22- "God's Country"
We had managed to go back and finish our shower after another two rounds. I was exhausted and sore, but Titus had more energy to go on for another three hours if I let him. He had dinner sent up to our room, wanting to appreciate having me unclothed and to himself for the night.
We laid in bed, resting. My back against his chest and his arm wrapped around me, holding me as though he feared I would leave him. His lips lingering at my neck, tracing my now healing mark.
“You’re admirin’ your work.” I accused him with a smile.
“That’s a bad thing?” He returned, placing his hand over my mark, repeating the same action as his lips. “I’m surprised at how fast it’s healing. I thought that you bein’ more human it would heal slowly.”
“I am half wolf. I’ve never been a slow healer.”
“It’s interesting though, yours is almost completely healed in just a few hours. Most take a day.” He commented nonchalantly. I rolled over to face him wanting to read the expression on his face.
“Maybe it has to do with you bein’ an Alpha.” I thought aloud. I was making notes and connecting dots in my head. I did not want to worry Titus, but something was off about me.
“It’s possible, I suppose.” He pulled me closer to his body until my chest pressed against his. Our lips met for a heated kiss, it did not take long for Titus to roll on top of me. My body was sore but just his touch was enough for me to give in. He glided in my already needy core, his lips never leaving mine. Unlike our heat driven first time, this was slow and sweet.
My hands explored the muscles of his back until I found his bottom, digging my nails as he continued his sweet assault. Our breaths were thick, and our moans were getting louder. I threw my head back against the headboard as I felt my orgasm building.
Titus’ lips kissed my jaw and neck focusing on my new mark. He thrusted his hips against mine, moving faster, making my body hotter. We found our release together, both covered in sweat and groaning with pleasure.
Titus rolled on his side pulling me into him. I rested my head on his chest, listening to his lungs fill with air and his heart beating in his chest. I closed my eyes in pure bliss. I was completely in love with Titus. I do not remember the last time I was this happy in my life. My thoughts drifted, reminding me of the events of the day that led me here. Had I not felt Anna Beth’s heat, would I be lying here mated and marked?
I awoke in the woods at night. I do not know how I got there, but I stood there barefoot. I felt the twigs and grass beneath my feet. I wore a tank top and shorts although it was cold, and my skin prickled with the cool breeze. I felt my glasses on my face, which I did not recall putting on.
I turn my body around, looking for a path to take; to where I do not know. A screech of a bird could be heard from behind, and I whipped around to find an orange and beige owl with an odd diamond marking on its chest. It looked familiar to me, as though I had seen it before. This owl was different. Its face was a white heart shape and unlike normal owls who hoot, this one screeched. I knew then that it was a Lechuza. A witch that was believed to be a bad omen. I recalled the stories my abuela had told me when I was younger.
The fear set in as I stared straight into its eyes, as though it too recognized me. It turned its head around, not moving its body like owls are known to do, then it turned back to face me. It flapped its wings and took off in the direction it had turned its head to. It was as though it was beckoning me to follow. I took a step forward and then another, following behind the screeching owl. Suddenly I was running and the ground beneath me was wet and muddy making it harder to move.
The owl led me to a bayou. Where the sounds of frogs and crickets would be heard, silence replaced them. It was odd and eerie. Panic began to set in as I searched for the owl that had led me there. I heard its familiar screech and I turned to my left and found it perched on a mirror. The mirror was plain, nothing significant about it, but the person reflected on it was.
I stared at myself, mud up to my knees from the running in the swampy terrain. My stomach was rounded and my thighs were thick. My golden pink hair was replaced with my dark brown and it laid flat against my scalp, falling down to my breast. I wore a pair of glasses that I had not worn in years. I studied the teenage version of myself reflected in the mirror, and I was reminded of all the torture I endured from my classmates.
A voice could be heard from the direction of the mirror, but I could not make out what it was saying. I tried moving towards the sound, but I was stuck in place. It was like I was paralyzed. It was a voice I heard before. I listened as chanting surrounded the woods around me. It sounded like a memory, but I could not recall it.
Suddenly the screech of the owl caught my attention and now the mirror was only a few feet in front of me. I noticed my reflection’s lips were moving. I reached for my own, but the reflection did not repeat the action. It was then that I heard what she was saying.
‘Ellie Mae, help me!’ She yelled at me, finally getting my attention. The voice did not sound like me. It was different. ‘I need out!’
‘How can I help you?’ I asked my reflection.
’The Lechuza. She can help.” My reflection answered. Looking up at the Lechuza that was perched on top of the mirror. It stared back at me with knowing eyes.
‘How? I don’t understand.’
‘Go to her!’ My reflection hollered before a high-pitched scream escaped her lips as she reached for her own hair, fisting and pulling it from the roots as though she was being tortured. The owl screeched with her and suddenly my head was pounding with a headache. I watched as her face changed and she began to scratch at it. Her eyes became pitch black, and her teeth began to grow longer. As she scratched at her skin, bloodied hair sprouted. ‘Go! Now!’ She ordered with a deep painful tone. I began to run away from the mirror, but I could still feel her fear and panic as she continued to scream behind me. The Lechuza chased after me before I fell into a muddy puddle. I felt the rocks and fallen branches scraping my skin as the puddle became a pool and I began to drown in the dirty water.
I sat up in my bed, gasping for air and coughing up the imaginary water that filled my lungs. I searched the room, looking for any indication that my nightmare was anything but that. I could feel the pain my reflection was in, but I could also feel fear coming from her.
Titus was laying on his stomach next to me, unbothered by the noises I was making. His leg was out from under the blanket, giving me a nice view of his ass cheek. I laid back down on the pillow, moving closer to Titus. It was a nightmare, one that gave me horrible chills.
The sun was shining through the windows, and I looked at the clock. It was ten minutes ‘till seven. Luckily it was Saturday and Titus could take the day off. I rubbed my hand on Titus’ back, causing him to stir and roll onto his side giving me the perfect opportunity to sneakily cuddle into his chest. I needed his comfort, the eerie feelings from my dream still lingered.
I closed my eyes for what felt like a second before the voice returned. Only this time I was laying down in my bedroom, alone and the sun was bright. There was no mirror or owl or woods.
‘Ellie!’ Her fear-stricken voice hollered at me. ‘Help me! Now!’ She screamed in my head.
I opened my eyes and Titus was still holding me in his arms. The clock now read eight twenty-three. It had been over an hour. I scooted myself out of Titus’ arms and ran into the bathroom. There was so much panic and fear in those words that I needed to empty the contents of my stomach.
Once I was done, I went to wash my face and brush my teeth. I put toothpaste on the end of the brush and placed it in my mouth. I looked up into the mirror, but I was not looking at my adult self with my pinkish golden hair. It was my teenage self only this time her eyes were black. I heard Titus scuffed out of bed and walked towards the bathroom, my reflection turned to face him, and I did the same. He smiled at me, as though nothing was wrong. I turned back to the mirror, and she was gone. Replaced by my normal self.
“Good morning, beautiful.” Titus greeted me, as he came up behind me and gave me a kiss on the cheek before walking to the water closet. He closed the door behind him for privacy as he used the toilet. I turned my attention back to the mirror, but the teenage version of myself was nowhere in sight.
“Everything okay, darlin’?” Titus asked me when he reentered the room.
“Yeah, just slept like shit.” I answered between brushing my teeth and spitting, then back to brushing. I did not want to worry him by telling him about the nightmare.
“I guess next time I’ll have to try harder to wear you out.” He said, kissing the crook of my neck. I excused myself for a moment while I spit into the sink. When I looked at my neck in the mirror, I saw my mark completely healed and a dark cobalt color.
“Want to lay back down? We can lay in bed all day if you like.” Titus offered.
“No, we should go down and get some breakfast.” I returned, hoping it would clear my mind.
“Darlin, it’s six thirty.” He stated the time.
“It is?” I walked out of the room and looked at the clock I had clearly read eight twenty-three on. Sure enough, it read six thirty-two. I looked out the windows and the sun was barely rising and I could no longer distinguish what had been real and what was a dream.
"God's Country" by Blake Shelton