a Short Story by Kellis
Arguably the first invitation issued after language was invented! Rimmer thought with amusement, his shock dulled by repetition, cocking his ear to hear the girl’s response. She only laughed, a silvery gurgle that would shame bird song, leapt to her feet from the hopeful lad’s arms and dived into the dark water with a great splash. The boy, naked and beautiful as she, and offering evidence of readiness for the proposed sport, dived after her instantly. Rimmer straightened in concern, but both were obviously swimmers as accomplished as the other two, even if this girl’s dive had been only a “belly-flop.” Perhaps she had rushed.
While rambling a few days earlier, Rimmer had discovered this spot on Jason’s property and had loved it after a single glance. It was an old-fashioned swimming hole, a wide place in the creek, bordered on one side by the high rocky ledge from which the girl had dived, on the other by tall weeping willows, their streamers dangling almost to the water, forming a curtain through which the sunny fields beyond were hazily apparent. He was an artist currently fascinated by the problem of representing light transmitted through translucent materials, such as sunset through a breaking wave, the glow of a stained-glass window, the several pinks of a woman’s torso seen through a filmy peignoir and now the multi-hued greens of the bright fields beyond the dark willow streamers, all reflected in the shaded creek water.
He had come here yesterday with easel, canvas and paint and filled in his backgrounds in fast-drying acrylics, deciding on a high horizon despite the greater effort required, so that the dark foreground brush and oak limb overhead would frame the willows with their bright translucence. Because all was shaded, the blue sky light was perfect for several hours, almost long enough to finish the sizable painting. He had needed to return this morning only for the finishing touches.
But this morning company had arrived! Rimmer had hardly set up easel and canvas before he heard voices and looked up to espy two couples pushing through the willow streamers and wading across the shallows up the creek. His initial view of them was masked by intervening foliage. From the amount of skin flashing through the leaves he presumed them clothed for swimming and frowned with annoyance, then sighed, grateful that the painting was essentially complete. He could probably finish up from memory back in Jason’s garage. But where did they come from? Jason had no other visitor just now, and this creek was half a mile deep into his posted property. Rimmer had heard no engine and no hoof beat. Bicycles?
He stood up to welcome them, but his jaw sagged when they rounded the huge old tree to emerge onto the rock ledge — and proved all four to be totally naked! He stared at them, for a moment too shocked to move: two men and two women — no! Boys and girls, recently pubescent: sharply conical breasts on the girls, faint pubic hair on all four, but shapely young bodies. All four were quite blonde and perhaps most incredible of all, remarkably pale of skin. Never had he seen better candidates for sunburn in the middle of July!
They were naked indeed: no jewelry or tattoo, no hair barrette or pony-tail ring, no towel, blanket or picnic basket, not even a wristwatch — just perfect skin. Hair of the head curled to the neck and over the ears on the boys but hung in waves half way down the girls’ backs, all the same shade of yellow. But they were beautiful, breathtakingly so, all four. Rimmer’s shock changed to stunned admiration.
They sat on the ledge where it curved back to the narrow head of the little pond, facing the quarter to Rimmer’s left: boy, girl, boy, girl, hips and upper arms in contact, located as a group about 30 feet ahead of his easel. In this proximity he was able to discern that the two girls were alike as peas in a pod, indistinguishable of feature and body build, likewise the two boys, though neither gender resembled the other. Identical twin brothers with identical twin sisters?
The girl on the end closer to Rimmer smiled at him, but when he smiled back she raised her head and shouted to the sky in a high voice, “Son of a bitch!”
His shock deepened. He opened his mouth to respond with an automatic retort, when he realized that the other three had burst into laughter. At him?
They threw back their own heads. “God damn!” roared the boy on the other end. His voice broke on the last word, which may have accounted for the redoubled laughter among the others. Crossing her arms, apparently to suppress her giggles, the middle girl called in a contralto voice, “Piss and shit!”
More laughter. The second boy screamed, “Jesus Christ!”
The girl who had shouted first screamed, “Bastards!”
Again the boy on the far end: “Fuck you!”
The middle girl: “Asshole!”
The middle boy hesitated, mouth open to shout. The others turned towards him, raising their hands as if about to pounce, eyes lit with an unholy glee. But his face, drawn with effort, suddenly cleared. “Cunt licker!”
Amidst a burst of laughter, the nearer girl yelled shrilly, “Cock sucker!”
Far boy: “Corn holer!”
Now the middle girl hesitated, but her eyes twinkled. She glanced right and left and screamed, “Fuck me!” — and with hands and heels propelled herself off the ledge into the water. Eyes large, both boys scrambled to follow her, but the nearer girl threw her arms around the adjacent boy and held him back. In the instant before the far boy’s splash, Rimmer heard her contralto voice declare, “Prissy did that on purpose!”
Her captive said something in response, unheard over the splashing in the pool, but he settled back against the remaining girl, his arm slipping around her, and nuzzled her neck.
The fleeing girl crossed the pool quickly and, as perceived by the watching man, allowed herself to be caught on the narrow shore under the willows. She was shortly flung onto her back, legs and arms enclosing her attacker’s body. Their genitals were turned toward Rimmer. He could see the visibly lengthening penis lying in the nest of her elevated labia. In a moment a hand snaked momentarily between the bodies, the penis disappeared and both sets of hips began to oscillate.
Rimmer was standing beside his easel, unable to credit his own good sense. His mind cast about to find an explanation for such behavior, especially the shouted obscenities. Was it perhaps a game to select as a “victim” the first who failed to shout a fresh one? Group sex was not so bizarre, he suspected, for modern teenagers, not with girls safely “on the pill.” But in front of him, a fortyish stranger! How could they dare to conduct themselves so?
Could they be escaped lunatics? He cleared his throat loudly. The copulators ignored him, of course, but so did the two remaining on the ledge, now earnestly kissing with their arms around each other.
“Excuse me!” he shouted, again to no effect.
He felt a surge of anger and thought of bringing out the revolver, hidden under his paint tray as a precaution when off in the fields. Would they ignore a gunshot, too? He had a feeling they would, unless the bullet whined nearby or splashed water over the two under the willows.
With a wry chuckle he began to feel that he understood this scene.
Jason had a certain reputation in regard to practical jokes, especially of a sexual nature, along with the money to indulge himself therein to whatever depth. He was famous for his penis-shaped hors-d’ouevres and notorious for putting a whore in every bed when he hosted the state commission on corruption and vice.
Rimmer took up a paint tube from the tray and “accidentally” dropped it behind him. He turned and stooped for the tube, taking the opportunity to peer among the nearby trees and open fields beyond. But if Jason Corvit was crouched nearby, avidly studying Rimmer’s reactions, or even farther away with binoculars, Rimmer could see no evidence of it. He abandoned pretense and straightened up, rotating through a full circle: still no sign of Jason.
He turned back in time to hear the boy’s unpolished invitation to the remaining girl, hear her delightful giggle and see her gather her legs under her and dive inexpertly into the water. She swam directly to the other two, now humping madly on the far shore. Together she and her follower fell upon the lovers and forced them apart despite their protests. Rimmer had to rub his eyes in disbelief. Giggling and laughing, the four youths merged into a copulatory tangle in the grass under the tallest willow — after having exchanged partners, as best he could determine.
The action did not long endure. First one pair grew still, the girl’s arms and legs relaxing onto the grass, then the other pair.
With all four now quiet, Rimmer stepped to the edge of the pool and applauded. “Good show!” he called across the 30-foot pond. “How about an encore?”
The couple that had finished first reacted by rolling to their knees and slipping into the water. They swam leisurely to a low place in the rock and levered themselves up onto the ledge, the boy assisting the girl, then taking his seat in the spot they had first occupied. The girl wrung out her hair, giving Rimmer an eye-popping view of her supple young body, and took her seat beside the boy, snuggling under his arm. They smiled contentedly at each other. Her hand fell first to his thigh, then to his genitals. Neither of them seemed to notice Rimmer.
The boy asked, “Don’t you ever get enough, Chrissy?”
She smirked. “I take after my mother.”
“How many kids has your mother had?”
“13, but only eight lived.”
“‘13,’” the boy repeated, shaking his head. “Do you and Prissy want that many, too?”
She shrugged. “You get what you get. But Prissy loves to fuck as much as I do.”
“I know that! I sure hope you’re right about your father.”
“We are, John.”
“But suppose you don’t both get caught at the same time?”
The boy across the pond called loudly, “Wait a minute! I want to be part of that conversation, too.”
He splashed into the water, followed immediately by his girl. Shortly they were aligned beside the other two on the ledge, leaning back against the rock behind them. Sunlight dappled them through the trees, glittering in the water drops standing on their skin. Suddenly Rimmer turned back to his canvas, taking up palette and paint, squeezing out a long line of zinc white and a much shorter one of burnt sienna, adding other tints to match the pale flesh before him, with a touch of carbon black in the corner to tip his outline brush. He began to paint furiously, glad for the years he had spent in the traveling carnival, painting 15-minute portraits on demand.
The late-arriving girl, presumably Prissy, was speaking in her contralto voice, “We’ve already discussed this, John. We shall get caught together, if you and Jack keep your enthusiasm up.”
“Ha!” snorted Jack, identical even in voice timbre to John. “I know what you want us to keep up.”
Prissy smirked. “You can do it, sweetie. We’ll all help you.” Her hand slipped into his pubes.
John shook his head. “You can’t be sure both will catch.”
Chrissy’s high voice: “With enough fucking, we can!”
But John was adamant. “No, you can’t. You girls look like twins, but you aren’t really identical. Just listen to how different you sound!”
“But you know the reason! It’s because Prissy had scarlet fever as a child and it settled in her throat.”
“But you didn’t catch it, did you?”
“Exactly my point.”
“John, you’re such a worrier! That’s because Mother thought we were too dependent on each other. She had sent me to visit Aunt Agnes that spring. Then Prissy got sick.”
Prissy’s deeper voice: “You see, John? We’re confident all it takes is for everyone to do his part.” At the conclusion of her speech she moved around on the ledge to recline beside John and bent her head to his midsection. Her long wet hair fell over his hips, obscuring what exactly she was doing to him, though Rimmer had little doubt. The boy gasped audibly and leaned back on the rock.
But the other boy proved unwilling to let the subject die. He asked, “Chrissy, do both of you really intend to say you don’t know which of us caught you?”
She had relinquished John’s equipment when the sister asserted her own claim. Her hand had strayed to Jack and fondled him more vigorously. She said impatiently, “Yes, Jack, but only if just one of us catches. That way he has to let both of us get married.”
“Or has to shoot both of us,” observed Jack. Prissy looked up quickly. So did her sister. For the first time the watching man saw the boy’s penis with its head within her lips.
“You better be grinning!” declared Chrissy. Prissy’s hair again covered her face.
Chrissy sniffed, holding up an only slightly resurrected manhood. “Jack, you’ll do better licking me!”
The boy shrugged. “I’m willing.” He scooted around on the ledge and bent between Chrissy’s drawn-up legs. It was her turn to gasp, head thrown back on the rock.
One female and one male face were still visible. As models the siblings were interchangeable. Rimmer’s brush strokes continued, swift and precise, capturing perhaps the best likenesses of his career. As he was squeezing more paint to complete the splayed out limbs, the two couples changed positions but not partners. The boys sat back against the rock while the girls squatted over them face to face, sharp conical breasts grinding into hairless but muscular chests. Rimmer smiled enviously: obviously a superior way to fuck. It made no difference to his painting; he already had proportion and colors. He continued with the concluding touches, thinking whimsically that the only effect of their current activity was to the size of his own penis.
Not surprisingly they were longer engaged on this occasion. Grunting and groaning, Jack and Chrissy at last finished first. They sat in each other’s arms, calling encouragement to the other two until Prissy’s contralto moans announced the second climax.
Jack proposed, “How about a quick dip before we leave?”
They dived almost simultaneously into the pool, swam across it and back before re-emerging onto the ledge, where the boys waited while the girls again wrung out their hair.
Rimmer stood up, leaned forward and called, “Ready to talk to me yet?”
They continued to ignore him.
“I’ve painted you,” he yelled, raising his voice to a shout and adding the never-fail enticement, “Come and see how you look!”
Never-fail until now, that is. They turned away and rounded the huge tree at the end of the ledge, wading across the shallow part of the creek in a reversal of their earlier path.
“Hey! Wait a minute!” Rimmer called after them, but he could see their pale skin flashing beyond the bushes as they continued into the tree line.
Dropping palette and brush onto the ground, he charged after them, but when he, too, had rounded the oak and splashed across the creek, heedless of his soaked walking shoes, he found that they had disappeared beyond the willows, which grew especially dense at this point. Batting the streamers aside, he forced his way through them and came out into the sunlight — and a barbed wire fence upon which he immediately snagged his shirt.
The two sets of twins were not visible anywhere along the tree line or in the great open field beyond.
* * * *
“Where’ve you been today, Rimmer?” asked Martha, Jason’s wife. She was a large woman, probably in her fifties, whose love for her husband was the absolute of both their lives, proof even against the basic cruelty of an inveterate practical joker. Though Jason had invited him to visit, she was the one who admired Rimmer’s art, which of course could not fail to endear her to the artist.
Before Rimmer could reply, Jason looked up from his newspaper. “He said he was painting Jack’s swimming hole.”
Rimmer perked up. “Why is it called ‘Jack’s?’”
Jason shrugged, tilting his head toward his wife. “You’ll have to ask her. This was her father’s property.”
The woman shrugged also. “I don’t know who named it, but my grandmother told me she swam in it as a girl. Her mother, too. It’s been there a very long time.”
“It must to have such huge willow trees.”
“I haven’t seen it myself since I was a girl. I gather it must still be as pretty as it used to be, else you wouldn’t have painted it.”
“Oh, it’s pretty, all right.”
Jason’s gaze dropped back to his paper. “You did paint it, then?”
Rimmer laughed aloud. “Perfect! I wouldn’t believe you could say that with such studied disinterest.”
Jason looked up with raised eyebrows. “‘Studied disinterest?’” He chuckled slightly. “Rimmer, you’re a world-famous artist, but we’ve had this argument before. You know I prefer photographs to your brand of ultra-realism.”
“Don’t try it, Jason.”
“Pretending you don’t know what happened at that pool today. Your reputation precedes you much too far.”
“My reputation? What reputation is that?”
“Your well-known love of the … elaborate joke. I must say, when you stage one, you do a bang-up job!”
Jason dropped his newspaper to the floor and gave the artist his full attention. Slowly he shook his head. “This is interesting. You may be giving me too much credit. My jokes are always meant to be in aid of pompous windbags, which you are not, despite your obsolescence. Why don’t you tell us what happened out there today?”
Rimmer smiled. “I’m sure you have a full report. I’ll admit I was surprised not to find you peering from behind a bush.”
Jason’s face settled into seriousness. “What happened, Rimmer?”
The artist shook his head. “They were beautiful, Jason, I’ll hand you that. I’ve never seen prettier teenagers of either sex. I’m grateful to you for that. Of course I painted them in.”
His host studied the artist’s smiling face. “You were visited by teenagers?”
“Very sporting ones, too — naked as newborn babes! They put on a nice show. I’m sure you got your money’s worth. It’s too bad if you didn’t see it yourself. Oh, I get it! They’re old hat to you, aren’t they?”
The host frowned impatiently but Rimmer continued blithely, “Just one criticism. They certainly didn’t speak a teenager’s argot. They’re English was as good, aside from the obscenities, as yours or mine. You need to get them a writer with a better ear.”
“‘Writer?’” Jason shook himself. “Did you say you painted them?”
“Yes. They were too pretty to pass up.”
“How about showing us?”
He looked from host to the wife. She spoke up. “Please do, Rimmer.”
He bowed slightly to both and turned away to his room. When he returned with easel and canvas, he found them awaiting him expectantly. It was only a moment’s work to snap the easel erect and settle the painting upon it. Host and hostess gathered before it.
Martha gasped audibly. “Rimmer! The light through the willow streamers — it’s perfect! How did you ever do that?”
“Damn the light!” snapped Jason contemptuously. “Look at those kids. God, they are pretty! Except aren’t they a bit pale?”
“I thought so too,” Rimmer admitted, “for July. But as you said, ‘ultra-realism.’”
The host chuckled. “Maybe too much. That girl on the left … it looks like she’s holding his dick.”
“Prissy, they called her. That’s the least she did to it.”
“‘Prissy,’ eh? You talked to them?”
“I tried to. You primed them too well for me. I was never so thoroughly ignored in my life.”
“Rimmer,” Jason declared solemnly, “I swear to you I’ve never seen those kids before.”
“Yes, you have, dear,” said his wife softly.
The strange quality of her voice drew both men’s attention. Jason sputtered, “If so I don’t remember them.”
“I’ll be right back,” she promised, turning away without looking up.
The men watched her leave the room. “What’s got into her?” Jason asked rhetorically. He turned back to regard the painting. “Did you hear any other names?”
“First names. The boys are John and Jack, the girls Chrissy and Prissy, though I’m no longer sure which is which.”
“Hmm. As you might name twins. They do look alike.”
“I gathered it was brothers and sisters, though not related between the sexes. At least I hope not. They fucked like minxes.” Rimmer chuckled slightly, regarding his host quizzically. “According to their script, the idea was to impregnate both girls concurrently. They even traded partners.”
“‘Their script!’” Jason frowned deeply. “I tell you, Rimmer, I don’t know anything about them.”
The artist laughed. “Hell, Jason, I don’t mind! I’m grateful, I tell you. I have no idea where I could find such beautiful and free-spirited models. I’d appreciate it if you’d give me their agent’s card. I want to hire them myself.”
Jason sighed. “You’d better believe me, Rimmer. I know nothing about them.”
Rimmer frowned. “You insist on that, do you?”
“Yes, I do. I had absolutely nothing to do with your little fantasy.”
“‘Fantasy!’” The artist glared at his host. “Do you suggest I painted them from memory?”
“Or a photograph in your paint box.” Suddenly Jason grinned knowingly. “What is this, Rimmer, an elaborate inverted double joke of some kind?”
“But look at the shadows, the sun dappling, the shading on the bodies. Those kids are a part of the scene, as indeed they were!”
“Oh, I know you’re a world-class artist, Rimmer. This proves the point. Only you should’ve given them tanned faces at least.”
“Dammit, Jason …”
The hostess reentered the room bearing something in her hand. As she drew near, Rimmer saw that they were photographic prints. She set them against the painting on the easel ledge. They were two five-by-sevens, the brown and white “sepia” tones common in the early days of photography. The two men bent close to study them.
One displayed two females in elaborate “Gibson Girl” outfits, bonnets and striped blouses with frilly necks. The pretty but unsmiling faces were apparently identical to the larger ones in the painting above. The other picture showed four people: girl, boy, girl, boy, not so elaborately dressed, the girls hatless with light hair up in chignons, wearing soft blouses with less constricting collars, the boys in straw boaters with neckties but no jacket. All four faces again matched the painting.
“My god!” breathed Rimmer. “Where did you get these pictures?”
“Look on the back,” advised the woman.
Rimmer turned the girls’ picture over and read the handwritten inscription aloud: “Chrysilla and Priscilla, July, 1901, sweet 16.” On the back of the picture of four he read, “Chrysilla and Priscilla with their beaux at the livestock fair, 1901.”
Jason asked, “Your relatives, honey?”
“Not the men. Those girls were my grandmother’s aunts. That’s my great grandmother’s handwriting.”
Rimmer grunted. “Obviously at least one of them succeeded.”
“At what?” asked Jason.
“At getting pregnant. Twins do run in families, don’t they?”
Martha shook her head. She looked up at him with an intense expression. “Not in that family.”
“What do you mean?”
“Grandmother told me. Chrissy and Prissy and those same two boys were riding to church one Sunday morning that August. A tornado struck their surrey. Neighbors saw them lifted into the air. Nobody ever saw them or the surrey again, though one of the horses was found dead across the river.”
“Good god!” murmured Rimmer, chin sagging.
“Aha!” whooped Jason. “We get to claim ‘First in Flight’ instead of North Carolina.”
“Jason, you beast!” cried his wife, grinning.
Rimmer’s voice was strained. “Did your grandmother say where the tornado struck them?”
“You mean, on what road? Yes, but it’s a super highway now.”
Jason eyed the artist. “Don’t be silly. You’re not that irrational.”
But Rimmer didn’t smile. “Can you recommend a good telephoto camera?”
Copyright © 2000, Kellis
Stories at http://www.dhp.com/~kellis