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This is dark erotica meant to go hand in hand with story– in this case, a post-apocalyptic wasteland populated by ragged survivors. Morals have gone the way of civilization; when young Dorothy’s family encounters a band of desperados, poor choices on both side lead to her being taken as a prize by the group. Afraid and overwhelmed by new experiences, exposed to events she’d never imagined, her survival hangs in the balance, dependent upon a decision made by the group’s leader– will she remain with them or will she be sold to the caretakers of The Dreaming City?
The excerpt should be considered NSFW, and contains elements of violence, bloodshed, strong language, non-consensual sexual contact. Viewer discretion is advised!
Dorothy’s brother Edmund came over the ridge at a run. He half-jumped, half-slid down the near side in a cloud of dust. Dorothy had been feeding blightweed to the rabbits in their hutch in the front yard. She stood and watched as Edmund pelted towards the house, between the dead trees, her family’s hunting rifle bouncing on his back.
The front door was open. “Papa, you’d better come out,” Dorothy called.
Dorothy’s father came quickly, followed a moment later by her mother. Edmund was doubled over in the yard, hands on his knees and breathing heavily. His hair hung before his face like broken stalks of wheat.
“There’s a car. On the road,” he wheezed. “Coming this way.”
Dorothy’s father frowned. A chill pooled around Dorothy’s heart, at once frightening and bracing. Other people were coming! Her father had told her stories of the time before the blight, when almost all of the houses had people living in them and you couldn’t just force open the door and look around for things you might need. He called it trespassing. Now the houses were empty; Dorothy’s family seldom crossed paths with others, and such occasions were always tense. You couldn’t help thinking about what the other people had, and whether you could take it. Or whether they might take yours.
“Edmund, you get upstairs to the window,” her father said. “Dorothy, douse the cook fire. We’ll cover the greenhouse and meet you back inside.”
Dorothy hurried indoors, through the small entry and into the common room that her father called a den. She knelt and heaped ashes on the logs in the fireplace until they sputtered out; the last of the smoke curled up past the stainless steel pot that her mother had suspended from a makeshift crane. Dorothy heard the clump of her brother mounting the stairs to the second floor. Would the chimney smoke clear before the people in the car saw it? She thought it unlikely, but they had to try. It was better when travellers passed by without knowing her family was there.
Dorothy waited in shadow. A breeze caught the corner of the window curtain; it fluttered up from the bright screen, then settled again.
In the silence that followed, Dorothy could just make out the grunt and chatter of a car’s engine. The sound grew louder, then suddenly louder still, and she knew with a clutching feeling that the auto had turned up their drive. Her parents came into the common room from the back of the house, silent and pale. The engine made the boards tremble under Dorothy’s feet.
Then it cut out. Doors opened and closed.
“Hello?” a male voice called from outside. Dorothy’s father put his finger to his lips.
“Well,” the voice said, “I guess there’s nobody here. We should probably drive away and never come back.” There was laughter from other men.
Dorothy heard heavy feet crunching over the dirt outside. “Hey, what’s this?” the first voice said. “Fuck me, rabbits! Now how did these get here?”
Dorothy started reflexively for the door, but her father glared a warning at her and she lurched to a halt.
“Hello in there,” the voice called again, closer now to the house. Whoever he was, he sounded a little exasperated. “Look, we saw your fire. We’re not leaving, so why don’t you come out and talk.”
Dorothy’s father sighed without a sound. His face was like stone. He looked at Dorothy, then her mother, then left the room. The front door opened.
“What do you want?” he said.
“Hello to you too!” the voice said. “My name’s Kyle. What’s your name?”
Dorothy’s father said nothing. Holding her breath, Dorothy crept to the window where the curtain still floated up from the bottom corner. She sank to her knees, amid the folds of her patterned dress, and leaned forward until she could peek out past the curtain’s edge.
There was a silver station wagon in the yard. It had off-road tires, and the bottom half of it was one long, caked smudge of dirt. The front bumper hung loose on one side. Two men stood by the car, and a third faced the front door where Dorothy’s father was. The third man wore a battered, broad-brimmed hat with a band of animal’s teeth. Both of the others had rifles.
“Do you want food? Is that what you want?” Dorothy’s father sounded resigned. “I don’t have a lot. It’s just me here.”
“Now that’d be neighborly of you, nameless friend,” the one with the hat, Kyle, said. “And we’d like to come in if you don’t mind. We’ve been on the road for a while.”
Dorothy’s father said flatly, “I do mind. This is my house and I don’t want your company. You try to get in here and it’ll be trouble. So why don’t you wait outside, and I’ll get you some of what little I have to eat, and you can take it for the road. Nobody has to sweat and nobody has to get hurt.”
The one named Kyle opened his mouth in surprise, then grinned. He had a nice smile, and a young, handsome face that was only a little stubbled and sweat-slick beneath the slash of shadow cast by his hat. Dorothy thought she saw him surveying the front of their house. His gaze flicked from window to window, upstairs and then down. And then he looked right into Dorothy’s eyes, peering out at him from the window corner.
Dorothy lurched backward onto her bottom, heart in her throat. Maybe he’d seen the flash of her hair in the light; it was the color of ripe wheat like her brother’s, but softer, falling in pools around her shoulders. She was almost certain they’d locked eyes, only for a moment. Had they locked eyes?
She could’ve imagined it. The sun was shining down on the window screen. The room was shadowed.
Dorothy held her breath.
“Are you sure you’re alone here, nameless old man?” Kyle said in apparent good humor. “No… womenfolk about the place? For example.”
Dorothy’s father started to answer but was cut off by the crack of a gunshot. Dorothy scrambled back to the window. One of the men by the car had collapsed in a grotesque tangle of limbs; there was a red smear on the window and the door.
Then everything happened at once.
The other man dove into the dirt behind the station wagon, beside the crumpled body of the first. Dorothy’s father staggered backward into the house, followed by Kyle; he tried to get the front door closed but the younger man threw his shoulder against it and both men tumbled inside. Dorothy and her mother ran for the small entry, and when they got there Edmund was coming down the stairs closing the bolt on the family rifle and in his haste his feet slipped and he slid down the last few stairs on his ass. The gun went off; plaster dust glimmered down through sunlight from the open door. Then Kyle was up and he had a hunting knife and he plunged the knife all the way to the hilt into Edmund’s stomach.
Dorothy’s mother screamed. Then Edmund screamed.
Kyle backed towards the door, holding the bloody knife in front of him like a shield. Dorothy’s father rolled onto his side and crawled the other way, to the back wall. Edmund was doubled over at the foot of the stairs, whimpering. Dorothy’s mother went and fell to her knees beside Edmund; her hands shook and fluttered over his head and shoulders, but she didn’t touch him. Dorothy stood frozen in the passage to the den.
“Fuck!” Kyle shouted. His eyes were wide and watery. They swam from Edmund to his mother. “Fuck! Jesus Christ, why– James?” Kyle stared at Dorothy’s father now, who looked back at him through narrowed eyes. “James!” The younger man’s voice quivered a little. There was no answer.
“Kyle?” called the man outside. Terrified and trying not to show it.
“Ed, is James okay?” Kyle said, with forlorn hope.
“James is dead, man.”
Kyle swiveled the point of his knife from Edmund to Dorothy’s father, as if either one might suddenly lurch up and go for his throat. His mouth hung open.
“Kyle?” said the man outside, uncertain. “Kyle? I said James–”
“I heard you, god damnit!” Kyle’s handsome face contorted in sudden fury. He looked down the knife’s blade at Edmund who lay shuddering in his mother’s shadow, then at Dorothy’s father. Finally his gaze swung round and fixed on Dorothy herself. Edmund’s blood dripped from the knife and pattered on the wood by Kyle’s boots.
Dorothy broke for the den, but Kyle’s arm was already lashing out, fingers fumbling for her. She felt them tangle in the wheat of her hair, and then her head jerked back and her scalp stung. Dorothy gasped. She was dragged from her feet and stumbled backward to keep from toppling, then fetched up against something hard and warm. Kyle held her against his body; the knife was a cool, fine pressure on her milky throat. A metallic tang hovered under Dorothy’s nose. She tried not to think about it.
“It this why James is dead? Huh?” Kyle growled, close to her ear. “You thought we were going to do something to your little girl here? So you’d just start shooting?” Kyle’s chest rose and fell against Dorothy’s shoulders, and fear quickened her own breathing.
Her mother’s eyes went wide. “Sir… please–”
“Shut up!” Kyle jerked Dorothy’s head back into the nook made by his chin and shoulder. Her throat lifted under the knife. She whimpered and shifted on her feet, trying to steady herself with back bent and chest thrust forward. The blade prickled her skin and she went still, shivering.
“Shut up,” Kyle said again. “I’m talking now. Your husband is a big talker, isn’t he? ‘There’s nobody in the house, just me.’ Just me and my faggot son with a rifle and my big-titted bitch daughter.”
As he snarled, Kyle shoved his free hand down the front of Dorothy’s dress. Her breasts were large, so much so that he had to spread his palm wide to grope her through the pale satin of her bra. Dorothy wanted to squirm but the knife at her throat kept her frozen; instead the fear and agitation filled her lungs until she was gasping for breath, making little frightened sounds. Her chest heaved under Kyle’s rough fingers.
Her nipples hardened into tiny stones.
Dorothy’s father raised his hand, fingers spread in a gesture of calming or supplication. “Kyle?” he said. “Kyle. I’m sorry.”
“I’ll bet you’re fucking sorry.” Kyle tugged Dorothy’s breast up out of her bra; his fingers sank into her soft flesh. “Now. Now that we know you were lying.” Stretched against his body as she was, Dorothy felt the man stiffen between the legs, against her bottom. It sent a thrill through her, and not all of that thrill came from fear. There was something else, something warming in her belly.
“Sorry don’t bring James back,” Kyle snapped. “Fuck, was it worth killing a man so we wouldn’t see your girl here? Was it?”
“That’s right.” For a moment Kyle said nothing else. Dorothy knew that he was shuddering, wound taut; the knife’s blade whispered over her skin. “That’s right,” he repeated, to himself.
Dorothy’s father was watching the other man’s eyes. Dorothy saw his face fall, saw seams of dread darken his cheeks and the corners of his mouth. His lips parted but he didn’t say anything. Impressions struck Dorothy’s mind like hammer blows: Edmund’s coiled body, her father’s fear, the strength of Kyle’s hand slowly kneading her breast. That masculine bulge pressed against her buttocks. They left her dazed, warmed inside by dark intimations that she didn’t understand.
Kyle said, “Let’s see what’s so fucking special.”
Kyle shoved Dorothy forward and she fell on her hands and knees. He grabbed the back of her head, bore down with a stiff arm until she was forced to turn her cheek against the floorboards. Her breasts were crushed beneath her and her full bottom was raised. Dorothy’s father started forward but Kyle put the knife’s point against the back of Dorothy’s neck.
“I swear to fuck old man, if you twitch again I’m going to make a red mess in here. Do you understand?”
Dorothy’s father nodded. Slowly, Kyle drew Dorothy’s skirt up her legs and pushed the bunched cloth onto her back. The young woman’s thighs were soft, full and shapely; they shone in the sunlight. White panties clung to her buttocks. The seam between them was just visible through the satin. Kyle touched the back of her thigh and the muscle jumped under his fingers, sending a quiver through her skin. His fingers moved higher.
Dorothy couldn’t slow her breathing. A strange and terrible heat pooled between her legs, as if something had stung her there. She’d felt an ache there before and she knew that it felt good to press and rub where the lips of flesh came together, but she’d never experienced anything like this fierce, frightening sensation. Her mother had warned her about the men they’d run across, told her to keep her distance from them. That they would want to do things to her body that she would regret. Her nipples throbbed against the wood.
“Please,” Dorothy said breathlessly, not knowing quite what she was begging for. She thought of the look in her father’s eyes. Then she said, “Please, not here.” Whatever this was, it couldn’t be in front of her brother, her parents.
Kyle hesitated, then raised his voice and called, “Ed! Get in here.”
The other man came in with his rifle. Kyle said tightly, “Watch these people. I’m going in the other room.”
“Kyle… what are you–”
“I’m going in the other room!”
Dorothy’s mother started to sob, but before Dorothy could raise her head to look, Kyle had her by the hair again. He dragged her behind him, on hands and knees, into the shadowed den. The sound of her mother’s crying shifted, softened, and then she heard the rasp of her own breath, Kyle’s boots on the wood, the scuffle of her knees and the tops of her bare feet. Kyle pushed her head down again and knelt behind her. “Don’t move,” he said thickly. It was a threat, but the way his voice broke hinted at a plea.
Dorothy didn’t move.
The man pushed up her skirt again. She felt him peeling the crotch of her panties aside, revealing the trim, even seam of her young pussy. Suddenly something warm and wet squirmed against her skin. Dorothy gasped.
Kyle was kissing and licking her sex.