A romantic tale of the Florida Everglades
(c) May 1999
E-Mail LZClotho at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are nights and days out in the southern swamps of Florida
that the Seminole elders say are privy to magic. The sun is just
breaking into the night of a magic moon. The local groups have
remained close to their homes at the signs that it was coming.
But the plain is never quiet. Life goes on. The sleek body of a
panther moves among the high reeds. She is on the prowl, hunting
a scent she knows and loves well: the deep musk of the beaver.
Nostrils flaring, the night black head raises to scent the wind.
At a lope, she moves toward the river, where the herds and the
other animals make their morning appearances.
She reaches the thickest part of the foliage at the river's side,
and pushes silently through, nose and eyes seeking her prey.
There. On the bank. Gleaming blue eyes shift and catch sight of
the quarry. A light brown beaver is cleaning herself at the
river's edge. Tiny paws gather up water and splash it over her
nose and then wet her furred chest, until she is sleekly wet and
then she washes, rubbing over herself with determined paws,
washing away the scent of the morning fishing expedition...
The panther pads silently toward the spot, still hidden within
the foliage until she is nearly on top of the passive beaver. The
wind blows to her hiding her scent from the sleek brown animal.
In a moment filled with the magic of ancients, the beaver turns,
green eyes as startlingly different from the deep golden brown
pelt, as the blue eyes are against the ebony of the panther.
Dawn's first rays touch them both, and an instance transforms
them both... brown fur fades to golden, and green eyes now rest
in a sleek tan face... Human. Claws resolve themselves to small
hands with buffed nails.
Sleek black hide smoothes to deeply tanned skin, blue eyes
piercing through the sunlight. Paws lengthen and strengthen to
Naked they are inches apart lying on the sun-drenched riverbank.
One hand reaches out, then another. Soon they are entwined, legs
muscular and sleek wrapping around one another, skin against skin
where there once was fur or the sleekness of hide.
Two hearts, pounding in expectation of the hunt, hunger, and
death, now pound in tandem, beating out a rhythm of two souls.
Once again rejoicing in the power of reunion.
The blonde's green eyes absorb the sight of her dark-haired
companion's sun-draped body. Tentatively she reaches out and
traces a hand over the pulse pounding in the long throat. Fingers
marvel at the feel of skin and glide lovingly down across the
ridge of collarbone and on to the curve of smooth breasts.
"Xena," she murmurs, afraid a stronger sound would shatter the
unreality of it all. She looks up into tender blue eyes, set in a
tan face, half-hidden with the fall of ebony hair.
The answer is swift. Muscular hands slide over the naked blonde's
shoulder, caressing her back and pulling her close, so their
bodies are as close as their souls. "Gabrielle," Xena replies,
lowering her lips to the wet shivering ones of her one love...
Their loving is tender and fierce in its restraint, conveying
eons of longing and hearts bursting with relief at the end of a
long wait. Teeth nip at skin, hands slide over curves, racing
pulses to a fevered pace. The river's rush passes them by, as the
day becomes a moment frozen in time.
Fingers and mouths find those places they knew intimately once,
reminding them of lives long past. Their moans and cries of
passion reaching fulfillment scares away birds, and other life,
making them alone at peace with the world.
The swamp falls silent, save for the sounds of two heartbeats
under cheeks nestled so close they breathe the same air. The day
wanes and sleep comes, the late afternoon shadows casting
darkness of the trees over the women's intertwined bodies,
gleaming with perspiration in the golden sunlight.
Dawn peeks once more over the rim of the earth, a hunter with bow
and fishing spear seeking food for his family, pads close, having
seen the large sleeping form of a panther from far off. His
presence does not disturb the slumbering creature, and when he
circles, he becomes rooted in surprise.
Taking a deep breath, he leaves the scene, breathing a prayer to
his goddess of the hunt. He will take nothing from the river this
day. The panther sleeps in peace, her huge paws cradling a
sleeping golden beaver.
As the man's light steps carry him away, a blue eye slides open
tracking his departure, and a dark paw slips more tightly over
the beaver's sleek form.
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