To my regular readers: This is an experiment! It's my first dip into a paranormal/fantastical sort of story. I'll post to this one once a week, writing on it only during weekends, while I also work on Bluegrass Symphony during the week. Don't worry, I'm not abandoning my typical fare. I'm just trying out a genre I've never written before.
Chapter 1: Riding the Beast
"Jed, we need another latte for the drive-through!" The note of barely-controlled panic in Kasey's voice pinged Jed's predator instinct, and he tamped down on the reaction.
"Sure, Kasey. No problem." The big, dark-haired man ensured his bass voice was level, calming. It washed over the haggard fellow managing the little coffee shop, and Kasey's spine straightened. Jed knew the man felt it. It was one of Jed's talents - he could impart some of his own confidence to those around him with his voice, so long as he pushed intention into the words.
Jed went through the motions of making the drink. Soon it was done and he passed it to Kasey. Kasey nodded in thanks, then handed it over to the customer at the window.
Their morning flew by in a stream of customers at the counter and outside at the drive-through window. Jed was a point of calm in a whirl of motion. He was an expert at controlling his own emotional state and reactions to whatever came at him. The environment of the shop was a good one - one he used to strengthen his grip on the beast, and one which enabled him to test his skills at subtle manipulation of mood.
There was something magical about the northern coast of California. Jed was born there, and there was nowhere he would rather be. The redwood forests, streams, ocean, and nearby wild lands all made for a playground he couldn't find anywhere else. It was a place a man could enjoy the comforts of a small town, while escape to nature was only a short jog away.
It was just after eleven and the morning rush was over. Jed wiped the wooden tabletops, contentment on his face.
"Shit. Another one?" Kasey frowned and leaned over the little radio behind the counter.
"Another what?" Jed stepped near, and Kasey turned up the broadcast.
'...making it the fourth such death in the forest managed by the BLM. A representative from the Humboldt County Sheriff's department has not rejected the theory that the men were killed by a large animal. Though, even with expert trackers in the area, there have been no signs of a bear, a big cat, or other likely culprits …'
"Jesus." Kasey shook his head. "No more hikes in the forest for me!"
Jed cocked his head. "How long has this been going on?" He didn't often listen to the news. It was mostly sensationalist crap, designed to gain ratings and rile the population. But this could be different.
Kasey considered with a look of concentration on his face. "Well, with this last one, some guy from the sheriff's office figured out that they've all happened on the new moon. So, they've been happening over the last four months. About once a month." He sighed. "Makes me think it's a crazy person doing it. Some weird serial killer, you know?" He waved a hand. "Cops are probably just trying to keep us all thinking it's an animal. So we don't think there's a murderer loose."
"Hrm." Jed listened to the radio until the story ended. Kasey was right - the killings began four months back, and all occurred on the new moon.
Jed went back to wiping the half-dozen tables in the small shop. Two were occupied. Both patrons were students from the nearby college and regular visitors to their little place. One was a continually haggard-looking young man deep in the nursing program, while the other was an older woman whose textbooks varied so much Jed had no idea of her major.
"Do you need anything, ma'am?" Jed stopped near their female patron's table, and gave her his attention.
She smiled at him. "No, thank you." Her water glass sat empty at her elbow. Jed nodded and took it, then wiped up the condensation on the table. He walked away, refilled the glass, and sat it back on the table for her. She reached for it and took a sip, her eyes on the philosophy book in front of her. It was always how things were with her, and Jed smiled slightly.
He moved to the next. "Hey. How's it going? Need anything?" He modulated his voice, pouring calmness into his tone.
The young guy looked up. The words did their work and he blinked. Some of the stress in his face disappeared, though it wasn't entirely gone. He wet his lips as he stared up at Jed. He was another one who pinged on Jed's 'prey' instinct. Jed worked to ignore the need to dominate this somewhat fragile young man - he didn't need the complication right now.
"I'm okay." He looked down at his mug. "Uh, maybe another coffee?"
Jed smiled. "Sure. How about decaf?" More intention, a little force behind the statement.
His patron flinched, staring up at him. "Y… yes. Decaf." He handed over the mug, then dug out a couple of bucks and gave those to Jed as well.
Jed moved behind the counter and filled the mug, then he delivered it back to the table. Again, the young man stared up at him. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." Jed smiled. He put a hand on the boy's shoulder. "You're doing great. Keep studying." This time Jed focused hard, and his deep voice barrelled into the young fellow's psyche.
The young guy had much the same reaction as Kasey and he put his shoulders back. His expression changed, shifted to one of confidence. He nodded at Jed. "Yeah. I will. Thanks."
Jed moved back to counter. He eyed the male student. Jed got the impression that the young guy struggled with anxiety, and so he tried to buoy him as much as he could. Well, as much as he could without repercussions.
"I'm going to take inventory, Jed. Let me know if you need help," Kasey said and disappeared into the back of the shop.
Jed cleaned the steamer. This is how it always happened at the shop. They would be wildly busy during certain points of the day, then it would die off, and they'd be able to catch up on everything they had put off while there were a lot of customers.
The door opened and Jed looked up from the gleaming metal of the steamer. A short, thin man in a long, dark green coat entered. The coat hung open, revealing a button-up white shirt. New jeans and slim, black boots completed his attire.
'Not prey.' Jed instantly categorized him. It was something subtle in some, but for this man, it was overt. His size notwithstanding, he was a predator in his own right.
The man approached the counter. He smiled. "Hello." The fellow's blue eyes flicked to the menu above. "Coffee. Bagel with cream cheese, please."
"Hi." Jed nodded. "Coming up." He put a bagel into the toaster and poured a cup of dark coffee. Jed slid the mug across the counter to the man. There were a few bills awaiting Jed, and he took them in exchange. His curiosity piqued by the fellow, Jed focused. "Not seen you before. What brings you to our little shop?"
The man cocked his head slightly. "Well, the need for caffeine and food." He smiled.
Jed knew an attempt to divert a conversation when he heard one. He chuckled. "Fair enough." He retrieved the bagel, put the warm bread on a plate, and provided a tub of cream cheese for his patron. He handed it over.
The man's fingers brushed Jed's and Jed heard a sharp intake of breath from him. He stared at Jed, frozen in place.
Jed frowned. "You okay?"
The fellow blinked. "Yeah." He eyed Jed. "I'm Wolfgang. Nice to meet you." He extended a hand over the counter.
Jed reached and gripped, firm but not crushing. The fellow's eyebrows slowly rose as their greeting drew on. Finally, the man blinked and he relinquished Jed's hand - though there was hesitation in the release.
"'Wolfgang.'" Jed let the name roll off of his tongue, unconsciously adding intention to his words. The man stared at him, and Jed grimaced. "Ah, sorry. I just like the name."
'Fuck, be careful.' Jed had made no conscious decision to manipulate this man, but it could happen if he allowed his instinct to take over.
Wolfgang seemed to be made of sturdier stuff than most of his patrons, and he smiled at Jed. "A gift from my parents." He nodded and took his food and coffee from the counter. "Thank you."
"Sure." Jed continued to watch the man as he found a seat. It had been some time since he had met someone potentially suitable - someone he wouldn't naturally dominate through his nature and gift. Additionally, if he wasn't mistaken, Wolfgang was interested.
A young couple entered and interrupted his thoughts. She was obviously pregnant, and her doting partner was a handsome man - all smiles, and continually touching her in small ways. Jed smiled as he helped them. They radiated joy, life, and happiness. The beast flooded his psyche with both a protective instinct for the unborn and a wanton desire to mount the father to be. Jed had to resist the urge to touch that tempting belly. He had no idea why, but babies and children stoked a powerful need to herd, guard, and watch over little ones.
'You want to fuck dad and guard her, I get it. Calm down.' Jed was very careful with his voice. The beast eagerly tried to exert its will through him, so the big man strove to speak to the pair as little as possible - and he never said anything which could be construed as a command of any sort.
"Here you go." He handed their two bagels, and a single cup of black coffee over. Even with his care, the man looked up at him - pupils slightly dilated, confused interest on his features. Jed cursed to himself.
Luckily it was fleeting. The fellow blinked. "Thanks." He took the items and walked away.
As they settled at a corner table, Wolfgang raised his head. "Excuse me? May I speak to you?"
Jed walked around the counter and approached to stand beside the table. "Yes?" He folded his thick, hairy arms over his chest and looked down at the much smaller man.
Wolfgang was utterly unintimidated, and Jed had to suppress an eager growl.
"I'm new to town. Are you a local?" Wolfgang asked.
"Yes. Born and raised right here in Humboldt County," Jed responded, his eyes on Wolfgang.
That blue gaze seemed to measure Jed. "Then I wonder if perhaps I could ask you to join me tonight. Dinner?" He held up a hand. "I admit, I have some questions only a local can answer." He continued to stare up at Jed. "Interested in helping me out?"
Jed ran his tongue along his teeth. "Depends. What are you planning to feed me?"
Wolfgang grinned. "Meat. Definitely meat."
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Wolfgang looked over the menu for The Diver Bar and Grill on the search engine over his phone. There were options for steak, burgers and more. Wolfgang nodded to himself. ‘This will do.’
That decided, he sat back in the chair at the rental house in Eureka. He closed his eyes and again relived the sensations in the coffee shop.
When his fingers brushed those of the tall, muscular barista at the coffee shop, Wolfgang was almost stunned. The sensation of strength, predatory and sexual desire, and animalistic instinct nearly overwhelmed him. The man, Jed, was more than he appeared - and Wolfgang was eager to get the whole story.
Wolfgang had a peculiar talent. He could feel the physical sensation of whomever he touched, and even strong emotion as well. It made him excellent at his profession of Private Investigation, and a world-class lover.
He had been hired by the wife of one of the men killed in the redwood forest. He was the second man killed, three months ago now. Mrs. Caldwell was sure her husband was murdered, and she wanted to know exactly what happened to him. Thanks to a significant insurance payment, she could afford Wolfgang’s rates and expenses.
As soon as he entered the small town of Eureka, he had been pulled toward the coffee shop on F Street. Wolfgang had long ago learned to trust his instincts, and when he met Jed he realized they had not steered him wrong. At a minimum, Jed held the promise of a wonderful physical experience later in the evening.
He had never felt anything quite like Jed. That brief contact was almost more than he could process at one time. The closest thing to it was the night he went home with a pair of college wrestlers a few years back.
Wolfgang’s long, meaty cock slid along his leg as it hardened in his pants. He smirked at the obvious tube in the slacks he’d changed into for his dinner plans. “Later.” He shifted it into a more comfortable position. “I’ll use you later.”
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Jed walked on the sidewalk down F street. A couple of blocks from his place of work, The Diver was open for business.
He liked the spot. When Jed received the text from Wolfgang detailing his dinner plans, Jed had nodded in happy surprise.
Jed opened the door. ‘Prey.’ The host approached, recognizing Jed almost immediately from previous nights at the establishment. The young, thin man smiled shyly. “Ah, hello again, sir.” Jed scented the eager, needful way the black-haired twenty-something fellow engaged with him. Jed forced the beast, lured by the promise of an easy fuck, back down, away from the surface.
“Table for two tonight, Franklin.” Jed couldn’t help locking eyes with him and the beast refused to remain buried. It silently growled and Jed’s dick twitched.
Franklin swallowed and seemed to forget the rest of the room. “Yes, of course, sir. Follow me.” He led Jed into the crowded restaurant. A single table remained open and Jed brushed past a trembling Franklin, scenting him as he sat with his back against the wall. The beast forced a barely-audible growl in Jed's throat.
Franklin caught it. He gulped, and tried a smile on Jed. “What would you like to drink tonight, sir?”
Jed leaned forward, his gray eyes bored into Franklin’s. “The darkest local porter you’ve got.” Jed needed the boy to stay away, the beast was far too interested in him. “Bring my beer, then leave me be until my companion arrives.” His intention slammed into the server in a tsunami of will.
Franklin reacted as if he’d been slapped. “Of course. Sorry, sir.”
He hurried away. Jed watched him go, then sighed. He didn’t want to hurt the lad, yet Franklin was the perfect morsel. Though Jed had great control over his base instincts, even he had his limit. It was best to scare the temptation away rather than let himself give in, and wreck the boy - mentally and physically. No. He needed someone stronger. Someone who wouldn't break under the power of his voice when in the throes of sex, or when raised in emotion.
A few minutes elapsed and Wolfgang entered. Jed watched him from the corner of the room. Wolfgang turned his head slowly, scanning, then he found Jed. The small, confident man walked over. As he did, Jed admired both the way he moved and the notable bulge in his slacks.
"Hello." He smiled at Jed and had a seat. "I hope I didn't keep you waiting long."
"No." Jed returned Wolfgang's smile. Then he looked at the pale Franklin as he returned with the dark pint of beer he had ordered.
"Here you are, sir." Franklin refused to meet Jed's eye now and happily focused on Wolfgang. "Hello, my name is Franklin. Do you know what you'd like to drink?"
"Hello, Franklin." Wolfgang didn't bother to look at the menu listing the options. "Do you have any Masut, 2016? I'd prefer the Pinot if available."
"I believe we do, sir. I'll be right back." Franklin again disappeared.
Jed was thankful the boy was no longer interested in tempting him. Besides, now that Wolfgang was there, even the beast had a very different target in mind. He put his hands on the table and interlaced his fingers, the thick, silver rings on each middle digit glittered in the low light as he did. "So, Wolfgang," he couldn't help but say the name as if he were caressing a lover. "How can I help you?"
Wolfgang wore a half-smile and leaned forward. "Well, I'm curious if you've heard anything about the killings that happened here. The ones the sheriff is attributing to some wild animal."
"Huh. Funny timing." Jed rubbed the back of his neck, and he was gratified to see Wolfgang glance at his muscular arm barely contained by the black t-shirt he had chosen to wear. "Yeah. I heard about them today, on the radio."
Wolfgang wet his lips. "Well, I wondered if, perhaps you know the area where they happened. I have been hired to look into the death of one of the men, and I will probably need a guide."
Jed knew the woods around Eureka well, including the BLM lands where the killings occurred. He slowly nodded. "Yes, I know the area."
Wolfgang grinned. "Well, if you could help me I'd pay you." He shrugged. "It should be pretty simple. I just need you to show me where to go, and how to get in and out."
Jed considered. He cocked his head and openly evaluated Wolfgang. "You don't look like the 'hike in the woods' type. Why'd you take this job?"
Wolfgang began to respond then he looked over as Franklin approached with a glass of red wine. "Ah, thank you, Franklin."
"You're welcome." Franklin nervously glanced at Jed and pulled out a small pad and pencil. "Have you both decided on your meal?"
Jed nodded and motioned at Wolfgang. The smaller man took the hint. "Yes, we've decided. One tab, please. I'll have the mussels, the entrée not the appetizer, along with a side salad."
It was Jed's turn. "T-bone. Medium-rare. Fries for the side." Franklin went to put in their orders to the kitchen.
Wolfgang picked up their conversation. "I took the job because a distraught woman is willing to pay a lot of money to find out what happened to her husband." He held up his glass of wine and smelled the contents. He appeared to appreciate the scent and held it up in a toast. "And, regardless of my appearance, I may surprise you with hidden talents."
Jed picked up his beer and gently toasted with Wolfgang. "To pleasant surprises." He tried hard, and he managed to keep most of his intention from flooding his words. He took a drink of the cold, bitter liquid while Wolfgang sipped his wine. Both men sighed with appreciation.
Jed watched him while they talked. The beast did too. There was a challenge and an enigma wrapped in the package of Wolfgang, and both parts of Jed were interested in him. The baser side wanted to mount him, prove who was better, while the rest of him was eager for a different sort of interaction. Jed needed to see what Wolfgang could take, not physically - no, that was for the beast. If the way Wolfgang's pupils slightly dilated when he looked at Jed were an indication, that would come later tonight. Yet, there was more to know, and he worked to avoid eagerness in his tone. Jed didn't want a sure thing. He didn't want a Franklin.
Their meal was served, and they dug in without much preamble. Both men were hungry, and Jed had eaten half of his slightly bloody steak before Wolfgang looked up at him. The thin man dabbed his mouth with a napkin and smiled. "I have a rental, down near the part of town called Cutten. I'd like to talk about our agreement a bit more tonight." He picked up his wine and looked over the glass at Jed. "Care to join me after we finish here?"
Jed tingled with anticipation and leaned forward. "That sounds… satisfying." He couldn't help it, not this time. The voice was so strong patrons at a pair of tables looked at him, startled and curious - not by the volume, but by the emotion. His dining partner gulped, and Jed inwardly chastised himself. He wanted to do this the old-fashioned way.
Wolfgang's eyes never left Jed's. "It certainly could be." He smiled and went back to eating the last of his meal.
They finished up, the air charged with need and desire. Wolfgang paid, then they exited the place. Franklin watched them leave with both disappointment and relief on his face.
Wolfgang's car awaited them in front of the restaurant. It was a beautiful black Dodge Charger and Jed admired the vehicle before they got in. He settled back into the leather seat. Jed looked over at his companion for the night. "Nice ride. Rental?"
Wolfgang kept his eyes on the road and smiled as he pulled away from the curb. "No. It's mine. I tend to like… muscle."
Jed let the barest audible growl rumble in his throat. The beast threw all the intention it could muster into it, and Wolfgang's Adam's apple slid up and down as he swallowed. Jed was starting to lose his grip on his desire, and he hadn't even touched the man yet.
The trip to the rental was fast, though it felt torturous to Jed. Wolfgang led them to the door of a small, well-maintained home, overshadowed by towering redwoods in the yard. They entered, and Jed struggled to hold onto some semblance of command over himself.
"So," Wolfgang took off his jacket and tossed it on the back of the couch. He turned and looked at Jed, his blue eyes just as hungry as Jed felt. "Would you like something to drink? Or can I have my way with you now?"
The beast rose up. This twig of a man teased and challenged him. Jed stepped forward. He pulled Wolfgang into his strong embrace, a hand on the back of Wolfgang's neck. "I want to see you try." He leaned down, lips a fraction of an inch from Wolfgang's.
Wolfgang smiled. Though Jed's ability to impart some of his emotion and will was in full force, this man held on to his own control. "Challenge accepted." He leaned forward and kissed Jed.
At first, Wolfgang's mouth was soft, his tongue gentle, but that didn't last. Jed felt himself gripped tightly, and he groaned as Wolfgang became more insistent, needful and aggressive. Wolfgang's kiss changed until it was precisely how Jed liked it. The beast clawed at the surface, trying to get out.
Wolfgang pulled away and gripped Jed's hand. He led the tall, muscular man into the bedroom. Jed reached for him, and Wolfgang smirked. "No." He pushed Jed's hands down to his sides. "Let me handle you."
"You can't 'handle' me." Jed grinned lewdly then shrugged. "But we'll see how far you get."
Wolfgang responded by cupping Jed's balls through his jeans. Jed stared down at him, then as Wolfgang increased pressure on the sensitive organs he swallowed. Jed now rode the line of pleasure and pain, and Wolfgang was like a conductor, dictating exactly how far he took the moment.
Wolfgang released him. "Strip." His voice was quiet but sure. Jed already wanted to be free of his clothes, so he was happy to oblige. The two men peeled away their layers until they both were in boxers. An obscene bulge showed at both of their groins, but Jed couldn't help staring at Wolfgang.
"Fuck." He gently rubbed the impressively long, heavy, cock in Wolfgang's underwear. "That is nice."
"I'm glad you like it." Wolfgang pulled Jed's underwear from his hips. He raised his eyebrows in appreciation of Jed's member. Though Jed was impressed to find that this small, unassuming man carried a half-inch more manhood around. He was also surprised to find that he didn't mind.
"Lay down on your belly," Wolfgang ordered. At the same time, he rubbed Jed's testicles and firmly stroked his cock.
Everything this man did felt terrific. It was almost as if he were inside Jed, and he applied just the right amount of pressure, friction, and for the perfect duration. Jed wet his lips. His need to dominate this smaller guy was at war with how amazing the sensations Wolfgang promised and delivered.
"You're not getting what you want out of me." Jed's voice wavered, and he climbed onto the bed. He lay on his front, alert for anything, but eagerly awaiting Wolfgang's touch.
Wolfgang didn't keep him waiting. His hands, slick with oil taken from the nightstand, rubbed down Jed's muscled back. Again, it was always the perfect amount of pressure, and waves of chills rose and fell as those wonderful, seductive hands moved over his skin. The small man sat on Jed's ass, and slowly he shifted back until his long, heavy dick rubbed up and down Jed's hairy crack.
As Wolfgang moved his hands, his pelvis also began to push forward and back. That warm organ slid into Jed's groove, and Wolfgang pressed down on the shaft firmly with his hand as he sensuously moved his hips. It created a pleasurable, maddening pressure on Jed's ass.
The beast whimpered.
Jed's mouth hung open, and he panted quietly. Wolfgang positioned the wide head of his cock against Jed's opening. The skinny man lay on Jed's back, and his teeth, gently at first, sank into the skin of the bigger man's neck.
'Am I letting this happen?' Jed's mind thrashed and flooded his body with endorphins. Wolfgang's leaking, slick penis slid forward, pressing against Jed.
Wolfgang's teeth closed tighter, and Jed groaned. Pressure increased steadily on Jed's body. There was just the right amount of pain. So long as that were true, Jed couldn't say no to him.
"Yes." He grunted as Wolfgang entered him. The man wasn't exactly gentle, and it made the event a symphony of agonizing pleasure. "Fuck." His fingers gripped the mattress and tore into the sheet beneath him with a ripping sound. His full intention, magnified by the roiling beast crashed into the room. "Fuck me. Fuck me hard."
Wolfgang picked up the need and raw desire, and it seemed to infect his mind. He drove his hips forward, and both men gasped as the long, thick cock slammed into Jed's prostate.
"God," Wolfgang uttered. "You're magnificent." His teeth once again found Jed's neck, and he resumed biting him as he fucked.
Jed leaked while Wolfgang mercilessly pounded away. The friction of the bed under him as they both moved to the beat of Wolfgang's pelvis felt good, and the first hint of a tremendous orgasm crept forward until it became a certainty.
"Yes. Do it." Jed had said nothing, but somehow Wolfgang knew. He whispered in Jed's ear. "Come for me."
That was going to happen. Jed felt Wolfgang's breath, hot on the back of his neck. The man speared that massive organ deep into Jed's body and held it there.
It happened simultaneously. Jed unloaded with a grunt and writhed under Wolfgang, while his lithe lover's breaths came in staccato gasps as he burned in his own moment.
Wolfgang continued to move against him in time to the pulses from his dick. They both finally stopped, then they lay there - still, sated and panting.
Jed's mouth was open slightly as he lay under Wolfgang and quietly breathed. The beast stirred languidly under the surface, confused, angry and satisfied all at once.
Wolfgang's lips moved into a smile, and he leaned forward to put them at Jed's ear. "What would you like for breakfast tomorrow?"
Author's Note: Please let me know your thoughts about the chapter at the following email address link. Wayne Gray
And thank you for reading!
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