Don't ask. Just don't.
That was one week I was glad to see the last of. The only good thing about it was that all my current jobs were wrapped up and the next weren't going to start for a while. I packed my pack and put some extra non-perishables in the trunk. I thought for a moment, then added another block of watercolor paper. I left my cell phone by the door on the way out, and was gone.
It's about a three hour drive to that big national wilderness area -- no, I won't tell you which one -- and it too me most of that drive to stop fuming. I made my way up that old logging road to the more remote side of the wilderness area, until the only sight of human life was a contrail overhead. I left a note on the dashboard saying when I expected to return, tied on my hiking boots, and started up the trail.
With more than a week's worth of food, the pack was heavier than usual. Three hours of rough terrain later, I was sweating and more than ready to stop. The exercise had burned off my foul mood, though, so I was ready to enjoy the solitude of this amazing little spot I had discovered. When I saw the rock face that reflected extra sunlight into the little glen, that "here I am" sense of relief flooded me.
Then I saw a beer can. I don't know what hit first, shock that someone would desecrate this little natural temple, anger that they would, or the sense of loss of a spot I had considered mine alone. Looking around, I saw lots more litter and signs that the last campers here were complete slobs. I set my pack against a tree and looked around.
At least the little spring didn't show any signs of disrespect. I know it's dumb not to disinfect the water before I drink it, but something about this spring always made me feel a little reckless, as if something that beautiful couldn't possibly hurt me. So far it hadn't. I scooped a few handfuls of water into my mouth and enjoyed its cool, clear taste.
The weather was supposed to stay agreeable for at least the next few days, so I didn't bother to set up the tent. I unpacked my lunch, the last kitchen-made meal I'd have for a while, and munched sandwiches while I looked around the little glade. It was clear that the slobs had been here some time ago, since the litter looked weather-worn and the plastic casing on a shotgun shell (I cringed) had started to bleach in the sunlight.
I had to get my own camp set up first, but then I was going to clean up that mess. I collected a little wood, dead branches that hadn't fallen yet, then started to clean up. I began near the spring, walking back and forth so I'd cover every part of the ground. By the time the sun started to drop, I had collected a lot more trash than I expected. Some, I could just bury and it would decompose. That included some small carcasses, squirrel maybe, with broken bones sticking out through what was left of the pelts. Other garbage would burn, but there was still a fair bit that I'd have to carry out. I was still annoyed by whoever had thrown the garbage around, but my feelings mellowed a bit knowing that I was undoing some of the damage.
I built my small file where theirs had been -- the scorch mark showed that it had been a lot bigger than there was any need for. I cooked one of the freeze-dried meals using some of that crystalline spring water, doused the fire, and unrolled my sleeping bag under the stars.
In the middle of the night, I woke up in a way that I hadn't since I was a teenager: at the defining moment of a wet dream. I enjoyed it of course, but it had been a strange dream and it will sound even stranger if you've never had one like it. There was nothing overtly erotic about the dream, just images of this little glen somehow overlaid with intense sexual feeling. I figured "that's dream logic for you," wiped up the mess with my underwear, and went back to sleep still half-hard from the dream. If you must know, I had my hand over my crotch as I went back to sleep.
Breakfast was eggs, home-fries from a potato baked in the coals of my little fire, and coffee. Maybe it doesn't make much sense, but coffee out here always seems to taste better. I thought about getting my paints out, but decided to look around again, first. I just couldn't bear to paint the scene until I knew that the litterbugs' contamination was gone.
It took most of the morning, with frequent breaks at the cool spring, but I finally convinced myself that I had gotten all of the mess that I was going to find. (They had even left fishing line with hooks still on. Fish-hooks!) Back at the camp, I made some cheese sandwiches. I sat, munching, and let the warmth of the day soak into me. All that fresh air must have had some kind of effect on me, since I was unexplainably horny again. My penis seemed to have a mind of its own out here. By myself, I could do anything I wanted, so I stroked it casually while I ate, just enjoying the feeling of having a full erection. It's not exhibitionism if no one is watching, so I decided to finish the job. I lay back on my sleeping bag, pushed my shorts down to my thighs, and started.
I won't bore you with the details -- who wants to listen to a description of someone else wanking? I took my time, though, enjoying the warmth of the erection in my hand and even the taste of pre-come when I wet my hand with saliva. Climax, when it came, went on for a while, long after the jets of semen had slowed to final dribbles. Finally, I unwound. The erection shrank in my hand, and I wiped up with the paper towel I had used as a napkin.
After I left the wad in my latrine trench, way away from the spring, I went back to clean up. The spring turned into a little brook, so I went well downstream of where I took the water from, washed my hands, and brushed my teeth. I watched reflections in the water while I brushed, trying to think how I could paint that play of light over the gravel in the little stream bed. My mind had wandered well away when I thought I saw something in the water -- a face, a pretty one. I blinked and looked again. It must have been a trick of light on the rippled surface.
It turned into a hot day, and I relished the heat. I spent the afternoon with my watercolors, adding one more to the largish collection of images I had already made of this place. It felt good to dunk my head in the spring every now and then, to feel that pleasant chill against the heat of the day. Late in the afternoon, I got my fishing line from the pack and went down to the river ten or fifteen minutes away. A fair-sized trout bit on a bread-ball within a few minutes, so I had my supper. I never bring a flashlight on these trips, so I enjoyed the last of my little fire. I also broke out that bottle of single-malt I had packed in, and measured out a little cup of the brew.
There's something about that place. From the very first time I found it, I felt as if I owed it something. As usual, I poured a few drops on the ground. Of course, I didn't believe that any spirit or anything would want my sacrifice. The gesture just made my feeling of reverence more real to me, somehow. I stared into the fire and sipped, washing it down with a canteen of the spring's cool water. Since I don't bring lights on these trips, except the one for emergencies, I was in my sleeping bag not long after darkness fell. Half-thoughts meandered through my mind as I drifted off -- yes, I'm male, so a lot of them were snippets of erotic fantasies.
It happened again. I awoke in deep darkness, with a pounding erection pumping into my underwear. The dream faded only slowly as I came to. Its dream-logic stayed with me as I enjoyed the involuntary release. A petite, pale woman had been working me gently and firmly with her hands, saying "Thank you." Thanks for what, I had no idea. I couldn't move in that dream, except the for the instinctive motions of my orgasm, but my weakness seemed natural. I came to as the dream faded, wiped the annoying little mess up with another pair of underwear, and went back to sleep thinking vaguely about how long my clean clothes would last at this rate.
Next morning, as I sipped that delicious coffee, I wondered where the teenaged hormones were coming from. Those days are thirty years in my past for me, or more. I'm not really complaining, except that I hadn't planned on washing clothes out here. I just figured I had been wound up way too tight for way too long (which was true), and my body was reveling in being treated decently for once. Lots of exercise, lots of sleep, not eating and drinking the wrong things -- maybe that was it. After I washed the breakfast dishes, I put another pot of water over the fire. A sponge bath would feel good.
There was something deliciously rebellious about going toward the river naked, to rinse off. (It's a vegetable-oil soap, so I don't worry about a little going into the water.) The brook from the spring forms a fair-sized pool shortly before it joins the river. I went in there, where the sandy bottom would show me what I was stepping on. I waded into the clear water, braced myself for the cold, and dunked myself. After the initial shock, it felt kind of nice. I lolled in the water, floating with my eyes closed, and enjoyed the gentle rippling of the current against my skin.
It took me a while to notice just how much I was enjoying the feel of the water. Despite the cold, I had popped an erection that worked its way quickly to fullness. Well, if it's going to happen, I might as well enjoy it. The familiar feeling of thickness and pressure contrasted with the cold contraction that pulled my balls in close. Turbulence in the water had my erection bobbing back and forth, almost like playing with the sprayer in my shower at home. Soon, the feeling of pressure built to the point that I had to do something about it. I waded out of the pool, erection leading the way, and found a large, smooth boulder in a sunny spot. Once again, I stroked myself slowly to orgasm. After coming more times than I had in the last month, it wasn't a big load, but I kicked some dirt over it anyway. I hadn't planned to spend my whole trip jerking off. If I did, though, what was the harm? I went back to the water, rinsed my hands and crotch again, then turned back toward camp.
I took one last look back at the pool as I walked away. It's a gorgeous spot with soft, mossy banks, but something didn't seem quite right about it. I mean, the mirror surface of the pool looked right, but there was something I couldn't put my finger on. It niggled at me as I dressed. I grabbed my paints and a block of paper, and went back. Painting it would make me look carefully at the pool and its mirror surface. Maybe that would get rid of the nagging feeling or show me what it came from.
As I finished up the pencil under-drawing, it occurred to me. That beautiful surface, reflecting the trees and the mountain behind, was about as still as water ever gets. The little flow from the spring couldn't create much current when the creek turned as wide and deep as it was here. So where did the turbulence come from, the bustling flow that had gotten me so turned on?
I kept drawing as my mind wandered and wondered about that. When my attention came back to the page, I was startled to see what I had drawn. The light, loose sketch of the pond looked fine, but I had added a girl's -- no, a woman's figure, a small one, sitting on the far shore. It was the tiny, pale woman from my dream. The pencil marks were already a little too heavy to be the outline of a watercolor, but it hadn't given me that 'done' feeling yet so I kept working at it.
When I could finally stop and look at the drawing critically, I wasn't sure what to make of it. The petite woman, four feet tall or less, seemed to be staring at me. She leaned to the side, supported on one arm. One leg curled half-under her, the other foot planted on the ground with her bent knee upwards. A soft breast hung a little to the side as she leaned; a small dense patch of pubic hair seemed to clothe her. Pale hair tumbled behind her shoulder. Only her size was child-like; her curves and confidence projected womanly strength. I looked back across the little pond to where the imagined figure would have sat. Nothing. It was just a mossy bank, like the one on this side.
I stared at the drawing for a while, then cut the sheet loose from the block of thick paper, set it aside, and sketched again. The presence wasn't there, this time. Once a few lines defined the general plan of the painting, I wet the paper and started in.
I'm not sure which I like better: the early stages of a painting, where I use broad strokes to define the major visual masses in the painting, or the later steps where detail fills in its character and personality. Noon was well past when I had to set the block down to dry a little.
I lunched in the sun basking in warmth while I ate apples and a sandwich, then washed it down with that gleaming water. Despite the amount of detail, I finished the painting before the light had changed too much. It was a nice effort, but I kept looking at that pencil drawing as I walked back to camp. Sometimes I draw something and get that feeling, "Where the heck did that come from?", but never as strongly as this time.
I had a few hours of daylight left, so I collected some more dead branches and cut them to length with a cable saw. I straightened up the site (bachelor habit, I guess), and even cleared some branches and leaves from the spring. I caught another fish and poached it with wild onions and some watercress from the brook, then ate it with another potato baked in the coals. I washed up as darkness set in so the food residues wouldn't attract animals, poured another ration of whiskey for myself, and watched the fire die down.
A few times, I thought I saw motion out of the corner of my eye. When I looked, though, I didn't see anything. I knew the area didn't have wildlife bigger than an opossum or raccoon, so I chalked it up to tired eyes.
That night, I stripped down before going to sleep, and folded a towel over me. If I was going to have one of those dreams again, I didn't want it on the sleeping bag. My genitals tensed at the happy thought. Once I crawled in, though, I was asleep in a few minutes.
Sure enough, I had another of those dreams. The tiny woman was there, just sitting next to me, but that was somehow enough to give me a huge erection. I lay there, unwilling or unable to move, while it bobbed in time to my pulse. Her pale features smiled as it rose. Somehow, without touching me, I felt waves of warm pressure rolling back and forth along it. It felt like having sex, or maybe just having my erection in a lover's mouth. In my dream, though, nothing actually touched it. Still, that unseen manipulation milked clear droplets of pre-come from the tip. The woman leaned closer when she saw that, still not touching even though I thought I could feel the warmth of her breath on my penis.
Something else added to the feeling, an inner sense of pressure that matched the urgency building in my erection. It was almost like the greased-glove exam at my yearly checkup, my least favorite part, except this was enjoyable. My body tensed in the dream, in the way that said I would come any moment. Then the small woman's eyes closed with an intent expression, the feelings in my erection and inside peaked, and it happened. Even having drained myself so many times in the last few days, three our four deep spasms still pulled thick, white semen out of me, and a few dry spasms followed. As on previous nights, I woke up as I ejaculated. At least, I thought I did, or dreamed I did. A dark shape loomed near me. It turned toward me and reached out. I was still too groggy to move, even when one hand reached toward my face and another reached toward my falling erection. As soon as I felt the touches of two hands, a gentle, feminine voice said "Sleep" and I slept again.
I awoke early the next morning, when the sun was barely up. My morning wood was up before me, and eager for a visit to the latrine pit. I opened the sleeping bag and folded back the towel. Sure enough, I found the wet spot and the dream came back to me. That beautiful, tiny woman again, and wet dreams three nights in a row. I thought that was just a way for a body to unload excess semen, but that couldn't be the case here. I was surprised there was anything left to ejaculate. I pulled on pants and a shirt, peed in my little trench, and started my cooking fire. I took the coffee pot down to the spring to fill up. As I approached, I thought I saw something -- that tiny pale face, just above the water. As soon as it turned to look at me, it sank again, without a sound.
The tiny dream-woman seemed to be appearing everywhere. It was getting ridiculous. She was barely four feet tall as I imagined her, maybe three and a half, but the water there was only six inches deep. I felt OK, not feverish, and everything else seemed normal enough -- as if my judgment were worth anything right then. If anything strange happened again, I'd pack up and leave while I was still well enough to get help.
But, come to think of it, all that had happened so far just looked like a case of howling hormones. Really, I never felt better. I ate, cleaned up, and enjoyed the residual tingle in my pants that kept me on the verge of erection. Even that feeling passed, slowly, when I took my paints, lunch, and canteen out along the rock face by the river. I finished another watercolor early in the afternoon, and returned to camp.
The day had heated up, so I went down to the river for some skinny-dipping. I didn't even bring a towel -- I figured it would take only a few minutes to air-dry. The water felt good, but I couldn't do much more than get wet. The current was too strong for the relaxing swim I had in mind. I waded up the bank to where the rivulet from the spring joined the river. I didn't stir up much mud from the sandy bottom as I approached the pool. This was more like it. I couldn't swim here, there wasn't enough room, so I just leaned against the mossy bank and basked in the cool water.
I guess my body responded to the heat of the day by declaring siesta time. I didn't realize how sleepy I was when I lay my head against the pillowy bank of the pool -- I was asleep in minutes.
I don't know how much time had passed when I woke up again, but the sun hadn't moved much. I could lay in the water until I wrinkled like a prune. I figured I wasn't really awake yet when I realized how hard it was to stir myself, but I didn't mind. I lay there in a strange, happy lassitude.
It must have been a strange state, because I scarcely blinked when a woman's head rose slowly from the pond. It was the tiny woman of my dreams, with that wide, delicate face and angled eyes. It couldn't be, though. The water was too shallow for her to stand in. And anyway, she appeared only above the surface and down to it. Under the surface, through her reflection, I could see only the sandy bottom. Part of a woman was coming toward me, but my reaction was even stranger than that. It was no reaction at all, as if this were the most normal thing in the world. I noticed that, too, but let the thought go.
She walked toward me, rising from the water. When she was chest deep, her full, soft breasts bobbed and seemed to float (above the surface, not below it). They lowered as she rose and lost the water's support. Her sleek, tapered waist and curved belly appeared next, seeming to materialize from the surface. Next, her small, thick pubic patch appeared. I knew it was barely more than a foot deep, there, but she looked to be standing on something at least a foot deeper than that. She waved to me with a shy, friendly gesture that didn't match the certainty of the way she carried herself toward me. Still, I couldn't move, and even that still didn't scare me the way it would have any other time.