Ok, here's the deal. Anyone who wants to is welcome to participate in this
story -- we've sometimes ended up with multiple parallel storylines going.
Although I like using historic settings, past experience has taught me not
to wince visibly if things go off in un-historic tangents.
Who wants to play?
Heather Rose Jones
The wind lashed the bare branches against the window of the small room
over the stable. Anne pulled the blankets tighter around her, trying to
shut out the noise of the storm so she could sleep. She'd been on her
feet all day serving down in the inn's common room and she'd be up again
before the crack of dawn. This was her own time, and she wanted to spend
it sleeping, not worrying that the roof would be blown off.
She missed the sound at the window the first time. Then there came a
second *tink* -- different from the scratchy hiss of the branches. Then a
third time -- *clonk*. Someone was throwing stones at the glass pane!
Only the thought that the next one might break the glass forced her out of
bed and over to the window. She could see nothing through the cheap
rippled glass and cautiously eased the frame open.
The next pebble hit her squarely on the nose.
She cursed loudly -- the sort of curse that would have gotten her turned
off of her position if she'd said it before the customers.
A voice drifted faintly up from the shadows below. "Sweet Jesus, I'm
sorry!" And then even more faintly, "I need your help."
The voice was vaguely familiar, but then she heard so many travellers'
voices every day. It could be any of them. And why her? Why the middle
of the night? Anne leaned out farther, but there was still nothing to see
but shadows and the swirl of blowing leaves. It was the devil-spirit in
her that sent her tiptoeing down the stairs in her shift with only a
blanket wrapped around her. No honest person would be asking her help in
such a way -- but honest people had never much interested Anne. At least
the stairs opened directly into the stableyard (her room had originally
been built for the grooms and stableboys) and there was no danger of
meeting anyone on the way.
She felt her way under the trees where the voice had come from and gave a
muffled yelp as a strong arm clamped over her mouth and drew her deep into
the shadows. A voice in her ear said, "Shhh," and when she nodded, the
hand released her. Then a lantern was unveiled and Anne had a chance to
see who had called her out on such a wild night.
The clothes were that of a highwayman -- a long dark cloak and high,
black-leather boots, two pistols stuck in the belt, and a black silk scarf
covering the lower part of the face. "I need your help," the stranger
repeated, throwing back the cloak on one side to reveal a dark stain
spreading across one sleeve. "I've been shot."
Anne fumbled to unbutton the stranger's coat and peel it back to see the
damage, but as her hand slipped inside, it encountered something more
startling than the rest of the situation put together. She looked up into
the stranger's eyes -- eyes that wavered between amusement and exhaustion.
"You're a woman!" Anne said, wonderingly.
Anne stepped back and looked at the stranger who had slumped against a
tree. There was something familiar about her, something all too familiar
about those eyes as they held hers. "You don't recognise me, do you?"
the stranger asked. Anne caught her breath as she felt a tightening in
her belly in response to the voice. "You!" she gasped. "Why have you
come back here? You promised to stay away."
"I need your help, Anne, you have to help me. Please?" the woman's voice
was a mixture of demand and pleading, her scarf falling from her face,
revealing the familiar features of the woman. "If they find me..." the
woman fell into a faint and as Anne caught her she heard voices rousing
the inn-keeper at the front of the building. Half carrying and half
dragging her, Anne took the woman inside and up into her room, where she
laid her on her bed.
"And i thought it would be the last time i would see you in my bed,
Catherine", Anne said to herself, memories filling her head for the
moment. "I swear, you'll be the death of me... death of both of us by
the look", she said, as she remembered the woman's wounds. Quickly she
removed her visitors coat, washed her arm with the little water she had
left in her room, and using Catherine's scarf, tightly bound the wound as
best she could. It wasn't as bad as it had looked, a surface wound, where
the bullet had scraped the muscle on her upper arm. Catherine stirred as
she felt Anne's hands on her body, trying to make her comfortable. Her
eyes opened for a moment, "Just like old times, Anne", Catherine tried to
joke, before pain once more caused her to pass out. Anne watched her
until her breathing relaxed and the woman appeared to sleep.
Noises in the stable yard brought Anne to her window. Four strangers
there, on horses, were talking with the inn-keeper, who was holding a
fifth horse. "Not from hereabouts, that one", Anne thought, as she
looked at the horse. "It hasn't been pulling any ploughs or carting
farmers around the place". She couldn't hear the discussion, but as the
riders turned to leave one of them shouted back: "Keep his horse here
then, he will be back for it, and we will be waiting for him".
Anne looked across at the woman in her bed and sighed. "Will i ever be
rid of you?" she asked the sleeping woman. Knowing she would have to be
awake early, depite her lost sleep tonight Anne climbed onto her bed
beside the woman, pulling her blanket and Catherine's cloak over them
both. She daren't have the keeper waking her in the morning and finding
Catherine here with her. Her mind full of questions, she eventually
slept, comforted despite herself by the familiar breathing of her
As the women slept, they moved around one another in the familiar unique
twighlit dance known only by old lovers.
As their sleep deepened, each soothed by the warmth of the other, the
Watcher stepped out of the shadows.
She sighed. It was all going wrong. Catherine was suposed to have left
forever, and her going was supposed to make room for the Participant.
Those were the rules: in every expedition there was to be a Keeper, who
was supposed to take care of the practicalities, the Watcher, who -
well, watched, and the Participant, who did the actual field research.
The Watcher drew herself to her full height. Small and beautifully
rounded, with magnificent rolls of sumptious flesh, she was a paragon of
desirability in her society.
She was highly qualified.
She held a double first in Trans-Spacial Studies and Human Psychology,
had a Doctorate in the Development of Alternative Sexuality in Humans,
and had finally trained in The Design of Experiments at the Institute of
She was eminently qualified to bring back the answers her society so
desperately needed to move to the next level of their development, but
it was all going wrong.
Emphemia Labra, BSc(Hons)., PhD., DipIDS, and Official Watcher, swore
under her breath and kicked out at a passing rat. She stubbed her toe on
the bed leg and hopped almost silently around the hovel-room.
The women moved again in harmony under the cloak, and the Watcher was
once again transfixed by the tenderness and one-ness of the pair. She
had obviously underestimated the power of the love between these women.
Well, she would have to re-design everything around them and their
seemingly unbreakable bond.
Dawn light woke Anne, for whom all the world was once again wrapped in
the form of the woman who lay in her arms.
The gentle rose-blush light edged Catherine's jaw and neck and shoulder.
Catherine stirred a little, and the heavy, scratchy material of the
cloak slipped aside a little revealing her upper arm, and the gentle
slope of her breast.
For a moment, the agony of Catherine's leaving and the fire of her own
desire combined in a volcano of anger and tenderness. Anne shook her
"What in the name of all that's Holy did you think you were doing coming
back here?" Anne hissed.
Catherine's head hung in silence
Catherine raised her head a little, just enough to look at Anne through
of her eyelashes. Anne's hand, out of her conscious control, reached out
and brushed a stray lock of auburn hair from her lover's forehead.
"Answer me" it was a whisper
Catherine raised her head quickly and captured Anne's fingers between
her neat white teeth. The captive hand was taken gently and guided
"For this" was the only spoken reply
Heading for the cold shower, but remembering in time that it's still
May slippers. Also hoping that it's ok to have Sci Fi and History
in the same story.....
Now it's your turn. Post your addition to ASLM ....