My name is Dara, and I’m a writer. What does that mean, exactly, you might ask? Well in my head, in my imagination, that means I am a creative genius, an artist, feted and celebrated wherever I go, with a string of literary prizes, awards and accolades to my name, as well as a best-selling biography and the occasional Oscar-winning screenplay.
In a parallel universe, successful Dara has three homes: a chic apartment in New York, a luxurious mountain-top cabin in Denver and a cute little villa on Lake Garda. I spend my time jetting between these residences, occasionally penning critically acclaimed novels, poetry and journalism, giving interviews when I get to give the world the benefit of my thoughts, and seducing whichever attractive man or woman I feel like seducing.
So much for the fantasy. In reality, I lived in a horrible apartment in downtown New York, existing on a diet of noodles, green tea and value-brand chips. The noise in my apartment was almost constant and included barking dogs, jaw-shuddering metal from the Slayer fan in the next apartment, and all the screeching, wailing, shouting cacophony that comes with living in a city with no money. Oh, and did I mention the damp? And the cockroaches?
I was a writer though. I could cling to that. I even earned some money from it, occasionally. Most of the time I ended up writing 500 word marketing pieces on subjects such as ‘How to Re-engineer your Online Vision’ or ‘What is the future for B2B in the tech space?’ My reward for ploughing through these tedious, soul-sapping paragraphs was maybe $0.01 a word, if I was lucky. Then there were the businesses offering the chance to write in return for a mystery currency called ‘exposure’. I still had enough dignity to turn those down.
I lived alone. There had been a boyfriend, some time back, though I lost him, inevitably, when I quit my admin job to be a writer. We were drifting apart anyway, but I could see the pained look on his face when I told him what I was going to do. I told him it was going to be great, I would be free, but he didn’t seem to think it was that great, particularly when I told him that I might be short of money for a little while.
I got that right. Having lost Dan, I couldn’t make my rent, so I lost my apartment. I also lost my cat, Oscar. That was probably the worst loss of them all, but there were no pets allowed in my new place, and it was that, or live on the street. I had to hand him over to my neighbour Betty. Two weeks later she wrote me to say that Oscar had been hit by a car. I cried for two whole days, compared to the afternoon of sobbing that marked the exit of Dan from my life. All in all, I think it’s fair to say my writing career was not a success.
So I was open to offers. Any offers. That’s when I came across an advert in the Times. I was sitting at Dino’s, trying to make my espresso last and studying the classifieds, expecting to find nothing. It was one of those filthy January mornings: chilly, wet and grey and I was feeling even more desperate than usual, so I was reading all of the classifieds, even the weird ones looking for cult members or a third wife.
‘Get away from the city. Apply to be a cabin minder. Pay and expenses. Short term work.’
That was it. That was what I needed. Get away from New York and be paid for looking after a cabin. I could write, I could recuperate, it would be perfect. I had enough credit left on my phone so I dialed right there and then. Spontaneity isn’t usually my thing, but poverty and desperation can bring that out in a writer.
Turns out the application was a three minute phone call, in which I explained who I was, how old I was (27) and when I would be available to start (like, yesterday). The only downside was that I would need to get myself to the Catskills on the following Monday morning. Scribbling the details frantically, I said that wouldn’t be a problem.
I was right about that too. Hurrying back to the apartment, I ran into the Slayer fan in hallway, and I mentioned the Catskills. There and then he offered to take me. Turned out he had a car, and was driving his elderly mother to Buffalo early Monday. I nearly hugged him, though I managed to restrain myself.
By the time Monday came around, I was having second, and third thoughts. It seemed like such a long way, such a reckless thing to do. I had my belongings packed, such as they were: A bulging sack of clothes, my beat-up laptop, a few bits of make-up and that was it. The Slayer fan, who was called Matt, knocked on my door early, and, still half-asleep, I followed him down to his car.
It still felt crazy when I sat, tense in his passenger seat, surrounded by fast food wrappers, empty drink cartons, music magazines and general debris. We crawled a few blocks, picked up his mother, who demanded to know whether I was his girlfriend repeatedly, before falling asleep, and then we headed out of the city.
Over the next two hours, as city become suburbs and suburbs became hilly countryside and hills steepened into tree-cloaked mountains, I became slowly acquainted with Slayer’s back catalogue, though Matt’s mother slept soundly throughout. Eventually, we arrived at the Fir Lodge Trail, the place where I was supposed to stay. I thanked Matt and offered him the sum total of my money, which was around $42, but he turned me down and wished me luck, before performing a risky U-turn and tearing off into the distance, blaring the opening track of ‘Reign In Blood’ into the mountains.
The starting point of the Fir Lodge Trail was a typical touristy building: a log cabin with gift shop and café, with a small office at the rear. The place was locked, so I hauled my bag around the back and banged on the rear door. Eventually it opened and I was met by a bearded man wearing a grubby t-shirt and uniform pants.
“Er, hi. I’m Dara. I’m here to mind the cabin.”
Recognition dawned on his face, and was followed by an expression that I didn’t quite like the look of. I saw him looking me up and down and I flushed.
“Yeah, you’ll do. He’ll like you. Wait there.”
The door closed again. What did he mean, he’ll like me? Who will like me?
After a few minutes, the door opened again and the man emerged, buttoning up his uniform.
“Come on, I’ll take you to the cabin.”
“What did you mean, when you said ‘he’ll like me’?” I asked, hurrying to keep up with him.
“Did I say that? Just an expression,” he said, striding ahead.
We walked for what seemed like hours, following the hiking trail up the mountain, winding through dense fir forests and the occasional meadow of wild grass. At first the surroundings were uplifting, and I savored the smell of the leaves and the forest, but after a while my calves began to ache and I began to weary of trudging after him. The further we walked, the colder the air became, and the more I began to feel unsettled, as though we were not alone, as though something in the trees was watching us.
The cabin stood in a little clearing, at the crest of a slope. In the distance loomed the shapes of bigger mountains, all shrouded darkly in trees. I stood for a moment, looking back down the trail, breathing in the fresh mountain air, until my moment was spoiled by the looming shadow of Martin, who was impatient to be on his way.
He showed me around. It wasn’t much, in terms of luxury, but compared to my apartment, it was a palace. There was a pretty bedroom with a grand double bed, a kitchen, bathroom, and a living room. Martin ran through how everything worked, explained that I could order groceries and he would have them brought up to the cabin every two weeks, and told me to lock the door and stay inside if I heard a bear.
“Do you get many bears?” I asked, nervously.
“Not many,” he said. “They don’t like to hang around in this area.”
“Why?” I asked.
He smiled, but didn’t answer. I had more questions, but Martin seemed keen to go, and soon I was standing alone at the door of the cabin, completely isolated in the wilderness, wondering if I was doing the right thing.
It was already after lunch, so I fixed myself something to eat, tidied the cabin, made the bed and then wandered out onto the front porch. I breathed deeply. It felt wonderful. The tranquillity washed over me. I was completely alone. I could do anything I wanted. I could walk around naked if I wanted to, I thought. So I did.
It felt so good to strip out of my clothes and stand there alone, free. I wandered to the front door of the cabin and peered outside. I knew that there was no-one around, but instinctively I was reluctant. At the back of my mind, in my wilder moments, I had envisaged walking around naked, bathing in a mountain stream, but when it came to it, I wasn’t quite ready. Besides, I told myself, it was a little cold.
So I wrapped a sheet around myself and wandered into the bedroom. The bed looked so inviting. I lay down and as I lay there in the silence, I lazily ran one hand over my body, feeling my right breast. Instantly my nipple began to harden, but I was more tired than I had realized because soon I fell asleep.
I woke to the sound of an unearthly roaring. I jerked upright on the bed, immediately feeling cold. It was dark. Outside there was another roar, and a deep, ominous grunt.
I ran out of the bedroom to lock the door but as I reached the living room, the main door of the cabin was flung open and the doorframe was filled with something large and dark. I froze, terrified to move, as the bear moved inside, treading heavily and bending low to pass under the doorway. With horror, I realized that the bear was walking on its back legs, and then, as it stood inside the room, it dawned on me that this was no bear.
It stood at least eight foot tall, maybe more and was covered in matted dark hair, much longer than a bear’s, and tangled up with twigs and leaves. It had heavy paws that appeared to end in black claws, but although it was dim and gloomy in that room, I could tell that the creature’s face was not at all bear-like. It didn’t have a long nose, but instead was flat-featured, with a nearly human face, though its nose and eyes were grotesquely proportioned and its mouth seemed to bulge.
Rooted to the spot, I wondered if it had seen me, and if I could escape. It seemed to be sniffing the air, as though it relied on its smell rather than its sight. I took a half step backwards, but the floorboards betrayed me and the creature turned to look in my direction. As it looked, its mouth opened slightly and betrayed gleaming white teeth that glinted in the moonlight. I wanted to scream, but I was too frightened to make a sound.
The creature shuffled closer. It seemed uncertain and was huffing and grunting a little as it stepped across the bare wooden floor of the cabin, drawing closer and closer. I tried not to breathe, not to make a sound. I’d heard that was the only possible way to survive a bear attack, although this creature was no bear, but what else could I do? I couldn’t run, all I could do was close my eyes and hope for the best.
It drew closer until I could smell its dank fur, its animal dampness, until I could practically feel its steaming breath on the top of my head. It towered above me. Even in the dark, I could sense its shadow.
In that moment, when I was so quiet I could hear my own breathing, I felt a roughness on my arm and then felt something close around my bare skin and instinctively I screamed, at the top of my voice, then I screamed again, making my throat raw. The creature relaxed its grip and seemed to shuffle back a few steps. I stood, trembling, uncertain what was happening. The creature had tilted its head, as though it was studying me, watching.
As I stood there, I realized that although I was practically naked in the middle of nowhere, completely defenseless against this powerful creature, I was not afraid. The fear was washing out of me. I looked at the creature, standing uncertainly nearby, snuffling and grunting, as though trying to communicate something.
Without quite knowing why, I stretched out my arm, which looked pale in the moonlight flooding through the window. It hesitated, and then, reached out towards me and suddenly grabbed me by the arm. This time, though, I began to breathe more heavily, I calmed my nerves and let it pull me towards it. It leaned in and began to inspect me, snuffling its nose against the top of my head, pressing down on me, but not too heavily that it hurt. At the same time, I felt it rubbing its paws over my shoulders and my neck and then I gasped as my blanket slipped from my body to the floor and I stood naked, helpless in the grasp of this strange, powerful, but gentle creature.
I felt its paws slide down over my chest, catching roughly on my left nipple, at which I breathed in sharply. It seemed to react, lightening its touch. I tentatively held onto one furry arm as it slid its paw down my body, crossing my stomach, and then, with a start I felt it slip between my legs, roughly pawing at my pussy. I gasped but clung onto the arm, and held it there. I didn’t want the creature to stop.
I could feel it breathing heavily, and I knew that if it had wanted to, that powerful creature could have hurt me, maimed me, killed me even, but it was treating me gently. Its movements were slow and deliberate and its tentative touch between my legs was already making me moan. The sound of my voice seemed to fluster it, confuse it, and it withdrew from me, taking its paw away and shuffling backwards.
At that point I was feeling so aroused. It was incredible that I seemed to have a power over this creature. It was in awe of me a little. I smiled at it, and then, walked slowly out of the room, towards my bedroom. I could hear the creature’s footsteps following me, causing the floorboards of the cabin to creak as it trudged in my wake. I wandered into the bedroom, feeling so sensual, such feminine power and stood at the end of my bed, waiting, breathlessly for the creature to reach the doorway.
As I saw that doorframe filled with its powerful body, the feeling of vulnerability and forbidden sexuality was so strong, it was almost overwhelming, and this time, as the creature approached, I looked down to see that it had a cock, proportioned like a human cock, only much, much larger. It was ten, eleven inches long and standing proud as he walked, glistening a little in the light through the window.
I was breathing heavily as he approached, and this time when he touched me, when he placed his paws on my body, he was a little less gentle, a little more forceful. I gasped as I felt a powerful fury arm slide around my back and pull me close to him. With his other paw he reached down and found my moist pussy. He began to rub, stroking me and the rough sensation sent spasms of pleasure through my body. I moaned and whimpered, locked in his embrace, yielding my body to him, wanting him.
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