The Great New England (Parts 2 & 3)

Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts, 1817

Letter from the Hon Frazier Moulton, JP of Gloucester, to Bishop MacLean of Boston, August 28th:

Your Grace,

I write on behalf of the Linnaean Society of New England, by whom I am contracted to investigate the spate of so-called "sea serpent" sightings in the waters around Gloucester earlier this year. My brief has been to obtain sworn affidavits from the witnesses to this phenomenon, and to collate them by means of a standardised questionnaire. Initial findings are attached but, to summarise, the consistency and sobriety of the witnesses - now numbering in the hundreds - convinces me that we are indeed dealing with a living creature, albeit one presently unknown to science.

Your Grace is being circulated this information because, as you may recall, you were directly responsible for drawing the Society's attention to this matter as early as 1802, passing on the written testimony of one Reverend Beaton, latterly of Kennescook Parish. Regrettably if understandably, given some of the Reverend's prior outlandish claims of Divine Providence, the Society did not treat this report with the credence it perhaps deserved. There was also the delicate matter of certain scurrilous and unseemly rumours that circulated about the good Reverend's household at this time, and which were never adequately quelled. The recent upsurge in "monster" sightings has, however, proven the veracity of the Reverend's observations.

Unfortunately, I must inform Your Grace that my investigation has uncovered a subtext that is disturbingly similar to that which afflicted Rev Beaton, subsequent to his sighting. Such salacious material is naturally beyond the purview of the Society, however I feel the clergy is best placed to take action. After all, as you know, this region of Massachusetts was in the past bedevilled by recalcitrant elements of the fairer sex, and the Church was in the forefront of dealing with them swiftly and

decisively - I trust it will be so again.

I remain,

Your Humble Servant,

F Moulton

*

August 6th - sighting by 'two women'

Dawn crept over Gloucester like the tide stealing in - a purple sea of sky studded with pebbled clouds. In the far distance the twin lights of Thacher Island winked in erratic syncopation, their pulsations at once reassuring and slightly mournful. Eighteen-year-old Hudd Ovett lay on her bed, fully clothed, listening to the sounds of the harbour as a flotilla of fishing boats bobbed upon the fast-turning swell, steadily stringing out into the newborn day. Not until the silence of departure had descended did Hudd dare to look out her tiny window: the sky had taken on light and definition, though the sun had still not risen. The last fishing boat was just slipping clear of the quay. With a sudden burst of movement Hudd was headed down the cottage steps towards the outside world; but for all her efforts her mother still intercepted her before she reached it.

"Where d'you think you're goin', Missy?"

"Down to the cove," Hudd answered, as matter-of-factly as she could manage. "Thought I'd see if anythin' interestin' got washed up. Done all my chores last night," she added, unconvincingly.

Her mother regarded her with a sour glare.

"You be back before your Daddy returns?" It was only partly a question. Hudd blanched.

"Gee, I dunno, Momma - s'pose I find somethin' real good..."

Her mother suddenly seized her shoulders, clawed fingers digging painfully.

"Your Daddy risks his life every day to keep this place goin', Girl - you be back here to give him what he needs."

A tense silence as they stared into each other's eyes. Then her mother's grip slackened a fraction, and Hudd bolted away.

Slipping across rocks, sure-footed as a crab, she made her way down to the wild cove, where seabirds swarmed upon cliffs pocked with caves and inlets. Squatting on a large boulder she peered down into a crystalline pool orphaned by the fleeing tide, saw herself reflected against a backdrop of pure morning sky. Hudd was pretty, no doubt about it; always had been. Shimmering strands of long flaxen hair framed an open, rounded, high-browed and apple-cheeked face. Wide, marble-blue eyes shone above a dainty, freckle-dusted nose, and below it glistened voluptuously generous lips. All of this, with subtle variations, she had possessed since childhood; but it was around sixteen that other things came along to augment it, most of all the buds on her chest that wouldn't stop sprouting, grown into great elliptical globes that seriously cramped her tomboy style. Other curves came too, about her hips and backside, exaggerated by her already long, coltish legs - that would have been about the time her daddy decided her momma wasn't good enough for him anymore. Thrusting a hand into the pool, Hudd shattered the image: then she stood and continued on her way.

She knew she wasn't alone long before she caught sight of the other presence. The interloper was not entirely unfamiliar to her: a slender, dark-skinned and dark-haired female figure that loped along the

boulder shore with lifted skirts and a grace that was somewhere between a ballerina and a buck. Engaged on their separate explorations, they had studiously ignored each other on previous encounters, only once or twice exchanging vaguely meaningful looks. The other girl was quite strikingly beautiful,

which aroused in Hudd both jealousy and a strange kind of longing. Today the latter emotion won out

- she skittered down the beach towards the stranger. At a dozen paces they stopped, faced each other like gunfighters.

"Hi," said Hudd.

"H'lo," came the non-committal, slightly wary response.

"Whatcha doin'?"

"Just lookin' for stuff."

"Find anything?"

"Nope."

"Wanna look together?"

"I guess."

Her name was Kaden Hauser. Up close, Hudd was chagrined to note, she was even more beautiful than first appeared - fortunately it was an exotic, slightly otherworldly beauty, which made it more bearable. A broad face, sharp of cheekbone, strong of jaw and chin, softened by great brown eyes so deep they were almost black; shining 'neath dark, tempestuous brows. An unexpectedly dainty nose piquantly contrasted a mouth that, while slender, was full and sensual. All this etched upon coppery skin and framed by voluptuous falls of curling hair so night black it seemed to absorb the burgeoning

daylight. Tall as she was, she stood very straight, back taut as a bow: a proud posture that put Hudd in mind of something she couldn't quite recall there and then. She seemed, in Hudd's estimation, very mature.

"So," she said, after they had made a desultory survey of the drying tideline, "Who're you runnin' from?"

Kaden looked up sharply. "What makes you think I'm runnin'?"

"No one comes out here, 'less it's to get away from somethin'. Or somebody."

"Huh. So, who're you runnin' from?"

"I asked first."

Kaden shrugged, pushing stray strands of ebon hair from her face. "My folks, I guess. They got... chores waitin' for me. Things I ain't keen to do."

Hudd grunted. "Reckon I know what that's like."

Kaden shook her head, a shimmer of glistening black. "No. You don't."

With a whip-like movement she stooped to pick up a rock, flinging it into the retreating waves. There was something of the warrior about her, Hudd mused. The penny dropped.

"You an injun?"

Kaden laughed, flashing teeth pure as pearl.

"Kinda, I guess. My momma's Massasoit, pure blooded as it gets these days. But Daddy's a white man, so that makes me halfbreed. Does that count?"

It'll do me, thought Hudd, although she didn't say it.

"How old are you?"

"Nineteen, I think."

"You think?"

"Never really known when my birthday was. Can't count anyways."

"I'd say you're older. You seem older."

Kaden did not how to react to this, though Hudd meant it as a compliment.

"You never told me, you know."

"What?" Hudd was genuinely perplexed.

"What it is you're runnin' from."

Hudd looked away from her, out towards the sea. The secret was massive as the ocean itself - she felt its weight with every breath, every waking moment. She longed to unburden; get someone else to share the load, if only for a while. But...

There was something not quite right about the sea. Hudd lifted a hand, shielding her eyes against the rising sun.

"D'you see that?"

On the horizon, at the mouth of the wide inlet that fed both harbour and cove, something moved. Something big.

"I see it," murmured Kaden, squinting at the sparkling water.

"What d'you suppose it is?"

Kaden shook her head.

"C'mon," she said, with sudden authority, "We can see it better from up on the rocks..."

With lithe, vaulting leaps she began to scale the cove's rugged edge, her step sure as a mountain goat's. Hudd endeavoured to follow, but even with her long legs it was a struggle: by the time she caught up her heart was pounding; she was sweating and out of breath. Kaden's attention was now fixed upon the inlet, and Hudd followed her gaze from their elevated perch.

"Well I'll be darned," she whispered.

Swimming towards them, into the bay, was a giant snake. No other description seemed possible: it undulated through the waves, showing as many as a dozen flexing coils above the waterline at any given moment. From time to time a blunt, flattened head appeared, though neither of them could make out details such as eyes or mouth; nor was any tail visible. The creature's motion seemed languid, but it was closing at a terrific speed. And it was massive - though their perspective made it difficult to precisely estimate, Hudd guessed it was at least as long as the big ships that visited Gloucester, its body easily thick as a tree trunk. Watching it, Hudd felt a quivering, child-like excitement: it was like something from a dream, and she kept expecting it to vanish, or prove to be something else; but it was

real.

"Whoo," she shouted, spontaneously, "Just look at it!"

As it neared the cove's rocky pincers the monster slowed, as if uncertain. Then it began to assay a long, sweeping turn, in the middle of which it sank abruptly below the waves. Though they waited,

they did not see it again, although Hudd thought she saw a fleeting commotion, back out to sea.

"Tell me, Miss Hauser," said Hudd, "You ever in your life see anythin' like that?"

Again the shake of the head, the ebon ripple. Hudd noticed that her companion was trembling slightly.

"We should let people know about this," Hudd offered. Kaden fixed her with those dark eyes.

"You think anybody's gonna believe us?"

"Hell, why not? Besides, somethin' that big - somebody else has got to have seen it."

"Nobody here but us," Kaden reminded her. Hudd was nonplussed - this was a thing of wonder, and she wanted to share it.

"Well," she said, a little aggrieved, "I'm gonna go tell my Daddy."

Kaden's look was serious, her eyes like black mirrors.

"Now why would you want to go and do that?"

"What do you mean?"

"Ain't your daddy the one you're runnin' away from?"

Hudd hesitated, blanching.

"How'd you know that?"

Kaden shrugged. "First one you think of's usually the one you hate the most..."

Hudd fearfully backed away from her, awkwardly reversing her earlier climb.

"That some kind of injun shit?" she barked. "That what that is?"

Without waiting for a reply she was off, scrambling back down to the shore, fast as she could. A quick glance behind showed that Kaden made no effort to follow: this was a relief, and also a disappointment.

*

She ran pretty much all the way home, feeling the air scorch her lungs - a good feeling. Skirting the harbour en route, she noted her father's boat had returned; a little frisson of satisfaction displaced her usual fear. This time, things would be different. They had to be different - for what seemed like the first time in Hudd's life, something had happened.

"Daddy," she shouted, careening into the cottage, "Did you see it, Daddy? Did you see it?"

They were in the kitchen, mother and father, both turning to gaze at her with mute, implacable hostility.

"Where you been?" asked her father, with soft menace.

"Down the cove," she answered, her optimism faltering. "We saw a..."

"Get to your room," he said firmly. "I'll see to you in a minute."

"But Daddy, we saw a real live monster, out in the bay. It was..."

"Get. To. Your. ROOM!"

The last syllable was shouted, so loud it hit Hudd like a blow. She went, meekly, with a doleful glance at her mother, who would not meet her eyes. Laying on her bed, she tried once more to convince herself one last time it would be different, but her last ember of hope died the moment his figure filled her doorway, his expression hungry but his eyes utterly cold.

"Up," he said, with a slight gesture. Obediently she pulled up her skirts, a sudden rush of cool upon her pale thighs. As he fumbled with his belt buckle she gazed dolefully up at the ceiling - nope, wasn't going to be different. Not today.

He flung himself upon her, all bristle and bone and the smell of fish. The crucial part of him, the one she endeavoured to keep track of at all times, was already hard, pressing the intersection of her hip and thigh. Normally he would just rub himself off against her belly or her leg; occasionally he would insist she milked him with her hand, which was disgusting but at least quick. The worst was when he tried to be affectionate, tired to kiss her, whisper sweet nothings; tried to convince her she was enjoying it.

Too late, she realised that she'd been wrong, after all - it was going to be different. Forcefully, he pinned her arms, twisting and thrusting to work himself between her thighs.

"No, Daddy," she pleaded, squirming beneath him, "You mustn't..."

He'd tried this once before, but come to his senses in time. Hudd wasn't so sure now, and so she struggled. Keeping her pinned with his elbows, he slapped her once, twice, on the side of her head,

cursing her. She acquiesced, opening her legs just a little, just enough. He grunted in satisfaction,

pushing hard against her, feeling massive. Hudd squeezed her eyes shut, forcing out the tears: it wasn't so much pain she felt, more the promise of pain. There was pressure, brute force, focussed upon her most sensitive spot: he was going to split her, make her scream.

All at once he cursed forcefully, lurching suddenly up and forward. Hudd felt warm effluvium splatter upon her stomach and pelvis. She cried again, this time with relief: he couldn't get in. It was a small victory, but it was a victory nonetheless. And it had a price: as he got up off her he slapped her again, with all the unfettered power of his arm. She opened her eyes to see her mother at the door, looking on.

"Your supper's ready," she said to her husband, then turned away. He nodded, standing up, buckling his belt.

Later, as she often did, Hudd's mother came to clean her up; a task she undertook with the abstracted, somewhat offended air one might adopt emptying a chamber-pot. It was quite obvious, from the slight bruising of Hudd's vulva, to the sprayed glaze of ejaculate, what her husband had attempted.

"Momma," said Hudd softly, reasonably, "You've got to make him stop. He can't.. he can't put it in me - there can't be no baby. Please, Momma, you gotta help me."

Her mother did not reply, merely wiped her down like she was a fish ready for de-boning. As she turned for the door she spoke softly, not looking at her daughter.

"Man risks his life for us - we all gotta make sacrifices."

*

Next day the fine weather continued, coaxing Hudd's father out on the early tide, his daughter

shooting like a pale flare out from the cottage at the earliest opportunity, headed for the cove. Down there, at her special place, she perched on a rock and gazed at the water, trying not to cry.

"Hey." Kaden was at her side, black hair streaming in the breeze, and Hudd had no idea how she'd got there.

"Hey yourself."

"See anything?"

"Nope." Hudd swallowed. "No monsters today."

Kaden settled on the rock, unfolding her long brown legs. Hudd couldn't quite get over the length, the thinness of her.

"So - you tell your Daddy?"

Hudd shrugged, and sniffed. "Tried to. Don't think he was really interested."

"He got a trade?"

"Fisherman. They're all fishermen in my neighbourhood."

"What's he do when he's not fishin'?"

Hudd didn't even think about it.

"He tries to fuck me."

There was a silence. Hudd squeezed her eyes shut, but a solo tear crawled onto her soft cheek, merging with the faint spray flecking her face. She sniffed again, composing herself.

"You wanna go somewhere?" asked Kaden, suddenly.

"Like where?"

"A secret place."

"I guess," Hudd shrugged, non-committal in her misery.

With abrupt decisiveness Kaden vaulted from the rock. Taking Hudd's hand, she drew her gently down onto the shore and began to lead her - Hudd was taken aback by the gesture.

"Where we goin'?"

"You'll see."

Kaden led her around the far edge of the cove, over steep rocks that took them high above the choppy water. Though born and raised on the Cape, Hudd had never ventured quite this far: the rocks had always intimidated her; she had assumed there was nothing of interest round here anyway. She was wrong: as Kaden calmly, confidently drew her along, she saw they were descending a rough, rarely-used trail into another tiny, secluded cove. There was a narrow strip of beach, just wide enough for a small boat to put in, and beyond that a pale, weathered wooden shack. It was a silent, sheltered haven, all but invisible from the open water.

"Dunno who actually owns this place," said Kaden, as they approached, "But my folks sorta acquired it, an' nobody's complained yet."

"You live here?" The notion struck Hudd as both incredible and greatly romantic.

"I work here," said Kaden coldly, unfastening the door. "Most o' the time, anyways. They fixed it up so's to have the right kinda atmosphere..."

The building had storm shutters over its tiny windows, and it took Hudd's eyes a few moments to adjust to the gloomy, musty interior. Objects emerged, incongruous: a dresser with paint and powders; a well-stocked wardrobe; a bed. A big bed. Kaden fussed an oil lamp into life, its yellowed glow in strange contrast to the bright backlighting outside.

"I don't get it," said Hudd, slowly turning around.

"Well," Kaden sighed, "Y'know that big ol' house on Luskin Street in town?"

"Sure I do," Kaden laughed. "Everybody says it's a whorehouse..." she broke off. "Aw, shit."

"Yeah," said Kaden, with a bitter little laugh, "Shit."

"You're a whore?" Hudd could barely articulate the question.

"Halfbreed Indian whore, if you please - somethin' a little different, for the discerning gentleman."

"But - why?"

"My folks got a taste for liquor - lots of liquor. They tried runnin' it, sometimes legit, sometimes not. Either way, they proved better at drinkin' the stuff than dealin' it - ran up big debts with the wrong

people on both sides of the law. So, they decided to cash in their biggest asset - seems a lot o' the men took a shine to me right from when I was a girl. Nowadays I get hired out to whoever wants me: business partners, friends, random acquaintances; pretty much anyone they owe a favour. They send

'em here, 'cause it's discreet, an' kinda wild. My momma says we all gotta do our bit, an' this is mine. Also, my daddy says it's the only thing I'm good for."

"He ever try to fuck you?"

"Nah, why would he? There's plenty others t'do that for him."

Hudd sat down on the plush, yielding bed. Despite the shutters, its covers had a dampened, salted feel.

"You like it?" she asked. She was thinking of her father's occasional imprecations to enjoyment; wondering if it were actually possible.

"Sometimes it feels good," Kaden answered, though her voice was unenthusiastic. "Some of the guys know what they're doing; others are too nervous to be trouble. But mostly it just makes me sore and cranky. That's why I like to hang around the cove, dip my toes in the water - makes me feel human again."

Hudd hesitated over her next question, but it had to be asked.

"Did you - did you ever sleep with my daddy?"

Kaden shrugged. "Don't know who your daddy is, but if I was turnin' tricks for him, he wouldn't be sniffin' around you, now would he?"

Hudd considered. "Don't know bout that - there's somethin' he wants, maybe needs, an' momma

sure ain't givin' it to him."

"She know what's goin' on?"

"Uh-huh," the sounds all but caught in Hudd's throat.

"So how's she put up with that?"

Hudd shook her head. "I guess they got an understanding..."

"Yeah, that'd be it," Kaden snorted. "Kinda like the understanding my folks got about me - not that I'm ever consulted."

She came over and sat beside Hudd.

"Listen, maybe I can help you."

Hudd looked at her quizzically.

"You said he tries to - well, you know. How far does he get? He put it in you?"

Hudd squirmed, flushing shamefully at such direct questioning. Yet something about Kaden's manner was scooping out her darkest secrets.

"Not yet. But he's workin' up to it at a rate of knots..."

"He a beater? Will he hurt you if he don't get his way?"

Hudd nodded silently.

"Then you let him do it," said Kaden evenly. All colour drained from Hudd's face.

"That's it? That's your advice? Let him do it?"

Kaden grabbed her hand, looking into her eyes with an intensity that made Hudd quail.

"Honey, if he's gone this far, he won't stop 'til he gets all the way. Now you try an' fight him, he's just gonna hurt you all the more. You give him what he wants, but you make sure he pulls out in time - if he understands nothin' else, he's gotta understand that."

"Yeah, but - " Hudd struggled again with the spectre of self-loathing. "He's - he's big, y'know? He is gonna split me..."

"That's why you gotta be ready for him. You gotta make yourself slippery."

"How do I do that?"

Kaden glowered at her, as if she were teacher and Hudd a particularly dense pupil.

"You tellin' me you never touched yourself?"

"Hell, no!" Hudd recoiled. "The Lord Jesus might see me..."

Kaden rolled her eyes.

"Honey, Jesus done nothin' about your daddy sneakin' into your bed an' tryin' to have his way, so best we assume he don't see shit. Now, you just watch an' learn..."

She lifted herself a fraction, bunching the ragged hem of her skirt up around her waist. Hudd was

unsurprised to see she wore no undergarments, but even so the sight was a shock: between Kaden's slim brown thighs, and beneath her taut belly lay a thicket of riotous curls even blacker than the locks on her head. Hudd had never seen this part of another woman's body, not even her mother - never had a yardstick to compare herself against. She tried not to stare, but she was fascinated even as she was slightly repelled.

Kaden spit on her fingers and then, opening her thighs wide, guided them very precisely into the thicket. As she probed, lightly stroking, Hudd could see the delineation of her labia, the glossy maw between them a vivid, sickly cerise. As soon as she touched that raw pinkness Kaden quivered, her head flicking back. A little sigh escaped her lips.

There, she breathed, Thats the spot. You just keep rubbin there, gets you good an wet...

Hudd was doubtful: it all seemed too straightforward. Nonetheless she lifted herself, bundling the layers of skirt and petticoat awkwardly about her hips. Looking down, she noted the marked contrast between Kadens bronzed flesh and her own pale translucence. Between her white thighs lay a wispy delta of sandy curls, almost delicate in comparison to Kadens wild luxuriance. Regarding her own pudenda, then Kadens (the fingers flashing busily, with wet little sounds), made her feel slightly dizzy and disconnected. With incongruous delicacy she dribbled onto her fingers then, after a moments hesitation, slipped her hand between her thighs.

Oh, she whispered, shivering at the sudden, electric wave of feeling. Kaden looked at her with a dreamy smile.

Feels good, dont it?

Hudd wasnt altogether sure. The sensation was so intense, so overwhelming, that it was almost unpleasant; and with each touch, each delicate probe of her fingers, it was only exacerbated. It made her feel at once light as air and massively grounded; all but immobilised save for the surging rise of her

pelvis. The only thing she clearly appreciated was that, having started, there was no chance, and no desire, that she would stop. Unable to help herself, she closed her eyes and moaned aloud, shuddering uncontrollably as she did so.

Slow down, Kaden hissed. Take it steady: find the right spot an just tease yourself...

It didn't take Hudd long - it was like a little button, that flicked and slithered about her fingertip; somehow she had always known it would be there. Touching it seemed to activate something deep within; an inner sluice of energy and flow, at once voluptuously physical and tinged with something of the soul. It built rapidly, eagerly; a silent internal pressure straining implacably for some as-yet unknowable release. Hudd realised she was quivering, all over: she felt a frisson of fear, but there was

no question of her stopping now.

"You all wet now?" Kaden asked, her voice breathy, dreamily sensual. She had stopped touching herself, but Hudd barely noticed.

"I - I think so," Hudd panted, amazed and ashamed at the uncontrollable excitement in her own voice.

"Let me see..."

And Kaden reached across, deftly slipping her hand between Hudd's legs; sliding a finger effortlessly down the seam of Hudd's vulva, beneath where her own finger still stroked the tight, shrouded bud of her clitoris. The alien touch, so unexpected yet so welcome, caused the excitement within Hudd to flare in intensity, white hot: she tossed her head and cried out.

"Oh, Jesus...!"

"Oh, yeah - that's good, Honey," Kaden whispered. Her finger glided silkily along the flared inner

ridge of Hudd's labia, a touch so light it was all but insubstantial, and yet the sensations she evoked were so strong they were almost torturous. There was something in her voice now that made Hudd feel utterly depraved.

"Kaden," she blurted, a high-pitched, girlish squeak. "Dear God, what're you doin' to me?"

Kaden leaned in close, planting a soft wet kiss on Hudd's cheek. As she did so, she turned her finger decisively in and up - it slid effortlessly into Hudd's vulva, the inner labia parting easily as seawater, softly as feathers. Hudd drew in a long, shuddering breath as her whole being tensed against the intrusion.

"Ain't it obvious, Honey?" Kaden teased, and her voice was sibilant sugar. "I'm fucking you..."

Hudd moaned helplessly, incoherently, as muscles she hadn't known she possessed flexed deep within, tightening in pulsed concentric rings about the invading digit - she could not tell if they were trying to retain or expel. Her entire pelvic region seemed to have become elastic, spongy: discomfort and a strange sense of fulfilment fought for domination of her senses, disconcerting and delirious. She could stop this, she knew: the hand that still lingered at her pubic delta could easily grasp and repel the offending wrist. But it was paralysed; rendered inert as the rest of her by the all-consuming onslaught of that one, slightly crooked finger.

"Like it?" Kaden purred, running the tip of her tongue round the shell-like whorl of Hudd's ear. Hudd shivered, not knowing how to respond. She turned to look at Kaden - she was going to tell her to stop, possibly, maybe; but no sooner did she open her mouth than Kaden's own stole soft upon it. 'Twas a kiss like nothing Hudd had ever experienced, slow and spittle-laden, Kaden's tongue like a damp frond of seaweed slipped between her lips, curling and frothing. In the midst of it, Kaden's finger slowly withdrew, the walls of Hudd's vagina rippling in sympathy, before decisively pushing home once more, triggering the inner pulses again: stronger now, faster, eager.

The kiss broke. Hudd sucked in her breath, and for moment consciousness returned - it was like waking. Motion returned to her fingers, and she stroked herself again, carelessly passing up her last chance for resistance. Glancing down at herself, she saw a tableau of decadence: her white thighs spread; her vulva pink and parted by her own hand; Kaden's finger sliding with slick insouciance in and out of her, its pace perceptibly quickening. The moment of detachment dissipated, and she was aware of something new - the throbbing surges inside her were becoming almost unbearably powerful, rolling together in a cascade of raw sensation; a gushing torrent like something within was trying to escape. She gazed at Kaden, real fear in her eyes: Kaden's response was a warm smile, though her own eyes were dark and hungry. Hudd began to gasp frantically, each truncated breath in unison with the quivers that consumed her. She was an anemone, pulsating in the riptide: closing her eyes, she let it sweep her away.

"Kaden," she shrieked, above the inner roar, "Oh, Kaden! Oh, fuck...!"

Everything seemed to tear free, like a ship sundering. She fell with the wave, but it was merely back onto the bed. Tears of relief, of release sprang from her eyes: she wept with the joy of discovering this power within herself; wept with sadness at the loss of her remaining innocence. It was a disaster - a perfect disaster, destroying everything and leaving only newness and potential in it's wake.

Having broken, the wave rolled back. It left Hudd lying there, as something stranded, trembling and gasping, slowly returning to reality. Kaden lay beside her, snuggled close like a friend, a sister.

"Why'd you do that?" Hudd whispered, awestruck.

"To make you happy," Kaden murmured. "That's what I do - make people happy."

"Am I - am I s'posed to pay you for this?"

Kaden chortled. "Let's call it a free sample. Maybe we can work out a trade some other time..."

Hudd regarded her fingers, the pungent effluvium drying upon them. The thought of what a 'trade' might entail made her shiver, but she couldn't stop thinking it. She pictured herself putting those fingers into Kaden's body; a grotesque yet alluring notion. Abruptly she pulled herself up and off the bed, her legs a little weak, the muscles still trembling.

"I gotta go," she panted, restoring her dress to something like decorum.

"Want me to come with you, least as far as the Cove?"

"No," Hudd's voice was firm. "You got things to do, an' so do I..."

As she reached the door Kaden hurried to catch her. They exchanged a fleeting, chaste kiss. Kaden's look was all sympathy.

"Good luck," she said simply.

"Yeah," Hudd whispered. "You too..."

*

Going home, everything felt different Though she paused to wash herself in her favourite rock pool, still a stickiness, a strange odour seemed to cling to her. Hudd's breasts seemed fuller than ever, and hypersensitive; her legs were stretched; she throbbed below her belly with an aching sensation that was almost like hunger. Yesterday the monster (and how quickly it had faded from her thoughts!) had made her feel like a little girl, and now Kaden - well, she wasn't altogether sure, but she thought that maybe Kaden had made her feel like a woman. And that in itself was a scary, wondrous thing: could her own mother once have felt like this? Was this what her father had come to despise?

Once she reached the cottage it began as it always did: the dark looks from both her parents; the

strained conversation; the taut, implacable tension that seemed to emanate from the very walls.

"Where you been?" her father asked once more, his voice even, yet thick with menace.

"Usual place," Hudd shrugged, all innocence. "Down the Cove, lookin' for stuff."

"You see anybody else down there?"

"Nope." Hudd was not looking at her father when she said this, so was unprepared for the hand that whipped savagely across her face. She staggered, head spinning with the blow.

"Don't you lie to me, you little bitch!" he spat. "You've been seen, down on the beach with that Hauser girl. You know what she is, Bitch? Do you?"

Hudd was mute, rubbing her cheek, fighting back the tears. He grabbed her shoulders, thrusting his face into hers.

"She's a WHORE! A dirty, two-bit, good-for-nothing injun whore..."

Hudd lost the battle with herself, and began to sob. He pushed her away as if discarding something unwanted, like a rag.

"Get to your room," he said coldly, as their script demanded. "I'll see to you later..."

Glumly resigned, she went. Lying on her bed, she contemplated this awful interval - the one she always wanted fervently to be over with, yet wished could stretch forever. How long would he make her wait this time? Was that part of the excitement for him, to leave her dangling, anxious and helpless? Except, she wasn't entirely helpless, not now. In the flurry of violence she had almost

forgotten Kaden's wisdom, her womanly skills; how good they had made her feel. Ruffling her skirts

she probed tentatively with her fingers - the surge of sensation, so immediate and strong, made her shiver. She thought of Kaden, of her lips and fingers and her long, long legs: dreamy pleasure fought with her fear, pushing it back as she stroked and dabbed with a fingertip, though never quite overwhelming it. Such a strange tension: terror and delight; delight and terror; she could feel herself becoming slick, her breath and heart-rate slowing. At the sound of footsteps by her door she stopped abruptly, thrusting her skirts back to full-length innocence.

Her father came in, with that apologetic look of his she so despised. He stood for a moment, ruffling his hair, groping for words.

"I'm sorry, Sweetie," he said at last. "I didn't mean t'get so mad at you - I know you're a good girl. But you gotta understand, we're a respectable family, an' you can't be goin' around with a girl like that - she is pure trash."

She's still better'n you, Hudd thought, but said nothing. He gazed at her, his look slightly pleading, as if he genuinely expected absolution. She merely stared back, mutely hostile. Shrugging, he made the offhand little gesture that was his signal. She dutifully hitched her skirts again, as he reached for his belt.

The difference was not dramatic, but was immediately noticeable. She didn't resist as he pushed against her, all fleshy hardness. She felt herself give a little, like soil before spade, felt the strangely tender tip of him as it intruded her own body. He gave a strangled cry of surprise and pleasure: she could sense him struggling for control, wanting to push harder, but not too hard; actually, in his own stupid way, trying not to hurt her. The sense of power this gave her was a shock, and she did not know what to do with it. She could feel herself stretching, stretching, and it was horrible, but there was no pain: for that small mercy, she would be forever grateful to Kaden. Kaden - she tried to cling to the thought of her strange, beautiful friend, how fiercely she loved her; but present reality blotted out all

other considerations. She did not know how deep her father had gotten - probably not far, though it felt epic to her. She thought, well Daddy, you finally got what you wanted - you're fuckin' me; and she

began to weep silently. But you'll never know you ain't the first...

As if reading her mind, he stopped abruptly, then pulled out in a sharp jerk that made her yelp with sudden discomfort. He glowered down at her, face a fixed mask of rage.

"It's her, ain't it?" he growled. "She teach you this? She teach you her whore tricks, you little BITCH?!"

This last shouted, his face mere inches from hers. She tried to retreat from him, into the covers, but there was nowhere to go. He reared up, faintly ridiculous with his erect penis wavering, then drove his fist down into her face. Instinctively she turned away, and the bedspread absorbed much of the impact, but still there was a flash of red behind Hudd's eyes and she was momentarily blank. Her father was screaming, raving, calling her all the names under numerous suns while he attempted to bludgeon her, and she rolled and ducked and curled to avoid him.

And then, a miracle of sorts: her mother, blundering into the room, pulling at her father's shoulders, dragging him off of Hudd. She backed hard against a wall, dragging him to her, hauling up her skirts.

"That's enough, my Husband," she whispered savagely. "You can't go all the way with her - you just can't. But I'm still here, an' I still got what you need: you can go all the way with me..."

The sound he made as he drove hard into her was a strangled howl of frustration and relief; rage and grief and shame. Their coupling was brutish, devoid of all tenderness, all emotion: a simple, violent exchange. Hudd tried not to watch, but it was impossible: her face hurt, she felt queasy; her mind was overwhelmed by despair and degradation. And then, just for a second, she seemed to catch her mother's eye - a flash of light that sent a clear message to her: go! Go Now!

It was possible she just imagined it. She went anyway...

*

It was evening as she fled, the clouds edged pink and violet against the sable sky. The surging surf snatched at her heels as her bare feet slapped across the sand. She flew over rocks, scrambled determinedly up the steep and fearsome rise that hid the secret bay. Desperation and determination

in equal measure spurred her on: she was down to her last hope, and nothing would keep her from it.

There were pale lights twinkling in the old boathouse, just as she knew there would be. Kaden was there - the one who only yesterday had been a stranger, yet now had become her world. Ever since... ever since the monster, in fact. It was such a ludicrous realisation that Hudd was giddy, almost giggling as she crossed the small patch of sand to the boathouse door, and hammered upon it.

Within the building there was an audible kerfuffle, and a protracted pause before the door creaked reluctantly open - a dishevelled, night-shirted Kaden blinking behind it.

"Hudd? What the hell are you doing here? What happened to your face?"

"I ran away," Hudd shrugged. "Can I come in?"

Kaden hesitated, seemingly reluctant. As she slowly backed away, the sound of someone clearing their throat made Hudd start.

"I say, Miss," the voice was male, quite refined. "What is going on here?"

Bizarrely enough, it had not actually occurred to Hudd that Kaden might be 'working' at this hour. Beside her bed stood a blushing, half naked man, and it was the interesting part of him that was

uncovered. The rest of his garments were scattered about the place, some carefully folded, the rest abandoned on the floor in seeming erotic frenzy. Other possession were visible, arrayed upon the dresser: a hat, a cane, a Boston newspaper; a temptingly bulging wallet. At Hudd's entrance the man had jumped back, covering his groin; but it was nothing Hudd hadn't seen before, anyway.

"Guess I'm not welcome here now," she muttered sullenly, blinking back tears. "I'll go..."

She turned back for the door, but Kaden grabbed her arm.

"No," she said firmly. "You stay."

"Miss Hauser, what is all this?" the gentleman tried again. He was groping for something to preserve his new-found modesty. "Who is this young woman?"

"That's none o' your business," Kaden snapped. "She's a friend, is all, an' she's in trouble."

"May I remind you, we are trying to conduct a business transaction here?"

Kaden faced him, her eyes dark and fierce and beautiful.

"You wanna carry on, it's fine by me. But she is stayin', regardless."

He seemed to shrivel a little, physically, and Hudd guessed the state of his concealed manhood was nowhere near as impressive as it has been moments ago. Again, there was that vague sense of power - was there some secret to it? Did Kaden know?

"I cannot possibly continue, with another present," he mumbled, fumbling for his clothes. Both girls looked on as he dressed haphazardly, face burning. Hudd hoped in his discomfort he might forget to pick up his wallet, but was disappointed - nonetheless, he somehow overlooked both hat and

newspaper.

"Your parents shall hear of this," was his parting shot, as he blundered out the door. "I do not think they will appreciate this disobedience."

"Just be careful you don't fall down a cliff on your way home," Kaden called after him, flashing an obscene gesture towards his departing back. As he trudged away, Hudd settled heavily onto the bed.

"Well," she sighed, hanging her head, "Guess I've gone an' gotten you in trouble as well..."

"He ain't the first I've knocked back, an' won't be the last," Kaden huffed. "Still, I know a couple of folks'll be plenty mad when I show my face back home."

"Will they beat you?"

"Not too much - doesn't pay to damage the merchandise. But yeah, they know a trick or two t'make it sting."

"How come you never run?"

"Where's to run to?" An' what chance I got, with no schoolin'? Can't read nor write, got nothin' goin' for me 'cept this face an' this body - if I was on my own, what's to stop those guys takin' what they want for free? Hell, you ran, an' look where you ended up - right here."

Hudd started to cry: bitter, wrenching sobs; tears like fat raindrops and snot dripping from her nose. Kaden let her ride awhile, then settled next to her, gently taking her hand.

"Was it bad?"

Hudd nodded, still weeping.

"What I showed you," Kaden ventured, "It didn't help?"

"Oh, it helped alright," Hudd sniffed. "Helped too much: Daddy, or someone he knows, spied me on the beach with you. He guessed you'd taught me somethin', t'make it less painful, an' that made him mad. He said I weren't to see you no more, so - I ran."

Kaden seemed jolted by these words.

"You ran 'cause of me?"

Hudd nodded, wiping her face with her hand. They looked at each other with wide eyes, bright crystal-glazed blue mirrored in deepest brown, and time seemed to slow about them. Hudd's breathing subsided, while conversely Kaden's seemed to quicken slightly. They held each other's gaze for what felt like an eternity, before Kaden's hand slowly crept to Hudd's swollen cheek, still damp. So very gently she drew Hudd to her, and they kissed.

Hudd's heart lurched - she was so overcome that she almost cried again. The press of Kaden's lips, so soft and precise, seemed to obliterate all other concerns: her pain, her fear, her hatred and self-loathing all magically melted away. She trembled as Kaden's slender arms encircled her, as the girl's sweet, warm mouth became insistent; tongue flicking at the sealed portal of her own lips, curling and sliding like foam over rocks. Hudd well understood the meaning of this entreaty: excitement and fear combined to a strange, dizzy numbness within her. She reached up, tangling her fingers in the long ebon fronds of Kaden's hair. Slowly, slowly she relaxed and relented; her mouth opened, allowing the soft invasion, so gentle yet so powerful.

When they parted for breath, easily and naturally as swimmers, Hudd could feel her excitement winning out: the fierce adoration in Kaden's dark eyes seemed to warm her through; the memory of

what they had previously shared made her throb down below.

"You want it?" Kaden's whisper was as much assertion as enquiry.

Hudd did. Of course she did: with Kaden, wanted it as much as she disdained it with her father. But there remained one last obstacle, one last fear.

"You mustn't," she struggled for words, "You mustn't put your fingers in me. I'm still - still tender from Daddy..."

Kaden's smile was reassuring, though her eyebrows curled coquettishly.

"Don't you trust me, Honey?"

"'Course I do," Hudd blurted, almost offended.

"Then you just worry 'bout takin' all your things off, an' leave the rest to me. I ain't ever gonna hurt you, an' there's tricks I know that your daddy couldn't dream of in a million years..."

By now Kaden's smile was positively satanic - it was making Hudd so wet that she blushed, her bruise an island of dull blue in a sudden sea of pink. She stood up, hauled her dress over her head, then with trembling fingers fumbled at the fastenings of her chemise and drawers. All the while she was aware of Kaden's eyes upon her: hungry, approving; drinking in every curve of her ripe, voluptuous body.

"Fuck, but you're beautiful," she sighed, and it sounded almost sad. Hudd glanced down at herself, almost seeing with new eyes the slightly pendulous hang of her breasts, the tumescent nipples broad, upturned cones of terracotta. Her body hummed sweetly, prickly heat spreading in the hollow of her throat, in her cleavage, over her belly and thighs. She trembled, not so much from nervousness

anymore - she was ready. She looked right into the seductive pools of Kaden's eyes.

"What now?"

"Lie down on the bed," Kaden rose to accommodate her, "and just relax."

Hudd complied, shuffling into a comfortable position, looking up just in time to see Kaden, with one swift, practised motion fling off her nightshirt. Hudd couldn't help letting out a little gasp, finally confronted by the totality of Kaden nude. Lithe and golden she was, almost catlike; low, somewhat

flattened breasts curving out from her slender torso, crowned with firm tawny buds. Kaden's midriff was a taut, smooth diamond from ribcage to pelvis, its centre-point a deep, vertically elongated navel. At the diamond's base that lush, black thicket; site of so many secrets that Hudd now realised she wanted to learn.

Kaden lifted one long leg onto the edge of the bed, then paused a moment, a teasing little smile on her face. Dimly, Hudd comprehended that this was part of her art - the art of seduction. With slow, sensual grace she arched herself over and on top of Hudd, the latter marvelling at how different it was from her only point of comparison, her father. No bristles, no boniness, no hard projections: just soft, smooth curves that seemed to complement her own; a lush mouth joining hers in sweetly saturated union. The silken intensity of it all made her shiver, moaning softly.

"What would Lord Jesus make of this?" she whispered, without thinking. For a moment Kaden seemed utterly confounded by this unexpected question. Then amusement glittered across her face.

"Well, if he truly is God, then He is gonna send us straight to Hell for sure. But if He's really a man, He's probably gonna want to join in..."

Explosive laughter burst from Hudd, dissipating whatever tension still lingered. This girl, this halfbreed whore, was indeed a walking, talking blasphemy, just like her Daddy had warned. But then,

where had listening to Daddy ever gotten her?

"Now," Kaden snapped, in mock irritation, "Can I suggest you just shut up, an' enjoy yourself?"

Playfully chastened, Hudd lay supine, surrendered to whatever sensually deviant pleasures lay in store. Kaden's lips and tongue were perfectly harmonised: dabbing, licking, sucking; trailing like a moist cloth over her body, the sort one might use to soothe a fever. Except in this case the effect was purely the reverse: each kiss merely stoked Hudd's fever all the more, stoking her inner heat, leaving her flushed and sweating; deliciously dishevelled. No part of her was off limits to Kaden's relentless

mouth: the tongue slid across her cheek, curled in her ear, dabbled tickling in her clammy underarm; the

lips grazed her neck, her shoulder, the crook of her elbow, her palm. Black fronds of Kaden's hair trailed across Hudd's breasts like filaments of satin, making her nipples ache as they engorged with pinkish tumescence. At length Kaden drew first one, then the other, into her mouth; suckling delicately with her lips and lapping at the upturned teat: Hudd arched her back involuntarily, closed her eyes and moaned deliriously under this tender assault. She was on fire now, down below her belly; she had an overwhelming urge to touch herself, as she had before, but still deep-seated inhibition held her: this was where her daddy had been, where he had pushed himself into her; hurt her, quite purposefully, pulling out. What if he had damaged her, in some way? Could Kaden overcome that, take her over the precipice again? Hudd ached to find out, yet was afraid of the answer.

Kaden's mouth swept on, slowly moving lower: her tongue trilled over Hudd's ribs, slipped down the shallow valley of her midriff; swirled a Catherine-wheel spin in the dainty eye of her navel. Hudd had opened her legs, allowing Kaden to slide between them: she shivered with need; her heart hammered and her pulse ran hot with desire and fear inextricably entangled. Unable to help herself she tensed, gritting her teeth; her eyes began to water: the crucial moment was at hand.

True to her promise, Kaden was circumspect. She quite ignored the scented, glistening rent of Hudd's vulva, even though it all but pleaded for her attention. Instead, she planted deft kisses on Hudd's hips, the inner curves of her pelvis, then shifted over and down to lightly dab her knee. With

gentle, grazing pecks she worked her way along Hudd's inner thigh, white and soft and smooth as vellum, stopping short of the fragrant delta, shifting across to the other knee and repeating the process. She tried to read Hudd's quivers and sighs, the slow unwinding of her tense frame, seeking the perfect moment. She was an artisan of pleasure, and if, indeed, it was all she was good for, then right now it

was good enough. Placing her thumbs at the outermost periphery of Hudd's inflamed labia she spread them, almost imperceptibly. Then with a confident stroke she swept her tongue up between the dilated lips, flicking its tip off the taut nub of Hudd's eager, excited clitoris.

"Oh!" Hudd screamed, an unearthly banshee wail, her body flexing and jolting in response, possibly

even in revulsion, to this novelty. Hudd had no idea such a thing was possible; that anyone could do it, could even think of doing it. It was so gentle, so utterly undemanding, yet so blindingly intense that she began to cry - tears of bewilderment, of gratitude; of deep depravity and even deeper joy. Each slow, sustained lick triggered in her a voluptuous shudder that drove the breath from her body and left her teetering on the brink of some unseen, unimagined Heaven - it was a little bit like dying, though she had never felt so totally alive.

But Kaden was not finished yet. While she licked and lapped, savouring Hudd's honeyed essence, she hooked her hands behind the girl's knees, easing her legs up and back. Hudd was too deliriously distracted to note the rather ridiculous posture Kaden was forcing her into - to be honest, she was beyond being surprised or disturbed by anything at this point, so was content to have her legs waver in the air akimbo, while she awaited the next phase of Kaden's erotic onslaught.

This was not long in coming. After several more long, looping licks of Hudd's velvety inner folds, Kaden abruptly shifted focus: Hudd felt a curious, wet tickling sensation, unlike any that had gone before; realising with a rush of hot, guilty pleasure that Kaden's tongue now probed the periphery of her exposed anus. It seemed there was no limit to Kaden's debauchery, and Hudd knew full well she ought protest this desecration but, sweet Jesus, it felt so good. With gentle but insistent fingers Kaden was parting the pale crescents of her buttocks, allowing her tongue-tip to worm delicately into the lightly stretched aperture; and it was sending pulses of shimmering abandon through all of Hudd's body. Far

from resisting, she put her hands to the backs of her knees and held herself tighter, maximising her vulnerability; a willing participant in her own violation.

"Kaden, you were right," she purred, "My daddy could never think of anythin' like that..."

Kaden, unseen, allowed herself a secret smile - she was prepared to honour Hudd's wishes, and not penetrate her vagina; but she was also to best the hated, unseen father once again, claiming his daughter's body as hers and hers alone. She let her tongue slither free of the quivering orifice, swept it across the taut band of Hudd's perineum and back up between the sodden puce drapes of her labia. As

Hudd's body rose in delight, as she moaned in craven gratitude, Kaden seized her chance: while suckling the proud, unshrouded clitoris, she propelled one rigid finger slowly but intently into the moistened well of Hudd's anus. Hudd all but convulsed at this latest intrusion: her back arched, her shoulders locked; muscles in her tummy and her thighs flexed and tightened.

"Kaden," she sobbed, "That's so..." But there were no words to frame the feelings that consumed her: these unholy alloys of bliss and discomfort; ecstasy and humiliation.

"You can't," she pleaded, tossing her blonde head in vain protestation, "You just can't..."

But Kaden could, and Kaden was: Kaden was fucking her, again; fucking her somewhere she had not dreamed it was possible to be fucked. And again her body was unresisting: the tiny, ruched ring of her contracted with unseemly eagerness to admit the slick, sliding digit; pulsated with greedy inner kisses as it slowly withdrew; flexed eagerly in anticipation of the next slow thrust. Kaden's tongue against her clitoris was a resonating hum of sweet, unbearable agony; a lick of flame setting her whole body alight. She sensed her oncoming climax first as a hot wind fanning her face and breasts with a searing blush of scarlet: it was a storm front, destined to pound through her; scour her outer skin and inner flesh and leave her purified. It was driving Daddy out of her, forever, and though he could not hear, she was going to tell him so.

"I hate you, Daddy," she cried, "Hate you, hate you, hate you..." the words crumbling away into incoherent shrieks as her body was wracked with spasms of relief. Hudd lost all sense of time, unaware how long this thunderous moment - if indeed it could be called a moment - gripped her. Gone too was her physical sense of self: she did not know at what point Kaden's tongue no longer assaulted her; when the finger slid free of her bottom; where the boundary between apotheosis and slow calming lay. Everything seemed to colour in around her, her senses gradually reawakening: she felt the harried breath surging in her lungs; the uncontrollable trembling of her extremities; the ethereal, indefinable ache of the freshly taken.