Vision of the Spirit Ch. 03bywilderness©
Tom didn't sleep well despite the orgasm. After a couple of fitful hours, he lay awake and struggled with a brain gone wild. Soon it would be dawn, and they'd have to leave the cave or risk being found by the killers.
How far would they get in their condition? Hunger gnawed at his stomach. Willow was acting a little off center.
The softness of her body had its own distracting appeal. Tom's train of thought derailed as she cuddled against him like a security blanket. Her sleep appeared undisturbed by their predicament. Encircling arms squeezed him tight, as if to verify his existence. A delicate hand slipped down to rest on his cock, probably a learned reaction by someone accustomed to male companionship. A mystery without many clues, her sexual aggressiveness and secret identity created suspicion about her innocence in this whole ordeal. And yet, her fear seemed real. Turmoil must be a constant companion in her life, and she'd developed carnal coping skills.
When the cave entrance materialized as a gray stain on a black wall, Tom decided it was time to move. "Willow," he whispered, "The sun's coming up and we have to go."
A soft groan of annoyance and then a playful hand on his awakened penis was her initial response. In a husky morning voice, she said, "Something else is coming up too." Lips grinned against his neck.
Tom said, "There's no time for that. We need to scoot."
"Scoot? Did your grandma raise you? Nobody under 70 say's scoot," she declared, as her body stiffened in a morning stretch. It felt good to both of them.
"If we don't scoot we may not live long enough to be grandparents."
She giggled and, while cupping his balls, said, "Was that some kind of marriage proposal?"
"C'mon let's go," he said, unzipping the bag and pulling free.
"Shh, we need to be quiet."
Obediently, Willow remained silent as they dressed by flashlight. Tom gave her pants and two pairs of socks to wear with the flannel shirt from the night before. He erased their footprints as best he could and grabbed the oak walking stick on the way out.
The sky was clear. A few stars still twinkled in the west. The ground was cold and damp.
At the cliff's edge, Tom turned uphill instead of down. Willow followed without question, gripping the waistband of the borrowed jeans with both hands to keep them up. After a hundred yards, they walked into the forest. Tom glanced down, from time to time, to check their location.
When the crash site became visible below, they settled behind a bush to wait. Willow closed her eyes and rested her head on Tom's shoulder. As time passed, she curled up and laid her head in his lap. His attention was divided between watching for murdering thieves and ogling Willow as she napped. The baggy clothes did little to hide her sensuality. He knew what was underneath. A crusty patch of dried semen adorned the flannel shirt. 'Must be the cloth she cleaned up with last night.'
The sun rose warm in their faces. Willow nonchalantly loosened the two top buttons for ventilation, the act so innocent and yet so seductive.
Movement below focused his attention on more serious matters. Two men on horseback had entered the clearing. They dismounted, and silently began a search. A few minutes later, the bags of money were tied behind saddles. From another direction, a third rider entered the field of view. Muffled words were exchanged. The men and horses moved toward the plane's tail section. Soon, metallic squeaks echoed up the mountain.
Willow bolted upright.
Tom gave her the finger-across-the-lips shush sign, and pointed.
They watched the horses pull on ropes attached to the suspended debris until it fell to the ground. After a brief inspection, the riders wandered away in different directions and out of sight.
Without making eye contact, Willow laid her head back on Tom's lap and remained silent.
"Did any of them look familiar?" he asked.
"They were too far away."
A short time later, she asked, "Can we go down there? I have an overnight bag in the back."
"Let's wait an hour and then I'll go down, alone."
Unbuttoning the heavy shirt, Willow said, "It's gonna be a hot one." She fluttered the fabric to cool her damp breasts and then left it open. "I think I'll catch some rays. You don't mind do you? I mean, it's nothing you haven't seen already."
Tom wanted to act cool. "Those scratches look like they're healing up."
She just grinned, closed her eyes and stroked her braid a few times, before asking, "Do we have any food? I'm hungry."
From an outside pocket of the backpack, Tom removed a zip lock bag filled with trail mix. "This is it. I wasn't planning on company."
After a few mouthfuls, she said, "There's some snacks in the plane's left rear compartment."
The direct sun became unbearable. 'If she doesn't mind, why should I,' thought Tom, and removed his shirt.
The voice from his lap said, "You're a good looking guy. Why aren't you hooked up with some nice girl?"
"I'm not the hookable kind," answered Tom. Yet this question cut to the very heart of his vision quest, why couldn't he be hooked on one woman and settle down. Leave it to a hooker to ask him the hard questions. 'Hooker, is that what she is?' The idea seemed like a revelation, but the evidence was as plain to see as her breasts. 'Why hadn't I figured it out before?'
"Well, I just might try to catch you myself, Thomas DuBois. It's not everyday a lady gets rescued by a handsome stranger."
He knew it was a joke, but the hooded eyes and sultry voice still made him tingle. The question, 'How does she define the word 'lady'?' popped into his head, but the timing was wrong for such an inflammatory question.
At least one appetite needed to be satisfied. In frustrated compensation (at least on Tom's part), they emptied the baggy. Willow ate less than half. "You're carrying the pack and you're bigger. You should eat more." With a wink, she added, "You're going to need your strength."
A guy can only be teased so much before he has to do something, anything. Tom stood up in a crouch, and said, "Okay, it's been long enough. I'm going down."
"I was wondering if you'd ever get around to it," answered Willow, spreading her pant legs. "I should really wash up first."
The sexual innuendo briefly paralyzed Tom with graphic images. Shaking his head, he wondered aloud, "What am I supposed to do with you?"
She just continued to smile and sway her feet in a 'whatever you want', bare breasted pose.
Finally able to break away, Tom heard a faint, "Be careful."
Naked from the waist up, with wild hair flowing down past his shoulders, and brandishing the walking stick like a spear, Tom became an Indian warrior slinking through the forest. The possibility of sudden death hidden behind every tree created a heightened awareness, an intense excitement, as he swiftly collected Willow's carryon and two grocery bags of food from the wreckage. Several times he looked uphill to check on her. Barely visible through the brush, she gave the thumbs up signal.
The packages were too cumbersome to drag back through the undergrowth, so Tom turned and jogged toward the cliff path. When he rounded the last bend, thinking he was home free, one of the gunman stood urinating over the rock ledge. The rustling sound of the grocery bags startled him and he whirled around.
Instantly, Tom dropped the bundles for a quick getaway. But the rifle tucked under the pisser's arm immediately pointed at him, along with a limp dick, so there was nothing left to do but raise his hands in surrender.
Tom was a dead man gawking.
Pisser assessed the situation, while packing away his main drain. "Where's the woman that goes with that bag?"
"Woman?" Tom shrugged, "I don't know anything about a woman. I'm just looting the wreck. And I hit the jackpot -- Doritos. You can have 'em." He said smiling, trying to make a new friend.
Pisser must've been Homophobic. Getting caught with his dick hung out in the wind made him mad. The metallic click of the rifle trigger becoming unlocked reached Tom's ears. "Last chance."
"Hey, Boys!" yelled Willow from a ledge ten feet above the pisser-killer.
Both Tom and Pisser looked up. Their breath caught, as they admired the almost naked woman. Her nubile breasts jutted out, perky and luminous in the bright sun. The baggy pants had fallen to her knees, allowing her ebony pubic hair to become the spot on an unblemished surface that ultimately draws the eye.
"Hi ya doin' Mike?"
Tom said, "Mike? You know this guy?"
Pisser just stared, and said, "My name ain't Mike."
"Sure it is, Sweetheart. Everyone knows a Mike Crowdick when they see one." Neither man noticed what she held in her right hand until Pisser got beaned with a rock.
"You fuckin' Bitch!" he yelled, as the rifle swung to change targets.
With no time to think, Tom hoisted his trusty oak stick and threw it.
The flight of his lightening rod was straight, but not true. The aim was off to the left. Tom felt the agony of defeat clutch the pit of his stomach when the errant missile struck Pisser's horse in the rump instead of Pisser's head. Then something unexpected, yet totally understandable, happened. As if stung by a mammoth hornet, the startled horse kicked. Her right hoof connected with Pisser's ribs and launched him over the brink.
Time became cartoon frozen. Nothing moved, until Tom's adrenaline burned off and he was able to walk to the edge and look over.
Willow met him there. They both looked.
It was a long way down.
Then they looked at the horse -- once again waiting calmly.
Then they looked at each other and smiled.
Tom wrapped his arms around Willow and, in a moment of impulsive euphoria, kissed her. "You saved my life!"
The look on her face changed from shock to joy and then softened to embarrassment. "And you saved mine… again. Can't I ever even the score with you?" It must've been a rhetorical question. Before Tom could respond, she covered his mouth with hers in a long, deep kiss. Their sweat slick torsos rubbed pleasantly together. When they broke for air she picked up her pants.
Tom announced, "I've met my Spirit Guide," and patted the flank of the docile mare. "My Indian name will be 'Kicking Horse'."
Willow smiled, and said, "Too bad she wasn't a donkey. Then you'd be 'Kicking Ass'.
The remark caused an outbreak of laughter that bordered on hysterical. Realizing they might be overheard and danger was still very real, they lowered their voices and picked up the packages.
"Shouldn't we take the horse?" asked Willow.
"No, if we leave it, the others might think it was an accident. Besides, we're not going to be on any path a horse could take."
Tom led the way downhill until they were hidden enough for Willow to change into her own clothes. Pulling on a pair of tiny Daisy Duke cutoffs, she explained, "I didn't come prepared for hiking, but at least these will stay up."
A bright red, rhinestone studded, belly shirt was the only top she had inside the bag. After thoughtful deliberation, Tom decided she should just wear a lacy black bra, for better camouflage.
"Camouflage. Yeah, right!" said Willow, rolling her eyes.
"Don't tell me you're going to get modest, all of a sudden. At least the bra doesn't flash like a neon sign, 'look over here'."
Her silent reaction to the comment flustered Tom. Apparently, he'd crossed some invisible line. She began to pull on that confounded braid again.
Tom reached into his pack, pulled out his garage sale John Denver tee-shirt, and tossed it to her, saying, "Put on your sandals and lets go."
They marched down the mountainside at a Marine Corp. pace. Tom's trail markings paved the way.
Despite being poorly equipped, Willow showed an athletic prowess and an uncomplaining temperament. Somewhere along the trail she'd acquired her own walking stick. Frequent backward glances made Tom stumble more than a few times. She would just smile, knowingly. He wished she could be out front -- for less than wholesome reasons.
After two hours of bushwhacking they stopped along a stream, to rest and refuel. Tom handed Willow the canteen.
She extracted a plastic vial from the communal backpack and popped a pill into her mouth before drinking a few gulps.
"Allergies?" asked Tom.
"Birth control," answered Willow, and handed the canteen back without further comment, suggestive or otherwise. Taking off sandals and socks, she dipped her feet into the rushing current. "Ahh, that feels so nice."
For the first time, Tom thought he might be seeing the woman behind the veil of secrecy, and sat down to dangle his feet. "Willow, what's your real name?"
Her left hand pulled on the braid a few times before she answered, "Cheyenne."
"What do your friends call you?"
They shared a pregnant silence, while the cold torrent massaged their tired feet and birds twittered love songs in the pines around them.
He stole glances of her profile.
She just stared into the sparkling water.
Her white socks lay between them, and Tom noticed several pink stains. "Let me see your feet."
A cool dampness soaked through his pants as he inspected the blistered toes and heels in his lap. "You should've said something," Tom scolded, patting them dry with his shirttail. He dug out the first-aid kit, and applied dabs of antiseptic ointment, gauze pads and surgical tape to protect the raw spots. "We'll go a little slower, from now on."
"Thank you," she said, wiggling her toes.
"Always prepared, aren't you. Were you an Eagle Scout?"
"No, I've always been more of a Beaver Scout." Her legs were striped with welts from the brush along the path. Tom frowned at the evidence of his neglected responsibility. He dipped a hand in the water and then, with the flat of his palm, cooled the marked flesh.
She moaned as goose pimples spread up her thigh.
"Too cold?" Tom asked.
"No, it's very soothing."
"These marks will be gone by tomorrow. Sorry, I should've picked an easier route."
Willow lay back on the boulder. "I'd rather be an ugly, scarred survivor than a cute cadaver. None of that, die-young-and-leave-an-attractive-corpse, bullshit for me." And then in a tone that sounded almost regretful, she added, "I owe you my life," and began to play with her braid.
"Ugly?" Tom said, and boldly ran a cool palm up her inner thigh until it touched denim. "You'll never be ugly, Willow."
In a soft baritone, Tom sang, "Did I ever tell you you're my hero?" and repeated the hand stroke, this time letting his fingertips slip under the fabric.
"Nice voice," said Willow, closing her eyes.
"Remember, you saved my life too."
"Sing some more."
"It's too soon. You never know who might be listening, and sound travels in the mountains."
They weren't out of the woods yet, and it probably wasn't the best time to test her boundaries, but his hand was in perfect position and he wanted to find out if she was all talk. His fingers rested just inside the leg hole. It was a simple matter to push in a little farther and caress the front of her thigh and hip, back and forth, in an ever-widening arc, until he felt her hairline.
There was a slight grin on her troubled face, as if the probing hand felt good and bad all at the same time.
Her furrowed brow bothered Tom a little. "Don't you like this?"
"Yes, it feels very nice."
"You look a little nervous."
Tom twirled his index finger in the coarse hair and felt her abdomen tighten. "Why?"
"I don't know, I shouldn't be. You deserve it. Go ahead and take it."
"Take it? I don't want to take it. I thought you wanted to give it." This whole scene was getting a little weird. Tom slipped the hand out and patted her hip. "I'm just trying to figure out what you want from me. After last night, I thought you'd like me to return the favor." He gathered his legs under him to stand. "If you're not interested, stop teasing me."
"No, wait." Willow grabbed his wrist and pulled him back down.
Tom wondered if her hesitant and modest behavior might be just another well-rehearsed fictional character, but the tug on his heart felt just as real as the quirky tug on her braid. Tears welled up in her eyes, ready to spill over. They shimmered like the stream. "What's the matter?"
Upset and unable to look at his face, Willow stared at his hand, still clutched in hers. She traced over his knuckles, between his fingers, and wrestled within herself. "I've used men… I haven't cared… I'm not sure I can…" Finally, she just blurted, "You deserve better."
Well, that was a revealing string of incomplete sentences. Tom watched a few tears splash onto the granite stage and wondered what the best reaction would be to this improvisation. He wet his hand in the stream, cupped her face and swiped tears away with his thumb. The way she pressed and rubbed her cheek into his cold palm hardened his heart. This was not the time to get maudlin. It was time to make a mile. "Whatever," he said, rising to his feet. "We should keep going -- at least a couple more hours."
Slowly, Willow pulled on her socks and sandals. Her body language had dejection written on every round-shouldered movement.
Tom walked slower than before, picking an open path to ease the woman's suffering. Danger seemed far behind them now, which allowed him to relax enough to wrap his brain around this enigma called Willow, or Cheyenne. Two basic facts became clear. First, despite whatever happened in her past, he could trust her. Second, he wanted to fuck her. What surprised him was how difficult fact number two was to decide. All this honorable concern for her welfare was getting in the way of pleasure. Maybe if he just banged her, like any other available piece of ass, the attraction would fade and he could feel normal again. The burden for someone else's welfare was emotionally draining.
Once the problem was solved in his head, Tom enjoyed the scenery. The azure sky, the twittering songbirds and the fragrant pine air, put a smile on his face, until he turned around to witness the anguish on Willow's face. She plodded along, head down, missing out on the exquisite day.
A doe flushed from her bed twenty yards to the right. Tom stopped to watch her bound away, white tail flying. He pointed, so Willow would see it. For the first time in over an hour she smiled.
"Beautiful," she whispered.
"How's your feet?"
"Not bad. Your bandages helped a lot."
He wondered if she was lying.
"Let's take a break," he said, dropping the pack and sitting on a log in the shade. "In another half-an-hour, or so, we'll be at the campsite. I think we're safe now. If someone sees us, they'll just think we're hiking around the lake."
"Sit here," he said, and patted the log. "Let me look at them."
She sat down and pulled off a sandal.
Kneeling at her feet, he said, "No, no, no! Let me do it." Gently rolling down the stained sock, he waggled his eyebrows, and said, "Taking your clothes off is one of my job perks."
"You mean, when I'm wearing clothes."
It was nice to hear her joke again. "Actually, I have a blister fetish. I'm so damn horny right now. You're my fantasy come true."
Her feet didn't appear any worse, definitely a good sign. Pleased with his first aid, he massaged each one and then worked up her calves. She had shapely legs, although stubble now roughened the surface. Soon, he found himself kneeling between them, rubbing the tops above the knee, while gazing into her dark, hooded eyes.
"What do you think you're doing, Horse?"
He smiled at the use of his self-appointed Indian name. "My lover's call me, Stud."
She smirked with an unconvinced twinkle. "Oh really?"