Deep Into The Forest (pt 7, Epilogue)
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many weeks later...
In the darkness of the night a brown figure peaks its head out of the water silently at the river's edge. It turns its head left and right, looking for any signs of danger.
Satisfied, the female otter climbs out of the water onto the rocky pebbles of the river's edge. She stops and looks around again, sniffing the air. Satisfied, she turns around towards the water and makes a soft chitterling sound.
Slowly, three small fuzzy heads emerge from the water. Just as cautiously as their mother did, the pups crawl onto rivers edge and make their way to her side. She nuzzles them reassuringly. They follow her as she approaches the yellow plastic hull of a kayak that had been left there months ago. She motions her head towards the kayak, and the pups obediently climb up into its hull, their cute little heads sticking out from behind the seat. The mother looks at her cubs affectionately.
The horrors of their birthing still lingers in her mind. Instinctively she had found an abandoned beaver den and nested there. The feeling and sight of her sex being spread open as she gave birth to their small furry bodies was a trauma she'd rather soon forget. The pain, the horror, the humiliation. She had labored for two entire days. At least she had had the benefit of doing it in private.
She had initially wanted to abandoned her cubs. But the power of her maternal instincts were undeniable. She had nursed them, felt them suckling on her nipples. Fed them. Weaned them. Taught them to swim.
They were incredibly intelligent as well. She would have had no hope of keeping them alive had they not been so. They were unnaturally intelligent. She could see it in their eyes, in their behavior, in their personalities. Abandoning them would have been murder.
Now satisfied of their safety within the kayak, the female otter turns around and looks up towards the trail leading up from the river's edge. With a deep huffing breath, she slowly makes her way up the slowly inclining hill, ambling awkwardly upwards as silently as possible.
Thoughts circle through her head as she slowly makes her way back to the place she had run away from so many weeks ago.
She had tried to find help. But her attempts failed. In fact, they had failed spectacularly.
With her strange targeted behavior she had managed to catch the attention of pair of hunters she found in the woods. A father and his adult son. In a scene reminiscent of an episode of Lassie, she had succeeded in impressing on the hunters that she was intelligent, that someone was in grave trouble, and that she would lead them to them. They had guns, they looked tough, they were scruffy. It took an entire afternoon for her to lead them back towards the witch's hut.
But things didn't go as planned.
It was to her horror that they set their guns down before heading up towards the hut, not realizing the danger they would be in.
Panicking, she had screamed frantically to get them to come back. But the ruckus had only caught the attention of the witch inside, who emerged from her hut in her beautiful naked form, beckoning the men to come.
The otter had run away like a cowards, and hid in the woods, only to watch in despair as the two men followed the woman into the hut.
Soon she heard yelling and pleading. And as their yells turned to animalistic cries, she turned and fled back into the safety of the river. Once again she swam downstream underneath the surface of the water, hoping to drown out the horrible sounds.
Now, weeks later, she was back to the scene of the crime, again. The scene of so many crimes. As she neared the top the bazaar collection of animals came into view.
Some of them saw her approach, looking at her sadly with awareness in their eyes. They knew not to make any sound and draw any attention to her. They knew why she was here. Also, she was also their only hope. Even the goat who constantly baaed from the discomfort of her perpetually overly-filled udder kept quiet as the otter came near.
Horrible feelings of guilt washed over the otter as she passed a deer standing by a tree, making brief eye contact with her. The doe looked back at her pitifully. A small spotted fawn suckled on one of her pendulous teats, her ears twitching abit from the discomfort of her reluctant daughter suckling awkwardly, and with hesitation.
The doe was clearly pregnant, not too large yet, but the smell was obvious.
In fact, nearly all the animals here were female, and most of them were in various stages of pregnancy, something that was not evident to her in her first visit. Not until she learned to discern such things with her sensitive nose. The smell of heat and sex permeated the place.
Unlike her, these animals had no choice. They had no hope of escape. The witch's magic to control them saw to it. Despite their intact minds, her magic prevented them from running away, prevented them from attacking her, forced them to do things at her command. As much as they wanted to struggle, they could not. She has seen it with her own eyes, and it was horrible.
Fortunately for her, she had escaped under the water's surface before the witch had a chance to put any of those spells on her. Even though she was trapped in form, she was still far more free than these poor souls.
As she crept around, there were three animals in particular that she searched for.
Unknown to her, the witch had brought on special attention to those three, perhaps to make up for her absences, and to punish them for her abandonment. But although she was not fully aware of it, the evidence was there.
The otter kept moving up the trail. She moved closer towards the hut, dangerously close, then came to a post to which a cougar was tied by a rope. A female cougar. The cat lay on her side, belly heavy with the litter that lay within it, nearly ready to be born. She wreaked of the scent of semen, made more obvious by the sight of the wetness between her legs. Her vaginal folds abused and spread nearly wide open. Not only was the base of her tail coated with the wetness, but the tip as well. The otter shuddered remembering the night she had escaped.
The cat looked at her with sorrowed yet gentle eyes as she approached. Within the cats arms two smaller animals lay within its warm protective embrace.
The white fluffy form of an arctic fox lay, her belly badly swollen. Her legs were forced apart by the girth of her belly, the wrinkled folds of her sex obscenely swollen and in view. Her nipples protruded from her belly. It was a pose she was all too familiar with, a position she'd lain in for two days as she was in the act of birthing her own pups. Her scent also smelled of fresh breeding. Even her breath smelled of the stench of many different animals, fox and cougar included. The fur on her face and muzzle was discolored and matted down from the many rounds of dried up sexual juices it'd been coated in, mostly female, but some of it distinctly male.
The otter looked on at the fox sadly, seeing it slowly panting in the early discomforts of labor. This would be her first litter. But surely not her last.
Facing the fox's head was a blue bird. A blue jay, laying on her side, legs apart, the initial white of a egg emerging between them. The little legs quivered in strain. All around the ground eggs were scattered, some of them smashed. The eggs were clearly not fertile. None of them had ever been. And yet they were plentiful. And they were big. Unnecessarily big. The sight made the otter think of the witch in hatred. Although the bird had apparently been spared the indignity of rape and impregnation, she had been inflicted with perpetual laying. Laying witch served no clear purpose except for torture.
The witch, or whatever she was, or it was, would some day pay for her evil. She clearly took sadistic pleasure in torturing the people that were so unfortunate to cross her path. No matter what their perceived crime, nothing could justify what she was doing, even if it did produce adorable baby otters with human intelligence.
Unfortunately the justice would probably not come from her. Her attempt to do so only brought the witch more innocent victims, and she would never be responsible for that again. Perhaps someday an opportunity would arise. Perhaps not. At least she could serve as a false hope for the others.
The otter nestled within the paws of the cougaress, curling her body around the fox and wrapping her tail protectively around the bird.
Like many other nights, she knew she had a couple hours before the witch would arouse. She closed her eyes, hoping for a better future, one that might not ever come.