The Addicted Natural Ch. 12byblacknight99©
Chapter 12 -- The White Witch of Walden -- Introduction and Climax
A DAY AWAY FROM WALDEN
On a Friday in late July, we loaded up the pickup for a trip away from "Walden." It was Brenda who had begun calling it that, though I, despite having taught Thoreau in an American Authors class several times in the past, refused to totally accept the moniker. I've always thought old Henry David a bit too folksy. That stuff about "you can tell a lot about a man by the way he stacks his firewood" is just too ... cute, I guess. And anyway, our lake is nothing at all like the "pond" in the books (or the actual Walden lake today, for that matter). Anyway, there was no denying Brenda her image, so I didn't really argue the point.
It took awhile to get the boat trailer hooked up, and when I pulled it around to the front of the house, the girls were ready with the various boxes we'd need for our little camping adventure abroad. Maxine bounded all around barking frantically and seemingly getting in everyone's way at once. We'd done this twice before this year, and she knew what was coming.
Dee was forced to do less of the manual labor, and was really beginning to look like a woman six months along. Both girls wore shorts, but Dee had begun wearing stretch shorts and maternity tops more than a month before, and there was no doubt in anyone's mind that she was seriously knocked up. Being unable to lift heavy items was having a detrimental impact on her "chief cook and bottle-washer" place in the family, but she knew it was only for a few more months. Actually, she seemed to have a glow about her. She made a very pretty pregnant lady.
We finally hit the road by late morning, and we pulled into a National Park campground (courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) about noon. I decided to pitch the tent later, after I'd done a couple hours fishing, but I set up lounge chairs for the girls and unloaded several boxes for them. I packed a small cooler with sandwiches, beer and dog treats, and Maxine and I left them in the shade of a giant oak. The fishing was good, but we'd already decided on burgers for dinner, so I released the several bass I caught (much to Maxine's dismay). I decided to pull the boat back out of the lake because there was no room in the marina, and I drove back to our camp site in the late afternoon.
As I pulled in, I caught sight of the girls talking to an older woman. They'd dragged our three lounge chairs to the opposite side of the huge oak tree since the sun had shifted the shade away from the table. Dee and Brenda were facing me, and all I could see at first was the back of the other woman's head. Her hair was pure snow white, and she seemed to hold the girl's attention to such a degree that at first, they didn't even see me pull up. They were all laughing at some joke. There was something about the woman's hair that held my attention. It was long. Older women usually don't wear their hair long. Then I saw the woman's legs beyond her, stretched out toward the girls on the lounge chair. Long, muscular legs. Nice legs. VERY nice legs. Something wasn't quite ... right; and as the girls finally saw me and waved, before the woman turned around toward me, I thought I knew the answer.
She was an albino. And she was not an old woman at all. In fact, she was a very young woman. Very young. And she was, without reservation or exaggeration, the most exotically beautiful girl I have ever set eyes on.
She stood to meet me, smiling, and I was instantly enthralled. Not tall, about five-two; very slender; legs, as they say, that went all the way to the ground. Hips that seemed to denote power (a runner?), and small breasts with nipples that were very prominent below her blouse, which was tied below her chest to reveal a flat, tantalizing stomach. Her skin, though the pale pink-cream color caused by her condition, was smooth and without blemish. The skin of a young, vital girl in the prime of life. Her eyes were slanted very slightly, and held a secret of the orient, though that trait was obviously buried far back in the roots of her family tree, and they were the deep, pure, pale blue of a clear summer sky; once again the characteristic impact of albinism. Her hair was like Brenda's; long, heavy, straight and thick, but while Brenda's was absolute black, this girl's was the purest white. White, thin, slanting eyebrows and lashes only tended to heighten the oriental look, but the full lips made me think there was, despite the straight hair, a trace of African blood in her veins as well.
I was instantly hard. And more to the point, I was instantly tongue-tied. Despite living with two very nice-looking women, I have always been (and probably always will be) extremely shy around beautiful girls. Still, I didn't seem to have the capacity to look away, and this "Venus Rising" rapidly became self conscious, blushed, and cast nervous eyes downward under my gaze. Fortunately, Maxine saved the moment by bounding up to the new girl, jumping on the lounge chair, and nuzzling and licking her frantically. With a new diversion, the girl gladly turned her attention to the dog, petting and cooing to her, while the girls introduced the little beast.
But then she was forced to give me her attention again while Brenda introduced me. "Freddy, this is Willie. She's camping in a trailer several campsites down the road."
Each of her movements was graceful, and petting the dog took on a sensual note in my mind. Now she extended her hand to me, and even that seemed somehow sinuous. We shook hands.
"Wilhelmina," I guessed.
She laughed, and it sounded like crystal bells; happy, open. Her teeth were perfect. "Frederick," she guessed (correctly) in turn, bowing slightly. "I've been hearing so much about you." It was a pleasant derivation of a British accent, with slight overemphasis of short vowel sounds. Exotic, just like she was. Ah, I thought, not a runner ... a swimmer.
"Barbados?" I asked.
She opened her mouth in astonished mirth, blessing me with a grin that I somehow found slightly pornographic. "Very good, Frederick," she said. "I lived not too far from there. Actually, I'm from a very, very small island between Kingstown and St. Gorges." She continued smiling, but blushed again and lowered her blue eyes.
"Fred, you're staring," Dee admonished.
"He's not staring; he's leering," Brenda said. I glared at her, but she was ignoring me, and she placed a friendly hand on Willie's shoulder. "Don't take it personally; it's just what men do."
"It's okay," Willie said quietly, her eyes still downcast. "I'm used to it. I know I look ... different."
"The truth of the matter is," I said rather too forcefully, trying to steer quickly away from this topic, "I WAS leering; but only because you are a remarkably beautiful girl. Please accept my heartfelt apology and deepest contrition. It won't happen again."
"Wanna bet?" Brenda said, grinning tauntingly at me. I gave her another glare and she laughed.
I was making a very conscious effort NOT to stare, and just for something to do, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a map of the campground. I handed it to Willie. "Where are you camping?"
She took the paper uncertainly. She suddenly looked very nervous. "Um ... I'm not too good with maps, I'm afraid."
She was holding the sheet upside down. I took it and righted it. Then I pointed to a sign hanging from a post beside our picnic table. "We're in campsite D-17," I explained.
Again, she looked nervously at the paper in her hands. "Yes ... well ...." She stared at it for a long moment, then lowered her face until it was only a few inches from the page and glared myopically at it. "Yes, well, you see ... the thing is ...." She seemed to make up her mind about something, straightened her back with false pride, and handed the map back to me. "The thing is, actually, that I can't ... I can't ... read."
I was shocked into inaction. All I seemed to be able to do, for the moment, was to stare unbelievingly.
"Well, I suppose I really must be toddling along, then," she said. She smiled bravely, but her eyes were glistening. She made a movement away from us, toward her right.
"No!" Dee said quickly. She was suddenly at Willie's side, her arm around the girl's waist. I became cognizant that Dee had always been near the girl physically, ever since I'd walked up to them. She seemed ... I don't know ... entranced by her, and there seemed to be some sort of subtle connection between them. "Please, Willie! Please don't go yet. Reading isn't that big a deal. I'd really like for us to get to know each other better. Maybe we could teach you ...."
"I didn't mean to react that way," I told her levelly. "It's just that you're ... well, you're very well spoken. I couldn't imagine that someone with your verbal skills wouldn't be able to ..."
"It's a long story," Willie said. "My auntie raised me." (She used the extended short "au" sound in the word that's prevalent in England and the northeastern U.S., but was a bit of a curious, delightful oddity in the Midwestern states.) "She was very strict about the way I spoke. But I was never taught to read ... words." The way she said it made it sound as if she'd been taught to read something other than words. I didn't question her about it. I never got the chance.
"You BITCH!" a gruff male voice yelled. It came from several dozen yards away, and we all turned in that direction. A guy was walking toward us; a BIG guy. And he looked familiar. I suddenly realized that I'd seen him fishing while I was out on the lake. He'd been in a john boat which had the marina logo on the side, meaning he'd rented it. He was now striding purposefully (and angrily) toward us.
"Who's that?" Dee asked.
"Oh my goodness!" Willie exclaimed. "Does he have a beard?"
Again, something basic but profound about our new friend was instantly evident. She was practically blind. The man, who was still a good way off but getting rapidly nearer all the time, did indeed have a beard; a bushy, black beard that covered his whole face. He wore a checked t-shirt and blue jeans, and he carried himself with the authority of command.
Albinism robs the eyes of pigment (as well as doing so to the skin and hair, obviously). I'd done a paper on it once upon a time, and found the people who had the condition were, overall, a fascinating group; or at least the ones I'd interviewed had been. There's a lot of adversity to be overcome, but by far, the greatest was simply coping with the general population's outright rudeness. Individuals with the condition stand out in a crown. They are different. And people never seem to let them forget that.
Without pigment, the eye loses definition, and as a result, depth perception. Objects tend to blur when they are distant, and not even strong glasses can correct the lack of sharpness and detail. To compensate for this, it is not uncommon to see a person's eyes jitter and shift rapidly. Willie had not displayed this trait, but it was now obvious that her eyesight was extremely degraded. (It is another widely-held misconception that all albinos have pink eyes; and while a very few do, the vast majority of those I came into contact with shared Willie's eye coloring -- pale blue.)
"Who is it, Willie?" I asked levelly.
She took a deep breath. She suddenly looked like a child. A child in trouble.
"It's my husband."
Another shock. I took a deep breath and turned to meet the oncoming stranger.
"Hi," I said smiling. I put out my hand to shake. "Fred Fielding. We were just talking to your wife. Pleased to meet you."
But the man just swept me aside with the back of his arm and continued past me. I staggered, off balance. He took two more strides toward Willie, raised his huge hand, and hit her hard across the face, knocking her to the ground. "You fuckin' BITCH!" he screamed. "I told you to stay in the tent!" He reached down, grabbed her by one arm, hauled her to her feet, and raised his hand to strike again.
I truly don't remember taking the two steps toward the guy. Come to think of it, I don't remember any of this too clearly. But I was there, somehow, and I'd grabbed the man's upraised arm with both of my hands. I think I said something really stupid, like "Hey, now! That's enough of that!" But before I could get the words out entirely, he dropped Willie, swung hard and low with his other arm, and caught me right in the gut.
The air exploded from my lungs. The blow was of such impact that it literally lifted me off my feet, propelled me backwards several feet, and I landed hard on all fours. I found I couldn't move. And more to the point, I found I couldn't breathe. Now, I realized that such a punch (a sucker punch!) would probably do no lasting damage. I realized also that, with time, I would probably be able to breathe again. But take it from me: when you can't breathe, there is little on this earth more important than taking your next breath. That, unfortunately, wasn't happening. And so, with nothing else to do except to await either life or death, I raised my face, my mouth open grotesquely, and watched an amazing drama unfold before my misting eyes. It happened in slow motion, so I wouldn't have to miss a single nuance. Rather a nice view, actually.
Willie sat at the brute's feet, her hands on the ground in front of her, her head hanging downward, her white hair covering her face. The guy slowly reached for her again, but as he did so, Brenda, who was behind him, raced forward with a screech and jumped on his broad back. She began clawing at his head and neck with her nails. Dee, who was standing in front of him, stepped forward and slapped him hard across the face; but it made no sound (and probably did no harm) because of the thick beard. Maxine lunged for the guy's leg, grabbed a mouthful of denim, and began shaking it ferociously, as if it were a deadly enemy (or maybe a chew toy). It was an astounding site. What was more astounding was how easily he dispatched all three of them.
He twisted violently and brought back his elbow, throwing Brenda several yards. She showed just a bit more perseverance than I, however; for when she hit, she rolled, and immediately raised her butt like a sprinter in the starting blocks, ready to race back into the fray. In the meantime, the guy had sort of kicked his right leg forward (the one dangling the snarling little dog), took a kind of hop, and brought his left foot around hard, kicking Maxine in the midriff. She gave a long, high-pitched yelp, and flew all the way to the picnic table, beyond my range of sight. And almost simultaneously, he spun to face Dee, raised his big meaty fist high, and started bringing it down violently toward her head. Dee, for her part, simply stood there, feet apart, hands on her hips; her chin elevated to meet the oncoming fist, and she glared defiantly up at the asshole. She looked very small, very brave, and very, very pregnant. I opened my mouth even wider to yell "NO!" but there wasn't a spare cubic centimeter of air left in my poor lungs.
Suddenly, the guy's eyes widened with surprise, shame, and ... something else. I couldn't figure it out. His fist stopped its savage trajectory, and he staggered back a step just as Brenda pounced on his back again.
And that's when fuzzy little lights swam in my eyes and I pitched unceremoniously forward onto my face.
The ground was hard, but not too hard, and in time I found myself thinking that it was really rather comfortable. Still, I must have decided to roll over onto my back, because that's where I eventually found myself. The fuzzy little lights continued to whiz around me, and oddly enough, they started talking to me. They were letting me breathe again. They touched me tenderly, and they even licked me. But when I finally opened my eyes, it was Maxine who was licking my face, while Brenda leaned above me on one side and Dee, crying, worried over me on the other. I groaned, tried to sit, failed, and then made a supreme effort to force myself upright. Willie and her husband were gone.
I have never felt more miserably humiliated in my entire life.
The girls' first concern was about ME, which only made it worse. Then, they urged me to take some action against the louse, which made it worse still. Because I couldn't. Not because I was afraid, but because the guy would obviously, without question, take any aggression toward us out on his wife. That's how wife beaters worked. Yell at them, they take it out on the little lady. Threaten them, they'll just restore their good cheer by knocking her around a bit. Throw them in jail today, they'll be out in a week. Out with a vengeance. I hadn't been able to protect Willie. I hadn't been able to protect my own women. I hadn't even been able to protect my dog! And I was just as ineffective now.
I finally decided to simply call it a day. We hadn't set up our camp yet, and now I had no stomach for it. I threw the few boxes and lawn chairs back in the truck and we drove home.
Oh, man, I felt lousy!
THE GIRL WITH THE WHITE HAIR
The girls gave me exactly 24 hours to feel sorry for myself. At dinner the next evening, they launched into their case, which unfortunately, was poorly thought out and frankly impossible. We had to find her, they said. We had to find her, and we had to help her.
"Come on, Brenda," I argued pleadingly. "You've been writing about women's issues for a couple years now. You know what the chances are against getting an abused wife to leave her husband; especially one as young as Willie. The younger a wife is, the more convinced she is that it's all 'her fault;' and that 'love will prevail in the end.'"
"She's not in love with him," Dee said earnestly. "She never has been."
I looked curiously at her.
"And she's not even legally married to him," Brenda chimed in. "I mean, she may be married, but she could get it annulled pretty easily. She's still a virgin."
I turned to gawk at my pretty wife. "She TOLD you these things?"
"Well, no ...." The girls looked at each other for a long moment. I swear that when they lock eyes like that, it's almost as if they're communicating. Brenda took a deep breath and turned her attention back to me. "No, she didn't. I could just tell. It's just the way she ... looks; the way she acts. She's never been ... with him. Sexually, I mean. She's never been with any man."
"You can tell if a girl is a virgin just by LOOKING at her?" I asked. I made it sound like an accusation.
She held my gaze. "Well ... no. No, not from looking at a girl. Not any girl. But I could tell by looking at HER."
"She's right, Master," Dee cut in with certainty. "She IS a virgin! And she doesn't love him. She hates him!"
I closed my eyes and shook my head for a moment. My life hadn't been what I considered "normal" for a long time now. But this was getting bizarre. I looked from one to the other with curious concern.
"Please, Freddy, I know you think that sounds really weird, but it's true."
"And how do know these things, exactly?"
"Because she's like us, Freddy." She turned to look into Dee's eyes again for a second before returning her attention to me. "She's just like us. She's one of us."
And, strange as it sounds, I almost believed that. I sat back in my chair and stared at a spot midway between the two of them, my eyes out of focus, remembering. The girls were silent, letting me see back into the past. Back to Willie. If they saw the bulge in the front of my trousers, they wisely withheld comment.
Every now and then, once in a very, very great while, you'll see a girl like that. Usually, I see them from a great distance; across a crowded room. I rarely come into direct contact with such a woman, because 1) I'm not the sort of guy who EVER gets near a girl like that (or vice versa), and 2) there's inevitably a very large group of guys who ARE near a girl like that (hence the crowded room). They're extremely rare, those girls like that. And I've never really been able to figure out why. I have no idea just exactly what it is they have that other women DON'T have.