Survival Ch. 1


We sat on the floor of the mountain cave, my sister Temara and I, with our faces buried in the dusty sweat-and-lanolin smelling folds of our father’s robe. Even so, we could see the throbbing, flashing glare of light behind us. Every now and then one of us would risk a look upward. All we saw was the continuous play of fiery light on the walls of the cave, on the planes of Pa’s face, and reflected in the darkness of his eyes. In the distance, we heard thunder. Occasionally, a slight tremor ran through the ground, as far away from the destruction as we were.

The two young men whose arrival in our home had signaled the beginning of all this trouble had told us that the small town where we had stopped was safe to stay in, but our father wanted to make absolutely sure. He’d considered the distance of the town from our hometown, which was in the process of being blasted to ash, and he’d marked the direction of the prevailing winds, and decided that we hadn’t come far enough.

I could feel, through our father’s solid bulk, the slender body of my older sister shaking with hard sobs, and that got me started again. I knew she was thinking of the utter unreal horror of what had happened to our mother.

“Don’t look behind you,” Pa had said. “Whatever you do. Those men—holy men, angels, whatever they were—that’s what they told me.”

I don’t know whether Ma thought we’d surely come far enough—we’d traveled more than half the night—or whether she simply forgot. Pa stopped the wagon because we’d felt a wobble in one of the wheels, and he wanted to check the linchpin, and we all had to get out. When you leave your town for whatever reason, isn’t it natural to look back?

Either Ma thought we were far enough so that what those men said didn’t apply anymore, or she forgot. When it happened to her, she did not have time to utter a word or a cry, not even a gasp.

Pa saw what happened to her, and uttered a great cry of shock and sorrow, such as we’d never heard from him before.

“Into the wagon, quickly, girls,” he ordered us. “Hide your faces. Don’t even look up until I say. I can’t lose you, too.” He cracked his whip over the backs of the brace of oxen that were pulling our wagon, and they picked up their hooves and started forward again.

I wondered if she had suffered any pain.

Pa said we had enough food and drink to stay up in the cave for several months, and then we would venture down to the plain and see what was left for us, what we could do. We’d turned the oxen loose on the plain—there was not enough grass growing up on the mountain for them to live on. The goats, however, were a different story. Any of the prickly, stickly things that grew out of the cracks in the rocks, the stunted, windblown trees—they thrived on it. The chickens did all right, too, although we begrudged them what grain we fed them and was glad when they became more accustomed to scratching for themselves.

The cave was a good cave, as caves go. The fissures toward the back proved to lead to areas in which we could store some of our food and furnishings. There was a natural vent which drew air upward, which meant that we could cook and warm ourselves with a fire without filling the cave with smoke. Best of all, there was even a little spring that filled a naturally formed pool, which then overflowed to make a little rill that ran out of the entry to the cave and down the side of the mountain, nurturing some stunted, gnarled trees.

We made a good, if spare and simple life for ourselves. We kept our goats and we managed to grow a few herbs and vegetables. Every day we looked out upon scenes of wild, deep, gigantic beauty, as we watched the sun and clouds make fantastic shadows on the sides of the mountain. Sometimes we would see a storm form, begin, and end; and it would all be so far away that it would not affect us. When it was close, it was frightening; even huddled as far back in the cave as we could get, we could feel the hair stand up on our heads and bodies with the nearness of the lightning. Somehow, though, I could not feel that it would ever actually hit us; we had already been through the worst.

The daily touch of the sun, which seemed so much closer than it had been when we lived in our city on the plain, darkened our skins. We had not been able to bring many clothes with us, and what we had began to get worn and ragged. It did not seem important, as it had when we had lived in the city, and we would not have dared to stir a step out the door without putting on a good dress, elaborately braiding our hair, and making sure that we had the right jewelry on to complement everything else.

Day by day we looked down the mountain from our place of refuge down, to the plain. How I wished for an eagle’s sight! We never saw a living soul.

“Pa,” I once asked, “Do you think we’re the last people left in the world?”

“It’s something we have to consider,” he replied.

Pa was good with a bow and sometimes he went out hunting and brought back something to eat, sometimes wild bayan escort doves or a scrawny little deer that was too tough to roast but was all right for the pot. One day he told us he was going to see if he could bring us some meat. He hung his skinning knife in its leather scabbard on his girdle, wrapped up a bit of bread and cheese, filled a small stone bottle with water, and left the cave.

“Good,” Temara said. “Now we can talk.” We sat down on our sleeping pallets, facing each other.

“What do you want to talk about that we couldn’t with Pa around?”

“How this family is going to survive.”

“We’re doing all right. We’re safe, we’ve got enough to eat and drink—what do you mean, survive?”

“Sister, I’m thinking about the future. About us being the last people on the face of the earth. “Tell me, Adina, didn’t you naturally assume that some day you’d marry a man and have his children?”


“I did. And here we are, up in this cave, and we’re not going to meet anybody. What’s going to become of our family? Where are we going to get our children from? How is our blood going to be carried down to the next generation?”

“Good question.”

“I thought it was,” Temara said. “I’ve been thinking about it for the last couple of weeks, and I’ve decided there’s only one solution.”


Temara looked elaborately down the mountain trail.

“What are you saying, Temara?”

“Adina, dear little sister, you do know how women get children, don’t you?”

“Yes. A man comes into you, and nine months later…”

“And what man do we have available to us?”

“Temara! You mean…our own father? That’s terrible! That’s unnatural! How could you think such a thing?”

“I know, I know, it takes some getting used to. Nevertheless, where else are we going to get children from?”

“How? Pa would never do such a thing! He is a righteous man!”

“Righteous is as righteous does,” Temara said. “You didn’t hear him when some of the men on our street were pounding on our door that night, screaming for him to bring those two guests out so they could…um, get to know them. He offered to send you and me out there!”

“A good bluff,” I said. “I know which men those were. They’d never been interested in us; we’re girls…so how are you going to get Pa to fall in with this plan?”

“I thought we’d fill him full of wine,” Temara said. “I’ll lie with him the first night and you the night after. He might forget what happened to Ma and think it’s her—or he might not even know what happened. He might think he dreamed it.”

“Twice in two nights?”

“It’s a chance we have to take.”

“So, when?”

“You’ve just finished your courses, haven’t you?” I nodded. For some reason, Temara and I always had our monthly issue of blood about the same time. “All right, this week is no good. We’ll wait another week, a week and a half. Once each, and if we’re lucky, we’ll catch right away.”

Temara and I had gone to a great deal of trouble to set things up to make the occasion as agreeable and special as possible. We heated up some of the cold spring water and got out some of our precious supply of nard and sweet oil, and Temara and I washed ourselves. Pa, too—after we were done. s. He took the used water away. After that, we poured some of our red wine into a wine cup and carried it to him. We had put on some of our nicer dresses, which we had not bothered to wear in months

“Why, thank you, girls—what’s the occasion?” We did not drink wine very often—we knew that when it ran out, we wouldn’t have any more, until we made it ourselves. We’d also established that the water coming out of our little spring was fit to drink.

“Nothing special,” Temara said. “It’s just that we’ve been living from day to day so far—and here we are, alive, and safe. We thought we’d celebrate a little.”

“Sounds like a good idea to me,” he said. “Have some yourselves.”

Temara filled a cup and handed it to me. I drank the strong, sweet stuff as rapidly as I could. I didn’t drink wine often enough to develop a taste for it. It tasted better than I’d thought it would. A pleasant floaty sensation mounted to the top of my head, and I smiled. Temara cut me a narrow, warning look, out of Pa’s view—just watch it, the glance said.

While we drank we sang songs, and talked about pleasant times in earlier days—before all the miraculous weird things had started happening to us. We seemed to fill Pa’s wine cup again and again. We drank not a little, ourselves, although we were careful not to drink too much—we did not want to wake up the next morning with headaches and our task still unfulfilled before us.

“That’s about it, girls,” Pa said. “That’s enough for me.” He took off his robe, lay down on his sleeping pallet, and was asleep almost instantaneously. He was tall, strong, and thinner than he used to be because he was not living as a city man anymore; not an ill-looking man at all. A comely man, really, bayan escort gaziantep with the curly dark hair, dark eyes and strong features common in the men of our tribe. He was good-looking in his own right, and we could remember the women in town giving him second and third glances when he went out on the street. Under ordinary circumstances, it would not have seemed odd to accept the marriage offer of a man of his type. A lot of girls we’d known tended to marry men who were like their fathers, and it wasn’t that strange. But him…it was beyond strange, this thing we were contemplating.

“It’s time,” Temara whispered. My heart began to pound like a war drum.

“Is this going to work, with him sound asleep?”

We had left the little lamp burning; it sat in a natural niche in the cave wall. The cave was full of big, flickering shadows. Temara slipped out of her clothing and stood, naked and slender and beautiful. Her breasts were high and full, crowned by dark-rose, pointed nipples. The place between her legs was covered with a thick mat of curly hair which concealed everything. With a graceful movement, she dropped to her knees beside the sleeping man and, with infinite care and caution, untied his loincloth. His penis, which at this time was only a little longer than the longest one of her fingers but much fatter, lay atop a broad mat of dark, slightly grizzled, wiry body hair. It looked like a little sleeping animal. As soon as she took it in her hand, its appearance began to undergo a rapid change. It went from finger size to being about the length of her hand from base to the tip of her middle finger, almost too big to get her hand around, with big blue veins twisting up its sides like snakes. In fact, that was what it reminded me of: picking up a little garden worm and having it turn suddenly into a big, dangerous serpent…except that unlike a serpent, it was not flexible in the least; it was stiff, like a pestle or a club.

Then Temara did something which seemed very strange: she bent down and put the end of the thing in her mouth!

Pa thrust upwards with his hips, as if he were trying to get more of his penis into Temara’s mouth.

“Mmm, yes, Keshet,” he murmured. “So good. Do that some more.”

Temara was right—Keshet had been our mother’s name.

“Your mouth—um, sister, are you sure you know what you’re doing, there?”

Temara raised her head. “It’s going to be a very tight fit, going in,” she said. “This is how you get it ready. I saw my sister-in-law doing that to Malek.”

“Temara! How could you do such a thing?”

“Easy. They hadn’t pulled the curtain to their sleeping chamber to, and all I had to do was put an eye to the opening. Who’s going to explain these things to you? Nobody! Men get to learn things, but not us. When you get married you’re supposed to endure one crazy surprise after another. I’ve never seen the sense of that. Now, pay attention! You’re going to be doing this tomorrow night, you know!”

She bent down and fitted her mouth over Pa’s long rigid thing again, going up and down on it, until saliva was flowing smoothly down its sides. Presently she decided that it was slippery enough and she straddled him.

“Bring that lamp over here,” she said. “You need to see this.”

“Have you ever done this before?”

“I told you. I’ve seen it done. It’s going to have to do.” I got the lamp from its niche and put it on a small table, one of the few pieces of furniture we had been able to fit into the wagon. I knew, from cleaning my own private area, that underneath all that hair there was an opening, framed by two pairs of fleshy lips, with a little bud-sized affair at the top that felt strangely pleasant if you spent too much time touching it. In the light of the lamp, now that it was closer, I could see that Temara had the same thing; when she parted her legs I could see the dark pink lips through her dark hair. She fitted the bulbous end of the sleeping man’s pole between them and sank down on it, little by little. When the end had disappeared, she uttered a little hiss of pain, her beautiful, fine-drawn dark eyebrows knitted, and she set her teeth. But she did not withdraw herself. A little thread of bright blood ran from her opening, down the side of the pole. She sank further, and less of the pole could be seen. Finally she had it all the way in.

“Is that it?” I said.

“No, this is only the first part—”

And then, everything changed.

When we were little, we used to play a game with Pa that we called Sleeping Giant. We thought it was great fun to play stupid little-girl tricks on him while he lay asleep in the afternoons, things like weaving plaits into his beard, unlacing his sandals, putting flowers in his hair. Sometimes he really would be asleep, and then he would wake up. Sometimes, though, he would only be feigning sleep, and it was a scary thrill to see how long he would put up with us, how far we could get, before he would utter a gaziantep escort playful roar, spring up, and chase us all over the courtyard while we fled before him, squealing in not-quite-fake terror.

The last time we’d played that game was about six years ago. It hadn’t been quite like the other times. I’d gotten the notion to untie the girdle from around his waist, and while I was picking away at the knot, I’d noticed something stir, twitching and jerking, below the girdle, under his robe. And then he’d awakened—or “awakened”—with a roar, and chased after us. After that he told us we were getting too old for such foolishness and we never played the game again.

Pa was quick and limber for a big man—in a movement as swift and surprising as an acrobat’s trick, he wasn’t under Temara any more. Temara was under him.

“Arrgh,” he said playfully.

Temara lay pinned beneath him. He grinned at her, and taking her face in his hand, pressed on the hinge of her jaw so that her mouth opened whether she wanted it to or not. He gave her the kind of kiss a lover gives, plundering, invasive, his tongue entering deeply. Somehow, that seemed more shocking, even, than the sight of his pole disappearing between her legs. Her eyes rolled at me in mute (how other?) appeal. I looked back at her and spread my hands. If she was at a loss, I was not much better off.

“I can’t believe you forgot our little game!” he said. Temara struggled to sit up, but he held her down as easily as if she were a child.

“Pa—you were supposed to be asleep!” Temara cried.

“What about all that wine you drank?” I demanded.

Pa laughed. “Number one, a man my size can hold a lot more wine than a little girl who doesn’t drink much. Two, I managed to pour some of it out when you had your backs turned. I really did think about pretending to stay drunk asleep and letting you girls do all the work, but Temara, your tight-gripping little honey pot felt so good I couldn’t go through with it; I just had to be there. Besides, if you’re determined to go through with this wild scheme, somebody ought to know what he’s doing!”

“You—heard us talking about it?” I said.

“I did. You thought I’d left, but I decided to change out my skinning knife for one that was sharper and I came back. Voices carry in a cave. I heard the whole plan. Very enterprising of you. You have no idea how much I’ve been looking forward to this.”

“We didn’t think you would—” I began. “It’s a sin what we’re doing, we didn’t want it to be on you—”

“But you’re right,” Pa said. “If we’re the only ones left alive in the world, it’s our duty to re-people it. Why else should we have been spared? Don’t think it wasn’t on my mind, too. I wasn’t going to force you, but now that we all understand each other, we can do this job right. I’ve missed your mama a lot, and you both favor her. I plan to have a lot of fun with this project, and there’s not a reason in the world why you shouldn’t as well. Relax, Tem, you got through the worst part of it just fine. You’re a fine, brave girl. Now just lie back and let your old man give you the kind of loving you deserve. Your mama really liked it, and once you get used to it, I’m sure you will too.”

He changed position, sitting up so that he was not weighing Temara down any more. I could see where his big thing was still buried in her up to the root. “Watch this, Adina. You’ll see it’s not as frightening as you might think. The most natural thing in the world.” He began an easy, rocking, back and forth movement. I could see him going in and out of her. “How does that feel, Tem? I’m not hurting you too much, am I?”

“N-no, Pa,” she said. “It feels—better than I—better than it did.”

“It often isn’t any good for a girl, the first time. Your mama said it felt like I was poking a hole down there where there hadn’t been one before. But once she got accustomed to it, I heard damned few complaints from her. God, I missed it these last couple of months! I’m not going to be able to hold out very long this time.”

He put his thumb in his mouth, wetting it well, and put it on Temara’s little bud, stroking and rubbing it; he continued to thrust in and out of her, as well. Soon Temara was moaning.

The cave had picked up the odors that any dwelling will acquire that has three people living, cooking, eating, using the slop jar and lighting lamps in it. Now, I noticed that a new odor had sneaked in. It reminded me of the breeze we occasionally got from the Red Sea, when we lived in the city and the wind was blowing in the right direction. Temara continued to moan.

“Pa, I think you’re hurting her again!” I said.

“You think so?” He looked up at me, smiling, then back down at her. “What do you say, Tem? Am I hurting you? You want me to quit?”

“Oh, no—no, Pa, it feels good! Don’t quit now!” she said. She answered Pa’s thrusts with her own hips, and he kept stroking and rubbing her little bud. “Oh, yes, that does feel good! Keep doing that—just like you’re doing now! Oh, I like it! Oh—oh—what’s happening to me? I’m getting all tight, I can’t help it—oh, Pa! Keep ramming that thing into me, it feels great! Keep—oh, God, what’s happening to me? Am I going to die?—oh! Ah! Ahh! Ahhh! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…!” Her head was thrown back, her eyes shut. Her belly muscles rippled, her breasts quivered, and she panted and groaned.

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