Genres: Fantasy, Horror
Collections: Strange Appetites
Editor(s): Lon Sarver
Cover Designer(s): Siol na Tine
Cover Art Credits: Photo by Grigoriy Pil at Dreamstime.
Production Editor(s): Erika L. Firanc
Proofreader(s): Jae Knight
Length: Short Story (3,000 Words)
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Serialization Date: May 21, 2017
Archive(d) on May 28, 2017
Tags: creature, f/m, seasons, Short Story
Content Labels (What they are and why we use them)
What she was, he didn’t quite know, but he had heard of the beautiful creatures of the woodlands, the ones who, if a man could treat them just right, would be his forever, and would promise a lifetime of happiness and ecstasy. He left his friends – and thereafter would see them little, for he would become so entranced with her they seemed but a memory – and crept towards her. She was smiling at the ducklings, and did not hear him until he crouched on a rock an arm’s-reach away.
Her head snapped in his direction, but her expression was not shocked or surprised. Rather, she held the cautious regard of a swan. He waited until she, little by little, shifted closer to him, until she was close enough that she inclined her head so her cheek lay on his knee.
I must be careful, he told himself, each time he was with her. His fingers sought out her hair, her hand, and, one day, her waist. The day he drew her onto his lap, she giggled, and he was glad, so glad, the delight of a beautiful creature in his arms, the pleasure of a plan coming to pass.
“I’ll keep you safe,” he told her. “I will love you.”
Her nails glanced across his cheek, and she smiled.
In the spring, he wanted to kiss her so badly. But he waited until summer, when her dress was a rich green filled with sunflowers and her hair like wheat waiting for harvest. Even then he did not press his lips to hers, but held his fingers to her mouth, and waited to see if she would bite.
She did, though her teeth were like a kitten’s, the gnawing unable to tear the skin on the side of his finger. It was more like a mouthing than a bite, sweet in its single-minded pursuit of food, without craft or guile.
Summer continued to pass. Her breasts grew under her dress, rounder, fuller, more beckoning, and as she kissed his knuckles, his palm, his free hand journeyed up her waist to hold her breast like a ripe melon. He did not squeeze, but cupped, moving and circling to discover the shape. He hung always in the balance of wanting more, of desire to suddenly rip her dress and plunder the furrows between her breasts, the warm spot between her legs.
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