Desert Wolves – Part 2

by Gaston Prereth

Concluding part of Desert Wolves

Warning: This post contains some minor sexual content.

“Why did you join the army?” Said Amelia, her voice drifting over the fireplace like a plume of smoke. William was lying on his back, staring up at the black void of the hut’s ceiling. The aching emptiness of dehydration and hunger had floated out of him, leaving only a dull throb in his muscles and his sore chapped lips. Amelia’s voice roused him from contemplations of sleep, but he took a moment to respond, licking his lips and taking a deep, quite breath.

“My uncle had served in the navy, he always spoke about doing his bit for the country. He made it sound worthwhile. Then, when I was eighteen and looking at going to university, thinking about a career, I just kept asking myself why anyone would want to do those jobs. What was so good about selling insurance, working in recruitment, encouraging people to switch gas companies? I wanted to do something that mattered and, I guess, I thought being in the army would.”

“And did it?” As she spoke, William heard Amelia roll over. He glanced across the embers of the dying fire to the mattress where she lay. The whole hut was in shadow, the fire giving off more heat than light, but as he looked into the swell of darkness, William was sure he saw the glint of Amelia’s eyes. Two yellow, round flashes like diamonds sparkling against coal. Their glint of light excited him, enticed him. William found himself putting words around thoughts that he barely recognised as his own.

“At the start.” He said, looking back up towards the ceiling, feeling vaguely uncomfortable. “Now it feels just as much like a job as any other career. I used to wake up for my country, now I get up for my unit. Sometimes its hard to know which side we’re on, so you stop thinking about it and just do what you have to do for the good of those around you.” William’s hand reached up to his left shoulder, stroking over his rough skin as if searching for something. “Not very heroic.”

“To protect those you love, I think that must be heroic. Be it millions of people, or one or two. Sometimes you have to do what is right for those closest too you and hope that what you do doesn’t hurt others too much.”

“Is that why you are still hear? For your parents sake? I can’t imagine being in the middle of the desert is the most interesting life for a young girl. Have you not thought about leaving?”

“I couldn’t leave. Mother and Father rely on me, they need me here. And as you can see, we do quite well for ourselves.”

“Your father spoke earlier of you getting married. It sounded to me like he wished some day for you to find a new home for yourself. You must meet traders here and other rich men, given your families wealth. I’m sure one of them would be delighted to receive your affection.”

“Do you think you’d have joined the army if you’d had a wife?” Said Amelia, echoing her father’s ability to ignore subjects she didn’t wish to talk about. William licked his lips, regretting it as the cuts and sores stung deep into his gums. Her voice was so soft and delicate, so fragile. In the darkness it seemed to take on a reality of its own, reaching out towards him, beckoning him.

“I…” From outside came the noise like a snuffling pig. Heavy breathing or grunting moving around the base of the hut. William tensed, longing for the reassuring bulk of his gun in his hands. “What’s that?” Amelia didn’t answer. The snuffling grew louder as what ever creature that was outside neared the entrance. The door creaked as if being pushed, and then came the sound of claw scrapping against wood. William’s heart was beating in his chest. He thought about going to wake Simo, but he couldn’t remember in which direction the door to the bedroom was. The walls all looked the same in the dull glow of the dying fire.

“Just lie still and don’t make a sound.” It was Amelia’s voice, coming in a whisper from somewhere close. He felt her breath tickle the top of his ear. “It’ll be a genii. It’ll give up and move on as long as it doesn’t hear us.” William sensed her body crouched behind him, and her soft perfumed scent crept over him like cut grass caught on a summers breeze. His body relaxed and the panic from his mind cleared. He felt safe.

The creature outside scrabbled at the door for a fer more seconds then started to snort its way round the other wall. A hand, Amelia’s, soft and delicate, stroked over his shoulder tracing his collar bone with ant like steps. William felt his lungs constrict to shallow breaths as his skin tingled with goosebumps.

“Those things terrify me.” said Amelia, still in a whisper. The noises from outside had stopped, but William was not sure for how long, all his attention had been on the soft touch of the young woman. He found that his eyes were closed.

“What was it?” He asked, trying to keep his voice steady and normal. “Was is a Jackal?”

“I told you, it was a genii. Far more terrifying than the Golden Wolf. They take without asking what others can only accept when given. Father says they are weak, but they scare me. They break the rules.” Amelia’s voice trembled as she spoke, “Mother says you met one on your way here, that they took your memory. They took part of you away and now it is gone forever.” William felt her fingers trace through his hair, following the contours of his head as if they were searching for the lost memories.

“That’s all just superstition, but whatever it was, it is gone now. We are safe.” He said it more to reassure himself than Amelia. He was finding it difficult to focus on anything other than the young woman’s gentle touch.

“Will you hold me, at least until my heart stills. I don’t think I could lie alone.” She moved without waiting for a response. a slithering shadow against the darkness. She crept round and slid her body under William’s loose sheet. He felt her thigh press against his, warm and smooth, then her hand stroked his chest, her cheek resting next to it, her breast moulded against his side.

“Thank you,” She said, kissing his chest and pressing herself still tighter to him. William found his fingers uncontrollably stroking her hip, tracing over the smooth skin, feeling the contrast of the sharp point of her hipbone against the silken skin beyond. “This must be how your country feels, knowing you are out their protecting them from the evils in the world that take without waiting for them to be given.”

Amelia’s aroma was engulfing him, not just the scent of perfume but the salty tang of sweat and flesh. It all felt unreal, like a new recruits fantasy of grateful native women, throwing themselves at the young hero. He felt a stirring, but squeezed his eyes shut, trying to banish the thoughts from his mind. Her hands were stroking over his body, he could feel her pressed against him, her lips grazing against his chest and neck, getting more insistent with each kiss.

“Amelia…” he said, so softly that her name barely made it beyond his own lips. It felt wrong, but her touch was so gentle, so enticing.

“If you found the right girl would you take your life back from the army for her?” Her voice seemed distant like it came from beyond the hut. Every part of his body that she caressed tingled, the hairs standing up from his skin, reaching out to be touched. He felt her move, climbing gracefully over his body, resting on his stomach, pressing her lips to his. “Would you give yourself freely to her?” She kissed him again. He felt his own mouth opening in acceptance of hers. His chapped lips stung, but the pain was unimportant. He put his hands on her hips, kissing her back, squeezing the soft flesh of her buttocks.

“Will you give yourself freely to me?” Her question was more insistent this time. He could feel her body sliding down his, positioning herself ready for his reply. He wanted more than anything to be inside her, to feel her around him.

He opened his eyes. About them, the gold ornaments and trinkets sparkled in the last light of the fire, like galaxies of stars. There was no world, it was just Amelia and him lost in the void of the universe. Her eyes shone back at him, deep yellow, hungry like a wolf’s. He wanted her. He would give everything for her.

“Yes. I give myself to you freely.”

Amelia smiled, kissed him and pressed her hips down to his. He let out a gasp. As he felt her slide around him, she sat up, tilted her head back and howled.

Sand burnt against his cheeks. William opened his eyes, struggling to breath the hot air. The sun glared down at him, making the world shift and disappear in blocks of empty white. His whole body ached and his head pounded like heavy rifle fire.

He was lying at the base of a dune, his stomach welded into the sand. He tried to stand up but his legs slipped and his face slumped back into the ground. The tattered remnants of his uniform, stiff like leather, refused to move with his bodies weak attempts. His mind was empty. He didn’t know who he was, where he was, or how he had got here. He could only feel the pain.

A hungry howl shot towards him.

With his last ounce of strength, he managed to push his torso up onto his elbows. He blinked at the ridge of the next dune. Three silhouettes sat staring down at him. He could just make out the proud necks and well fed bodies of the wolves against the white sky. The leanest of the two, sat in the middle, stood up and started to trot towards him, its eyes glinted in the sunlight. Two round, yellow disks against the blackness of its face, glowing like the dying embers of a fire.

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