Book 1: Billie Joe's Journey

by Rick Beck

Chapter 11

Communion

Hitch hiking down from Seattle was an eye opener. Meeting Raymond, and then Kyle and Ingmar was worth all the discomfort and difficulties I had encountered. Working for a furniture mover for a week had been interesting, but making a friend who could accept me for myself was downright good. Earl wasn't like anyone I had met before. He was an artist, and he was gay, so I guess that gave him a lot of room to be different from everyone else. To this point in my life, I'd known no artists and damn few gays, so everything I learned was new.

It only took a few hours for Earl and me to begin touching each other in more than a friendly way. This scared me. It was exciting, and I wasn't scared of doing stuff, but I was scared this was the way it was going to be. It hadn't been but a few hours before Raymond and I were doing it my first day on the road. Then it was only a few days after hooking up with Ingmar and Kyle that I wanted to be involved with Kyle. I didn't want to be like that. I wanted to find my love and stick with him, but I thought my only real shot at that so far had been Carl, and eight days after we met, he left for Japan for a year. Not exactly circumstances that could help me get my feet planted firmly under me.

I had made my own decision to travel and to try to find some gay support group or at least people I could depend on. Afterward, I planned to return home and come out to my family. If I ended up on my ear, which I strongly suspected I would, then I would have a back-up plan. I'd read about kids being tossed out on the street after coming out. My best friend had committed suicide rather than live a gay life. These were all factors, and my own curiosity completed my need to find myself at the end of my sixteenth year.

Earl told me his grandmother was related to Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany. In fact he had royal blood flowing through his veins. All his ancestors were artists and musicians, and they had played in the courts of Europe in the nineteenth century. He showed me pictures and items he told me were from that period. He had one picture with the Kaiser riding a pure white horse and he had a helmet with large feather plumes coming out of the top. The horse and he looked imperial. He showed me someone in the picture and said it was his great grandfather, cousin to the emperor. From time to time Earl's hands rubbed my legs and my chest as we looked at items he took the time to show me. He seemed quite proud of his heritage. He also liked touching.

Late in the afternoon we lay on the bed looking at each other and he started asking me about my life. I told him everything I knew about my relatives in three minutes. We'd been in Minnesota for four generations. My father was the first college graduate in our family, and he'd been a real success. I was expected to follow in his footsteps, but I had proved to be a big disappointment in school. I told him about the bus trip to Seattle, meeting Carl, saying good-bye to Carl and hitting the road. He understood my need to find out what my life was about. He had left home at fifteen. It hadn't been the crap shoot of my departure, because he wasn't ever more than a few hours from home. He described to me the feeling of emptiness inside, and how the longing was sometimes stronger than his intellect. Even in the face of danger many times, he had put himself into situations he knew he should avoid. He thought I didn't have that tendency to face off with danger, though he thought I lacked the proper fear for doing what it was I was doing. He assured me that I could return there if things went bad for me. He had no plans to go out to meet anyone, and he was always home.

Earl gave me a lot to think about. By the time he fixed us a tuna casserole for dinner, I felt pretty comfortable around him. The fact we had made out all over the house did make it easier to see him as a friend. Besides that, he was fun, and even funny in an odd sort of a way. I felt like I was with someone my age, and I hadn't felt that way since Ralphie killed himself the month before. There's something about losing your best friend that leaves you empty. The fact he was gay and I didn't know it, and I was gay and he didn't know it, really sucked. When I talked my brother into inviting me out to Seattle, I knew it was to get away from Ralphie, or at least from his memory.

Earl did put on shorts to fix dinner, and I appreciated that. I'd been turned on all afternoon, and I was starting to hurt from the tension building in different body parts. Even in his tight shorts, I found Earl too attractive for words. He is the only person I've ever known that could get away with being naked all the time. Clothes only covered his beauty.

He also proved to be a good cook, and he assured me the casserole was his grandmother's recipe. He'd lived with her on and off and spent summers with her when he wasn't living there. She taught him about her life, her country, and introduced him to cooking, sewing, and doing laundry. He said the things she taught him were the things he used most. Especially the music which he didn't appreciate until he got older. After we ate he took me back to the work room and played several piano pieces. His hands moved along the keys like they were part of the piano. He said he failed as a concert pianist because of the size of his hands. It hadn't been his destiny to play the piano professionally, but that just turned his interest toward his painting. His grandmother left him the trust to be sure he could continue to paint every day.

I sat next to him and he showed me Chop Sticks. I imitated what he showed me, but I didn't learn anything. We laughed and giggled and ended up wrestling on the floor. It wasn't much of a wrestle. We rolled around with Earl unable to show any sign of muscle or dominance. We ended up hugging and kissing beside the piano bench.

"You still feel awkward, Billie Joe?" he asked, looking up at me with those eyes.

"No. I feel like you are closer to my age than anyone I've met out here."

"That's because I don't have any pressure on me. I do what I want. I'm still a kid, but I don't have to be grown up. I've got everything I need or want. Everything but love."

"You shouldn't have any trouble finding love. You are one of the most attractive people I've ever known. You are beautiful, you know."

"It's not any fun, Billie Joe. Everyone wants to make it with you, and no one wants you because everyone else does. I just want to settle in with someone, but no one thinks I'll stay with them. I'm too pretty for my own good."

I pressed his hair back off his forehead and kissed his lips. They were pale, but a fine contrast for his skin. His nipples were pale, almost pastel. They were large considering he was generally small all over. When I kissed him he rubbed his hands up and down my thighs stopping just at the point where he brushed up against my bulging shorts. I could feel him swelling up under my leg.

"I've got a special need, Billie Joe. If we sleep together, I'll need something special from you."

"What is it."

"I've seen you looking at my rear end. I've seen the look a hundred times. I know what it means."

"What?"

He reached further than he'd gone before and grasped me.

"You're going to be big for me. I'm small in so many ways. I don't want to scare you off, but I need to be prepared before I can take it the way you want to give it to me."

"How do you mean?"

"I can't explain it. I'll show you when you are ready."

"You've got the evidence. I can't hide it while you're holding it. I've been ready since you kissed me in the doorway. I could have thrown you on the floor right then. I don't know why, but it's what I wanted to do. I've never been like this. I mean I might jack off twice in a day, but that was rare. Now, I meet someone, and an hour later I want to be doing it with him."

"It's because you can. You never could before. It was too risky. Now you are in the candy shop, and you're looking at all that candy, and you can have almost any you want, Billie Joe. You are every gay man's dream. Most of them would love getting your tender young ass in their bed."

"It's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about you. I don't care about people wanting me. It's not why I came out here. I came out here to see what being gay meant. Every time I turn around I'm meeting someone, and all I can think about is doing it with them. It's just different I guess."

"It's only eight. Would you like to go to bed with me?"

"I don't care what time it is. Yes, I would like."

Earl lay on his back and pulled my shirt up on my shoulders so I would take it off. He stared at my chest and ran his hands across it.

"You've got muscles."

"Not much. I'm starting to grow. My pants are shorter on me now, and my shirts are getting tighter."

"You're getting a body. You're going to be fine, Billie Joe. You are handsome, and going to have a hell of a body. You've got nice legs. All of them! Let's go to my room."

Earl dragged me by the hand, and I watched his ass as he strained to pull me faster. He sat me down on the bed and went to a dresser and started putting out different items, including a condom. I saw the lubricant, but didn't recognize the brightly colored plastic tube. There were two long slender items, one looked like a phony penis. The other was a straight cylinder type affair not as wide as the other one. Then he brought out two pairs of handcuffs. That really confused me.

"You ready?"

"Yeah, but what's all that stuff."

"I'll show you.

"I haven't done this in months, so I'm tight. I mean real tight. You'll lubricate this small dildo, and very gently you'll put it inside me. I mean real gentle. After using it on me a few minutes, then you'll use the larger one. That one's not as wide as you, but almost. Then when you get inside me, I'll be able to handle it."

"The handcuffs?"

"I like to be handcuffed when you do it. I don't want to touch any of the items. It's more fun for me that way. Once you get in me . You can do what you want. I mean you can really do it hard then. I'll be ready for it. These will make it better for you when you start. I'm told I'm as tight as it gets when it comes to screwing. I'm told that most people have never been in a tighter spot, and you're wider than many of them."

Earl handcuffed himself to one bed post, and handed me the other pair to cuff him to the other bed post so he was face down. I could see just a trace of hair under each of his arms. I opened the plastic tube and applied the liquid to the first cylinder. I rubbed it all over his hole before placing the cylinder at the opening. He lay perfectly still, letting me do it on my own.

The tip rested right at the spot and I tried to push it in without doing it suddenly. I applied more lubricant twice, and by the time I finished the second application, Earl was starting to twist back on it a little. I watched his body as I pushed the tip just past the sphincter muscle. I watched it twitch and his legs bent up. His lower leg bent up and his upper leg straightened out so he was mostly on his left side. He still didn't make a sound. The cylinder was now an inch inside him, and as I watched his manhood I was astounded at its increase in size when I slid the item in further. It twitched and jumped and clear liquid leaked onto his leg in a steady stream. With less than half of it inside him, he was half again his original size and the head was swollen tight and had turned dark blue as the fluid ran out of it. I slid the other three inches in, using a single steady motion, and he thrust his hips upward so he was now depositing the liquid onto the sheet. His hips seemed to be on a pivot as he worked his ass on the cylinder.

"Take it out and use the big dildo, now. I'm ready. You're good. That's perfect so far. I'll be ready for you when you do it to me."

I felt funny putting the liquid on what looked like the head of a cock. It was half again as thick as the other one, and maybe a little longer. I knew I was thicker, but something about this operation was causing me to cream myself.

"Come on, Billie Joe. I'm ready for it. Go ahead and put it in me."

I placed the head at his opening and he was helping me this time. By the time I'd worked the tip into the hole, he pushed back to slide the entire head in with one motion. The flesh colored shaft looked very much like a real cock. I watched his grow and continue to pump out liquid as I inserted the phony penis up into him. His head once more grew to an incredible size in comparison to the way it looked at rest. The color excited me, and the intensity of what this was doing to his body made me as hot as I'd ever been. I used the shaft like I would my own, and I pushed and pulled it three or four inches in and out. He moaned and his arms stretched against the handcuffs as he reacted each time I pushed or pulled.

"Are you ready?"

"You're damn right I'm ready. I can't stand it I'm so ready."

He took a breath.

"You going to do it hard?"

"Just as hard as you like."

"Do it as hard as you can. I'm ready now. Fuck me hard, Billie Joe."

I struggled getting on the condom. My hands shook, I was so nervous. As soon as I placed my head at the opening, Earl struggled to get himself on me. I watched my own shaft swelling from my excitement. As soon as I got past the ring I was sliding inside. I'd never felt anything so tight. It was like it was fitted to me. I slid in until my black hairs curled around the crack of his ass. I had to lean against him to keep from passing out. My head got all dizzy from excitement, and I was afraid I'd pull one of my instant orgasm scenes. I fought off the urge to let it go. That's when thinking about teacher's wart always worked for me.

"You okay, Billie Joe."

"Yeah. I'm just trying to calm down. You are tight for sure!"

"You can jack me off if you want. I like that. Do it while you're fucking me."

I reached around him and grabbed his cock.

"Jesus, Earl. You feed this thing fertilizer? It's twice the size it was."

"It does that when I get fucked right. That's why I like to get ready. I guess it's what turns me on. Sometimes it gets so big I think it will burst. Oh! Yeah! That's it Billie Joe. Just stroke it easy. Go ahead when you're ready. I can handle it."

It didn't take long for me to get rolling. Earl made it an experience I wouldn't forget. My hand was filled with sticky liquid and I used it to rub back into him. The more I slid in and out and jerked him off, the more intense he got. He moaned loudly and wiggled and twisted, using the handcuffs for leverage to force himself back against me. It took a few minutes for me to get to the peak, but I knew it had come too quickly for me. He said to tell him when I was ready, and when I started moaning he knew. He forced his smooth ass all the way down on me and I held his waist and pressed into his back with my body and face. The harder I went the more intense it became until I couldn't breathe. I shuddered a few last times, and then just held him against my overheated body.

"You can pull out now," he said.

I slipped down on my knees and withdrew.

"Put the rubber on me, Billie Joe."

"It's used up Earl. I filled that sucker up."

"Just do what I say. Put it on me."

I slid the rubber off real careful so I wouldn't spill the quart of juice I left in it. I leaned against him and slid it up over his penis. As I slid it up he moaned real loud and he started swelling up again.

"That's it. Jack me off. Get behind me and jack me off. Hurry. Hurry!! I can't hold it!"

I leaned myself against his body, and reached for the condom I had just put on him. It squeezed and squished and he moaned and groaned and swelled even more. In less than a minute his body was jerking and pitching and pulling against those handcuffs, and I could feel his hot liquid pumping into the already full condom.

"That's hot. Your cum was still hot. I could feel your hot juice on me. Oh that was the best, Billie Joe. You know how to show a guy a good time."

"That's about the strangest thing I've ever done," I said.

"It turned you off?"

"No, it didn't turn me off. It was hot. You're hot. I just can't believe I did that. I can't believe I liked doing that to you. It's so . . . so sexual, and nothing else."

"That's what sex is about. Doing it in a way you really like. You can undo the cuffs."

I took the keys he had laid out and set him free. He immediately wrapped himself up around me.

"Sex is about being free. As long as you aren't hurting anyone it's fine to explore the fringes."

"We didn't make love. We didn't really have sex together. I made love to your ass. I worried I would hurt you."

"Not so much that you didn't give it to me pretty good."

"I can't stop once I get started. I mean I'm more interested in getting off than anything else once I start getting turned on like that."

"Did you get off?"

"You know I filled that thing up."

"I know you did. That made it hotter for me. Sometimes it's nice to have control or to give up control. It adds a dimension to the sex. Didn't you find it stimulating?"

"You call it stimulating. I call it going nutso. I get to a point where I'm wild to get it."

"I know. That's what made it so good for me. I almost couldn't hold it until you put the condom on me. Then, Wow!!! It just rolled through me like big waves. It was a good one!"

"If you want me to sleep with you let's put this stuff away. One time doing it this way is okay, but I don't want to get in the habit of using stuff to get off."

I watched Earl put the things back into his dresser after cleaning them up. He removed the condom, and made a ceremony of putting our combined juices upon his stomach and equipment. He took delight in matting down his nearly white cock hair. His sagging manhood stood back out as he worked some into the head. The shaft maintained a thin, unimposing look with its pink tint, but the head once more ballooned to enormous size for the dimensions of the rest of him. In only a minute he was heaving and pitching against the dresser, and a spurt of cum shot out into the middle of the floor. His knees buckled, and he pumped frantically. Two more long streams shot out and then there was a steady dripping that ran down to the floor. I got cotton mouth watching him excite himself. His manhood immediately sagged over and the head reduced in size almost immediately after he finished.

"Time for a shower. I'll be back in a minute. I always need to do that to calm down. We'll get a good night's sleep now."

We did get a good night's sleep. Earl curled up inside my arms. I noticed my body seemed to be more massive than his. His shoulders fit inside my arms as he leaned back against my chest. My arms easily enveloped him. Either he was smaller than I thought, or I was growing. It was the first time I ever felt larger than anyone else older than me. This made me feel good, like I was growing up.

In the morning, we sat nude on the piano stool while coffee perked. He showed me a few keys to play while he played something else It was music! I'd never made music before. Banging my elbows against the keys while making out with him didn't count.

Earl had a different apron for cooking. It was a green and white plaid with white ties and a pink duck in the corner. He moved around cracking eggs and measuring flour and stuff. He poured me coffee, and supplied ample amounts of real cream and sugar. We ended up with ham and cheese omelets and biscuits. Earl had noticed how much I enjoyed biscuits the morning before.

He served me like I was a prince, and wouldn't allow me to do anything. He was meticulous and cleaned up each item as he used it. Many times he dirtied and cleaned the same item several times. His motions were an economy of movement. Everything was within reach of where he worked. I watched his smooth skin move on his body. I tried to find a pimple, or mark, or blemish to reassure me no one is perfect, but there was none. His skin was without flaw.

I kept my hands in my lap to hide my nakedness, but from time to time he held one or both so he could have his hand on me. I was either half or all the way turned on all of the time. I had never been comfortable being nude before, and especially had never felt sexual. I was both around Earl. It was both exciting and scary. My mind wasn't prepared to accept so many new things without question. His dress code did save a lot of time once we finished rolling around on the floor while making out on the thick carpet in the living room. The stereo blasted out stirring concertos, and overtures came from both Earl and the music. I practiced swallowing his too long tongue as we kissed ourselves around the house.

By noon I was back in Earl's bed submitting to a massage. This was another first save the times my coach has rubbed smelly ointment on a sore spot on my leg. Earl took the time to burn incense and to heat the oil he was about to use.

His hands were the perfect temperature as he leaned over me, rubbing my neck and shoulders and kissing my lips as his erection slid against my stomach. The oil was another experience I was ready to have. I suspect the way he used his hands was meant to keep me more excited than relaxed. While he worked and massaged every muscle, he took the most time on my stomach and in the thick black hair that surrounded my perpetual stiffness.

He never once touched me there, and worked the inside of my legs using his fingers to brush my low hanging and full balls. The same sticky juice he leaked constantly while touching me flowed freely from the slit of my own penis. It dripped down the top and puddled in the raven hair at the thick base of my erection .

I looked at myself as he did my thighs. I was thick at the base, not quite as long as Raymond but far thicker, and I was as thick as Carl though half his length. Mine was dark in color. There were several veins, but they were buried. I could see the blue tint through the brown skin. A ring darker than Carl's was an inch below my head. My head had grown thicker than I'd ever seen it while manhandling myself. The more I was massaged the more I was straining to keep from bursting at the seams. I seemed so incredibly hard that there was no give or bend any longer, and it became apparent that I must achieve satisfaction to get it to subside. I was somehow made proud that this in many ways was my most manly part. I had never felt good about my penis until Earl fell in love with it.

When I rolled onto my stomach and laid on the evidence, Earl rubbed himself in my crack as he did my shoulders. The stickiness ran down across my hole. It was a hot liquid now. His hands pressed firmly into my muscles and I squirmed under him to satisfy urges to touch myself and be done with it. My insides were steaming with lust. His hands worked their way down my back and into the crack of my ass. His fingers traced and touched every part of me there. The oil was soothing and thrilling as he used it to insert his finger into me. I decided not to resist as I began pulsing and jerking from the thrill of it being inside me. I watched him go to the dresser and bring back the small cylinder.

"I don't think I want that inside me, Earl."

"Trust me. This will get you where you want to go. You're body is begging for relief. In a few minutes you are going to have an orgasm that will take you to the heavens. I'll stop if you want me to."

He ran the cylinder up and down the crack and put the hot oil on it to warm it. I felt it at my opening and I felt his finger pressing and opening me. Then the hard feel of the tube was obvious. He eased it into the ring and there was a pain at the hole, but there was also a tingling and pressure inside my penis that was the most incredible source of pleasure.

He slid the tube in slow and steady. My brain was in a fog as he pushed and pulled. The pain came from where my hole tightened on it when my penis jerked with pleasure. The pain caused it to jerk harder. I rocked between pressing myself into the bed for the pleasure and onto the cylinder to create the pain, only the pain was now part of the pleasure. I was going to lose it without even touching myself! I remembered the night I watched Raymond sliding up and down on Kyle's pole and how he exploded without anyone touching his thing.

"Roll over," Earl said.

"With it in my ass?"

"It's all the way in. Roll over. You'll be glad you did."

I rolled over and my penis stood even larger and thicker. Liquid ran from the tip. The feel of the cylinder in my ass was a stimulation I couldn't have imagined. I watched myself as Earl rubbed my thighs and between my legs and put oil down on my balls and back between my legs. His hands became stronger and more forceful as he worked up beside my manhood. Both his hands rubbed me hard and at the same time they grasped me and started to stroke me in a slow easy motion.

"Don't fight it. Let it go. It's time to let it go."

I watched myself like it wasn't even my penis. His hands worked it up and down and I could feel the building pressure. He squeezed me, forcing my head to swell, and he stroked in one long motion, forcing the white liquid to leap into the air over me, landing on my chest. It was almost scalding hot where it touched my skin. I gasped for air and grabbed the sides of the bed, realizing I was in the middle of my orgasm. He had made me so hot I almost missed it.

As I shot another spurt into the air my muscles grabbed the item in my ass. At that additional stimulation, a hot thrilling flash ran through me, and I hit my chest and stomach with more liquid. Earl took the cylinder in his hand and in one long slow motion removed it, and as it popped free another shot of liquid hit my face. I felt like I was floating and falling and the bed was spinning around as Earl's hand pumped out a puddle just below my belly button.

Before I was able to breathe, Earl was on top of me and pressing himself into the liquid. He used it to help him slide up and down on my stomach and against my penis. In a minute he too was shaking and vibrating and making his own deposit. His weight was nothing on top of me. I held him as I tried to catch my breath and slow my heart. My gasps told the story of my incredible orgasm.

Earl became still, with his chest pumping hard against mine. I felt his heart beating against my chest. He seemed paralyzed and fought for air.

We laid there for several minutes. Our skin cooled some. He pushed himself up like doing a push-up, and he looked at the quart of liquid dripping between us and resting on my stomach.

"You're a gold mine of thrills, Billie Joe."

He sat down beside my leg and scooped up the liquid in his hand and over his fingers. He grasped himself and massaged the liquid into his penis and into his pubic hair. He scooped up more of the puddle and worked it into his balls and penis. Once again the shaft seemed quite ordinary although the head swelled to three times the size of when he had started this ceremony. In another minute he was pumping and jerking in spasms that told me this orgasm was much more intense than when he emptied himself on my stomach. His own hand gave him immense pleasure as the liquid shot out of him and onto the floor. He leaned back on his elbow and continued working himself as stream after stream ran down his narrow shaft and over his fingers and hand and onto the floor. He fell back across my legs and his chest worked in rapid attempts to breathe.

"That was the best," he moaned, as his fingers slipped up on me.

He squeezed and rubbed some of his new liquid onto my sagging lust. His fingers caressed and worked on me. A white glob of cream rested on my slit. His fingers smeared it over the head as I watched from a different time. He seemed intent on having me rise again, but even the added stimulation from the slick liquid couldn't get me back after the most incredible discharge I'd ever had.

After awhile he sat up and looked at the mess we'd created. Then he dragged me to the showers and we soaped each other up and got squeaky clean. He used a clear soap he told me was German. His grandmother had cases. He didn't use any chemicals or anything that wasn't natural on his skin. He used a powder when he dried himself off, and put some everywhere. It gave him a white glow, but it disappeared into his skin in short order. He smelled like a crystal clear stream where I'd fished as a boy.

It took us two hours to sleep off our hard work.

When I came to, he sat on top of me shaking me awake.

"We are going to the Ocean. I need to see the Ocean today. Will you come with me."

"The Pacific?"

"Yes. I didn't know there was another one."

"Several."

"No matter. This is the only important one. This one is mine. I have a special place where we can have it all to ourselves."

"You're going to share your ocean with me."

"You have earned a right to anything I have. You are my hero."

"Why's that."

"Because you are with me. You interrupt the silence in a most charming way."

"I'm glad you like me. I like you, too."

"Then you shall stay with me. Go to school just up the street. We'll keep house and make love."

"I can't. It's something I'll keep in mind, and if my parents dump me when I tell them what I am, I'll probably be back to go to school. If the offer stays open? If they don't dump me, they'd have us both locked up if I stayed here."

"You are perfect. Why would the offer change. You are my little sponge. You absorb everything."

The ocean was different from what I expected. There were pieces of land I could see out towards the horizon. The shore was ragged with rocks, and there was no beach to speak of, although Earl knew of a place where we could walk on sand for about a hundred yards before it all ran into the rocks and surf. The water was cool, and it rolled rough against the rocks. He told me this beach was exposed only a few hours a day. Most of the time the water ate against the rocky shore. The water seemed to rise and fall in swells. The surf was small. The air was fresh and clean.

We held hands when we walked or sat. Several times he leaned to kiss my lips. It wasn't the same as at the house. These were just nice pleasant touches with his lips. He never seemed to care if anyone was around or not.

"Why don't you stay with me?"

"I've only got a few weeks. I came out here to learn something. What you teach me is great, and knowing I can come back is great, but I want more. I want to go into San Francisco and see what it is like in the city."

"You won't like it."

"I'll have to figure that out."

"It's not easy in The City. Everyone will want a piece of you."

"They won't get it."

"Some will take it."

"Over my dead body."

"You are naive, Billie Joe. They may just be willing to oblige you."

"I've still got to go. That's why I came. If I go home without going there, I've wasted the trip."

"I understand. I felt the same way. I went. I came back."

"You're still alive."

"Yes, I am. I am still alive."

"You'll take me Friday?"

"I'll take you Friday."

Reaching out with a tentative hand, he picked up a smooth pebble and tossed it into a small pool in front of us. It splashed a little and sank without a trace.

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