The Afflicted Ch. 02byChiShyGuy©
Claude awoke; disappointed to see it was only six hours later. They were near the equator, so that meant at least another seven hours before they could go above decks. He went to the basin and washed himself of the salty crust that had remained on his belly from his exhausted efforts to get himself to sleep.
He threw some short breeches which were all he could stand to wear in the oppressive heat of the enclosed cabin. He crossed to the painting which offered him views of almost every area of the ship and took a quick survey. He checked his parents' room last and was grateful to see that they were fully clothed. His mother was sewing and his father was reading but there was nothing sexual going on there to arouse things within him.
He picked up his volume of Plato and decided to study the passage from the night before in earnest. He took a few notes as he went, and was just about to move to the next section when someone knocked at his door.
Aimée opened the door and came in, carrying a small wooden box beneath her arm.
She was dressed in a simple cotton shift which she'd had worn most nights since she was maybe thirteen or fourteen. The problem was, she had grown in every possible way in the several years since she had purchased it. The hem barely reached her thighs. The neck had once been laced, but the cord had been lost. The open neck was loose and generous; the time-thinned fabric allowed her nipples to show through when she turned in the light a certain way.
She sat down on his bed opening the box, which was her travel chess kit.
"Play with me, Claude. I am so bored."
"Is that all you have to wear?" asked Claude.
"All that works for this heat," she said. "Like you, no?"
Claude nodded, not having a way to argue around his objection to her garment.
"Mon dieu I'm going crazy in this ship," sighed Aimée. "Wherever we settle, if it's with Mama and Papa or with my mate, I'm going to insist on miles of rooms underground.
"Miles. I even want a tunnel, all the way around where we live so I can run, or bicycle or do anything I want."
"That could be expensive," reasoned Claude.
"I'll build it myself. I'll have time. Half of every day stuck inside. What would you do? For your house, what would you build into it?"
Claude glanced up at the painting, recalling the joy it had given him.
"I would build viewers," he said.
"Oui. Periscopes, immense periscopes built into the walls of my house so I could watch the outside world."
"But the sun?" said Aimée, curiously.
"Smoked glass. Pass the light through the right sort, you could still see but you would run no risk."
"That's brilliant!" said Aimée. "Where did you come up with such an idea?"
"Oh, just musing."
"It's perfect. Claude, let's build a house together like the Lumiere's back home. When we find our mates we can build a huge place with our combined money. I get my tunnel, you get your periscopes. I would live in the west wing with my husband; you would live in the east with your wife."
"Perhaps," said Claude. "Now tell me, how many moves do you think it will take for me to beat you today? Four? Five?
"I'm getting better. Today is my day. I can feel it."
Claude had always been the superior chess player. It wasn't necessarily because of brains, but emotions. Aimée played with her heart – only seeing the chance to take a piece without considering the implications two or three moves later. If she could take a knight, it was far more exciting to notice she might be putting her Queen at risk.
Today would be different, and it was her nightgown that was the culprit. The board set, Aimée leaned over and grabbed a black and white pawn, shifting them behind her back and then holding out her hands.
"Choose," she said.
Claude was still lingering on the seconds before, when her leaning had given him a full view of her amazing breasts, even a glimpse of her nipples. He found himself contemplating the vision from the night before. His mother had a woman's breasts; breasts which had nursed children and filled out with the years. Aimée's were a girl's breasts - or perhaps better described as a young woman's. They were high, proud, pert and round. He found himself contemplating the differences when Aimée's voice re-awoke him.
"Claude. Choose!" she said. "Which hand?"
"Oh, sorry," said Claude and pointed to her left hand. He was already at a disadvantage, the pawn was black.
'Shut up body, shut up!' Claude uttered in his mind.
The voice inside him did not listen. He found himself growing more and more distracted by her sitting across from him.
With mortal girls, there was so much about blood. When he was around them, especially if he had yet to have his daily dose, he was always keenly aware of the odor of their blood and of a dormant longing that wished for it.
With Aimée, there was none of that. He could smell her... but it wasn't her blood his body was longing for... it was her.
"Why did you do that?" asked Aimée.
"Do what?" asked Claude.
"Give me your Bishop? Why did you give it to me so easily? What are you planning Claude?"
He was in fact, planning nothing. She studied the board for clues, while he studied her.
The game dragged on. Soon, Claude made another blunder and Aimée looked down at the board in shock, moving her queen to the base row.
"Checkmate! I won!" she said, exhilarated. "I won! It has been years since I won. Oh my god, there is no stopping me now Claude. Let's play again!"
She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek, again affording him a magnificent view.
The next game didn't go much better. Midway through, Aimée asked him a question which threw his concentration off even more.
"Does it hurt?" she asked.
"Does what hurt?"
"Your erection. Does it hurt like that?"
"Oh... I uh..."
Claude had been so entranced by her presence he had been entirely unaware of the happenings below. He quickly grabbed his pillow and covered it.
"Don't be embarrassed Claude. I am not an infant. Mother told me of such things. She said that young men, they cannot control this thing. It will get hard at any time it pleases, no?"
"Yes, it can."
"And I know it isn't for me, my frère. Brother of mine." she said, punching his arm.
"No, of course not, you are my sister. I'll tell it to go down."
"But does it? Does it hurt?"
"Uh, yes and no," said Claude, blushing furiously but trying to seem unaffected in his tone.
"What do you mean?" asked Aimée.
"Do you really want to know?"
"Very well, if it has been a while, since..."
"Relief?" said Aimée.
"Yes, since relief. If it has been a while since relief, it can be almost sore. In general though, it is just... embarrassing, but not unpleasant."
"I see," said Aimée, shrugging her shoulders and focusing her attention back on the chess game.
The embarrassment actually helped to quell the lust that had been distracting him so. He was able to draw the second game out and eventually win.
"My first game must have been luck," said Aimée, pouting.
"No. No, you're getting so much better," said Claude, touching her shoulder comfortingly.
He immediately regretted the touch. Everything which had subsided, the lust, the longing - it was reawakened with violent force. His nerves jangled at the touch, so much that he almost jerked back his hand as if she had been a hot stove. He stopped himself at the last moment, gently removing his hand, fighting every impulse within him that wanted to pull her into his arms.
"What time is it?" she asked.
"Nearly five," he said, helping her put away the pieces. He relished and feared the occasional touch of their hands.
"An hour and a half and we can emerge. Fresh air. Do you know something else I'm going to do with our house?"
"Oh, it's our house now?"
"Yes, I've decided and you have no choice in the matter. Here's what I want. No matter where the basement, how large – I want a way to get fresh air in at all times. In here, it is so stuffy. In our basement back home, it could be stifling. Fans, ducts, we must find a way to always have clean air."
As you wish, mon capitan," said Claude.
She placed the chess board on the bed, and then flopped over, putting her head in his lap on the pillow.
"How long?" she asked. "How much longer until we arrive?"
"The same answer as yesterday, minus one. This is a fast ship. The captain has made this run more than once in thirty-five days. We've been over twenty so far. Twenty more days give-or-take if the winds hold."
"Too long. Are you sure it doesn't hurt?"
"This thing I'm feeling through the pillow," she said, laughing.
"Go back to your room and leave me alone," he said.
"So grumpy. I suppose if I was swollen like that, I'd feel the same."
"Calm down, you great baby. You can tease me about my tits for a year. Tit for tat, Claude. So get some control of your tat."
He slammed the door behind her. He was thankful she'd left. Between his anger and the fact she was no longer present, the blur that had been affecting him lifted.
He lay and read a book for the next two hours. He suddenly noticed an odd feeling in his stomach. Something was wrong. He couldn't figure out what it was, but something was definitely awry. He went back to his painting and looked out at the main deck. Sailors were standing around on deck idly. He switched over to the crow's nest and looked out on the ocean to see the waves. That was it. That was the thing bothering him; there were no waves. They were entirely becalmed. The surface of the water was eerily glass-like; the clouds overhead were reflected in the water below.
Aimée came bursting into his room, barely giving him time to flip the viewer shut.
"What's going on? Why are we stopped?"
"I don't know. It seems there is no wind."
"No wind, but that would put us here longer."
"Yes. We'll have to wait and talk to the captain."
The next hour seemed endless with the quiet and stillness of the ship. Claude dealt with it by reading. Aimée paced endlessly up and down the hall, entirely unnerved by the change and the possibility it would delay them too long at sea.
At last, the bosun's whistle blew and they heard the march of feet upon the deck and down the ladders below. This was a disciplined crew, and part of their terms of service meant that only the necessary men would stay above-deck during evening hours. When the only passengers were men, it wasn't an issue, but with two such attractive women aboard the captain had insisted on invoking that particular rule.
"I'm going up," said Aimée, waiting at the door.
"Not yet, Aimée," said their Father. "Let Claude and I go first and assure the crew is below."
Claude and his father passed through the first door, closing it behind them. Opening the second door brought the usual relief. Claude and his father smiled at each other at the fresh air wafting in. The captain met them at the top of the ladder.
"Well captain Hubert, what seems to be the problem."
The captain was British, but not the stuffy kind. He had worked his way up through the ranks and proven himself in battle. He was one of the best you could find, and enjoyed his employ by the Council.
"Just a touch of the doldrums, Mr. Dojube," he said, smiling.
"I'm not too concerned. This isn't the time of year for it. My guess is we'll have our wind back by morning. But for now, we will not move."
"Ah well, at least we have fresh air," said Palo.
"Yes. Tell me Mr. Dojube, does your family swim?"
"Yes, all of us."
"Excellent. The sails are tied, the men are below... and there's not even any need for me to be here. I give you the ship. Should the wind pick up, I may ask you to return below deck so we can sail again, but for now... enjoy yourselves."
Aimée and their mother had just appeared when Claude was already stripping down to just his short breeches.
"Swimming," said Claude, dashing for the head of the ship.
Swimming twice in two days, such a welcome relief from the daily routine. He dove into the water in a graceful arc and Palo soon dove in beside him.
They splashed away, reveling in the exercise they'd been missing. Soon, Frederique and Aimée appeared on the deck. Frederique wore a loose corset and bloomers, Aimée wore a pair of short breeches and a shirt, tied in the middle.
"What are you wearing?" asked Claude.
"What does it look like?"
"Are those mine? I didn't say you could have my clothes."
"Did you expect me to swim in a dress? Father certainly wouldn't let me swim naked."
"This is true," said their father.
"Now get out of the way."
Aimée dove in with a graceful dive, disappearing below the water and surfacing beside Claude a few seconds later.
Frederique added her own touch of style. She levitated out directly from the ship for a few feet, and then she turned with a wink, shrugging, and released herself, falling whimsically into the water below.
"That's no fair," said Aimée. "I cannot wait until I awaken, then I will fly to the moon and beyond."
They swam together as a family for well over an hour. They had races, and played games of endurance, seeing who could stay below the water for the longest time. During a break, Aimée looked up at the sky and sighed.
"So beautiful," she said. "And the moon, it's so bright I can almost imagine it is the sun... or the closest I'll ever get to knowing it.
"Yes," said Frederique. "It's almost full. The last time I saw a sea like this, it was the Mediterranean. Do you remember? In Tunisia, Palo?"
"Of course I do," he agreed. "It was our honeymoon."
"How did you get there?" asked Aimée.
"In a ship much like this one," said their mother.
"We sailed from Gibraltar and through the Mediterranean to Tunis," said Palo. "There was a family there, a wonderful family. The Massris."
"There were so... hospitable," said Frederique with a gleam in her eye.
"Yes, yes indeed they were," said Palo, smiling. "And their house was so amazing. They had discovered an ancient roman bath house, simply sealed up and forgotten. Like many baths, it was built below ground. They simply built their house above, renovated the baths, and that is where they spent their days."
"Both salt and fresh water, continued Frederique. "They had a large pool of both types twenty-five yards apiece. Plus, hot pools and cold pools. Darling do you remember..."
She nuzzled up against Palo, whispering in his ear.
"Oh yes," he said, "How could I forget that?"
"Children," she said, smiling. "We're going to go for a swim on the other side of the ship. Why don't you stay here?"
"For how long?" asked Aimée, slyly.
"For awhile." she said. "We'll let you know."
They rolled their eyes as their parents swam around the prow and out of site.
"Now we can really race," said Aimée. No more of these short bursts.
"What will we race to?" asked Claude. "There is no goal; we can't race around the ship."
Aimée considered this for a moment.
"Wait here," she said.
She swam casually, but swiftly about a quarter mile out from the ship. Claude couldn't make out what she was doing, but soon she was returning... and there was a white object floating back where she'd been. He watched her return, and realized she was no longer wearing the shirt. He could see her bare back as she stroked easily through the water.
"What did you do?"
"I filled the sleeve with air and tied it. It will give us a goal and if you don't go, you'll never see your shirt again."
"What will father say?" asked Claude. You know how he doesn't like you naked."
"You can't see anything. I'm under water."
That was mostly true, though her breasts bobbed deliciously just below the surface.
"And," she continued, "I'm not wearing these either. They don't fit, and they slow me down."
She reached down the below the surface, treading water awkwardly and then pulling up her hand to reveal his breeches. She hung them on the lowest rung of the rope ladder.
"You can do the same," she said. "It might be your only chance of beating me."
She was right. He was physically stronger, and often the faster runner but she was a natural fish and had always been the victor in the water. He considered his mental state, and decided it wasn't much of a risk. He'd had very few 'wrong' thoughts while in the water, and a race would certainly be distracting.
"Alright sister," he said, removing his own pants. "Is it a race there, or there and back?"
"Just there, so we can retrieve your shirt."
"Good point," said. Claude. "On your mark, get set... Hey!"
Aimée had already pushed off of the ship and was on her way.
Claude forgot everything but the race, and as he did a curious thing happened. He was so intently focused on what he was doing that he found himself growing lighter. It was as if he was a piece of wood atop the water, he felt so light. For the first time in a long while, he was able to look back him and see Aimée far behind him. He continued his feverish pace and finished a good seven lengths ahead of her. What's more, once he arrived, he was barely winded. He treaded water and waited for her to reach him.
"My god you were fast!" said Aimée, gasping for breath.
"I was...lucky. Besides, you had already swum out to deliver the shirt.
"No, I swam easily then. Besides, I cheated and pushed away early."
"Strange day," said Claude. "First you beat me at chess, now I beat you at swimming.
Aimée really had put everything into her effort. He recovered his breath first while she was still gasping in air in deep breaths.
"Are you rested?" she asked.
"Good, then you can let me rest on you a little while."
She swam up to him and clasped herself to him. Resting her head against his neck, her body floated in against his side.
This time the shock of recognition was like a lightning bolt that went through his body. Every one of his senses cried out for her, ached for her. He did everything he could to suppress his desires, knowing how wrong this all was.
"Claude, is something wrong?" asked Aimée, whose breathing was recovering.
"No Aimée, no."
"But you are shaking. Why? The water isn't cold."
"No, no it isn't cold."
He couldn't even look in her eyes. She kept her hold around his neck, but drifted around to directly face him.
"Claude, what is it?"
"Nothing," he said.
"But it is something. What is wrong?"
Her body drifted into him again and her leg brushed against his cock... which did hurt, from longing."
"Oh my," she said.
"Oh my god, Aimée," he groaned. He pulled her into him, every part of his body loving the feel of her flesh against his. Her breasts on his skin, her leg against his cock. He lost his concentration, ceasing to tread water with his free hand. They went plunging into the water as he kissed her desperately below the surface. She struggled and pushed herself away from him. They both surfaced, sputtering.
"What are you doing!" she screamed. She looked at him with a mixture of fear and disgust. Recognition was beginning to dawn on her features.
"Claude, today you were odd, and you were hard. Now, you do this! Claude, I'm your sister!"
"Aimée, I wish could explain," he stammered.
"Do you honestly want me like that? Your own relative?"
"The answer is yes and no. I do not want you. Claude does not want Aimée. But something within me does. Aimée, I am so sorry."
"How could you?" said Aimée. "Your own flesh and blood. What is wrong with you?"
"I don't know. Just - just stay away from me for the rest of the voyage. When we get to America... well, we won't have a house together. We needn't even choose the same city."