My tongue finds her again, swirling first around the little bud at the top of her folds and then lower to explore the folds themselves. The taste is not unlike the taste of her mouth had just been but somewhat more subtle. Her flesh is incredibly smooth on my tongue, and I can’t help but taste inside of her as well.
This also causes her to jump, and I have to hold her down some more, which makes her moan too loudly. I still as I hear Lah stir in her own furs not so far from us. I glance at Beh, who now has one hand over her mouth. She uses the other to push me from her hips, and she rolls over to reach for Lah.
After stroking the child’s cheek a few times, Lah has settled back into sleep.
I sigh in relief.
A moment later, Beh is on her knees in front of me, pushing me to my back. I want to protest, but I am also hoping maybe she will either put my penis back in her mouth or even inside of her to try to make another baby, so I allow her to maneuver me to a supine position.
The next thing I know, she is straddling my chest backwards. She leans over, and I feel her warm breath near my groin again. At the same time, she shifts closer to me, and I realize what she wants.
My hands grab for her backside and thighs and I bring her folds to my mouth again. She moans, but this time the sound is stifled as she wraps her lips around my semi-erect penis. I groan against her flesh, humming into her, and I can feel her legs tense around my head. She moans as well, which sends vibrations through my length and into the rest of my body and further hardens my penis.
My tongue works up and down her, trying to follow similar motions my fingers have used in the past to bring her pleasure. Beh hums and moans around my penis at the same time, and I can hardly cope with the dual sensations. When she begins to suck, I know I can’t last much longer.
My tongue works furiously against her little nub—stroking and circling—and Beh pushes her hips into my face as she rocks back and forth over me. The tip of my penis hits the back of her throat as I feel her body shudder around me. I can feel more than I can hear her cries, which brings me over the edge as well as my penis empties into her mouth again.
Beh rolls to her side in a heap next to my legs.
I force myself to pull my knees up, swing around, and wrap her in my arms. Her breath comes in short pants, and I can feel the beat of her heart against my chest. She makes a few soft noises as she strokes my cheek with her fingers, and I stroke her neck with my nose.
Finally, I recognize the positives of versatility.
Lah grows so quickly.
By the time winter is upon us, she holds her head up and looks around the room without assistance. She is fascinated with watching the fire and with her mother’s breasts, which are constantly large and round with milk. I can understand Lah’s interest, as I am quite fascinated with them myself. Aside from being much bigger, they are now more sensitive when I touch them, and since Beh finally allows me to put my penis in her again, I try to touch them all the time. It seems to make Beh think of making more babies or at least be willing to try to make another one.
After the first blizzard, the winter is mild with little snow, which makes it easier to get to the lake for water. Sometimes I go on my own, which worries me, but I want Lah to be kept warm, and it is still cold even without snow and ice coming from the sky.
Lah has not yet learned how to crawl around the cave, but as soon as she learned how to roll from her back to her front, she began to roll herself to get anywhere she wanted to be. I am afraid she will roll herself right into the fire, so I line the outside of the fire pit—far from the heat—with extra wood to keep her away from the flames.
Our daughter usually sleeps, wrapped in the furs with Beh and me in the night though she often naps in her own little pile of furs. I like those times, since Beh will usually let me touch her and try to put another baby in her then. Sometimes when I try to sleep, Lah will reach over and grab at my nose and make strange sounds, which causes Beh to laugh.
Beh always makes whatever sound Lah makes right after Lah makes the noise. I never considered before that Beh’s children would have some of her oddities, but I don’t mind. Well, except when it makes my head ache.
I head to the lake for fresh water, and Beh stays in the cave with Lah. There is only a dusting of snow left on the ground, and though there are no buds on the trees, I can feel the approach of spring in the air, and I’m glad for it. We have enough food for many more days, but our grains are gone and there are only nuts and tubers left to supplement the rabbits I find.
When I return from my lake trip, Beh is holding and rocking Lah in her arms with a worried look on her face. She immediately starts making loud and frightened noises, and I rush over to her and place the water skins on the ground by the fire. She says Lah’s name-sound many times, and her sounds are fast. Finally, she takes hold of my hand and places it over the baby’s head.
Lah is very warm to the touch, much warmer than she usually is, and she’s not even wrapped up in a fur. I help Beh wipe her down with cool water and then wrap her securely in rabbit fur. Lah begins to shiver, and I take her and her mother to the sleeping furs and secure them both in my embrace. The next morning, Lah’s lips are dry and cracked, and she has trouble latching onto Beh’s breast to feed.
Lah is sick.
We use the water from the skins to bathe our daughter to try to cool her skin, but it doesn’t work and quickly uses all our fresh water. Every day I must run back to the lake for more. I don’t want to leave Beh and Lah, but the snow is gone and there isn’t enough to melt. I run the entire way, and though my legs and chest hurt from the exertion, I don’t pause to rest. I just push forward all the way back to the cave.
Inside, Lah stays at her mother’s breast though she is too weak to suck. Her tiny face and body have been hot for days, and even using the cold water from the lake does not seem to help for long. Beh makes more and more noise and even seems somewhat frantic at times—like she is waiting for me to do something.
I don’t know what to do.
After building up the fire, I take both of them back to the sleeping furs and cover us all together. Beh hasn’t slept much, and she needs her strength. I take Lah from her and coax her into lying down and stroke Beh’s hair as she tries to sleep. Lah lies in my arms, silent and still. Her hot skin warms me, and it would feel pleasant in the cool air of the early morning if I didn’t understand that her fever had lasted too long. She isn’t getting better.
I understand as memories from the past consume me.
There were times when my mother had spent entire days just holding my baby sister, who had developed a fever only a season after her birth. Mother held her and rocked her, and father brought cold water, but it didn’t help—just like it isn’t helping with Lah. Mother pushed me away when I tried to get near, just as she did with my other brothers and sisters. In the end, when my baby sister stopped moving and breathing, father just held mother as she cried.
Lah stirs and lets out a tiny, weak cry. I pull her closer to my chest and run my nose over her cheek until she stills again. At least Beh remains asleep. I think she will need her strength even more soon. I glance at Beh’s face and picture her in my mind as my mother had been. I recall my father in his own grief as he tried to comfort her. My mind replaces my parents with me and Beh, and I think of myself holding Beh after…after…
I will have to put her in a deep hole and cover her up, so animals don’t get to her body.
I shudder, and my throat becomes tight and dry. I hold Lah closer to my chest and move slowly back and forth—rocking in time with my quiet sobs as the sun sets outside the cave. I lie beside my mate, keeping our daughter close to my chest and succumb to sleep.
It’s cool and dark in the middle of the night, and I am awakened suddenly.
Lah’s cries are weak, and I sit up immediately to reach for her, but Beh already has her in her arms. She holds her to her breast, but Lah will not take hold of her nipple. I try to help, but I don’t know how to get her to nurse. Tears run down Beh’s face as Lah’s cries grow quiet. She no longer has the strength to make sounds.
Crossing my legs on the furs, I pull Beh into my lap against my chest—wrapping my arms around them both. I reach for one of the furs and wrap us up together, and I desperately want to give comfort to my mate, but there is no comfort to be given. I rock slowly back and forth, but I find I am growing numb inside. Thinking about what I know is going to happen brings a pain to my chest that I cannot bear.
Soon, our daughter is going to die.
Through the day and night, I hold them both close to me as I watch the coals from the fire grow dim. It’s chilly in the cave, but knowing I can start a fire quickly with the little round thing keeps me from moving away from my family. I don’t want to let go of them, not even for a moment.
My eyes are burning as day begins to break, and warm light shines into the crack of the cave.
It is then I hear the strangest sound.
It almost sounds like a horde of insects right next to my face, but it’s far too loud. It’s so loud, it actually hurts my ears, and I tuck my head down into the space between Beh’s shoulder and neck, trying to cover up my ears. Beh is wriggling in my arms, and when I tighten my grip on both her and Lah, I feel Beh’s hand push against my chest as she tries to turn in my grasp.
The noise begins to wane, and I find myself with Lah’s warm body in my hands as Beh pushes out of my arms and gives the baby to me. I watch, dumbfounded, as Beh leaves the furs and runs toward the crack in the cave. A moment later I stand, wrap Lah in one of the furs, and follow my mate outside into the dim morning light.
In the field outside the cave is the strangest thing I have ever seen.
The source of the whirring sound seems to be giant, concentric circles—transparent and spinning in grey and blue streaks around and around. They are huge, towering at least three times my height, and the noise outside the cave is deafening. Inside of the sphere are flashes of red and gold that look like sparks from the fire, bright enough to hurt my eyes.
As I stand with my mouth open, the circles begin to spin slower and slower, and the red and gold flashes become more frequent and start to take shape. As the flashes take form, I can see the image of a man begin to appear in the center. He is tall and dressed in a long, completely white garment from his shoulders to part way down his legs. Beneath the white wrap, I see leggings that are the same design as those Beh was wearing when I first found her though the color is like the color of pine needles in spring.
When the filmy circles stop spinning, they simply disappear like the smoke from a fire, but there is no warmth. The only thing left in the field is the man, standing perfectly still with his arms extended slightly in front of his body. He is holding a strange, black, rectangular object in his hands.
Nothing less than sheer terror grips me.
Beh screams out and starts to run forward, but I am torn and don’t know how to react. Whatever is happening, it can’t be safe, and I want to keep her from going near the man, but Lah is in my arms, and I need to keep her safe as well. By the time I can shift Lah into one arm to try to grab for Beh, she is out of my reach, and I’m too stunned to chase after my mate.
She runs straight to the man and throws her arms around his body. I watch him as his arms encircle my mate, and he holds her close to him with the black rectangle held in one hand at her back. My breath catches in my chest and won’t come out. Immobilized by fear, I hold Lah closer to me and watch Beh as she takes a small step back, still holding the man’s hands, and begins to make sounds at him.
His mouth opens, and he makes more noises back at her.
Beh makes more sounds, and he makes more noise. They go back and forth until I feel like the pressure in my chest is going to cause my body to come apart. I realize I’m not breathing and force myself to take a breath, which comes out as a sob.
Beh looks over her shoulder at me and makes more sounds. I can hear the fear and pain in the noises she makes and force myself to take a few steps forward, unsure and still terrified. I have no idea what’s going on, but it is obvious this man knows my Beh.
His hands move up and cup her face, and I see tears begin to pour from her eyes. I need to go to her, but my feet don’t want to take me closer to the strange man, his bizarre clothes, or to the spot where the giant circle-thing has just been. I shift forward then retreat again before I force myself to take a step toward my mate. I want nothing more than to bring her back into the cave and defend my family from the stranger.
I move closer, and the man turns his head to look at me. He has lots of fluffy hair underneath his nose but no beard around his face, which makes him look very odd. His hair is dark—the same color as Beh’s, and when I step closer, I can see his eyes are also the same color as Beh’s, and his face is similar as well. He is also very old, and there are patches of grey in his hair. Still, the resemblance is unmistakable.
This man must be Beh’s father.
I swallow hard and hold Lah closer to me. She’s stirring in her sleep, and when I look down, her eyes flutter open then close again. It grips my heart, but I am so confused I don’t even know what to think: not about Lah, or Beh, the strange man who has suddenly appeared in the field outside our cave, or the intense noise that has so recently encompassed the whole area.
The man—Beh’s father, without a doubt—looks into my eyes while Beh continues to make noises. He glances over to her, and I take the opportunity to crouch down a little and try to come up behind her without him noticing. Father or not, I don’t trust him. I don’t know what he is doing here or how he appeared in the field near our cave. I want Beh with me—close to me, like Lah is. I want her arms around our daughter while I hold her.
I know Lah doesn’t have much time left.