Transcendence, p.29
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       Transcendence, p.29

           Shay Savage
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Page 29

  “Llll…ooaawwffff…” The noise doesn’t sound the same at all. I try again. “Luh…awwfff. ”

  “Love. ” Her sound is quiet and succinct. It takes me longer to repeat it.

  “Luhhff. ”

  Beh’s eyes become large and round as she quite literally squeals and grabs a hold of my head, laughing and crying as she makes the sound over and over again. Her lips cover one side of my face and then the other and then finally come to rest on mine. I feel her tongue against my mouth and I open to her. When we break apart, I hear her make the sounds again.

  “Beh loves Ehd. ”

  “Luhffs!” It kind of sounds like the noise an old wolf makes when trying to clear snow from its nose. I have no idea why Beh is so excited, but I wrap my arms around her anyway—enjoying her heat and the comfort her body brings as it lies next to mine. Outside, the cold wind continues to howl, and the snow continues to fall, but in here, we are safe, warm, and together.

  The noise itself doesn’t matter as long as Beh is happy.

  The snowstorm has lasted a long, long time. Outside, the sun hasn’t been visible, and the passage of days is impossible to determine. I sleep with winter’s heaviness, enticing me to the depth of the covers and my mate’s warmth, but Beh does not. When I do stir, she is sometimes tending the fire or cooking. Often she is just lying beside me and slowly stroking her fingers over my hair in the dim light of the cave.

  This time when I wake, Beh is nestled beside me and breathing slowly. My shoulders are chilled, and I see the furs have fallen from us. I quickly pull them back up and wrap my arms tightly around Beh. The skin of her back is cold, too, but quickly warms when I wrap her back up again.

  The cold has stirred me from my deeper sleep, and my eyes stay open as I watch Beh slumber. Remembering other winters in this same place on my own is enough to cause my heart to hurt. Then, when I opened my eyes, there was nothing to see aside from the burning embers of the fire.

  Being careful not to dislodge the fur from her again, I get out of the sleeping area and lay logs across the coals. The flames spring immediately to life again. In their light, I can see a round bowl with traces of grain inside as well as a fur lying next to the rocks, wrapped around something.

  I unwrap the fur, and inside is the large, deep pot Beh made with a lid over it. When I remove the lid, there is a layer of something at the bottom. I’m not exactly sure what it is, other than it looks like it has some of the acorns and pine nuts on tops of it.

  I stick my finger in and poke at the concoction. My finger goes easily through to the bottom of the pot. I curl it around to bring some out, but it doesn’t really stick to my finger at all as I expected. I stick in a couple more fingers and dig some of it out. The consistency is soft and just a little moist, but not wet. It’s just a little bit crumbly, but mostly it feels…fluffy.

  I sniff at it, and it smells of cooked grains and nuts. Putting some in my mouth confirms it, but the texture is completely different from anything I have eaten before. I like it though, and it quickly fills my stomach.

  I hear Beh’s noises and look over toward the furs. She’s lying on her side, propped up on one elbow. She smiles at me, and I quickly bring the whole pot over near the bed so I can crawl back into the furs with her. We eat; I put my penis inside of her for a while, and then I fall back to sleep.

  The warmth and comfort of Beh’s presence have become commonplace but not taken for granted. When I wake, Beh’s heat is the very first thing I notice. I nuzzle against her skin and revel in the feelings that course through my body when I touch her.

  I’m wrapped around her with my head on her shoulder, and when I tilt my head, I look up at my mate. She lies on her back with her head tilted toward me and her eyes closed. I snuggle closer to her, and my hand runs slowly up and down her side.

  I accidentally brush against her breast.

  It’s warm, too.

  And soft.

  I trace one fingertip around the nipple, but I can’t really see in the dim light of the fire. Her breast is mostly covered with one of our sleeping furs anyway. I can still feel it though, so I do. Beh shifts a little in sleep, and I pause for a moment.

  Though I would like to try to put a baby in her again, I don’t want to wake her. I’m not completely sure how long we have been asleep, and I already tried earlier in the night, hoping it would make her feel better.

  Beh’s eyes kept tearing earlier in the day, and I don’t know why she is sad. There had been several days after the snowstorm finally passed that she was upset—she had even gotten angry at one point and thrown the little stick into the fire. I recognized it as the one she had been marking with her flint knife. I am sure she has been marking it every day, but after she burned it, she didn’t mark a new stick. It has been many days since she had done that, and she hasn’t cried since.

  Not until this evening.

  My arms wrap around her, and I move my body up so I can pull her against my chest. She rolls easily, and even in her sleep, her arms find my shoulders. I reach down and pull the furs back over us—all the way up to the back of her neck. We had discarded our clothing into a pile and just used the furs in the sleeping area. It is more comfortable this way, especially since more time is spent in the furs than out of them.

  I hug Beh to me once more, but then I remember how soft her breast is and reach between us to touch it again. It’s still warm, and her skin is smooth. Her breast is full and round, and she groans a little when I palm it, so I stop.

  I really don’t want to disturb her even though I’m getting hard just lying beside her.

  I look toward the cave’s entrance and wonder if the day will bring sunlight or just more clouds. If it is warm enough, I might try to find some fresh meat—it has been some time since we have had any. We haven’t gone hungry at all though, which makes me smile and hold Beh closer. Even on my own, I would not have been able to eat as much during the winter days and still expect to have anything left come spring.

  Beh keeps taking our food and doing strange things with it. She smashes up the grain using a rock and one of her clay bowls, then mixes it with fat and nuts and leaves it in the coals for most of the day. She then cuts it with a flint knife into little squares and gives me some with a bowl full of stew.

  It tastes good, but I’ve never seen anyone make so many different things to eat. No one in my tribe ever made such things. There are other foods I think she tries to make, but they don’t turn out as well. She made hard, flat things from the grain, but they burned in the fire. She wouldn’t let me try to eat them afterwards.

  I hold Beh through the remainder of the night, thinking of how different winter is with her here. Just as light begins to be visible through the hide over the cave entrance, Beh stirs and looks at me. Her brilliant smile lights my day more than the sun lights the sky.

  Beh reaches up and touches my cheek.

  “Love,” she whispers.

  “Luffs!” I respond, and her smile brightens even more.

  Without a doubt, I will do anything for her.

  The wind on the steppes bites at the exposed skin of my cheeks and neck. I tense my shoulders and try to bring my head down into my fur, but the wind seems determined to get up underneath my coverings and chill me as much as possible. I quicken my pace back to the cave and my mate.

  Near the entrance to the cave, some of the wind is blocked by the cliff, and it isn’t quite as cold there. I tuck the two rabbits I caught in my traps under my arm and grab some of the wood out of the cache above the cave. Once I’m inside, my body gives forth an involuntary shudder as the temperature change hits my skin.

  Beh looks up from the fire, smiles, and begins her noises. I drop the rabbits and go to her quickly.

  “Khizz luffs?”

  Beh snickers and presses her warm lips to my cold ones. She makes more sounds –a little louder this time—and rubs at my frigid cheeks with her ha
nds. My skin warms quickly with her touch, and I go to the side of the cave to skin the rabbits for our dinner.

  Beh has a lot of the other food already cooked, so when I give her the thin pieces of meat, it doesn’t take very long before we can eat. Beh makes a lot of noise between bites, touching various things around her as she does. She used to do that a lot—holding up one of the clay dishes to me, or maybe a stick or a fur—but she would often get upset after a while, so she didn’t do it very much anymore. She switches to the rhythmic sounds, which I like better, until I finally cover her mouth with mine and take her to our furs.

  Early the next morning, my eyes blink open, and I’m a little disoriented from waking so early. Winter is for deeper, longer sleep, but something has pulled me from slumber early.

  It’s my mate.

  Beh is next to me in the furs, positioned up on her hands and knees and completely motionless. I look up at her just in time for her to cover her mouth, jump up, and bolt toward the cave entrance. Rolling out of the furs, I run after her and find her leaning over the edge of the ravine, vomiting. She is trying to keep her hair away from her face at the same time, and I can see she is struggling.

  I move to her side quickly and wrap her hair behind her neck—holding it with one hand and steadying her with the other. After a couple more times, she sits back on her heels and starts to shiver. I pick her up, and she turns her face away from me. Once we are back inside the cave, I bring her the water bag, some dried mint, and a fur to wrap around her shoulders. She chews the mint, rinses her mouth, spits into the coals of the fire, making them hiss, and leans against my chest as I hold her tightly. I rock her gently in my arms, but my mate is unusually quiet the entire day.

  Beh makes very little noise all day and falls asleep as soon as she lies down on the furs at night. I hold her close to me, and when I fall asleep, I remember one of my brothers who vomited for days and days until he died. Two more of the children in our tribe died the same way during that winter.

  The next morning, the same thing happens.

  On the following day, I haven’t slept at all, and I am terrified. I hold Beh and rock her in my arms. She makes a few noises, but her eyes are dull, and she looks so tired. Later in the day, she drinks some of the meat broth I make for her over the fire and eats some of the leftover grains she cooked the previous night.

  She seems fine, but then again, she seemed fine later yesterday as well. I refuse to let her go, even for a moment. When she goes outside to relieve herself, I stay right at her side. She yells and tries to push me away, but I won’t budge. She finally goes, and then I pick her up and carry her back inside despite her feeble struggles.

  Beh growls at me but ends up putting her head against my chest as we sit back in front of the fire. I place my chin on the top of her head and close my eyes.

  “Ehd. ” I perk up at the sound of my name-sound, realizing only then that I was starting to doze off. I look at Beh, and she looks up at me. She makes a lot more sounds and touches my cheek.

  “Luffs. ” When I make that sound, Beh always smiles. She usually says it back, too, but this time her smile doesn’t touch her eyes, and she says nothing in return. Instead, she takes my hand and puts it on her stomach.

  “Ehd,” she says softly. I feel her hand press mine against her stomach, and memories flood through my brain. Women in my tribe who would be sick like Beh has been—often when they first woke up in the morning—would sometime later begin to show the child growing inside of them.

  My fingers twitch, and understanding rises from the skin of my fingers, where they touch the warm belly of my mate, all the way up my arm and into my brain. My insides feel warm and gooey as my head is filled with thoughts of Beh’s stomach growing big and round. The pictures in my head continue, and I think of a tiny little person suckling at her breasts while I hold both mother and child to keep them safe.

  “Beh?” I look at her, and my cheeks begin to ache due to the size of my smile, but I can’t help it. I lift Beh from my lap and put her down gently on the grass mat by the fire. I then lean down and brush my nose against the center of her stomach, right below her navel.

  Finally, I have put a baby inside my mate.

  CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

  Taking a long, deep breath, I inhale the scent of spring. It’s not really here just yet, but it is close enough that the air feels and tastes different. I can hear the chirp of birds as they begin to fly around in the shrubs near the ravine, and I wonder if Beh would like to eat their eggs.

  I wonder if the baby will like them, too.

  Beh comes up behind me, her eyes still blurry from sleep with one of the bed-furs wrapped around her shoulders. I drop to my knees and press the side of my face to the little swell between her hips just like I do every morning. I haven’t felt the baby move inside of her yet, but I remember when my mother was carrying my little brothers and sisters how her stomach would move when they kicked and rolled.

  I can’t wait to feel the baby I put inside of Beh move.

  Beh uses the fingers of one hand to thread through my tangled hair as I look up into her face. The sun shines down and hits her hair from behind, making her look as if she is glowing. Wrapping my arms around her waist, I hold her tightly for a moment before I stand again. She holds my hand with hers and uses the other hand to keep the fur clasped at her neck. It is still quite chilly outside even with the sun shining and spring weather obviously on the way.

  “Khizz?”

  Beh leans toward me and places her mouth against mine as I touch her cheek with the backs of my fingers. I take a long, deep breath again before leading her back into the cave where she can stay warm.

  My mate’s stomach grows as the days grow longer and warmer. As winter ends, we have plenty of stored grain and dry meat to last us a while, but it’s good to find something fresh and green to eat.

  There is clover blooming all over the steppes, and I alternate between just eating it where I sit and watching Beh as she walks around collecting the flowers. When she bends over to pick them, I feel myself grow hard as I think about the previous night and how much wider her hips seem to be as I thrust inside of her. Beh is growing along with our baby, and I am sure she has never been as beautiful as she is now.
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