The sparks rose into the night sky from the fire as I poked at it. The fire made a circle of yellowish light, turning the trees around us into black outlines against the dancing fingers of dying light that reached between them. Beyond that were more blackness, some of which moved. They were moving closer, I thought, as I looked at the fire. Gauging its ability to fend off the Things out there.
“The fire is going out.” I said to the Professor. “And we’re almost out of wood.” I shivered as I said that, looking at him, lying on his blanket. “What are we going to do?” I asked him. It was still dark out, no sign of daylight. I looked at the night sky, the stars shining on, and then at the woods. They were dark and I couldn’t see any eyes. The Things out there had glowing eyes, I’d been told, but I’d never seen them. I’d heard them, though, outside the reach of the fire. Waiting for us, waiting for the fire to go out. And I could feel them, out there in the waiting darkness, sharing the dark’s frustration at being kept at bay from this bit of human life, two souls safe from the evil without, fought off by the fire. A little boy and a sick old man.
I thought for a while the Professor was asleep, but he stirred and said, softly. “Chop the wagon up. It ought...to last...until dawn.” He coughed.
“But we need the wagon.” I said. Without it, we couldn’t bring anything more out of the towns we couldn’t carry on our backs. “Maybe if we were lucky, we could make it to one of those other fires?”
“No good.” he said. Coughed again, wetly. “Nobody there...you can trust.”
“But you’re sick.” I pointed out. “You’re sick, and I don’t know what to do.”
“Poor child.” he said to me. “You didn’t do anything to deserve this. Don’t know why you’re here. The rest of us, maybe we belong here. Maybe this is Hell, I thought so, until you came along. What could a child your age, six, seven, eight years old at most, what could you do to deserve to be here.” He coughed again. “Now I don’t know what to think anymore.”
“You don’t know?” I asked him, plaintively. He’d always told me to wait until I was older.
“None of us know.” he said, his voice fading as he talked, each word almost was softer than the one before. “We are all just like you, waking up here in this valley, not knowing this place, what is it? A future world where mankind has become extinct or...or evolved into those Things that walk at night? Is this another world? Another dimension? We don’t know. We just do what we have to, to survive. Even though we don’t know why we should survive. Why are we here? Who brought us here? Where are we? The stars in the sky...what do they mean? I wish I’d studied the skies before they took me. I can’t look at the stars and know if this is Earth or somewhere else. The stars would tell me....” He whispered so faintly I could barely hear him. “The stars would know....”
And then he died. I cried over him a while, but not as long as you’d think. He’d been the only father I’d ever known. He’d found me as little more than a baby some three or four years ago, taken me in, fed me, taught me what he knew. With him I’d raided the ruined houses for food or clothes or supplies. With him I’d watched as we avoided men by day, and the Things by night. Mostly, avoiding the Things involved keeping the fire up. He’d taught me how to survive, and that is why I didn’t cry too long. I couldn’t afford to keep crying. There was the fire to take care of.
And the fire was getting too low. I heard a noise in the woods just outside the range of light, like something big, something hungry. I hurriedly piled the rest of our wood onto the fire, just a half-dozen sticks. Then, while the hungry flames seized on this small trove of wood, I took the small hand-axe we had and I walked over to our wagon. Small, wooden-sided, it was our treasure. The Professor would get between the spokes and pull it while I ran alongside, ready to help by putting something under the wheels or pushing it up the hill. The wagon was our greatest treasure.
But it was wood, and now, the fire was more important. I started chopping it to pieces. I’d have to stay up the entire night to be sure the fire stayed lit. But I’d slept most of the day. With the Professor sick, we hadn’t left our campsite for the last four days. We were out of food, and wood had been only what I could gather from the nearby forest. I could do it.
By the time dawn finally came, the wagon was gone, only the two wheels and the spoke between was left of it. That and a couple of L-shaped pieces of iron. I put those into my backpack, gathered up the other things around the camp. I looked at the Professor’s body lying there. I knew what to do. I took the last few pieces of wood on his body, and then lifted up a coal from the now-dying fire and placed it on his bedding. The cloth smoked, then began to slowly burn. It was all I could do. I waited until the fire was burning well. Then I turned around and walked away, leaving the fire burning behind me.
At least the Things couldn’t eat the Professor’s body. I’d seen people’s bodies, after the Things had gotten done with them. Better the fire, the fire that had protected us in life, and now would protect him in death.
I needed fire now. And someone to help me take care of it. Like it or not, I had to find someone else to take care of me. I couldn’t do it all alone.
We’d seen other men, the Professor and me, when we’d be out searching. But not every day. That last part was getting important as the day wore on. See, I had to find somebody, someone who had a fire, someone who would let me stay with them, at least for the night. My stomach growled, I hadn’t eaten anything since the evening before, and that had been only a handful of dried peas. They’d crunched and gone down like grains of sand. And that had been all.
I was tired, so tired, by the late afternoon. I wasn’t finding anybody, nobody at all. The Things were going to get me! They’d catch me and kill me and eat me. Hiding would do any good. Nothing let you hide from the Things, the Professor had said. Only the fire would keep them away. I’d seen too many other fires at night, big fires. Others were scared of the Things, too. Build a fire, stay out of the towns or any houses, out in the woods with a big fire, that was how to keep the Things away.
The sun was getting close to the hills. When it went behind the hills, it was less than a half-hour until darkness, until the Things! God, they were going to get me! They were going to get me!
You can now understand my panic, and my sheer raw relief when I saw the smoke coming from nearby. A fire! A fire! Oh, God, a FIRE!
I ran toward it, and when I saw the glow between the bushes, I stopped. I didn’t know what weapons he had, but I knew better than to just run up to a fire! Even the Professor had come close to stabbing me when I’d run up to the fire on him!
“Hello!” I said when I got close. “Hello, there!”
“Who the hell are you?” came the terse reply.
I walked up to where he could see me and I could see him.
He had a lot of stuff. Two wagons, one of them loaded up with a lot of things. I didn’t see how he moved them around. His campsite looked like he’d been there a while. That meant either two things, according to the Professor. Either he was too stupid to know that the Things, drawn by the accumulating smell of human, would congregate around his campfire at night, increasing the risk of one of them getting him, or strong enough to not fear them even if they did.
The man at the fire stood up. When he saw me, small and inoffensive, standing there shivering from fear of the encroaching darkness, he made a motion and I saw a glint of steel slide back into its sheath on his hip. He’d had a throwing knife ready.
“You’re a little kid.” He said to me in wonder.
“Yeah.” I said. “Can I stay at your fire tonight?”
He was big, hairy and brawny. His muscles were huge, covered with a black leather vest that closed with a front made of an iron mesh he had gotten from somewhere. His upper arms were bare, though his lower arms were covered with a heavy grille. He had red rags tied around his arms, three on each side, and a gray headband. Black leather pants and thick boots completed his clothing.
If he agreed to let me stay with him, I realized, I would have a man who could protect me even if the fires went out and the Things came in among us. So I screwed up my courage and said, “My name is Charley. I was living with the Professor until last night. He died. Can I stay at your fire at least for tonight? And maybe something to eat, too?”
“I haven’t seen a little kid around here before.” He said. “I didn’t even know they were bringing kids here.”
“Who are they?” I asked him.
“Whoever the hell grabbed us and put us here.” he said scornfully. “I don’t know who the hell they are. Do you?”
“No.” I admitted. “I was only about two or three when I was brought here. I don’t remember anything about it. All I remember was the Professor.”
“And he’s dead.” I looked at the pan he had sitting on the fire and repeated. “Can I stay with you, at least for the night? And maybe something to eat? I’m awful hungry.”
“Sure, kid, come on in and help yourself.” He said. “Eat all of it, I’ll fix more when you’re done.”
“Thanks.” I said sincerely and scuttled in. Behind me was a rushing sound and then it stopped, well outside the fire. God, a Thing had been right behind me! I turned around and looked, but there was nothing there. I hadn’t seen one yet. But they were there. Oh, yeah, they were there, all right.
My courage returned next to the fire and its warmth and its safety. I sat down at the fire and the man handed me a flat round tin and a fork with one of the four tines broken off. “Dig in, kid, it’s ready.” he said to me.
I did and I drooled when I saw it. A thick stew with chunks of meat, a lot of meat, and some smaller vegetables. “You must have found some cans.” I said as I turned the pot over the plate and dumped it onto the tin.
“Got plenty of them, over there.” He gestured to the full wagon. “Some I found, some I traded for. Some I got off people who didn’t need them no more, people who tried to take what I had.”
“I wouldn’t do that.” I said and I scooped a big wad of meat into my mouth and chewed. God, it tasted good! The Professor and I usually roasted our meat, rabbits or squirrels mostly, and the meat was small and stringy and strong-tasting. This was from some bigger animal, much bigger, and it was soft and almost sweet-tasting. “Mmm, this is good!” I exclaimed. “What is it?”
“Beef stew.” he said. “You never heard of beef stew before.”
“No.” I said. “What’s a beef? Is that like a rabbit?”
He laughed. “No, it’s the meat you get off a cow.”
“What’s a cow?”
“God, you are ignorant!” he said. “A cow is a big animal that men raised on farms and then killed and cut up for meat.” He saw my bafflement and said, “Forget about it. I guess you’ve never seen a cow or a farm.”
“No, sir.” I said. “Just me and the Professor.”
“So now he’s dead.” he said to me after a pause, during which I ate most of the food. “What are you going to do now?”
“Find someone else to live with.” I said. “If I can. If not...I don’t know.”
“You’re too young to be out on your own.” he said. “Things’ll get you for sure.”
“Uh-huh.” I admitted. “Can I stay with you?”
“Why would I want a kid like you hanging around me?” he asked me.
I hadn’t thought of that! “I don’t know.” I said. Then, “I can help you like I did the Professor. Carry things for you, keep an eye on the fire at night while you sleep, watch for strangers while you scrounge for things in the town. Professor always said I was very useful to him. I took care of him while he was sick, too.”
“Kid like you can’t carry much. I’ve learned to wake up when the fire gets low, don’t need to feed someone to do that. Strangers who get close to me had better watch out themselves.”
“Oh.” I said. “Do you know someone who might let me stay with them, then?” The thought of having to search out again was terrifying, I had been lucky to find this one man. He had to let me stay! I felt my lower lip trembling, I felt like crying. “I don’t want the Things to get me, sir, please!” I said.
“Hold on, I didn’t say I wouldn’t let you stay. Just that I got to figure out a reason to keep you here. Can’t have a useless mouth hanging around, eating my food and who knows what other kind of trouble. What can you do that would make me want to keep you with me?”
I leaned forward. “I don’t know, sir.” I said. “But whatever I can do for you, I’ll do it.”
“I can only think of one thing you might can do for me that would make me want to keep you.” he said. “But I don’t know if you want to do that.”
“Sure I will.” I said eagerly. My stomach was full of food, good food like I hadn’t had before in my life, ever! The fire was a big fire, bigger than any the Professor had ever dared build before. And the wagon loaded with things, plenty of clothes, metal objects, wooden objects. This man was rich in every way that counted. If anyone in this world could take care of me, it was him. “Sir, I’ll do whatever you say. Just tell me what it is and how to do it.”
“Okay.” he said. “Come suck my dick.”
“What?” I asked him, bewildered. “What’s that?”
“I knew you wouldn’t know.” he said and stood up, fumbled in between his legs. I thought he was going to take a piss. But the Professor always turned his back to do that, stepping as far from me as he could and still stay inside the fire. And this man was walking toward me as he took out his organ.
“This,” he explained to me, “is a dick.”
“Oh.” I said. “Is that what you call it?” I’d never heard it called anything. I had some surprising gaps, I guess, but remember how I’d grown up, just me and the Professor, long as I could remember. He’d taught me a lot, actually sat and taught me a few hours each day if he could, but there was also a lot I didn’t know. I was still very young then.
“Yep, this is a dick. Also called a cock or a prick or a pud or a schlong. This is it. Come over here and suck it for me, and I’ll let you stay with me.”
“Okay.” I said. I didn’t see why he wanted me to suck his dick, but if that was what I had to do to stay with him, I was willing enough. The only other choice for me, remember, was the Things in the darkness!
I walked over to him and saw how his thing (cock?) was standing up hard and stiff. I’d never seen anything like this. I’d seen the Professor’s thing once or twice, and it had always been a limp, flimsy thing. This thing looked like it was made out of steel.
“Come on, take it in your mouth and suck on it.” he said. “Do a good job of it, and I’ll let you stay with me.”
“Okay.” I said and knelt down, leaned forward and took his dick into my mouth. It was all soft-like, but it held firm, just like your arm only smaller, the outside would give beneath your fingers but overall, it wouldn’t be budged.
“Yeah, kid, nice hot little mouth around my prick, now suck on it.”
I sucked on it, just like it was a straw. The Professor had taught me how to use a tube to suck water up out of a container and make it flow up the tube and down into another container, and I sucked this man’s cock like that.
“Uh, uh, huh! Stop that!” he said, slapping my head.
I wasn’t hurt, really, more surprised. “Was I doing it wrong?”
“You’re damned right you were doing it wrong!” he said. “That’s not how you suck a cock. Dumb little bastard.”
“I’m sorry.” I said. “Show me how to do it.”
“You put your mouth on it.” He grabbed my head and shoved his dick into me, ramming it to the back of my throat, held it there. “Shit! Now, hold your lips on it, real tight.”
I gripped his cock with my lips like he said and he groaned. “Yeah, now hold on tight while I move your head the way you’re supposed to do it. Keep a hold on it or I’ll throw you out into the bushes and let the Things have you!”
I gripped real tight at that and he began to move my head with his hands, pulling his cock out of my mouth and the skin around the dick wrinkled up in my mouth on my tongue, and then he thrust it back into me. “Agh, ah, yeah!” He moaned as he pulled and shoved his prick in and out of me. “Shit, yeah, hot little boy mouth! God, I never thought I’d feel anything like this again! All soft and sweet and little, yeah!” he moaned.
I gagged as that huge cock slid in and out of my mouth, he was pushing it in as far as he could and it was hitting the back of my throat, and I choked, sputtered after a little while.
“Hold onto it, you little bastard, hold onto it, don’t you spit it out!” he warned me.
I tried, honest, I did, but it got too much for me, his dick was so big and it was hurting me, gagging me, I nearly vomited and I coughed, wrested my head out of his hands and spit his cock out, coughing hard, trying not to puke my guts out.
“I told you not to let go!” he snarled at me. “I ought to throw you out of here right now, let them gnaw your bones while I listen!”
I shuddered at that threat. “No! I’m sorry! Please, I didn’t mean it! Let me try again, please!”
“Okay, but this time, you keep hold of it, you hear me!” And he stuck his dick back into my battered mouth, and again he shoved it to the back of my throat, and this time the gagging was immediate, my ravaged throat rejected it at once.
“Gah! I should have known!” He said when I fought free of his hands once again and I went down on all fours, coughing. This time a bit of bile rose in my throat and I spat it out. That meat had been so good going down...and it tasted so foul coming back up again!
“I’m sorry!” I said as soon as I could. “I’m trying, sir, really, I’m trying!”
“I want you to do more than try!” He said. “I want you to take it!”
“Yes, sir.” I said. But the thought of him sticking his cock down my throat again was more than I could bear just then. “Let me try it all by myself.” I said. I had an idea, the cunning you develop when your life is as hard as mine was then.
“Go ahead, but do it right.” He said. “I’m tired of messing with you. I got others to suck my dick if you can’t, I don’t have to take you in to get it taken care of.”
“Yes, sir.” I said. I put my lips on it and then I gripped it in my hand. I worked my hand along with my mouth to nurse his pud and hoped that would make him happy enough to keep me.
I needed him to keep me so bad. I could hear the Things outside the fire, several of them. I wouldn’t stand a chance if he threw me out.
So I did my best, working my lips over his cock-head and pumping his shaft with my hand, and he let me do that for a while. “You’re learning, kid.” he said. “But you can’t take it all down your mouth, can you?”
“No, sir.” I admitted. “Is this enough for you? Do you like this?”
“Yeah, but I got another idea, another way you can earn your right to sleep by my fire and eat my food. You ready for it?”
“Yes, sir.” I said, trying to sound eager.
“I warn you, you mess up on this like you did with sucking and I’ll not give you another chance. You’d better hold still while I do it.”
“Yes, sir.” I said, chastened.
“Now get plenty of spit on my cock.” he ordered. “Lick it, get it wet, real wet, for me.”
“Yes, sir.” I said. I was glad of this instruction, it was easy for me to lick on his cock, I got it wet as I could, using my tongue and stopping long enough to work up spit and he let me work it up, he could see my mouth worming around to squeeze out the saliva, and then I’d drool it onto his cock and he smiled. I smiled, too, I was doing this much right, anyway.
“Now, that ought to do it. What you need to do now is get up on that box there for me, on all fours. But drop your pants down first.”
Puzzled, I did as he ordered, my pants were battered rags too big for me, they were easy to slip down, I just untied them from my waist. My shirt was in the way, it was too big, too, and I took it off entirely. Then I got on the box as he told me too.
“That’s good.” he said. “Now, boy, I’m going to shove my dick right up your tiny little ass. It’s going to hurt, but you’d better not pull away from me when I do it. You understand me?”
“Yes, sir.” I said obediently. I didn’t know what he was going to do exactly, but I knew that if I messed up on this, those Things would get me. I believed him completely when he said he’d throw me out if I squirmed away from him.
His cock touched my asshole and I gasped. God, it was too big! He pushed against me and I groaned.
“Yell all you want.” he told me. “Just don’t try to make me stop.”
“Yes, sir.” I said. “Uh-ahhhhh!” I yelped as he pushed at me again, and this time he kept up the pressure. His cockhead was burrowing into me, a little at a time, I felt my body bending from that heavy, round, hot object, and then...oh, God, it broke into me! It literally felt like I had torn open, like when cloth at your elbow is too thin and too tight against your skin, and you push and the fabric tears. It was like that, so much like that, only this hurt me, hurt so much!
I cried out in anguish then, howling my pain to the stars and the darkness and the Things, and I heard them growl then, they smelled my blood and my pain, and they wanted it, they wanted me then, but the fire, the fire kept them away! I looked into the darkness and I saw a pair of yellow glowing eyes peering at me, a scowling pair of eyes, and then it moved and I saw the ears were large and pointed up on top of its head, and then it was moving away and I couldn’t see anything else.
Oh, God, I’d seen one of the Things! I’d finally seen one!
And I’d do anything to not have to go out there among them!
I muffled down my cries of pain, even though this hard, big, cruel man was still pushing his thick rod into me, ripping me wide as he pushed in. Much as it hurt, I could tell that it woudn’t kill me, and that was more than the Things could promise. I could do this, I could do anything rather than be thrown out into the darkness!
When he pushed in the last couple of inches, I only moaned, the worst of the pain was all over with. “Yeah, that’s better.” he grunted. “They call this fucking, boy, I’m now going to fuck you. You’re being fucked. You got that?”
“Yes, sir.” I squeezed out. “Go ahead, sir. Fuck me all you want.”
“That’s better.” he said approvingly and he began to thrust at me with his hips, moving the same way as he had moved my head.
This was what it took, then, to stay alive now the Professor was dead. I had to let this man fuck me. All right, then, he could fuck me.
After a time, the pain went away. I felt my bowels all hot and wet and sticky, probably I was bleeding, I couldn’t tell. But there was something else, too.
I’d never felt this before. A feeling of...feeling good. His cock inside me was doing something to my body. I felt my little dick get all hard and stiff just like his had been, and I reached down and felt it in surprise, and when I did, I got more of that good-feeling.
“Oh, oh, oh!” I gasped out in my surprise.
He recognized my noises for what they were. “Well, boy, you’re beginning to like being fucked, are you?”
“Yes, sir.” I admitted. “Feels good now that you got it all in me. Feels real good.”
“That’s the kind of boy I will keep around my camp.” he said. “But now you’re getting into it, let’s get to the real fucking.”
And he began to slam his cock into me, hard. By then, I was so ripped up I didn’t hurt any more from that at all, he was humping away at me fast and that was turning him on, and it felt good to me, too. I could feel it, now, what he was doing, his cock was rubbing up against some bumps inside my body. I kept my hand busy on my own prick, fumbling at it with my fingers, all I could do with my little dicky-dick, and felt so good, as good as it had been to taste that stew, it had been nirvana to my mouth and this was nirvana to my entire body, I was feeling sensations running through me like I never had before! Good, so damned good!
I felt it, then, my first little-boy-type climax, it was tingly and shuddering and I gasped and shivered as it ran through me, a handful of seconds of sheer ecstasy, and I sighed after when it was gone, partly in relief and partly in regret that it had ended so soon, all so soon.
And the man fucking me chuckled, then laughed. “I got you off, didn’t I?” He asked me. “You got your orgasm?”
“My what?” I asked. “Uh, yeah, I felt so good and then it was all gone.”
“That’s my boy.” He said. “Fallen in love with this fat dick of mine, didn’t you? Bet you want it in you every night, don’t you?”
“Yes, sir.” I said. It was what he wanted to hear, and I was ready to say anything he wanted to hear, though right then, I just wanted to lay down and sleep. His cock was beginning to hurt me again, now, more like my body had been rubbed raw-like feeling. “Fuck me, sir, fuck me good and hard.” I urged him.
That got him to really humping at me, and I bit back the cries of pain as they increased. I needed him to like this, I needed him to want to keep me around. Anything to stay alive, anything at all!
“Ah, damn, boy, now I’m coming.” he panted to me. “Going to shoot my jizz right up your little butt, you hear me. Uh, ah, ah, ah!”
“Yes, sir, shoot it in me!” I parroted him. He was talking about new things again. Right then, I didn’t care. It sounded like he was about done, and that was what I wanted. “Shoot it in me, shoot it hard, sir, hard!”
“Ah, ah, AH-GAH, AHHH-HAHHHHHH!” He groaned, and then I felt the hottest, stinging fluid filling up my ass. I groaned as the painful liquid shot into me and I kept it bottled up, just little growls escaped my teeth as I gritted them so tightly it hurt! Meanwhile, he was fucking me harder and faster now, and then suddenly he stopped, he was done, and then he pulled out of me fast and he sat down on the ground by the box, panting heavily.
“Ah, shit, kid, what a hot little fucker you are!” he said as his body heaved for air.
I got off the box gingerly, my butt hurt like crazy. I felt hot liquid running down my legs, and I don’t know if it was his “jizz” or my blood or both. I felt my ass gingerly, and felt a spot or two of hot wetness, but nothing beyond that.
The man looked up at me and his eyes were lively and his face moved in a real grin. “Hot damn, boy! Only kid on this whole fucking planet and I got him! He’s mine, all mine!”
“I’m all yours.” I agreed with him happily. Yes, I was happy. He intended to keep me. My life, torn asunder the night before, was again on a solid ground, and this one was rich, very rich. A huge pile of wood was there, enough to keep the fire going strong all night long. The Things were kept well away from that big fire! I could feel their frustration in the darkness around us, but they were frustrated and I felt safe, really safe, here.
And to get all this, all I had to do was to suck this man’s dick and let him fuck me. Yes, I was happy. Much better than shivering in fear in the darkness.
“Boy I really worked up an appetite.” He said to me. “Got to get me some more stew heated up, I’m hungry!”
“Yes, sir.” I agreed. And then, bold in my triumph so recently attained, I ventured, “Sir? If you’re going to make some more stew, can I have some more, too? I’m still hungry, too.”
“Sure.” He said heartily. “I’ll feed you good, boy. You belong to me, now. And I got plans for you.”
I sat down at the fire and watched as he opened two cans, poured that wonderful beef stew into the pot hanging over the fire.
And outside the fire, in the darkness, the Things prowled and muttered around us. I didn’t care! As long as I belonged to this man, they couldn’t get me!