Homelands Pt. 07 Ch. 01byjdnunyer©
Part Seven moves the story to Spring. It is not necessary for you to have read earlier parts of the story, though things may make more sense if you have.
This is primarily an incest story, but it is also sci-fi/fantasy, and supernatural elements are not incidental to the plot. Additionally, many chapters will feature elements of other categories, particularly group sex and anal.
All sexual acts are consensual and involve parties who are at least eighteen years of age.
As ever, if you have questions feel free to email me or leave a comment. Either way, I'll try to respond in a timely manner.
It was springtime in Savannah, and the annual music festival was underway. For eighteen consecutive days, musicians from around the world would flock to the pride of the South. Jazz, bluegrass, Americana, folk music, and other traditions would blend seamlessly together.
Through most of the fall, and all of what passed for winter in this part of the country, Cahill had looked forward to the festival. For some reason, it always made him miss Boston, a city that grew harder and harder to remember with each passing year. And this year, he'd been looking forward to it even more than usual. The woman he'd been dating, who'd only recently moved to Savannah herself, was a big fan of live music, and the two of them had been talking about the festival since they'd started dating. They'd have had a great time together. If she hadn't dumped him a week before the festival began.
She hadn't explained why she was leaving him, but she hadn't needed to. He'd expected it. The longer a woman went without bolting for the exit, the more Cahill would allow himself to hope that this time would be different. But it never was. In the end, everything always turned out the same. Always would. This latest attempt was no different.
It almost, almost, came as a relief. If nothing else, it meant that it wasn't out of paranoia or insecurity that he'd thought he'd spotted a few of the warning signs. They'd been a bit more well disguised this time than usual, but they'd been there.
At the age of thirty-two, Cahill had never been in a relationship that had lasted more than seven months. And until that record had been set by his latest pathetic failure, it had stood at a mere two months.
The trouble always began the first time they spent the night together at his place. For that reason, he never took a woman home until he had to. Once he'd been with the same woman for a while, though, she'd eventually start to think it weird that she'd never seen his place. At that point, he could no longer put it off without things getting awkward. Without sabotaging the relationship through his refusal to do something that would also sabotage it.
All his life, Cahill had had troubled dreams. He talked in his sleep, and in the past would even get up and walk around too, though that had stopped years ago. The doctors had all said that he wasn't suffering from narcolepsy or insomnia or anything like that. Just uncommonly vivid dreams. And what could they do for that? Nothing. He hadn't even found better living through chemistry, though he'd tried every sleep aid on the market.
For a while, he'd struggled to understand why his problem was such an issue for women. But it wasn't that, truth be told. That was just what he told himself when he wanted to feel that he'd been treated unfairly.
No, it wasn't that he had trouble sleeping, and that he accordingly disturbed the sleep of whomever was unfortunate enough to share his bed, though that couldn't have been pleasant. It was what happened while he was asleep. What he said.
They'd all insisted that they knew the things he talked about in his sleep weren't real. But he could tell that they didn't mean it. Sooner or later, every woman he'd ever been with began to doubt. To believe that maybe, just maybe, the things he dreamed weren't just dreams. That he was hiding something from them.
"This one for sale?" a voice asked, tearing him away from his thoughts.
Cahill looked up.
A stunningly beautiful woman hovered over him. She had flawless skin, the color of deep mahogany. Her lips were so full and red, they had to be in violation of some local ordinance. Her big brown eyes were gateways to another world. A man who looked into them for too long would lose himself and never find his way back. Her bone structure was exquisite. Her round little nose was cuter than cute. Even without the makeup that expertly magnified her beauty, she'd have taken his breath away. He'd never seen such a specimen.
Not in this world, anyway. Not outside his dreams.
A quick glance downward revealed that she had an unbelievable figure as well. Her waist was too thin to belong on a woman with breasts, or hips, like that. She was absolutely impossibly proportioned. Thin in all the right places, with generous curves elsewhere. Thighs that he would love to feel wrapped around his head, or his waist. Breasts that simply needed to be squeezed. Yet despite her softer curves, she some serious muscle too. Those legs looked powerful enough to kick through concrete. The worn jeans and loose crop top she wore didn't give too much away, but they didn't need to. Only a blind man would fail to notice her ample charms, or the improbable combination of voluptuous, athletic, and petite features.
Yet, as amazing as her face and figure were, and they were amazing, it was the otherworldly vibe coming off her that really got Cahill's attention. She was remarkable to behold, yet the foot traffic in the square flowed around her seamlessly, and no one so much as snuck a backwards glance at her after passing her by. Not one damn guy in the whole place did a double-take. In a sane world, they'd all have been staring blatantly at her. It was like she was invisible to everyone but him. And yet, her powerful presence must have made itself known somehow, because no one was bumping into her either.
If he didn't know better, he'd say she was one of the fey.
But that was impossible. Sure, those proportions were reminiscent of the women he encountered every night in his dreams. And, yes, the otherworldly creatures he encountered each night seemed to be able to choose not to let the world around them take notice of their passing. But what of it?
He wasn't dreaming. And the fey weren't real.
The shamrocks dangling from her wrists, the Claddagh ring worn on the hand holding the flute she'd asked him about, and the gentle lilt in her accent all suggested an Irish ancestry. He himself hailed from Ireland, but his ancestors had left the Emerald Isle a long time ago. These days, the Donovans all spoke with Boston accents. From the sound of it, she might have grown up there. There weren't a lot of black women in Ireland, but if she was wrong about her nationality, he'd boil his shoes and dine on their leather.
So the notion that she was fey must have been the product of his overactive imagination. He'd picked up on her accent and ran with it. Saw what wasn't there. Nothing more.
"Um, excuse me?" she asked, laughing to herself softly. She gave the flute she was holding a little jiggle. "Is it for sale?"
"Oh, yeah," Cahill said, rising to his feet. "I mean, yes. It is."
"There's no price on it," she said.
"Well, no," Cahill replied, scratching the back of his neck.
"So...?" the woman said.
Her nervous smile gave him an excuse to focus on those lips. Damn, but you just didn't see lips like that every day. Eminently kissable. And he could only imagine what they'd feel like... he cleared his throat and banished the thought. For now.
"It's not quite ready," he said.
"Then it's not for sale?"
Cahill drew a deep breath. There was something different about that flute. He felt it every time he held it in his hands. Probably because he'd used silver. Generally, he worked with wood. Even when he didn't, he rarely worked with precious metals. When working with metal, the particular type wasn't supposed to make much difference. Not compared to the difference between metal of any kind and wood. But, on a whim, he'd decided to try something more extravagant. And the result was unlike any instrument he'd ever crafted.
Part of him, the part that freaked all his girlfriends out, thought that it wasn't the silver that was responsible for that though. Rather, it was that he'd succeeded into tapping into something deeper, older, and more powerful. Something from the Faerie world he visited each night. That the flute somehow allowed the world of his dreams and the world of reality to come into contact, to overlap with one another in some small way.
Supernatural or not, though, the flute was a masterpiece. As fine an instrument as he'd ever crafted. It just hadn't yet become itself. Something was missing. He wasn't sure what yet, but he felt in his gut that it was incomplete.
"Are you here for the festival?" he asked.
"What if I am?" she asked, a hint of amusement in her voice.
Any other woman would have grown frustrated with him by now. He knew that. Cahill didn't mean to come across as flighty, but sometimes his mind refused to run in straight lines. Or to restrict its attention to rational thoughts.
"I can have it done before you leave," he said. "If you'd still be interested."
The woman mulled that over.
"You'll never find another like it," he said confidently. Sounding more like a salesman than he'd meant to.
He didn't care if she bought the flute. If she didn't, someone else would. It was his best piece of work yet. But he already knew that he had to see her again, and that was the easiest way to make sure that would happen.
She stared down at the instrument. The look in her eyes told him that she agreed with his assessment, and she hadn't even put it to her lips yet.
Those luscious, full, tempting lips. He could just see them parting... no. No. He was getting ahead of himself. Just because he was a thousand times better at getting women into bed than getting them to stay didn't mean it was okay to start thinking those thoughts straight away. He had to stop. Had to find some way to get his overactive libido under control. Maybe if he could do that, his subconscious would stop conjuring up the dreams that ruined every single one of his relationships.
"Give it a try," Cahill said.
Brown eyes regarded him warily. But after the briefest hesitation, she did as he asked. He couldn't help but note how gracefully she raised the instrument to her lips.
At first, it just sounded like someone was playing a flute. Any old flute. But with each note, Cahill became more convinced that it belonged in her hands. That she understood the instrument, and it understood her. If he'd truly imbued it with the ability to channel the music of the other world, this woman knew how to play such music.
On some level, Cahill still stood at his vendor's booth in Ellis Square. But that was only what was real. In another sense, a truer sense, the world around fell away. The woman transported him to some nearby land, one that stood adjacent to the one he knew yet differed radically from it at the same time. The very one that he visited each and every night. The one where he'd cheated on every woman he'd ever been with.
It was dark, even though it wasn't. Light surrounded them, yet everything was drab and colorless. Everything, that was, except for the flute, which glowed softly. And all around him, men made of shadow danced. The air rang out with the sound of hooves clopping, like they were horses or goats rather than men. Their pace accelerated and they started to chant. Their voices were deep, strong, and vaguely intimidating.
Reality came hurtling back and Cahill gasped. Before him, the beautiful woman had lowered the silver flute from her lips. She studied him silently, eyes wide.
"You've got to have it," Cahill said.
She didn't argue.
"That was... beautiful," he continued.
"I don't even play," she said, her brown cheeks acquiring a tinge of red.
He looked at her skeptically. "Really?"
She gave a half shrug. "Well... it's for my brother."
"What's your instrument then?" Cahill asked.
Thick lashes fluttered at him. "Kind o' you to say so, but I don't play. I'm... just along for the entertainment."
Cahill didn't believe that for one second. She might not be in the current lineup of her brother's band, but the woman had real talent. He hadn't heard the flute come alive for anyone else the way it had for her. If her brother or any of his band members had told her that she wasn't good enough, it could only have been out of jealousy.
"Here, let me give you my card," he said, withdrawing one from the pathetically full box.
The woman accepted his offering. Her eyes scanned the silvery font.
"Huh," she said.
Cahill looked a question at her.
"It's just, well, you don't look like a Donovan," she said.
Cahill chuckled. "I don't, do I?"
One corner of her mouth turned up. "You have the look of... a Walker."
That name rang a bell. Didn't it?
Or was it just the way she said it, all dramatic like? As if that meant something really profound. If so, the meaning was lost on him.
He laughed. "Most people find my first name more remarkable."
Her smile broadened. "I can relate. Mine's Liadan."
"Yeah, that's definitely a name you don't hear very often," Cahill said.
"It's Gaelic," Liadan explained, as if he'd needed her to do so.
He hardly spoke a lick of Gaelic, besides the swear words his uncles had taught him. But he knew enough about the myths of his people to recognize the name.
"You've heard it before?" she asked.
"The gray lady, who died of grief," he said.
"Oh, aye," she said with a hint of disappointment.
What else had she expected him to say? Was there another reason to know that name?
"This would be the part where you say that I don't look like I'm from the Emerald Isle."
"Do I have to?" Cahill asked.
"Most do," she said with a laugh.
"Would you like to have dinner some time?" Cahill blurted out.
She cocked her head to one side. "Not shy, are we?"
His eyes drifted down to the hand still holding the flute. Her right hand. The tip of the heart on her ring was facing her fingertips, signifying that she was single. Had it faced the other way, he'd know that she was in a relationship. Worn on her left hand, it would've meant that she was either engaged or married.
Liadan noticed him noticing. "You're familiar with the Claddagh?"
"Course you are," she said. "Okay, Cahill. I'm not usually this capricious, but what the hell. You'd better not be a creep, though."
"Terrible kisser, yes. Creep, no," he said.
"And you're assuming I'm interested in finding out about that, are ya?"
"Well, I would be, if I were you," Cahill said dismissively.
She reached across the display stand with her free hand and smacked his upper arm.
"So. Tonight then?" he asked.
A bemused smirk spread across her lips. "Tonight?" she asked, laughing again. "I'm afraid I can't tonight. How bout tomorrow?"
"Hmm, I don't know," Cahill said. "I'll probably have forgotten about you by then. Moved on to some other pretty girl who stopped at my stand and didn't buy anything."
"Oh you're a pip," she said. "I'll pay for the flute now, if that makes you happy."
Cahill waved the idea way. "No need. I don't doubt that you'll be back."
"Well, then I better not have a horrible time tomorrow night."
"You won't," he said.
She regarded him silently for a time before turning her eyes to the flute. "Expert craftsmanship," she said. It glittered as she turned it over and over in her hands. Then, holding up her hand to cut off the reply he hadn't been about to offer, Liadan added, "I know. You're good with your hands. Quit while you're ahead, eh?"
"Didn't say a thing," Cahill replied.
Liadan chewed at the swell in the middle of her upper lip. "There's this place I pass on me way over here, looked interesting. Take me there and I just might forgive the attitude."
After they confirmed the arrangements and said their goodbyes, Liadan faded away into the crowd. Cahill could almost swear she'd vanished completely.
It was dark. The bright silvery light bathing his room hurt his eyes.
That made no sense, Cahill realized. He was having one of his dreams. Even before the ethereal music began, he knew it.
The light gathered, condensing, curling itself up into a ball. Suddenly, his room was dark, save for the silver orb hovering just below the foot of his bed. It blinked once, twice, as if to say "Follow me." As it always did.
So he did. As he always did.
Down the stairs, out through the kitchen, into the backyard. Across the dewy grass to the edge of the woods. Then beyond, leaving the real world behind. He no longer even bothered to look back. He knew that if he did, he'd find that his house was be gone, as was the rest of suburbia. The tame forest at the edge of his yard would no longer be so neat and sparse. Wild undergrowth now strew the floor, and the trees were suddenly older, taller, and wiser than found in Georgia. Proud oaks and tall elms, wispy willows and thin pines, black walnuts and maples and some he didn't recognize, all grew side by side. And not a one could be considered a humble member of its family.
On and on the will-o'-the-wisp led him. Deeper and deeper in, to where the spirits dwelled and the rivers glowed and it was never night or day but always in between. Where the creatures of the forest grew bigger and stronger and smarter than their real life cousins, and would speak to those who cared to listen.
The forest and its inhabitants were not the only thing that changed at night, though. Here, in the dream world, Cahill was another man.
His true self.
Though he took care of his body and watched what he ate, he'd never looked this good in the real world. Women were drawn to him, however hard he found it to hold onto them. But here, in this world, he didn't just look good. He was a god.
That, or the reflections he saw in the pools and rivers lied. And, come to think of, that was entirely possible. He never knew when he was being lied to here.
The fey were reputed to be incapable of lying. The fairy tales all agreed on that point. They might twist the truth, leave things unsaid, and choose their words carefully so that one would believe them to mean precisely what they intended. Never did they outright lie, though. Except in Cahill's dreams. Here, they lied all the time. They told him things he knew couldn't be true each and every night.
Such sweet lies they were. But lies all the same. They had to be.
Of course, the creatures he met in his dreams weren't true fey. They weren't true anythings, since they weren't even real. So he ought not have considered their deceitfulness to be evidence against the old tales. But there was no other way for him to think of them than as fey, and he couldn't help but expect them to behave accordingly. Especially since, in so many other ways, they often did.
But, no, that was silly.
Every time he thought he'd convinced himself of the truth, he'd fall back on the easy explanations. The fantastic interpretations of his mental disturbance. It was easier that way. But fey didn't exist. What sense did it make to ask whether the women of his dreams behaved the way fey behaved? He might as well become one of those guys who insisted that vampires don't sparkle.
"Don't trust her," the wind whispered to him.
"What?" he asked.
The silvery light bobbing along ahead of him winked out.
"Is she not what she seems?" he asked the voice.
"She is," it replied. "That's the problem."
Cahill spun around in circles. The voice seemed to be coming from ahead of him at first, then it was behind. It was, of course, a woman's voice. Always a woman's voice. But sometimes it was a contralto, sometimes a soprano, and sometimes in between.