Laresa's World Ch. 10: JamesbyDarkniciad©
Chicago, Illinois — 2006
Laresa sighed, unable to assist her Mistress due to the last command Hanna had spit out in a drug-fogged fit of pique.
Just stand over there invisible and watch. Stay out of this. I can handle my fucking high, okay?
Laresa shook her head sadly as she remembered the words, knowing they weren't true then, and certainly weren't true now. Bent over the arm of a sofa, Hanna was finally unconscious after two days of indulgence.
Sticky trails led from her sex and the puckered iris of her ass down her legs, evidence of the drug-induced euphoria she had ridden with reckless abandon for the last several hours. More semen matted her hair and covered her face, back, and buttocks. A string of spittle, mixed with more seed from the six men sprawled about the room, dribbled down her chin. Three other men had already left, in a slightly less impaired condition than those who remained.
Hanna's folds were a bright, angry red, as was her ass. Laresa knew her Mistress would be in pain when she awakened, but Hanna's last command still compelled her to stand and simply watch.
One of the men stirred, rising up groggily by climbing up the couch. Sitting down on it heavily, letting out a groaning gasp, he glanced over at Hanna and chuckled. His eyes lit up then, and he reached for her hand.
Laresa's heart leapt in her chest, but she could do nothing except watch as the man pulled the ring from Hanna's finger and said, "Bet I can afford some good shit if I hock this off. Thanks, slut."
Laresa turned into invisible wisps of smoke, returned to her home in the ring when Hanna lost possession of it.
* * * * *
Some time passed before Laresa felt the pull of a new Master calling her from the ring. The man was dirty, disheveled, and barely coherent. It took several attempts even to impress upon him that she was real, not just another symptom of his acid trip. Only an hour later did it dawn on him that he could make wishes.
He turned to the nude semi-pro prostitute, as she called herself, at his side and shook the woman, "Hey, Cheyenne, I got a genie, babe! Cheyenne, wake up already!"
Laresa knew the woman was not going to awaken, not now or ever again. Her new Master had been unknowingly sitting next to a corpse for several hours. After another few moments of shaking, the man suddenly realized how cold and clammy the woman's flesh was beneath his hands. He snatched them back and scrambled to the opposite side of the couch away from her.
He mumbled, "No way, you can't be dead. No way, no way, no way, no way..."
He raised his head then and turned toward Laresa in a jerky movement, his eyes alight with the thought that had just penetrated the thick fog in his brain.
Laresa began, "Master..." Her sense of right demanded that she inform her Master he was about to break a rule, but it warred with disgust over her enslavement to such a man.
"I wish for you to bring her back," Laresa's new Master commanded.
Having never asked for the rules of owning a genie, he had no idea that this was a wish beyond her power, or that it broke the bonds between them. Laresa turned back into tendrils of smoke, returning to her home in the ring, which vanished to hurtle through space and time once more.
* * * * *
Alaska — Winter 1925
James Paddock fought the urge to growl, already irritated at the other men in the place halfway through his first bitter, watered-down beer. The hastily constructed walls of the clandestine saloon barely blocked the wind, and the fire managed to put more smoke in the air than heat. The smoke did nothing to overpower the smell of stale sweat — and even more unpleasant odors — that hung in the close quarters either. Even though the place was supposed to be secret, the other men in the cramped room obviously couldn't care less. They were just as loud and annoying as before Prohibition.
Tossing back the last of his beer in one pull, James flipped a coin to the man who ran the place and thought, I should have just stayed out in the storm.
Exiting through the badly hidden door into the dry goods store, which drew far fewer customers than the real business beyond, James walked back out into the frigid wind and blowing snow. Shaking his head, he thought, I don't know why I bother. No matter where I go, it's always the same. Men who are too loud and full of lies, women who are only looking for money, and beer that tastes like piss. Hardly worth waking up in the morning in a world like this.
Walking to the back of the building and ducking to look under an awning that was, if anything, better constructed than the building it was attached to, James whistled for his dogs.
His black mood lifted a bit as his team bounded out of the shelter and toward their place in front of the sled, eager to run.
* * * * *
James squinted at the horizon, across the surface of the Blinding White, as he called this land when the snow flew so thick you could barely see the front of your sled, let alone your dogs. The storm was getting worse, and he was starting to feel the chill even through his rabbit-fur lined coat. He'd been cold before, though, and he knew a cave nearby that could shelter them if things got bad enough.
Even though the storm was picking up, he could still see his team — for now. He smiled, sensing the enthusiasm as they bounded through the snow, pulling him and his sled. His dogs loved to run, and James loved to indulge them. He had taken this trip with the idea of getting a beer and finding out what was going on in the world, but really, it had all been just an excuse to be out amongst nature in all her glory. Sighing, he thought, Wish I could just stay out here forever.
The change was subtle at first, but quite recognizable to James. At first, the dogs only glanced at each other, their fluid gait showing signs of hesitation. As they continued on, the animals actually began to slow. The nervous posture of his team prompted James to call for them to stop.
"What do you smell, Apogee? I know that look, boy. You too, Addie — something's out there putting you on edge, girl. What is it?"
The entire team stared off into the distance, their ears pricked to the wind. His lead dog, Apogee, and Addie glanced back at him when he called their names. He had a good team, with good feet, but Apogee and Addie were the best dogs he'd ever seen. They stood out from the rest of the five black and white dogs too — Apogee in his copper-brown banded coat and Addie in pure, snow white.
Smarter than half the men he knew, and better company, he'd come to trust the instincts of those two dogs as much as he trusted his own. Too many times — on days like this — he'd relied on those dogs to get him home, when he couldn't even see them for the blowing snow. They'd warned him of bears, pulled him around crevices, and found town through the most abysmal of storms too many times for him to do otherwise.
"Storm looks like it's going to get worse before it gets better, is that it?"
Addie turned to look at him again, and James locked eyes with her. She then jerked her muzzle back toward the horizon, sniffing the air.
Most men thought he was crazy to have a female on his team — he refused to call her a bitch — but it was times like this when James knew why he strapped her up. She was a damn smart dog, and seemed to understand nearly every word he said to her. He hated leaving her behind when she was in heat, distracting the rest of the team too much to get anywhere.
"Not the storm, then," James grunted, brushing some of the frost off his thick black beard with a gloved hand. Just then, he caught a glimpse of something through the blinding gales of snow. It looked like a sled.
"Somebody else out there, is that it?"
Apogee and Addie both let out a little whuff.
"Don't look to be moving, that's not good. Let's get over there — mush!"
The whole team looked a bit apprehensive, but they followed Apogee's lead and bounded off through the gale, the runners of James' sled hissing across the snow. As they drew nearer, James was able to determine that what he saw was indeed a sled, and it was sitting idle, gathering snow. It was also sitting at an odd angle. He could see no sign of team or driver, but mounds of snow nearby hinted at their location. That sight made James' blood run cold.
The dogs were all reluctant to approach too close, and that only confirmed James' fears. One mound of snow, beside the sled, was larger than the ones in front, and it was toward it he walked when the team stopped. Squatting down and brushing away a couple inches of snow revealed exactly what James expected.
He didn't recognize the old man, and James knew that if he'd ever seen him, he would have remembered him. The old man had a beard as white as the snow that covered him, and features that hinted at Inuit blood. The frozen mat of blood in the man's white hair revealed without a doubt what had killed him. He'd driven his sled over a hidden rock, and hit his head on it when he was thrown.
Shaking his head and grunting, James brushed away snow from the other mounds, finding the team frozen. They were hooked to their harnesses and that had prevented them from getting loose. James never liked a man hooking his team like that. He never did, so that the dogs would have a chance if something ever happened to him, unlike these poor animals. It looked like a good team too, and it was a damn shame they died because the man that drove them didn't leave them free to find shelter and food.
Shouldn't leave them out here in the open, I guess, James thought. He couldn't take them back to town on his small sled, with a seven-dog team, but he could get them to the cave where he could find them easier later. Somebody in town would know the man, or know someone who knew him. The man deserved a proper burial, despite the cruel thoughtlessness that had killed his team, and any kin deserved to know what happened to him.
Tugging the frozen man free from the snow, James strapped him to the sled. His dogs all looked a little leery of that, staying as far away from the corpse as possible, but he couldn't blame them. He wasn't too fond of riding behind the frozen body to the cave either.
* * * *
It took five trips — and two hours — to transport the man and his team to the cave, and dark was creeping up on him when he deposited the last of the frozen dogs in a deep alcove at the back of the cave. People used the cave frequently for shelter, and it smelled strongly of men. Thus, it was unlikely any hungry animal would venture inside to chew on the corpses. The place had a natural chimney in one crevice that would vent the smoke of a fire, and James even found a couple of armloads of wood stacked nearby.
The dogs all lay down, their breath steaming the air around them to the point that it looked like clouds surrounded them. Pulling some tinder and kindling from his kit, James got a fire going. The dogs all quickly moved closer for the warmth, curling up together for even more.
Once the fire was blazing cheerfully, James opened the frozen man's kit to see if he could find anything that might help identify him. At first, he found nothing remotely personal, and then he found the ring.
Holding up the ring to the firelight, he said, "What have we got here?"
Addie looked up for a moment, tilting her head sideways.
"Just talking to myself, girl. Get some rest. We're going to bed down here for the night. I don't like the looks of that storm, and I ain't fighting it at night."
Addie lowered her head again, and James returned to his examination of the ring. Gold with a big amber stone, it was certainly something that folk would remember if they had seen it. James started to go slip it into his kit, but then decided to slide it on his finger instead. It would be easier that way than digging it out once he got back to town.
Pulling back on his glove, James said, "I'm going to go get some deadfall to keep that fire going, I'll be back." As oddly as people looked at him for having a female dog on his team, they looked at him even odder when he talked to the dogs as he would talk to a man. It didn't matter to James, because he knew it worked. His dogs were all smart, and they understood well enough. It might just be the tone of his voice and his actions, but James liked to think they understood his words.
Reluctantly walking away from the fire, James exited the cave into the teeth of the biting wind again. The trees didn't even seem to break up the wind, and that only confirmed the wisdom of stopping for the night. He was glad that he knew the area, because it was almost dark, and soon he wouldn't be able to see more than a few inches in front of him.
Years of knowledge and skill allowed James to find suitable wood beneath the snow cover, and when he trudged back out into the snow the third time, he estimated that one more good limb would last through the night. A promising shape beneath the snow drew him a bit farther from the cave than the two previous trips. Brushing away the snow, he found a perfect limb that he could haul, and would provide more than enough wood to keep his fire burning.
In the process of freeing the limb, he heard an alarming crack. Snow and ice fell in a shower over him, and then the limb that fell behind it flattened him to the snow.
James tried to move, but found the weight of the evergreen limb was too great to budge. Likewise, sharp stabs of pain shot through his body from his ribs when he tried to shift the huge branch. A few more attempts yielded no better results, and he started to feel weak.
Broken ribs - must be bleeding inside, James thought, his teeth chattering as shock combined with the cold to overwhelm his resistance to the elements. The minutes dragged on, feeling like hours as James' strength failed him. He could barely move his arms now, could hardly even lift his head from the snow. Maybe it's better this way. There's nothing for me in this world, James thought through the stabs of pain that clouded his mind.
A high-pitched growl, with an almost worried note to it, caused James to open his eyes. He'd nearly passed out, and that surely would have been the end of him. Looking over, he saw Addie with her jaws clenched tight on a branch of the limb, pulling with all her might. Apogee bounded into view a moment later, adding his strength to the struggle.
The limb was barely budging, and James knew it was useless. He honestly wasn't sure whether he wanted to live anyhow. They said that you just fell asleep when you froze to death, and that didn't sound like too bad a way to go. Summoning up what little strength he had left, he slowly muttered, "Go on, get back in that cave and wait out this storm. You find your way home when it's over. You all been good dogs to me."
Addie paused in her efforts for a moment and looked up into his eyes. If any expression from man or beast could have proclaimed, No, any more clearly — James had never seen it. The loyal canine returned to pulling on the limb.
At the moment, he didn't care whether he lived or died, but he wasn't sure whether his loyal team, especially Apogee and Addie, would leave him here alone. The last thing he wanted was his dogs to freeze out here. Fighting the ever-increasing urge to close his eyes, James struck the limb weakly in a fit of frustration. The action earned him a bite of pain in his finger, the one he had put the ring on. Pulling off his glove, he scowled at the ring and thought, Damn thing is cursed. It killed him, and now it's killed me.
Trying to pull the ring off, he found it stuck. He focused on the hated ring, using it as a reason to remain awake and alive, twisting the golden band in an effort to remove it from his finger.
Over the howl of the wind, he heard a woman's voice say, "You have summoned me from the ring. What is your command, Master?"
Startled, he turned toward the voice to see a woman standing a foot or so away, looking down on him. Addie and Apogee both yelped and moved to stand over him, teeth bared and low growls rumbling from their throats.
The woman was strikingly beautiful, with silvery hair and curves that announced her gender beyond any doubt. The wind didn't even appear to touch her, which accounted for why she wasn't shivering when the clothing she wore revealed ample amounts of bare skin.
"W-when they talk ab-bout the angel of death, I didn't t-think she'd actually b-be an angel," James muttered through his chattering teeth, fascinated by the sight of the strange, petite woman.
"I am no angel, but a genie, Master," Laresa told him, wondering where she was in space and time now. There was little to identify her location, though she guessed she was in the North, not the South. Her new Master was obviously in a great deal of danger, and she wondered if she would even be here very long. He looked very weak, and might very well die before ever making a single wish. Sympathy welled up inside her, and she asked again, "What is your wish, Master?"
"I wish... tree off... that's what... what I wish," James muttered weakly, losing the battle to remain conscious.
The weight of the thick limb suddenly vanished, and James started, the movement stabbing him from his broken ribs. Once again, his dogs jumped back with a yelp, glancing rapidly between their Musher and the odd woman.
"As you command, Master."
Growing delirious, thinking this was all some sort of dream, he gasped, "I wish... back in cave... not hurt."
Relieved, because the man was very close to death, Laresa informed him, "It shall be so, Master," and granted his wish.
James sat up in stunned surprise. He was back in the cave, the sound of claws scrambling on stone greeting him as Addie and Apogee darted away, and the rest of his dogs started from their sudden appearance. "How in the... Who are you?"
Bowing, Laresa responded, "My name is Laresa, Master. You wished to be in this cave — your hurts healed — and so I have obeyed you." Laresa felt her cheeks grow warm when she heard James thinking about how her voice sounded like beautiful music.
Locking eyes with the woman, James was startled to discover that she had violet eyes. Equally fascinating were her lashes, which were long, full, and lustrous. The color was so deep and glossy that they almost appeared to flicker with silvery accents when she blinked. Absently, he asked, "But, how?"
Laresa explained, "I am a genie, Master. I am capable of many things you might consider miraculous."
Standing up and looking at the strangely dressed woman, he felt a rush of heat flow through him, centering in his loins and sending pulses of blood into his manhood. James had not lain with a woman for over a year, and the reaction was quite natural. The thin pants and short, open vest Laresa wore revealed her fair skin to his eyes, hiding just enough to entice.
"My name is James," he offered, tearing his eyes away from the swell of her ample bosom.
Having noticed his reaction, a hint of a smile twitched her lips as she acknowledged, "I understand, Master."
Turning to his dogs, James calmed them and then scratched each of their ears affectionately. He saved Addie and Apogee for last, hugging them about the neck and saying, "Thank you two for trying. A man couldn't ask for no better dogs."
Walking back to the strange woman, he said, "Thank you too, because I surely would have died out there. So what can you do? Laresa, you said?"
She bowed again, pale blonde curls flowing around her face in a hypnotic wave, "Yes, my name is Laresa. I can make your wishes reality, within limits."
Raising his bushy eyebrows, James asked, "What limits?"
"I cannot raise the dead, or change things that will affect many people throughout the flow of time. I also cannot tamper with a person's feelings."