Rosalinda dragged her fingers down her face as she peered closely into the mirror. She pulled the loose skin taut, stretching the wrinkles and remembering how she looked when she was younger. Age was a constant battle. It had crept up on her lately. She looked all of her eighty years old. Her hair was thin and silver. Her cheeks, and even her ears, were droopy. She smiled and noticed how her teeth were somewhere between brown and grey. When had that happened? There was a whiskery mole on her chin that had been there for some time. She shook her head. Pfft, silly old hag.
Rosalinda looked closer at her reflection, at her one redeeming feature — her beautiful blue eyes that never aged. She had been looking into those same depths of wisdom for over two hundred years now. She had seen off countless presidents, kings, queens and tsars whilst watching the world evolve, from horse and cart to exploring the globe on Google Earth.
She put on her spectacles and lifted her nose to see through them. The YouTube clip she had found earlier was still there, paused on screen. She placed her frail, shaky hand on the mouse and clicked play, giggling to herself as the film rolled with a young reporter trying to poke his tape recorder into the face of some famous movie star, whose name escaped Rosalinda at that moment. The guy was pushed aside and trampled by the other dozen reporters trying to get sound bites for the vision of their news reports. The camera turned upon the hapless fellow under everyone’s feet, and he became the focus of the news clip—his glasses askew on his face, his shirt smeared with mud from the gutter he was lying in. A female reporter trod on his stomach with her pointy heel, and he let out a wail that had the whole group laughing at him.
Rosalinda paused the clip again, and she wrote down the young reporter’s name on her notepad by the phone.
She strolled outside still chuckling at the thought of the comical scene. It was a sunny late spring morning with the smell of summer in the thin country air. She sprinkled some feed for her chickens and checked her vegie patch for signs of any damage from a bugger of a rabbit she had been doing battle with lately. Her crow, Samson, swooped down from the tree above the cottage, his massive wings swishing as he pulled up to land on a splintered old fence post. Samson had been with Rosalinda for close to a hundred years, since she had found him squawking over a broken wing.
She watered her plants then plucked at a few weeds. Standing from a bent position was difficult. Age had infiltrated her spine, and the pain shot down through her swollen legs to where her feet were puffing out of her leather moccasins. “What are you smiling at, Sam?” He was watching on with his sleek, black head cocked to one side and his beak open. He let out a soft cry.
Rosalinda waved him away and returned to her veranda, heading for her rocking chair to read the romance novel she had started the previous afternoon. But she saw the legs of her cat, Winston, protruding from beneath her small cane table. The animal was obviously dead. Again.
Rosalinda sighed. She bent slowly and collected her old friend, holding him close to her chest, and placing her gnarled old hand over his eyes. She closed her own eyes and transferred the required amount of life force. Winston squirmed to an upright position. He had never been fond of being cradled on his back. “Damn cat. How many lives is that?” Rosalinda muttered, though she felt weak and had to sit down.
Winston was as black as Samson. The grey around his yellow eyes had vanished with his rejuvenated youth. It had been about twelve years since Rosalinda had last brought him back to life. She had long since lost count of the number of times she had done it. Winston was older than Samson by at least half a century.
For a witch of Rosalinda’s experience and wisdom, reviving a pet was hardly difficult. It did, however, sap her strength and cause her to age a little faster for a while. She rocked her chair and stroked her loving cat. Her old eyes closed, and she gave in to the hum of bees and the gentle caress of the warm, morning breeze.
Lester Wentworth always woke in the morning with an erection. It was persistent too. At twenty-three he was still a virgin, and he figured that was the problem. He really needed a girlfriend.
“Lester!” his mother called from her upstairs bedroom.
“Yes, Mum. Coming!”
He had been up long enough to make his mother’s porridge, and his erection was still tenting his dressing gown — although, he had been thinking about Paige from work whilst stirring the porridge, which hadn’t helped. He focused his thoughts on what he needed to buy at the grocery store on the way home that evening, and by the time he had jotted down a quick shopping list, his condition had subsided enough that he was able to take his mother her breakfast.
Lester’s mother had been ill for the past month, so he was taking care of her. She wasn’t quite bed ridden, but he brought her breakfast in bed and cleaned up the kitchen afterward, which allowed her to rest until her soap operas were on television. It was just the two of them. Lester’s father had disappeared a few years ago and remarried.
“Bye, Mum. See you tonight,” Lester said, kissing his mother’s cheek. “Call me if you think of anything else we need from the market before Aunty Charlene gets here.”
Lester’s Aunty Charlene was due to arrive that night to stay for a week, which would give Lester a break. On his way to work on the bus, he thought of what he might be able to do with a free evening or two. He had been trying to work up the courage to ask Paige out sometime. Paige was the front counter receptionist at the news office where he worked as a junior reporter—a pretty, blond girl of nineteen with a great smile. Lester had been thinking about her a lot.
“Hi, Paige!” She was at the reception counter as he walked in. She looked up at him without moving her head, rolling her eyes as she manufactured a grin.
Lester detected her disinterest but wanted to at least ask if she would go out with him. She was typing. He took a breath and was about to blurt his rehearsed ‘So, Paige, I was wondering if…’ line, when her eyes suddenly lit up and her smile flashed. A smack on the back of his head followed, and Carl Griffin appeared beside him, thumping a heavy hand upon his shoulder.
“Saw you on YouTube, Jester… Way to get the interview, boy!” He was laughing. Paige joined him.
Paige always lit up when Carl was around. So did Julie. She was another girl who worked in the office—a pretty redhead who Lester used to think about a lot, until Paige replaced the girl who used to work at reception. Lester had a thing for that girl too. He liked all the girls he worked with so far. There was also a fellow reporter, Maddy, some years older than Lester, who he liked being assigned with.
Maddy came from her office and joined in with Julie, Paige and Carl as they got YouTube up on Paige’s computer. Lester laughed along with them, pretending he was being laughed with rather than at.
Maddy returned to her office, and Carl to his. Lester’s work station was in the reception area. Julie was the executive assistant to the editor, Mr. Rankin, and had a small, partitioned area of her own. Lester switched on his computer and checked around to be sure everyone was busy. He approached Paige again.
“Um… Paige, I was wondering if you might like to go see The Wanderers with me on Saturday night? I’ve got good tickets.”
She blushed and frowned. “Not really.”
“Oh. Okay. Maybe um—some other time, maybe?”
“No, I don’t think so, Lester. Sorry.”
She resumed typing. Lester backed away, upsetting his chair as he nearly tripped over it.
“Get in here, Lester!”
The gruff command had come from the editor’s office. Lester hurried in to see what was wrong. No doubt he was in trouble again.
Mr. Rankin looked up over his glasses. “Have a seat,” he said, covering the mouthpiece of his phone. He turned his computer screen around for Lester to see. It was the YouTube clip, paused on the frame where the woman was standing on his stomach with her pointy heel.
Lester sat forward, squinting through his thick glasses to make out the strained expression on his face in the picture on screen. The woman’s heel had bruised him, though. It was sharp, and it hurt.
Carl came in and took a seat by the door, leaving Lester seated alone across from the boss. The boss hung up his phone. Lester looked to him sheepishly.
“What the hell is this? I send you to get an interview and you end up on television.”
Lester opened his mouth to explain but Julie knocked on the door, interrupting him. She held a piece of paper. Her expression was of confusion.
“I just took a call from the witch of Apple Glen.”
Mr. Rankin’s jaw dropped. Carl’s did too. Lester waited expectantly.
“Rosalinda Perez—the witch?” Mr. Rankin confirmed.
Julie nodded. “I checked her number. She’s listed in the Apple Glen directory. It was her.”
“And she wanted?”
“An interview. She wants to give us an interview.”
“Yes!” Carl cried excitedly. “I’ve got this, boss. Let me handle it?”
“Sure, Carl. But be careful. Don’t forget the old story.”
“Yeah, that’s BS. Urban legend rubbish.”
“You can’t, though,” Julie interrupted further, and she read from her note: “Tristan Cottage. A mile past town limits on Creekside Road. Eight PM tonight. Lester Wentworth will be on foot and alone.”
They all looked at Lester.
“You can’t be serious!” Carl exclaimed. “Jester can’t handle it.”
Mr. Rankin shook his head. “Call her back and tell her Lester’s sick or something. We’ll send Carl.”
Julie turned her note around and held it up for everyone to see where she had written the words: DON’T EVEN BOTHER. “That’s what she said. She said not to even bother trying to send someone else—that it would be Lester or she would go to another paper. She mentioned that The Mercury was interested.”
Mr. Rankin turned to Lester. “Looks like you’re it, kid.”
Lester gulped. “What urban legend?”
Rankin scoffed. “Don’t even worry about that. Julie—get him a ticket for the evening train. Carl—do him up a list of questions. I want him reading from a script.”
“But what’s the urban legend?” Lester asked Carl. He didn’t like legends.
Carl was still huffing in disbelief. Lester followed him to his office. He flopped back in his chair and cocked an eyebrow. “They say she toys with anyone who tries to get to her. Weird shit happens to anyone who even thinks about trying to approach her cottage. Even before they get there—like, that morning they’ll have a car accident or come down with a strange virus and end up bedridden for a week, just for even thinking about going to see her.” Carl chuckled. “Yeah, it’s probably a good thing it’s you and not me, Jester.”
Lester spent the morning researching the witch of Apple Glen. He learned she had never given an interview. Plenty of people had tried to approach her, yet no one had succeeded. He read of a vacuum cleaner salesman who had randomly chosen her address from the telephone directory. He left his motel room on the morning of his planned visit to find all four tyres of his car slashed. He got them fixed, and when driving out of town, all four new tyres exploded for no apparent reason. Then there was a young woman going door to door handing out pamphlets and preaching the Word of the Lord. She tried to walk through the open gateway to the witch’s cottage when her dress suddenly lifted up over her face. When she tried to push it down, it just ripped to shreds, and she had to run back to her car to protect her modesty while the witch was sitting in her rocking chair on her porch laughing. There were many such stories to be found online. Most were only humorous. There was one story about a man who tried to sneak up to the cottage one night and was attacked by a flock of crows and pecked quite badly.
Lester met his aunt at the bus stop that afternoon and saw her home to take care of his mother. The train to Apple Glen left at three. It was a two hour journey through rolling green farmland. But she invited me, Lester kept reminding himself. Why would she invite me and then send crows to peck me, or have ghost horses stampede me off a bridge and make me jump into swirling muddy water? He had also read about the ghost horses online.
His thoughts drifted from the witch to Paige. It had been a resounding no. She hadn’t said maybe another time or that she had plans so wouldn’t be able to go to the concert with him. She had simply said no—not interested.
Lester sighed. It was the story of his love life so far. No girl ever returned his interest. Or perhaps I’m aiming too high or something. It was true that the girls Lester had been attracted to of late were, in fact, quite attractive to look at, but he’d had two steady girlfriends at school who were both plain looking girls, and they had both dumped him too. He checked his reflection in the train window. He was, of course, plain looking himself. He had short, unruly, dark hair that sprouted in odd directions. His face was slightly chubby, matching the rest of his body. He couldn’t see a thing without his Coke bottle glasses, which made his eyes look huge.
He just loved the way Paige smiled, though—not that she ever smiled at him, but the way she smiled for Carl. Lester could imagine having her look at him that way. As the train rattled on, he daydreamed of holding her hand and kissing her. He imagined being seen with her on his arm, taking her to a party as his date, taking her home afterward. He would have to get his own place, of course. You can’t take a girl like that home to your mother’s house. Lester saw the apartment he would rent right there in town so he and Paige could stroll around at night or grab fresh bread rolls in the morning. They would probably vacation on the coast. He had been to a resort where they would likely spend time each summer. That’s where he would propose to her, there on the beach at sunset.
Lester was on his wedding night, about to undress his lovely bride when the train screeched to a halt at Hammond Station and awakened him. An old woman got up and edged along the aisle, past where he was sitting. Lester had pulled his coat across his lap to hide his erection. He shifted to give it room and pulled out his notes on the interview. Carl had written a list of questions, with options, depending on what the witch answered. Lester had a tape recorder and a camera. The old woman had apparently agreed to be photographed but not filmed. He could handle that. He knew he could get this done but was still concerned about the weird stories.
The rattly old train pulled into Apple Glen station with the sun setting and the sky ablaze with pinks and oranges. Apple Glen was only a village. There was one street, lined either side with mossy stone buildings and leafless trees. Lester had a return train ticket for the morning, so he checked into the only hotel in town—The Settler. A buxom woman showed him up a narrow staircase to a single room with a tiny bed and a wash basin on a wooden bureau.
Lester flopped on the bed and thought of Julie. Perhaps she would want to go to the concert with him. He had almost gotten around to asking Julie out before Paige started at work. Julie was taller, almost as tall as him. She was slightly heavier in build than Paige. She was quite busty and had a prominent bottom when she wore slacks or a tight fitting skirt. Lester didn’t really have a preference about women’s figures. He had yet to get hold of any woman and have a feel, so he wasn’t about to start stipulating what shape they should be.
No, Julie was a year younger than him and maybe an inch shorter. Those were the two important things in Lester’s mind, and she was single and could be heard chatting with Paige about meeting guys, so she was obviously looking for a boyfriend. Not that Lester hung around listening when the girls were talking, but the office kitchen was right by his work station, and he couldn’t help himself cocking an ear when they were in there giggling together.
Julie also had a nice smile, one that lit up for Carl. Lester’s eyes had closed, and he imagined it lighting up for him as he drove the silver convertible he was going to buy soon, with Julie in the passenger seat, on their way to the ocean for summer vacation.
Lester’s eyes opened to stare at the ornate, off-white ceiling with a tasselled lightshade dangling from it. He looked at his watch. He had been asleep for only a short time but had less than an hour to get to his appointment with the witch.
He sat up and checked the map Julie had printed off for him. It showed he needed to take the main road north out of town then a smaller road to the right that followed a creek. He estimated a twenty minute walk. He had forty minutes remaining by the time he had checked his digital recorder and camera.
Across from the hotel was a takeaway food shop where he bought toasted sandwiches and a Coke for dinner. He took ten minutes to wolf down the sandwiches then hurried along the dimly lit street. The street lights were mounted on wrought iron posts. They were electric but fashioned after the lanterns that would have been there years ago. They gave off a soft, yellow glow that faded to moonlight as Lester reached the end of town and found the Creekside Road signpost.
He checked his watch and found he still had twenty minutes. The urge to hurry gave way to trepidation and the chill of fear. The town lights were gone. Mist was rising from the creek. Dark trees were crowding as the road narrowed and dipped down toward the sound of swirling water.
Lester approached a rickety wooden bridge across a deep gorge. It was a long way down to the murky water splashing over rocks. He remembered the legend of the ghost horses. He looked back at the road to town then turned to face the bridge again. I don’t know what the hell I’m even doing here. Who cares about some crotchety old woman in witch’s clothes or whatever? He kept his weight distributed as he crept forward. It felt like the bridge was swaying, but that was crazy. It was solid and joined to the ground. He had taken a dozen measured paces before turning back to consider the road to town and telling the boss he couldn’t find the place, which seemed like a better option than proceeding into the darkness ahead. He steeled himself, though, and just as he was about to move onward, a man burst from the trees on the far side of the gorge. He was running hard, looking back over his shoulder, his face twisted in fear as he reached where Lester was standing.
The man grabbed both of Lester’s arms and glared into his eyes. He could have been Lester’s twin. He had a similar face, the same unruly, dark hair, was the same height and build, and he was also dressed in grey trousers, a white button-up shirt and an open, zip-up, blue and white jacket.
“I didn’t do it! I didn’t do what they say I did!” the guy implored of him, begging for help, it seemed.
Suddenly there was the crashing of branches from the trees, and the guy spun to look back in terror before pushing away from Lester and running across the bridge toward town.
Lester stood there petrified. Another man appeared. He was huge and dressed in overalls with a floppy farmer’s hat, and a pitchfork in his hands.
“We’ve got him, Samson!” There was suddenly another man blocking the way back to town—a smaller guy with sleek black hair and eyes that shone yellow in the moonlight. He was dressed in a finely cut suit but looked just as menacing as the huge farmer.
The farmer chuckled. “Thought you’d get away, hey kid? Thought you could come sneaking around, perving on my little girl and then just walk away?”
“But I didn’t. It wasn’t me.” Lester pointed. “There was another guy who ran—”
The shorter man grabbed his arm, twisting it up his back. He was incredibly strong. His other hand gripped the back of Lester’s neck. The big man poked his belly with the pitch fork. “I say we deal with him ourselves. The cops will only give him a warning, and he’ll be back spying on someone else’s daughter tomorrow.”
“We could toss him over,” the short guy suggested, his fishy-smelling breath was against the back of Lester’s neck.
Lester whimpered. “But it wasn’t me!”
They both laughed. “It wasn’t me. It wasn’t me,” fish-breath guy mocked.
The farmer took hold of Lester’s other arm and pulled him along. “He’s got to apologise to my girl first. Once he’s done that, we’ll decide what to do with him.”
The smaller man let go. The big farmer dragged Lester across the bridge and up the road into the trees. He pulled him along for a while then shoved him forward, sending Lester sprawling on his hands and knees in the gravel. The two of them laughed. Lester crawled then staggered to his feet. The two men were jostling each other playfully, still laughing. He had half a chance, and with a surge of adrenalin, he ran into the forest. His camera and recorder were in a bag slung over his shoulder, which caught in the branch of a fallen tree, so he left it and kept running. He heard the men crashing through the forest behind him. They were still laughing as they called to each other to follow the road or go this way and that to head him off.
Lester tumbled down a rocky slope, scratching and banging himself up. He landed on a small walking trail that allowed him to run faster. He streaked into the forest night with the voices behind him growing dimmer until he couldn’t hear the men chasing him at all.
He stopped, heaving for breath against a tree. He was bleeding from his wounds, but there was no pain yet, his adrenalin masking it. As soon as he caught his breath, he ran again. The smooth trail entered a field and took him to a windmill and drinking trough for sheep or cows. He gulped some of the water and jogged on into the night. A while later, he climbed through a barbed wire fence and crossed another, smaller stream, hopping rocks and emerging from the trees to see a small house with a light on the porch. There was a barn between the stream and the house. He decided it would be safer to wait and be sure those men didn’t live there before he knocked on the door and asked for help.
Lester snuck into the barn and climbed to a hay loft. There was an opening where he could see the house and keep watch for the people who lived there. He lay down in the straw and caught a deep, calming breath. The adrenalin ebbed away, and his legs and face started to ache. His legs were rubbery from the physical exertion, and both shins were scraped. His chin was wet with blood dripping from a gash down the right side of his face. He dabbed at the gash with his shirt. His glasses were grimy, so he wiped them clean then checked the small house again.
His mouth was dry from the harsh cow water. There was a small room down below where he could see a tap and wash basin. He waited for a while, watching the house, then the light went off, so he decided to creep down and get a drink.
Lester had no idea what had happened. It wasn’t like the things he had read about. It was just unlucky he looked like the pervert guy—that he happened to be there on that bridge at the precise moment a man who looked like him was being chased by some crazy local and a weird guy in a suit. Though, it was freaky how much he looked like me, and that he was wearing the same damned clothes!
The hay loft seemed like the best option for spending the night. Who knew which way it was to town? Lester had no intention of going to sleep, but it was getting colder, so he pulled his jacket tight and huddled in the corner of the loft where he could watch the small house. He thought of his mother and hoped she wouldn’t worry too much. His mobile phone was in the camera bag. He had remembered that while running, after losing it tangled in the dead tree. He wondered if he could find it in the morning. Boss is going to friggin’ kill me! The phone was work-issued.
Lester opened his eyes to sunlight and the sound of hens clucking. It took him a moment to figure out where he was and what was happening. The dread and horror of his situation rose up to consume him, and he crept over to the edge of the loft to see what was what. A girl’s voice carried to him through the crisp morning air. She was humming a melody. He saw the hens first then her curly dark hair. She was sprinkling grain from a wooden bucket.
Lester craned his neck to see directly below the ledge of the hay loft window. The girl wandered closer to the wall. She placed her bucket on the ground and pulled her long hair back, raking it with both hands, the front of her chequered shirt gaping to reveal a lacy, pink bra.
“Ohh!” she cried, her eyes springing wide to fix on Lester’s heating face. “Hey, is that you again? Didn’t my father catch you last night?”
Lester scurried back against the wall. Panic gripped him. He waited, afraid to breathe. There was no sound from below. The girl hadn’t screamed for her father. Suddenly her dark curls appeared at the top of the ladder to the loft, and then her face. She looked closely at him and smiled. “It is you!”
“No, it’s not,” Lester croaked. “It was some other guy who looks like me.”
She scoffed lightly. “Yeah, sure it was.”
Lester edged back some more until he was in a corner with nowhere to go. The girl crawled toward him, still smiling. Her chequered shirt had a few buttons undone. Her bra was all lace, and he could see her nipples through it. She had a silver pendant: the words FARMER’S DAUGHTER on a thin chain. Her legs were long and slender. There were pockets sticking out the bottom of her frayed jean shorts.
“Aw, what happened to you?” she cooed, edging close and stroking his face. “Does it hurt?”
Lester nodded. Her scent was a light perfume. Her fingers were soft, and her lips were full and plump. She raked her bottom lip with big, white teeth, a faint grin flickering there beneath the look of concern.
“I think we need to clean you up. We need to bathe these wounds and get you something to eat and drink.” She peered from his torn trousers and scraped shins to his face. “Are you hungry?”
Lester nodded again. She was smoothing his hair, like a mother might, but she was in no way motherly. His eyes rolled down to the swell of her chest. Her skin was milky-white. She was up on her knees checking a sore spot on his scalp. Her breasts were right there, almost pressing against his face. Each breath put pressure on the next button of her shirt. Lester noticed it was a stud rather than a button, and it was threatening to pop.
“Come on. Daddy’s busy, so it’s safe to climb down and use the wash basin.”
“But I need to go. I need to get back to town. I didn’t do anything.”
“Oh, no! You mustn’t try and get away from Daddy. Not in the daylight. The only way to town is past our house, and he’ll see you if you try.”
“But I have to! I need to get back and call my mother. She’ll be worried about me.”
“I’ll call her for you.” The girl was pulling Lester by the hand.
“Do you have a mobile phone I could use?”
“Oh, no—there’s no mobile reception around here, silly.”
“But you’ll call from your house phone?”
“Yes, as soon as Daddy goes to feed his cows.”
She climbed down the ladder first. Lester was staring at her breasts again. She glanced down at her open shirt then smiled up at him. “See, I knew it was you!” She tugged her shirt, but it wouldn’t stretch closed. “Bad boy!”
Lester climbed down with his body turned away to prevent her seeing his erection. His shins were stinging, but that didn’t matter. She sat him on a wooden stool and used a wet cloth to clean the dried blood from his face and hair. There was a wound at the back of his scalp. She leaned over him to tend to it, which pressed her breasts in his face again, so he clutched his jacket in his lap. She tugged his trousers up and bathed his shins.
“Where did you get that?” Lester asked. She had produced a tube of ointment from somewhere.
“Oh, I always carry some ointment. You never know when you’re going to get a scrape doing farm chores.”
She soothed his wounds with the cool paste, blowing softly and making the hair tingle up the back of his neck while his erection throbbed.
“Come on, off with this.” She was tugging at his shirt.
Lester lifted his arms, and she stripped it from him then bathed his chest and shoulders, cleaning his upper body with water that felt warm, and with fingers that felt delightful. She washed his back and his neck and under his arms. Her shirt had popped open completely, but she just smiled when he looked up from her breasts.
They were in a small laundry with a toilet in an adjoining room. There was a window that looked out at the house, so Lester felt safe from being surprised.
“You know, all the boys are so scared of my daddy. None of them are brave enough to come visit me, and I get very lonely,” the girl said. “I don’t even know what it’s like to be kissed by a boy yet.”
Lester swallowed. “You don’t?”
Her eyelids batted. She bit a lip. Lester took her hands and stood to face her. She was a little shorter and had to peer up at him. Her lips rubbed wetly together. He looked from them to her eyes—to the brilliant blue depth within them. Her lips parted, and he pressed his to them. She moaned softly into his mouth. He had no idea how to kiss, but when her tongue sought entry, he accepted it and caressed it with his own.
“I’m not scared of your daddy,” he lied, making her grin.
Her eyes lowered to his chest, and she leaned back to inspect what was happening down below. Her grin turned to a smile as she grabbed his belt and tugged at it. “I think we need to do more bathing.”
Lester felt his face heat up. “More bathing?”
She nodded. “Uh huh… Don’t you think?”
He nodded too. She was on her way to her knees, and he was not about to argue or complain. She opened his belt and trousers and tugged them down. His erection was tenting his white underpants. It was level with her nose. She smiled up at him.
“Hmm… What have we here?” she cooed.
“That’s um… Sorry about that.” He could feel himself blushing fully.
She soaked her washcloth and wiped his thighs. Her shirt had fallen to catch upon her elbows. He could see how firm her nipples were through the pink lace. She glanced up, as if reading his thoughts, and quickly slipped her arms from her shirt and the shoulder straps of her bra. She didn’t pull her bra right down—rather she left the straps dangling and tugging at the cups. Her skin beneath the lace fabric was even more milky-white. Her breasts were rising and falling upon her breath. The bra cups were peeling lower as she carefully dabbed her washcloth around the scrapes on Lester’s shins then bathed his feet, lifting one at a time and placing it in her lap, his toes pressing against the crotch of her jean shorts, his erection painfully hard.
“Nearly finished,” she said sweetly, running her fingers up the back of his legs and lifting to her knees. “Just one more place to bathe, and you’ll be all clean,” she told him, her blue eyes sparkling as she bit down on her grin.
Lester took a breath and held it. What he had been dreaming about every night and every day for the past ten years was about to happen. The girl ran her fingers along the inside of the waistband of his underpants. Her eyes widened with interest, and she pulled the elastic out and stretched it over his erection, freeing it to lever almost completely vertical and swollen to the point it felt like it was going to explode.
“Oh my,” she cooed again, her smile flashing, her eyes like saucers as she glanced up then looked back at Lester’s penis.
She tilted her head to study it from the side. Her curls cascaded. He could feel her breath against the taut skin. She tilted her head the other way. Her curls rolled over to fall from her neck again. She leaned in closer and blew softly, starting at the base, her sweet breath caressing his length all the way to the blood-filled dome.
“Um… That um—that feels…” Lester couldn’t articulate.
She smiled up at him then soaked her washcloth and dabbed at his groin, lifting his testicles and gently cupping them with the wet fabric. She soaked the cloth again and wrung it out. Her eyes lit up as she looked at his penis purposefully.
“Hmm… Are you sure you’re not scared of my daddy?”
Lester shook his head urgently. “Nope. I’m not scared.” He had found his voice all of a sudden.
She laid the cloth over the palm of her hand then closed it around his penis, squeezing just a little against the flex, containing the surge of delight in the grip of her hand.
“Well, if you’re sure you want to, we could try something…”
“Something?” Lester croaked. His voice failing.
She nodded, biting that lip again. “If you sit down on the stool I could sit on your lap.” She had touched the button on her jean shorts. She popped it open. There was a zipper, and she tugged the pull tab.
Lester watched. He sat down on the stool and looked up to meet her eyes then looked back at what she was doing. His underpants were around his ankles. He kicked them away. She had lowered the zipper, and when she tugged her shorts down, there was only a trimmed little patch of hair.
She stepped out of her shorts and straddled his thighs, taking hold of his shoulders and lowering herself to his lap. His penis came to rest against her belly at first. She pressed forward and kissed him, rolling her tummy, with her patch of hair prickly against him and the heat from her sex wet and interesting as it squished over the base of his erection.
“What about—” He was thinking of a condom, but she cut off his question with another kiss. She rolled her lower body, lifting slightly, and the moist heat from her sex slid up the underside of his penis until it hugged the swollen glans. She rolled her hips forward and captured him, that exquisitely interesting heat and wetness swallowing him up and making him want to thrust into it.
He looked down between their bodies and saw he was inside of her. She squirmed, grinding and making her moist wetness swirl around his penis. Her bra still clung to her nipples, but she tugged it down to reveal them. She hugged his head and squished her breasts against his chest. That feeling alone was amazing, the feel of being inside of her completely foreign yet entirely natural.
Lester hugged her tight and let her grind and squish down onto him until he couldn’t hold back any longer and ejaculated, then cuddled her until her body eventually tensed, and she held still, shuddering and moaning into his neck.
Her breathing settled after a few minutes. “I’d better go before Daddy comes.”
She pulled on her clothes. Lester dressed quickly too.
“Wait up in the loft. I’ll bring food, okay?”
Lester nodded. He was tingling all over. He was going to do anything she said right then.
It was an hour before the girl returned with a picnic basket and served him cold chicken and fresh garden salad. She had brought coffee and chocolate cake for sweets. Once his hunger had been sated, she pushed him back in the straw for more kissing. She had brought a blanket for the picnic, and she spread it out and lay back on it.
Lester was up on his knees looking down at her. She was twirling a curl. She had changed out of the shorts and shirt and was wearing a floral sundress that was bunched up her thighs and revealing pink, lace panties. The matching bra was gone, though. He slipped the strings from her shoulders, and she grinned at him as he tugged her dress down to reveal those milky-white breasts and tight little nipples.
“Do you feel different?” the girl asked him oddly.
He did feel different. He felt like taking charge. “Yep,” he answered, tossing his glasses aside and stripping off his shirt.
“That’s good,” she added, deliberating it seemed. “I can feel how manly you are, you know?”
She smiled. “Yes… And I like it.”
Lester dropped his pants and kicked them away. Her legs were bent up and swayed together. He met her beautiful blue eyes then glanced at her little, pink panties. She bit her lip and lifted her hips so he could remove them. He tossed the tiny garment aside and held her gaze as he lowered between her legs and pressed into her wetness.
She clung to him as he thrust and ground against her. He kissed her mouth and her face and her eyes. He kissed her breasts and tasted her nipples. She tensed and pulled him close to buck and grind beneath him, her body taut and her belly gently convulsing as his climax exploded and drained him completely.
Lester was left to sleep through the afternoon. The girl promised to help him get away after dark. She brought him more food and left him again. He hadn’t seen her father at all, but she had explained he was working in his office in the front of the house and was looking out an open window with a full view of the driveway. It was apparently the only route back to the bridge and across the creek gorge.
Just after dark, there were footsteps, and the pretty farmer’s daughter appeared like an apparition in a white, satin nightgown. Her slender body was tantalisingly defined by the shiny fabric. Lester felt her breasts, rubbing her nipples and playing with them, marvelling at how they pointed so prominently. She undid his pants and pushed them down. She opened his shirt and gripped his chest. He gathered the silken folds of her nightgown and found the hem, slipping his hands beneath to clutch her bottom, making her moan into his mouth.
The blanket was still there. He lifted her, with her legs wrapping around his waist, and guided her down. He entered her and quickly lost control, thrusting and grinding wildly until she pushed him off and spun over to her hands and knees.
“Like this,” she said. “I want it like this too…”
Lester obliged. He lowered his erection, and she guided it. He sunk back into her and resumed his humping, quickly losing control again and riding her until she lifted and pulled him closer. He was pressed to her back with his head on her shoulder while she gyrated and ground against him.
They ended up collapsed together, spooning. He was still pressed to her, heaving for breath. She pulled his arm around her body, holding onto him while he throbbed inside of her.
Time passed with Lester dozing off a bit. “Mustn’t fall asleep,” he heard her utter softly a few times, but he didn’t care. He had never felt anything even remotely like the exhilaration and utter satisfaction of making love with a woman.
Lester dozed a bit deeper, his breathing steady, hers slow and quiet. He stroked her arm, feeling a strange softness to her skin. It only vaguely registered at first, but then he felt her shoulder and touched her hair, which was different. It was straight and thin. He opened his eyes and squinted in the darkness to see her face was marred with lines. Her neck was badly wrinkled, her chest flat, her breasts gone. They had sagged and drooped to the side as she lay there.
Lester jumped back, horrified and confused. Her eyes opened. She looked down at herself, startled, and clutched the blanket around her body. Her eyes returned to him, glaring this time. “I’m sorry you had to see me like this.” Her voice was different. It was a scratchy old-lady voice.
“What’s happening? What—”
The woman rolled her head, stretching painfully. “Oh, that takes it out of me. That really hurts.”
“What does? What’s going on?” Lester demanded. He was pulling his clothes on.
She chuckled. “Oh, I think it’s a bit late for that interview, Lester Wentworth. I think you might know a bit too much already, don’t you?”
“You mean—the girl—you?”
“Well, that used to be me.” She plucked at her hair. “I used to have those lovely thick curls.”
Lester fixed his glasses into place and met the strange creature’s eyes. Fear gripped him. “You’re the witch?”
She just smiled.
“And you’re going to… What are you going to do to me?”
“I’ve already done it, Lester. It will take about a day. You’ll see.”
“But I won’t tell anyone. If you let me go I promise I won’t tell anyone.”
“Oh, I know you won’t.” The witch stood with difficulty. She kept the blanket wrapped around herself. A black cat jumped in the loft window and rubbed against her legs. A crow swooped in and fluttered to a halt upon a hay bale.
“What’s going to take a day? What did you do to me?” Lester pleaded.
The witch stroked her cat. The crow crowed. “No, I’m not going to tell him,” she said with another chuckle. She had spoken to the bird. She looked to Lester sympathetically. “You’re free to go, Lester. Just follow the road back to town. My daddy was a farmer here, but he passed away some years ago. No one is looking for you.” The crow crowed again, laughing it seemed.
Lester backed away toward the ladder. The witch sat down beside the crow. She was just smiling.
“Hurry and you can catch the night train, Lester. You might want to be at home in your own bed for when it happens to you.”
“What did you do to me?” Lester implored of the woman, but she just laughed, and fear overpowered him and had him running.
He ran all the way back to the bridge where he stopped and caught his breath. He steeled himself for ghost horses or crazy farmers with pitchforks, crossed the bridge with cold shivers crawling up his spine, and ran all the way back to the hotel.
He packed his bag fast. There was an ache in his neck, and he felt weird, slightly dizzy. He paid the buxom hotelier and hurried to the train station. He was not able to run anymore, but he walked briskly. He was just in time for the train and threw himself into a seat. The ache in his neck seemed to spread to his back and shoot down his thighs.
What came over Lester during that two hour train ride was something far more powerful than mere tiredness. He felt utter fatigue in every pore of his skin and every muscle in his body. He staggered from the train to a bus, and he dragged himself from the bus to his front door.
It was late, and his house was in silence and darkness. He crept down the stairs to his room in the basement and closed the door. The bed seemingly lifted to meet him as his face slapped into the pillow. He couldn’t get back up. He was completely drained of energy, and his body absolutely throbbed in pain. He closed his eyes, and darkness swallowed him whole.
Rosalinda opened her eyes to the bright morning sunlight. It only ever took a night, and she could feel the thrill of youth in her veins. She raked fingers down her face. Her skin was firm, and she smiled. She turned her head, and her dark curls were there strewn across the pillow.
She sat up and stretched, glowing. A quick inspection down the front of her nightdress revealed perky breasts. She giggled to herself in utter delight and bounced out of bed to fling open the door of her wardrobe. She would need to go shopping for clothes again. She hadn’t been eighteen in about fifty years and had nothing fashionable to wear.
“Thank you, Lester,” she said, turning this way and that in her mirror.
Having created the illusion for Lester had been draining, but this was no longer an illusion. Rosalinda had gone through the rejuvenation process four times previously. This was the first time she had chosen to grow so old. She had been curious about it, wondering how it felt and enjoying the experience. The past few years had slipped by, and age had crept up on her. It was definitely time to be young again. There was so much to experience as a girl in the twenty-first century. There was so much she wanted to do, and it was all before her, thanks to Lester Wentworth.
Rosalinda giggled at the thought of the hapless guy and how excited he had been to be with her. She always chose likable men to use for rejuvenation.
“Oh, but I’ll have to think of a new name,” she muttered as her cat rubbed up against her legs. “What do you think, Winston—how does Talia sound for a modern girl’s name? Poor old Rosalinda had to move down south to be with family due to her failing health. I’m her grandniece, Talia… It’s so nice to meet you!”
There was a loud knock on Lester’s bedroom door. “Are you there, Lester? I heard you come in. Are you coming up for pancakes?”
Lester heard his mother’s voice in the distance. He was flying through clouds. His soul thumped into his body, and he jumped out of bed. A surge of pure energy lit him up as he sucked in a breath of cold morning air and expelled it.
What the hell?
He felt his face. It was different. He fixed on his glasses and sought the mirror. His vision was terribly blurred, so he pulled off his glasses to check them. They were fine. He looked in the mirror and could see clearly without them.
Lester studied the difference in his face. His features were sharper. Had he lost a few pounds? His cheeks weren’t chubby at all. He had cheekbones, and without the glasses, his green eyes looked sharp. He clutched his chest. He was still wearing his shirt from yesterday, but it was open, revealing his abs and pecs. His pot belly was gone, and he had muscular definition for the first time in his life.
What the… He suddenly remembered the witch. He pictured the old woman, and his mind reeled as he remembered the girl he had made love with. He could still smell her perfume. He sniffed his sleeve. It was real.
Lester ripped off his clothes and had a quick shower. He found his mother and aunt at breakfast. The pancakes went down well. “Who knows?” he tossed back in answer to his mother’s questions. “Suddenly I can see without the specs, Mum.”
He gave his mother a kiss and his aunt a hug. “So, you’ll be moving in, Aunty? That’s good because I’m moving out!”
Lester checked his hair in the mirrored wall cabinet. It was sitting differently. The weird sprouting was gone, and he was able to ruffle it into shape quite easily. He jogged to the car lot and put down a deposit on the silver convertible he had been dreaming about lately. He drove it to the estate agent and set up viewing of a few apartments for that afternoon.
“Hey, Carl—you need a haircut, man,” he said, striding into the office and messing Carl’s hair as he pushed his head. The self-confidence surging through Lester was incredible. Carl was a wimp. He could see that clearly.
“Hey, Paige…” He edged onto her desk. She looked up, her mouth dropping open. He met her eyes, holding her gaze steadily as her cheeks flushed. “You know, it’s a shame you don’t want to come out with me sometime,” he said. “I think you’re really pretty, and you seem like a nice person. I would love to get to know you outside of work.”
He left her with a smile and checked his teeth in the bathroom mirror, finding them to be whiter and straighter than they were yesterday. He took out his comb to fix his hair, but it didn’t need it.
He shrugged and went to his desk and turned on his computer. He somehow knew he had to write a story about the old woman known as the witch of Apple Glen having moved down south to spend her dying days with her family. Lester had no idea where that came from, but it was a story he needed to write. He cracked his knuckles and addressed his keyboard.
There was a presence behind him. He swivelled in his chair to see Paige still blushing and batting her eyelashes. Julie was gripping her hand and smiling like a fool. Carl was standing there with his mouth hanging open and a look of bewilderment on his face.
Lester just shrugged at them. “What?”