Feature Writer: Poppy_Dryden
Feature Title: A HARVEST OF THORNS
Story Codes: Erotic Horror
Synopsis: Nature seeks retribution through a young woman
A Harvest of Thorns
Eve and Dylan crept through the forest in the early morning hours, approaching the pipeline construction site as the light of a full moon illuminated their path.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Dylan asked her yet again.
“Absolutely,” Eve replied, her voice hard with determination. She knew Dylan was studying her as they walked, trying to gauge her resolve. While she was only in her mid-twenties, he was ten years older and had weathered countless protests. He’d been roughed up and arrested despite the fact that he had always practiced nonviolent resistance. She wondered if he secretly doubted her commitment, or worse, if he wanted to protect her.
Eve wanted to show him that she didn’t need protecting.
When they reached the site, they both stopped short; the devastating scene was enough to render them momentarily speechless. They’d been here before to provide moral support to fellow protesters and deliver supplies, but they never grew accustomed to the destruction—the countless felled trees, the tunneling through the earth which resulted in erosion that muddied nearby waterways. This forestland now bore an ugly scar that would never heal.
They didn’t have much time. Eve hurried across the desolate ground toward a piece of construction equipment. It was massive and necessary for the task of annihilating this forest.
It didn’t take long for her to secure herself to the machine by using a sleeping dragon: she inserted an arm into either end of a PVC pipe, then fastened a pair of handcuffs around her wrists inside the pipe. Those who wanted to remove her would have to carefully work through the pipe in order to reach the cuffs that restrained her.
Until then, her arms would be encircled around the equipment, and the piece of machinery would be rendered useless.
Eve settled in for a long wait, perching on the equipment to which she was now bound. It was late May, and the nights were cool even as the days had been unseasonably warm. She was dressed in a long-sleeved shirt which would probably be uncomfortable after the sun rose, but it would provide some protection to her fair skin. Her jeans and boots had served her well in hiking through the forest with Dylan.
Even after she was all set, he hesitated, as if he didn’t want to leave her.
“I’m fine,” she insisted. “Now go!” Unlike her, if Dylan was caught trespassing, it wouldn’t be his first arrest, and the penalty would be much harsher. Since her record was clean and she wouldn’t destroy any property, she would most likely be charged with a couple of misdemeanors and made to pay a fine.
Dylan pressed his mouth to hers, then gave her strawberry blonde ponytail a playful tug and whispered, “I’m proud of you.”
She beamed up at him, unaware until that moment just how much his approval meant to her. He ran a hand through his dark hair, which had a little gray at the temples, and looked skyward. “You won’t have to wait all that long out here alone, love,” he assured her. “They get an early start destroying the earth.”
Then he turned on his heel and left her, never once looking back. She knew it was easier that way, but still she kept her stare riveted on his retreating form until he disappeared into the woods.
Eve shifted, trying to get as comfortable as possible. As the breeze strengthened, she lifted her face, letting the moonlight bathe her in its glow. For as far as she could see, the pipeline snaked across the land—another of humanity’s destructive tentacles extending its reach. There were court battles going on to stop this, yes, but they were interminable even as the devastation continued.
She listened to the sounds of the night, the frogs and crickets and other myriad insects, along with the breeze that draped a chill over her. The trilling of a screech owl drifted from a nearby stand of trees.
Then she heard something that made her sit up straighter and strain to listen. It was the approach of a creature making its way over the dead leaves covering the forest floor.
It was probably a deer, she told herself, and then smiled. She’d be grateful for the company.
Eve tried to pinpoint exactly where the sound was coming from. It was to her left, she decided, in the opposite direction from which she and Dylan had come.
Peering into the woods lining the construction site, she waited for the deer to emerge. She wondered if it would detect her unfamiliar scent on the wind and bolt, or if it would dare to draw closer.
The creature that appeared was not a deer. Icy fear surged through Eve’s body, strong enough to make her knees knock together.
At first glance, one might have believed that the being stepping into the moonlight was a naked human, but something deep within the pit of Eve’s stomach told her this was no man, though he had a male form.
He was tall and bearded and sinewy, with skin the color of oak sapwood. As he slowly approached her, each of his steps deliberate and carefully placed, she could see his features more clearly.
Surely she was hallucinating, Eve told herself. Had the stress accompanying her act of protest managed to overcome her senses?
Eve didn’t dare speak. Instinctively she grew still as the creature’s stare locked with hers. She felt like prey caught in a trap.
Her panic got the best of her as the creature drew ever nearer, and she struggled against her self-imposed restraints.
Then a voice as soft as the wind rustling the trees whispered inside her head, weaving words through her mind: “This is how you propose to protect me…”
Did she hear a note of mocking in that voice? “I’m trying to protect this land,” Eve spoke aloud, her voice quivering.
“I am the land. I am the earth and the water and the trees.” Now he was only mere feet from where Eve sat, and she knew he could sense her fear. His eyes were as green as the May leaves, and his pungent smell, that of freshly turned earth, drifted to her on the breeze.
Her stare left his face and swept over the rest of him. Rather than veins, the imprints of coiled vines traveled beneath his flesh. A near pelt of dark hair covered his chest and narrowed to a trail leading from his belly down to his penis. His cock was large but not frighteningly so. He may have been the very essence of virility, but he didn’t wield an enormous phallus.
Eve’s eyes grew wide as he began stroking it while regarding her, and it soon grew hard in his grasp.
A smile danced on his full lips. “I have assumed a form you would easily recognize. You know exactly who I am, Eve.”
She marveled at his words and wondered if they were true. Was he indeed the way she had imagined nature itself embodied? And if so, where had this image come from? Had it emerged from somewhere deep in her subconscious?
She feared she was having a psychotic break. Of all the things she believed possible, her encounter with such a creature had never been one of them.
With his erect cock looming out from his body, he rested on his haunches and pressed a hand to the earth. “This land is delicate, vulnerable as a rabbit’s belly,” he said. “It will not recover from what your kind has done, and yet you continue to destroy it.”
“I’m here to try and stop that,” she insisted, her words desperate. What did he plan to do to her? In the darkest parts of her imagination, she feared he would rip her limb from limb and leave her here as a warning to the workers who would find her mutilated body.
“This…” he went on, pointing to the pipeline’s path, “is a violation. It is just one of countless violations against me.”
Tears of dread and remorse burned Eve’s eyes. “I’m sorry.” The words were so pathetic and inadequate that she loathed herself for uttering them.
He stood once more, giving her a cold stare. “Your population is out of control, and yet your desire—your demand—for what the earth can give is never sated.”
Eve turned her face from him in shame. She noticed that all of the other night creatures had grown silent, as if they were listening to him with rapt attention. She felt like an intruder, an unwanted presence in this sacred space.
The creature drew even closer; if he extended his hand, he would easily be able to touch her.
But he didn’t touch her. Instead, he returned to stroking his still-hard cock, and despite her fear and her shame, Eve met his eyes.
He gave her a grin, his face full of unbridled lust. As she watched him, Eve heard her breaths quicken, and she was shocked to find that she’d grown wet between her thighs. A feral need gripped her, and now she fought her restraints for a different reason.
The creature threw back his head and stroked his pulsing cock with more fervor. She stared at him, unable to hide her fascination and her arousal. Even as the first tendrils of dawn unraveled in the eastern sky, the creature remained.
Before Eve could register his movements, he advanced upon her. She swallowed a cry and gaped at him as he pried her knees apart, then moved his face between her thighs and inhaled deeply.
She knew he could smell her sex through her jeans and underwear. His touch was insistent but not painful. Then he bounded upon the piece of equipment with a grace that astonished her, positioning his cock close to her lips.
Eve tilted her head back and met his hot stare, then opened her mouth.
His scent was musky, and she could taste the earth itself on her tongue as he guided his cock between her lips. She readily sucked, longing to please him, and when a moan emerged from deep in her throat, reverberating around his member, he groaned as well.
His thrusts were shallow but ardent, and Eve could tell by the way he grew even harder inside her mouth that he would climax soon. He took hold of her ponytail as he fucked her mouth, yet he was strangely careful not to gag her, and she made little gulping sounds while keeping a tight seal around his cock with her lips.
He released several low grunts and then stiffened before erupting inside her mouth. His semen tasted different from Dylan’s, from that of any man she’d ever sucked to climax. As Eve hurried to swallow it down, she was reminded of water from a fast-flowing creek, and of wet soil.
Then he withdrew from her and leapt back down to the ground, his cock still semi-erect. With the taste of him lingering on her tongue, Eve watched as he turned and strode back to the forest, leaving her alone once more.
By the time Eve was hauled off the piece of equipment, her face was flushed with the day’s warmth. Even as she was led away from the site, she searched the trees for any trace of the being who had visited her.
She was arrested and then released. It all seemed so perfunctory, and while she wished she’d been able to prevent the workers from continuing their destruction for a longer period of time, she understood that she was merely one person facing a monolith. With money and power, that monolith could afford to outwait Eve and all the others who came after her.
Dylan picked her up from the police station and took her home to their apartment, where he doted on her. After making sure she was hydrated, he fed her hot soup and ran her a soothing bath, washing her body with tender caresses.
He was a good man, she thought as she gazed up at him. He was true to her and to his convictions.
“I’m okay,” she assured him. Already she had decided not to tell him about the being she had encountered in the forest. The creature had appeared to her and her alone, and she felt there must be a reason for that.
They went to bed early, exhausted from the day’s events, and Eve found comfort in Dylan’s embrace even as her mind raced, trying to process what had happened to her the night before.
Eve dozed but couldn’t sleep soundly, and when she fully woke not long after midnight, she slipped out of bed. Dylan didn’t stir, but she knew if he woke and discovered she was gone, he wouldn’t panic, for he knew she often found a single room, a single apartment, even a single town, too confining, and so she headed for the vastness that the wilderness provided.
After Eve dressed and left the apartment, she hurried to their car in the lot and slid into the driver’s seat. She wouldn’t allow herself to question what she was doing, going back to that same forest where she had met the creature who now consumed her every thought.
The drive was close to two hours long, and Eve fought the emotional and physical fatigue clinging to her, but traffic was almost nonexistent, and she reached the edge of the forest well before three in the morning. The moon, now waning, still provided ample light.
She was careful not to trespass on land claimed for the pipeline but instead parked her car on a graveled forest road. Her hands were shaking as she turned off the lights and cut the engine. Shadows swept into the car and surrounded her.
Eve looked around, searching for a sign of him, but she knew it was unlikely that he would appear so close to the road.
She left the car and entered the woods, wondering if he could sense her approach. The need for him drove her forward even as she tripped over fallen limbs and struggled to keep her heavy eyelids open. She couldn’t stop thinking of the way he communicated with her despite never uttering a word. Remnants of his conversation seemed embedded in her neurons, repeating themselves in an endless loop.
Eve feared she would go mad if she didn’t see him again. She was willing to risk another trespassing charge, another arrest, if only she could be in his presence once more.
Not once did she doubt what he told her. Every cell of her body vibrated with the conviction that he was exactly what he claimed to be.
Finally Eve reached a small clearing in the forest where the trees seemed to grow away from each other rather than huddle together. There she stopped, then slowly turned in a circle, peering into the darkness. She was desperate to spot any kind of movement, to hear any sound indicating his advance.
Eve didn’t bother to call out to him, for she knew that no entreaties would make him come to her. Instead, she stripped naked, offering herself to him with as few human trappings as possible.
Practically falling to her knees, she waited in silence as the moonlight worked its way through the leaves and created a speckled pattern on her skin.
When Eve heard his slow footfalls, those heavy and deliberate steps she immediately recognized, her breath froze in her throat, and she didn’t dare lift her head. As she knelt in supplication, he drew closer, approaching her from behind until his form blotted out the light.
“Why have you returned?” he asked, moving to stand directly before her.
Eve trembled as she breathed in his now-familiar scent. “I wanted to know why you chose to reveal yourself to me,” she whispered.
He knelt on the ground, his body just inches from hers. “Perhaps I have plans for you, Eve,” he replied, his voice almost playful in her mind. “Since you have come back to me tonight, you have taken the next vital step in bringing those plans to fruition.”
Eve raised her head, finally meeting his gaze. Once again, she was taken aback by the green of his eyes. When he extended both hands and cupped her breasts, then fondled her nipples with warm fingers, she gasped.
The power emanating from him struck her mute for a long moment, but she eventually found her voice and said, “I’m also here for you to use me as you will, as you see fit.”
A slow grin pulled at his lips, and before she could comprehend what was happening, he lunged forward and forced her to the ground, his body settling upon hers. The scream died in her throat as he buried his face in her hair, and she in turn inhaled the primal smell of him.
Eve stared up at the creature, her breasts rapidly rising and falling. She knew what was about to happen, and she welcomed as well as feared it. Already she could feel his erection against her, and she realized it was harder than any human’s would be.
He lowered his mouth to hers, and his kiss was more teeth than lips or tongue, as if he meant to devour her. His hunger, his excitement, shocked her, but with her legs spread beneath him, she could smell her own arousal.
When the creature entered her, she bit down on her lower lip and winced, for he stretched her opening and made her entire body tense. For a moment, he remained still inside her, letting out a satisfied sigh. Eve was grateful for the reprieve as her cunt adjusted to the size of him.
With a hand on either side of Eve, he kept his upper body aloft as he began fucking her. She noticed that his stare was riveted to the way her frame yielded to his hard thrusts; her breasts bounced as his body pounded against her. She wanted to touch him, to slide her palms over his skin, but she was unsure. Finally she rested her hands on his hips, feeling the warmth of his flesh and the way his muscles moved beneath it.
His cock curved upward so that the head applied pressure to the roof of her cunt with each thrust, and his movements became fervent, conveying an animalistic need. As Eve clung to him, she closed her eyes against the twinge of pain deep in her core. Her cunt ached in protest, but he was relentless in his rutting, and despite the throb between her thighs, her body began to respond, and she released a low moan of pleasure.
A growl emerged from deep within him, and he gave her neck a sharp bite. Eve realized he could rip out her throat if he chose to, and a shadow of fear coursed through her. But that fear was overpowered by her arousal, and as the minutes dragged on and his fucking seemed as though it would never end, she felt her climax approaching.
She lay beneath him, practically limp, letting him take her without resistance. His heavy balls slapped against her, and he drove himself into her with enough force to make her slide over the ground, which was rough and unforgiving as it abraded the tender skin of her back.
The thought of what she was doing—taking his cock, taking his seed—prompted the first spasm to shudder through her. Unlike the orgasms she had while making love to Dylan, this climax seemed to expand to encompass her entire body. Despite the cool air, she was covered in sweat, and she couldn’t hold back a cry.
The being looked down at her, studying her face as she came. His breath was hot against her skin, and as her body grew taut and shook, he released a roar that would have terrified her if she hadn’t been in the grasp of such a fierce orgasm. Her eyes rolled back in her head as her muscles strained from the force of it.
Then he slammed all the way into her and grew still, his form rigid, and she knew he was filling her with his seed, just as she knew the contractions continuing to grip her body were drawing that seed into her womb.
He stayed inside her long after he finished, his weight pinning her to the ground as his cock softened within her cunt. When he finally withdrew from her and sat at her side, he stroked her cheek with long fingers, his touch tender for the first time.
“I feel it’s only fair to tell you about the child you will bear,” he whispered into her mind. “It will be among a select few who will bring unequivocal destruction to humanity, resulting in the obliteration of your kind. The choice as to whether or not you carry the child to term will be yours alone, for if you unleash it upon the world, it will be merciless, even to you.”
Eve’s eyes widened in horror, but she didn’t pull away when his hand slid down her neck, over her breast, and then rested on her belly. “This is how you can protect me, Eve. Give the earth back to those who will not destroy me.”
Then he left her once more, and a pang of sorrow seized her when she realized she would not see him again.
She waited a month, then another. Her body told her in subtle and then not so subtle stages that the creature in the forest had spoken the truth.
After another bout of morning sickness, she looked up at Dylan, who lingered in the bathroom doorway. His face revealed his sense of helplessness.
Slowly Eve climbed to her feet. Once she had rinsed out her mouth at the sink, she turned to him and said, “I need to go to the doctor.”
Dylan’s face darkened with concern. “Sweetheart, are you okay?”
She swallowed hard. “I’m pregnant.”
A silence stretched between them. On the rare occasions in the past when they had discussed having children, Eve had eschewed the idea, while Dylan had been more open to it. His eyes now searched hers as he slowly spoke. “Do you want to keep it, Eve?”
She took a steadying breath and pressed a hand against her belly as she imagined the new life stirring deep within her.
Then she smiled and said, “Yes, I do.”
Dylan’s eyes widened slightly, and he grinned with excitement. “You’re sure?”
Eve wrapped her arms around him, resting her head against his chest. “I’ve never been more certain of anything in my life.”