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Live Long and Prosper          by: Brandy Dewinter              2000, All rights reserved

 

Chapter 7 - "Reyna’s Wish Fulfilled"

"That was strange," Lainey said.

"Indeed," I said quietly.

I was still more shocked by the man’s confident assumption that I was female than by anything else. Lainey must have picked up on that in my tone, but after a sharp look, she just went back to her chores.

A few minutes later, she said, "I think we still have time to get to the clinic today."

I nodded. "You’re right. I’ll go get dressed."

That quickly became another problem. None of my pants would fit, not only in the waist, where even the smallest hole in my belt barely held at the widest part of my hips. They were also several inches too long. The shorts were no better, really, threatening to slip down and reveal all at any moment. I was swearing under my breath when Lainey came into the cabin and saw me with shorts all bunched and a foot of belt hanging past the buckle.

"Oh, dear," she said. "Are they all that bad?"

"Yes!"

"Oh, um, well, let’s see." She looked through her side of the closet, pausing her hand for a second on a brightly-colored wrap skirt, but she had the wisdom to realize that would NOT be a good idea. Finally she went to a drawer and pulled out a pair of black stretch pants.

"Here, these should work well enough. We can pick you out something else after we see the doctor."

I snatched them from her hand, not nearly as grateful as I should have been. It was then that she noticed that I was still wearing the Speedo trunks.

"None of your underwear will fit, either?"

"No," I replied grumpily. My damn voice had to break again, though, and as a result it sounded more like a whine than a valid complaint.

She showed some of the grace I was lacking and didn’t comment. It turned out she needed to wear a pair of stretch pants herself, since nothing designed to fasten at the waist would close around her own larger middle, and then we arrived at the issue of shoes. None of mine would fit, of course, nor would hers fit her, nor would hers fit me or any damn combination at all. We both ended up in pairs of my sandals, padded with two pairs of socks, and cinched down as tight as the adjustments would go.

I grabbed my wallet, looked at it for a minute, and it was just too much.

Holding it in my hand like it was some sort of mysterious artifact from an ancient culture, I slumped to the bunk and watched from inside as tears filled my eyes. Lainey was beside me in a heartbeat, cradling me in her arms and just crooning little sounds of encouragement.

"It’ll be okay, Adam, somehow. We’ll work things out. Just hang in there for a little while longer."

In a few minutes, my personal squall was downgraded to a few isolated sniffles and Lainey stood up. Without a word, she gathered up her purse and took the wallet from my hands, placing it inside. When she was ready, she held out her hand to me and we left.

I hate doctors. And visiting doctors’ offices. It’s a lot worse when you don’t speak the same language, at least, not easily. We even had to resort to an English-French dictionary to find the words for some of the symptoms. The examination was typically intrusive ("Turn your head and cough."), more embarrassing than ever (a grown man with a child’s masculine ‘package’, and tits), and much more frustrating since the doctor didn’t really tell us anything. I don’t think he had a clue, either. He probably thought we were crazy, when we told him that based on the scales in his office, I had lost almost 40 pounds and Elaine had gained right at thirty. In the end, he just ordered the vampires to attack us and after drawing enough blood to float the Breeze (well, okay, maybe not quite that much, but I’ve never liked the sight of my own blood), they sent us on our way. At least we got them to promise to send our results directly to the Twilight Breeze, slip 109. I’ll say one thing for the French, and the British for that matter. They haven’t sanctified doctors, and patients are assumed to be able to make some of their own decisions. In any event, there wasn’t any problem at all with providing us our lab results directly. Maybe that’s why they promised to have them to us in the morning, too, instead of a week later or something.

After the indignities of the clinic, being back on the streets in stretch pants didn’t seem all that bad, so when Lainey asked if I wanted to get something to eat, I agreed. We had a nice meal in a tappanyaki place, complete with real beef, and made a couple of other stops before returning to the Breeze well after dark. I’m sure Lainey was looking forward to a long, hot shower now that we were in port and hooked up to the dock utilities. I know I was.

When we stepped on board, though, we found an intruder in the cockpit. It was a thin little girl, about 14 and very undernourished - not to the bulging belly terminal stage, but terribly gaunt.

"Can we help you?" Lainey asked, stepping forward.

"Oh, God, I hope so! Have you really been to Tirce’s Island?"

"Um, maybe," replied Lainey, cautiously. "Why do you want to know?"

"Because you’ve got to go back, and get her to . . get her to . . undo it!"

I found myself sliding around Lainey to sit next to the girl and hold her. "Undo what, dear?"

"Undo my, um, the way she, uh, did my wish."

"Tirce granted you a wish?"

"Yes, but not, well, it wasn’t what I asked for."

Lainey sat down on the opposite side of the cockpit, relaxing in a show of patience, and said, "I think it might be best if you told us all of it. Why don’t you start with your name?"

The girl gulped, nodded, and said, "Reyna. Now. It used to be Reynaud. Before I went to the Island."

I suggested with my eyes that Lainey get us something to drink, and she rose silently as the girl gulped again. From the open hatch, we could hear Lainey making quiet preparations, which told Reyna that she could still be heard, so she began her story.

"My friend Phillipe and I had heard the rumors of Tirce’s Island in the bars of the waterfront since we were small boys." She paused to see how her claim to have been a boy was going to be received, and when we did nothing but continue to listen, she went on. "That’s not all we learned on the docks, and when we were old enough - Phillipe was 17, I was 15 - we stole a trawler and set out for the island."

"We found it easily enough on the second day out of port, and pulled up to the rickety dock we found. It was late in the day so we decided not to explore until the next morning. Making our way up the hill not long after dawn, we saw a hut with a garden and some chickens."

"’This must be the place,’ Phillipe said, and I agreed. He strode up to the door and knocked loudly. ‘Hey, old woman,’ he called, and knocked again. In a few minutes, we saw a shadow move behind the door, and then a woman appeared."

At that moment, Lainey appeared from the passageway with a tray of cookies and the milk we had brought home with us. The girl, Reyna’s, eyes lit up when she saw the food and she started wolfing it down without an actual invitation. But as emaciated as she was, I didn’t mind.

After Reyna had eaten several cookies and drank the milk, she looked up sheepishly and said, "Sorry, but I . . "

"That’s okay, dear," I said, patting her hand. "Just go on with your story."

Before she could, though, Lainey said, "Describe the woman, would you please?"

Reyna nodded, and said, "She was old, and well, ugly. I mean, she had a huge nose, and more wrinkles than I’ve ever seen on anyone. And she was nasty, too, always looking fierce. I was afraid, and I think I’d have just turned and run away, but Phillipe was never afraid of anyone. He just stood in front of her and said, ‘Old woman, we have heard that you grant wishes to those who come to you, and we want ours.’ The woman looked at him for a moment, silently as though she had not heard, but just as Phillipe was opening his mouth to repeat his demand, she said, ‘And what have you done to warrant a wish from me?’"

"’What do you want?’ asked Phillipe. ‘That is for you to decide,’ the woman replied. ‘If you do something for me, then I will consider granting your wish.’ I think Phillipe was about to ask something else, but right then a pig started grunting in the woman’s little garden, and I tugged at his arm for him to see. Phillipe smiled and, taking his knife, motioned me to go with him. I followed, of course. I always followed where he led. With my help, he cornered the pig, killed it, and dragged it from the garden."

"’There, old woman,’ Phillipe said proudly. ‘We have saved your garden from this pig. And you can have the pig to eat, too. If you want, I will even carve it up for you,’ he continued, waving his bloody knife about. The woman looked at her garden for a moment, and I realized that with our chasing the pig, and dragging it, we had done as much damage as the pig itself had done, but at least it was dead now and could do nothing more. ‘Very well,’ she nodded. She was in the shadows, but I thought she was smiling. It wasn’t a very nice smile, if you know what I mean, but I thought it meant she was pleased with what we had done."

"Phillipe looked at the pig, and at the knife he had claimed to be ready to use to carve it, and you could see that he was not sure how to begin. The woman saw that too, and said, ‘No, just leave it there and tell me your wishes.’"

"Once again, Phillipe led the way. You must remember, we were both teen-age boys, and there was really only one thing we wanted. ‘I want lots of sex, and I don’t want to have to pay for it, and I don’t want to have to pay for anything, not food, or clothes, or shelter.’ ‘Very well,’ the woman said. ‘And you?’ she asked, looking to me. Well, I knew I had to do something better than what Phillipe had done. I thought for a second about what he had asked, and what might have been missing. After a moment, I realized that he had not specified who he would have sex with, and it came to me that the old woman might arrange for him to have only old women like herself, or diseased whores, or other undesirables. So I said, ‘I want to be able to pop the cherry on a sweet young virgin girl every night.’"

"When I said this, the woman stepped from behind her door and onto the porch of her cottage. She looked at us both, and said, ‘So be it.’ I’m not really sure what happened next. I mean, she moved her hands and said something, but it’s always been sort of blurry in my memory. In a moment that cleared, and she was standing there silently again, a satisfied smile on her face that showed no humor."

"I figured we were done and should go back to our boat and home, and I was wondering why Phillipe did not turn away. But he just stood there, as though he were unable to move. I reached out to pull him back toward the trail, when the woman spoke again. ‘Leave him be, boy. I give you three days before your own wish is granted. Use the time to get back to your home. Now begone. And never return to Tirce’s Island again, or your fate will be worse than his.’"

"For once, I didn’t wait for Phillipe to lead. I turned and ran back across the clearing toward the trail to the dock. But when I reached the edge of the trees, a squealing pig sound caught my attention and I turned back. The woman was still standing on her porch, and Phillipe was nowhere to be seen. But a thin pig was squealing in the clearing, backing away from a huge boar that had appeared from nowhere. And . . . and . . . "

Reyna broke down in tears, sobbing between her fingers. I put my arm around her and patted her shoulder, until she finally grew silent, and then looked up again.

"And what?" I asked softly.

"The pig," she breathed, as though still not believing it, "the female pig was wearing tattered clothes, as though they had been ripped apart and draped over her. They were Phillipe’s clothes!"

That was too much for her again. This time she curled into a little ball, a too-thin bundle of sticks, and cried with helpless despair.

I gathered her up in my arms and tried to lift her, but I wasn’t strong enough though she couldn’t have weighed anything close to 100 pounds. Lainey stepped up to help and in a moment the girl was in her arms.

She asked, "What do you want to do with her?"

"Put her in the spare cabin. We’ll talk more to her in the morning."

Lainey nodded and disappeared below with the girl while I cleaned up the detritus of ‘our’ snack. When she came back, we sat together in silence for a while.

"Do you believe it, what the girl said?" I asked.

"Do you?"

"I don’t want to," I admitted. "But I truly think she believes it.

I just don’t know."

Lainey just nodded silently, but I knew that she believed Reyna’s tale.

We wouldn’t leave the girl on the Breeze by herself, so we waited until she woke up the next morning before doing anything. I fixed a little breakfast while Lainey went into town to get us both some new clothes. My breasts, and whatever the cause I realized that I was indeed growing breasts, had gotten larger over night, and my hair was black for almost three inches. I thought it was because it was growing, but when I stood next to Lainey while we dressed, I realized that I had gotten at least that much shorter, and that my hair was not really much longer, maybe an inch that could have just been the split ends sort of repairing or something. It was getting harder and harder to believe in any medical reason for the changes in me. Reyna used the time to take a shower, and I washed her clothes. All she wore were a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, with worn boat shoes. Her hair, I could see in the light of day, was dark brown, but lifeless and dull, straggly, with no real style. Luckily, we had a new hairbrush in our small stock of supplies and I used the time until Lainey returned brushing Reyna’s hair until it looked at least a little alive and healthy. Another meal hadn’t hurt her either.

"My, what a nice, domestic scene," Lainey observed as she stepped on deck.

"What? Oh, well, maybe," I said, surprised at her observation. I don’t know why I was surprised. I mean, it just seemed sort of natural to help the girl, and Lainey’s comment was nothing but the truth.

Reyna became uneasy, too. Maybe she thought that Lainey would want her to continue with her story right away or something, but Lainey just smiled and went below with her purchases. I offered to continue the brushing, but Reyna smiled in her turn and shook her head. She had a question in her eyes, but also a willingness and I was about to suggest she go ahead with her story when I heard a hail from the dock.

"Hello, on the Twilight Breeze!"

"Yes?" I called back, then turned to see a man on the dock with a package.

"I have a delivery."

"Oh, yes, good," I said, moving to the rail. I signed for the envelope, obviously our test results, and had to resist the urge to open them immediately.

"What is it?" Reyna asked politely.

"Oh, nothing to concern you," I replied, not really sure what to say.

The girl nodded, and then turned as Lainey came back on deck.

Lainey saw right away what was in my hands, but she frowned and looked at the girl rather than urge me to open it. I shrugged, realizing that I didn’t particularly want to share our medical results with Reyna either. Instead, I sat on the cockpit cushion, holding the envelope still closed, and suggested, "Perhaps, Reyna, you can finish your story now."

This was not all iron self-control on my part. I was about half convinced that Reyna’s tale might have more relevance to me than the scientific data in the envelope, and in any event, I wanted to hear it.

Reyna nodded, and said, "After I saw . . . what I saw, I ran back down the trail to the boat and sailed from the bay. I made it back to port here in another day and a half, arriving late in the evening. I was pretty tired, but glad to be home and away from that woman and her island."

"I had forgotten that we had stolen the boat, though. The authorities were waiting for me and I was in chains before my lines were fully tied off. They took me to jail, and I was so tired I slept until they roused me to take me in front of the judge. There, I was charged with grand theft. When I could not explain what had happened to Phillipe, at least not in any way they would believe, they charged me with murder, too. I was led away in chains to await my trial, figuring that I would spend the rest of my life in jail."

"They don’t put murder suspects in with the general prisoners, and there was only me charged with murder at that time, so I ended up in a little room by myself, handcuffed to a chair. That’s when it happened."

"What?" I asked.

"That’s when I . . . changed. One minute I was Reynaud, handcuffed to the chair and facing life in prison. The next . . . I was . . . me. I just shrunk, and . . . changed. The handcuffs were suddenly loose on my wrists and I could pull my hand from them. I wasn’t sure what had happened, then, but I took advantage of the chance to escape."

Lainey gently prodded her this time. "Then what did you do?"

"I started home, but I knew that the changes in me were more than losing a little height and weight. I stole some clothes that fit better and went to visit an older man named Henri who had been a sort of teacher to Phillipe and me. I told him my story, or at least started to. I told him I was Reynaud, and that the police were after me. He invited me into his little cabin. When I was inside, he . . . raped me."

I put my arms around her again, but she seemed better able to cope with that assault than the memories of Phillipe’s transformation. She smiled gratefully, but continued without losing control. "Henri found out that I was a virgin, from the blood, and laughed at that. Then he told me that if I was wanted by the police - he never did believe that I was Reynaud but he used the threat of police on me for a long time - then I would have to do what he said."

"The next night, he did the same, and I bled again. This time he didn’t laugh. I think he was afraid he had hurt me or something, but instead of kicking me out, he took me to some doctor friend of his, or at least someone who performed medical services. The doctor examined me and said that Henri must have been mistaken, or got the wrong hole or something, because I was still a virgin. Of course, Henri did not believe him, but that night it happened again. He said he could feel it when he broke my cherry, and there was blood."

The horror of Tirce’s interpretation of Reynaud’s wish was beginning to become apparent, but even then we did not understand the whole of it.

"After than, Henri made me pay for my keep by renting me out to the sailors. He promised them that I was a virgin, and once each night that was true."

"Oh, you poor dear," Lainey said hoarsely. I found myself crying again and couldn’t talk. Lainey continued, "I can see why you ran away from that Henri. Come, we must go to the authorities. They would not allow you to be used that way, even if they think you are a murderer."

"No, you don’t understand," Reyna said. "I did not run away from Henri. Perhaps I should have, but I was so afraid. In France, people are considered guilty unless they can prove their innocence. It is not like in America. How could I prove I did not murder Phillipe?"

"Besides, it was my fault. I had wished to be able to ‘pop the cherry on a sweet young virgin girl’ every night, and I can. It is just that it is my own virginity that is lost every night. And despite the pain and the brutality, when night comes, that is what I ‘want’ to do. I did not leave Henri for many years, until one day I found him dead in his bed, reeking of rum as usual."

"’For many years’?" I repeated in surprise.

"Yes," Reyna repeated. "That was part of the wish, or the curse, as well, to take the virginity of a ‘sweet young girl’. I am young only in body. My birth was over 60 years ago."

"Dear God," breathed Lainey. Then she composed herself and asked, "So how do you live now?"

"On the docks," Reyna replied. "The local sailors will have nothing to do with me. They think I am cursed, and while they are right, I do not think it can affect anyone else. But they no longer want sex with me, knowing that I am not like other girls. However, a few give me food, or sometimes a new boat will arrive."

"Why don’t you go to the authorities? Surely if you denied being Reynaud, there would be no way to prove who you once were."

"On this island, there is only a single orphanage. How long do you think I could live there before someone noticed that I do not age? And I cannot get a regular job with no identification. People think I am too young."

"You came to us for some reason," I observed. "What do you want from us?"

"I told you that last night," Reyna said. "You must go back to the island and get the old woman to lift her curse. I heard talk in the bars that you had been to her island and knew where it was. I want to be Reynaud again, or even just age and die as a normal girl. Anything but this unending damnation of hunger, and of need."

"Do you want to come with us?"

"No!" Reyna cried in alarm, standing. "You can’t make me do that.

She said she’d . . . you can’t make me!’

"Calm down, Reyna," Lainey ordered. "We won’t make you come if you don’t want to."

Reyna was still edging toward the dock, watching us both warily. I tried to put my arm around her and calm her down, but she ducked under my hands and jumped off the boat. She started backing quickly down the dock, saying, "Thank you for the food, and a place to sleep, but I, uh, need to be going now. Please, talk to the old woman for me. Please? I beg you."

Then she ducked between two rows of boats and was gone.

 

(continued in Part 8)

 

 



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Live Long and Prosper 2000 by Brandy Dewinter. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, compilation design) may printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without express written consent of the copyright holder.