wants me. He wants to keep me. Her mind thrilled at the realization.
She was soon pulling his clothes off, and crawling over the sinuous firmness of his body. His manhood, fully erect, bumped insistently against her. Her mind thrilled at the thought. He should be thinking about finding food. Instead, all he wants is me.
Another bout of lightheadedness came over Julia, but she shook it off. She lowered herself onto his straining shaft with total ease, surprised at how slick she had become. As his needful stiffness filled her, she felt the need to scream with happiness. And scream she did: they were so deep in the wilderness, her voice could be heard only be the trees, she thought.
The love-making lasted several hours that night – longer than they had ever gone together.
When it was over and Julia bedded down for the night, her body felt better than it ever had. She gripped the layer of fat that covered her thighs: she was still flabbier than she wanted to be, but she was definitely improving.
Her body wanted to sleep, but at the same time, her vertigo was coming more intensely than ever.
“Are you going to be OK?” Howard asked. Your cheeks have good color, but eyes are rolling back into your head.
“I don’t know,” Julia replied. “This vertigo is pretty intense. And you... you’re looking thinner than you did yesterday.”
Howard didn’t answer. That’s not good, Julia realized.
As she closed her eyes, she listened to the strange whooping calls of the unknown animals echo off the hills and cliffs.. My screams during our little tryst must have filled the valley, she realized. Good thing there was no one out here to hear them.
But she was wrong. As her screams of pleasure had echoed off the hills, new footprints in the wilderness were being made, toward them.
As she drifted in and out of consciousness, Julia heard male voices. “She’s stunted,” remarked one, with concern. “He’s bruised and battered,” said the other.
I’m not stunted, Julia wanted to object. If anything, I’ve still got some flab that I’d like to drop. But when she tried to speak, nothing came out. She could barely move her eyelids, let alone her jaw. The vertigo had strengthened into a deep stupor.
“She seems to be in some sort of coma,” the second voice said.
“We’ll need to carry them out,” the first replied. “That’s going to take a lot strength.”
“OK,” the second male voice said. “I’ll go get my little sister.”
That doesn’t make sense either, Julia’s mind objected. But she quickly fell back into her stupor.