Partly inspired by 'Hylas & The Nymphs' from Greek mythology, painting by JW Waterhouse.
© Melanie Tushmore 2012
The following story is a work of fiction, any resemblance to any persons (or tentacled beings) living or dead is purely coincidental. No part of this work may be copied or reproduced without the author's written permission.
Happy Birthday, Samantha!
With special thanks to Evie, Piper & MJ
* * *
Ancient Greece, on the Sea of Marmara.
A little after lunch.
The boat splashed through shallow, clear water, its bottom dragging on the sand.
“Everybody out!” commanded Dmitri. “The quicker we get to shore, the quicker we can find food.”
The other sailors leapt over the boat's side, muttering under their breath as they tugged and pulled the boat to the beach.
Aire wasn't a sailor. He was a musician and a fool for letting his father push him into a voyage with his older brother, Dmitri. “Play for the crew,” Father had said. “Entertain them! Even Orpheus went on a voyage, and that was with Jason.” Aire shook his head. Father didn't understand. Aire wasn't built for heavy work; his slim body and delicate hands weren't any use on a ship.
Not for the sort of work Dmitri wanted him to do, anyway. “Who wants to hear music?” he'd scoffed. “Be quiet, and make our dinner!”
Some voyage, Aire thought to himself. So far, all they'd done was circle the mainland twice, thanks to Dmitri's appalling navigation skills, and now they'd drifted off course to Mysia, the deserted island that no one ever came to. Aire was positive that when they got back home Dmitri would have dreamt up some incredibly pompous stories of his imaginary adventures, bribing his crew to keep quiet.
“Aire!” Dmitri snapped, jolting Aire out of his thoughts. “Stop stalling and help us.”
Aire peered over the edge of the boat, into the water. He really didn't want to get his sandals wet.
“Doesn't matter, Dmitri,” Eli grunted, pulling on the boat's side. “We're almost on the shore anyway.”
“Yes, it does matter,” Dmitri muttered.
Eli rolled his eyes, as Aire ducked inside the boat. “Don't worry, lad,” Eli said. “Stay where you are. No sense us all getting wet.”
The small boat was pulled onto powdery white sand. Dry starfish and empty sea shells lay scattered on the beach. The other sailors grumbled and stretched before collecting their belongings from the boat: spears, knives, rope, and cloth. They were going hunting, though Aire seriously doubted their chances of finding anything alive on this island. It was overgrown, all hills and forest. Not only would they have to hike to get anywhere, they'd have to carry their quarry back to the beach.
“Aire, wake up.” Dmitri thrust the water-skins at him. “Go fetch water.”
Aire sighed quietly. It looked like he would be hiking too. He threaded the water-skins onto a smooth, wooden pole, and used it to steady himself as he clambered from the boat. One of the men stuck a foot out to trip him on purpose, and Aire stumbled into Eli.
“Steady, lad.” Eli chuckled, his hands catching a quick grope as he helped Aire up. “Don't want to fall, now.”
They laughed at him, their eyes roving over his ruffled tunic.
Aire smoothed his clothes down. “Thank you, Eli. I'm fine.” He picked up his pole, the water-skins dangling from each end, and laid it across his shoulders.
“Take care now!” they called after him.
Aire ignored them. At least being sent to fetch water, he'd have some peace at last.
Fresh water was more likely to come from higher up, so Aire left the beach and entered the forest, picking his way through trees and green brush. Songbirds called to each other in the branches overhead. The deeper Aire went into the forest, the more flowers he saw; wild blooms of exotic, varying colours, their scents sweet and fragrant. A strange insect landed on an open yellow flower, its wings sparkling in the dappled light from the trees. Aire paused, and leaned closer to look. The insect flew away, but not before Aire had seen that it looked more lizard than winged insect.
In the distance, he heard Dmitri's hunting horn. That was quick, he thought. Maybe there were wild creatures on the island, after all. And here Aire was, on his own in the forest.
He swallowed, hurrying on his way.
Aire was in luck. Having only just begun to climb to the raised ground, he happened to stumble through a tightly woven set of trees, into a small clearing. There was a pool there, settled underneath a bowing laurel tree.
Aire's shoulders simply couldn't have taken any more. The thought of the pole weighing even heavier on his return journey made Aire groan. He sank to his knees at the pool's edge, pushing the pole and water-skins away. He was parched, and the water looked clean.
There were unusual leafy pads sitting on the water's surface, each crowned with a small white bud. Were they lily pads? The largest, in the centre of the pool, would have been of a size to fit a human head. It had a full bloom of off-white, yellow petals on its pad, yet Aire didn't see any insects around. He gazed into the water. He couldn't see any fish either. It was clear, but all he saw were stems from the lily pads that led down through the water. They seemed so thick; dark green and tangled together. They would be a perfect hiding place for small fish, if there were any.
Aire leaned carefully over the edge. The pool was small but it seemed to go very deep. And yet, no life within? Curious. Maybe there were fish toward the bottom, where the water was darker? Aire bent lower still, scenting it with his nose. The water smelt fresh and faintly sweet. He cupped his hands in the water, crisp and cool against his skin, and dared to sip.
Well, it tasted fine. Aire pulled up glistening handfuls of water to his mouth. When he had drank his fill, he gazed again into the pool. The ripples caused by his hands had stilled, and the surface was smooth once more. Aire saw himself staring back, as clearly as if he looked into a mirror. His hair was a mess. His dark curls had been picked and yanked free from the fastening by the forest branches. Aire undid the tie and brushed his hair back using his fingers. He retied the band, although he did consider it a pointless task; his hair would only become more dishevelled on the way back. This was why Dmitri kept his hair short, he supposed.
Aire pulled a lock of hair to his face and sniffed. He smelt of the sea now, like the sailors. Aire didn't mind the sea, not really, but how he missed playing his harp. Especially since Dmitri had tossed his travelling one overboard. And how Aire missed playing for an appreciative audience. He would definitely have a talk with his parents when they got home. Maybe he could convince them to send him to Athens, to study with the followers of Bacchus.
That would certainly be fun.
If only Aire had his harp, he would have sat here by this pool until sunset, playing songs. His fingers rose in his lap, holding the imaginary instrument, and moved against invisible strings. He hummed under his breath, finding a tune. He had been composing his own song before Dmitri had put a stop to it. As soon as Aire got his hands on another harp he'd have to finish the song. Aire remembered the soft, wistful notes and began to sing.
“I wish I'd say unto to my love
“All the words within my heart.
“Until that day, I'll play my harp
“And wait for –”
A ripple stirred the water, then the lily pads jerked, as if tugged sharply from below. Aire's song trailed off. He saw movement, something stirring in the water deep within in the pool. He was half afraid but, foolishly, he peered in. His eyes widened in alarm as he saw the unmistakable shape of coils writhing underwater, rushing to the surface.
He stumbled back, slipping on the moist bank as he tried to run. The lily pads rose up. Aire saw that they were not snakes, the lily stems themselves were the coils; each one an enormous, thick green tentacle, and they surged forward. Aire's scream never made it past his lips. The tentacles came for him, two snapping around his ankles in a fierce grip. He gasped as he was dragged into the pool. The water splashed in glistening shards as he broke the surface.
Aire screwed his eyes shut and held his breath, not daring to imagine the jaws on whatever terrible creature awaited him. Tentacles slipped around his wrists – smooth and strangely warm – while thicker tentacles cradled his body. Aire felt them coiling around him as he was pulled down through the water. He only hoped his death would not be painful. Perhaps he would drown before he was eaten? Water shot through his nose, and Aire swallowed it down. He willed himself not to take in any more, but he needed air. His chest was starting to burn, and his heart stuttered wildly.
He couldn't bear not seeing any longer; what creature had hold of him? Aire opened his eyes. The water bubbled. Dark green coils surrounded him, a forest of tentacles. He was still being dragged downward with alarming speed. He dared to look down, expecting a vicious creature....
As the coils moved and writhed, Aire caught sight of what was beneath him. At the bottom of the pool, the creature waited. It was half man, half...something. Several large tentacles were in place of two legs; as many as an octopus, perhaps more. The largest of the tentacles were dark green, with lighter undersides. Thinner, spindly tentacles spread out from the creature, like feelers. Aire recognised the lily pads along each length. Had those been the creatures tentacles resting on the water's surface? What deity had he offended by sitting at this pool?
Aire struggled in vain as he was dragged down. The tentacles brought him before the creature, bubbles obscuring his features. Aire thrashed and panicked, his lungs burning. Distinctly human hands cupped his face, and Aire felt very human lips press against his, covering his mouth. He stilled in surprise. Even in the water, those lips felt warm and soft. The creature sucked out the water he had swallowed, then breathed a lungful of hot, tingling air into him. Aire shivered, his chest relaxing. The creature pulled back carefully, and a voice spoke to him inside his head.
You won't drown, mortal. What is your name?
Aire blinked under the water. He was stunned, but his mind instantly brought up his name as he wondered how on earth he would say it underwater.
Aire, the creature spoke, still inside his mind. I am Sidian.
Aire ceased his struggles and the water calmed; the last of the bubbles dispersed. Through clear water, Aire stared at his captor, this deity, who in face and upper body looked nearly human. His chest was hairless, the skin there and on his arms was smooth, iridescent. He was slim yet defined, the perfect image of a youthful male. A small lily pad rested on each of his shoulders, white flowers waving in the water. Long, black hair drifted behind him, framing a face of startling beauty. Bright yellow eyes with slitted pupils stared back at him, and blue tinged lips curved in a smile.
What brings you to my pool?
Aire opened his mouth to speak, but a finger pressed across his lips.
You don't need to speak, Aire. I can read your thoughts.
Feeling slightly panicked, Aire thought about what had brought him here: Dmitri's misjudged voyage, their need for fresh water. Oh, how he wished he'd been more careful. He had only wanted to drink from the pool. What did this creature want from him?
Those blue lips smiled. The sunlight from above played over Sidian's face and chest; flashes of blue, violet and crystal white shining on his skin. Aire stared, distracted. The pretty, smooth insides of sea shells came to his mind as he looked at this creature's skin. Beautiful.
Sidian closed his eyes and laughed. Bubbles escaped his nose while slits of skin on his neck opened. His lips pulled back over his teeth and Aire caught a glimpse of two long, hooked fangs.
Oh, Gods, save me!
Sidian stopped laughing. I am a God, mortal. What is it you want saving from?
Aire blinked at him. You mean you won't devour me?
Sidian looked at Aire calmly, raising one elegant brow. No.
Flooded with relief, Aire relaxed in his bonds. The tentacles loosened their hold but still coiled around him. A shiver ran over Aire's skin as he thought, what do you want with me?
Yellow slitted eyes lowered, looking him over. Your song called to me, Aire. Why so melancholy?
The image that instantly filled Aire's mind was that of the ship; of the toiling, the labour, of dull, endless days at sea and the bickering with his brother, Dmitri.
Sidian's smile became knowing. I can save you from that boredom, my pretty. At least, for a little while.
There was warmth in his voice. Aire vaguely thought he should feel worried, but there was something about the way that Sidian's tentacles held him, as if he were a precious object. Aire felt safe, protected. More than that; desired. A shiver of anticipation whipped through him as he looked into Sidian's eyes. There was only one thought in his mind.
The tentacles swiftly slipped around his body and under his tunic as they pushed the fabric away. They caressed the sensitive skin of his thighs, urging his trembling legs to part. Aire lay back on his bed of coils as the tentacles touched him all over, like the kiss of a thousand lovers on his skin. The thinner, spindly tentacles wrapped around his hard length, enveloping him in delicious pressure. Aire moaned behind clenched teeth, the sound vibrating through the water. The tentacles clamped onto his length, sucking down tightly, then slowly peeling away, one sucker at a time. He whimpered at each sucker's release, then felt more tentacles curl round his legs, holding him steady. The tentacle's ends slid around his hips, parted his cheeks like nimble fingers, and probed within him, gentle and teasing.
Aire writhed in pleasure, but it wasn't enough. He ground himself against the tentacles, needing more. Sidian's arms circled his waist, pulling Aire against him. A shorter, but no less thick, length of tentacle jutted out from Sidian's body, brushing between Aire's legs. Aire whimpered in longing as he recognised what it was, and hooked his legs around Sidian's waist. He let the hands on his lower back slowly guide him into place, and the length pushed inside. Bubbles streamed from Aire's nose as he grunted. His insides burned, but he wanted more. He tilted his hips to slide further down the thick, slippery shaft. The tentacles around him shuddered, holding Aire in a firm, rippling embrace as Sidian began to thrust into him.
You feel divine, my pretty. So tight.
Aire pressed his lips together, and the noises in his throat echoed through the water. He reached forward, careful not to crush the lily flowers as he held onto Sidian's shoulders, and sank down to meet each powerful thrust. His eyes fluttered closed as pleasure overtook him. His cock bobbed between them in the water, hard and leaking. The tension in his muscles cried out for release. Impaled on Sidian's wonderfully thick cock, he shifted his hips and sought that perfect alignment. Pure molten pleasure burned through his body, and he threw his head back in the water, groaning his release. His body tensed, muscles clenching as his cock pulsed, shooting out streams of pearly white seed, dispersing through the water.
The gorgeous creature rammed into him one last time, arching his back as pleasure contorted his face. Aire felt Sidian's cock pulse inside him and, with it, he felt the most remarkable sensations; his limbs tingled, his eyesight sharpened, and he could hear a low, fluting noise coming from Sidian.
Aire moved his hands over the creature's chest, feeling the vibrations inside. Was it a song? It was beautiful. Aire stroked his hands all over that satiny smooth skin, mapping each muscle and curve. Sidian raised his eyes. The black slits had grown larger with desire, almost oval in their intensity. Aire gazed into them, utterly lost.
A smile curved the creature's lips. He pulled back, carefully so, removing himself from Aire's body. Aire was about to protest and opened his mouth, when hands cupped his face, pulling him down for a fierce kiss. Aire thought he could kiss Sidian forever, but then those soft lips left his own, gently pushing him away. You can visit my pool whenever you wish, my pretty.
Aire blinked in surprise, then Sidian let him go; his arms opened out as the tentacles surrounded Aire, and carried him through the water. Aire reached for Sidian, but all he saw was that perfect face smiling up at him, black hair and tentacles floating outwards.
“Wait!” Aire tried to speak through the water but it was garbled, choking him. He coughed as he broke the surface, propelled upward by the tentacles. He flipped his hair back and breathed in sweet air as the tentacles deposited him upon the bank. Aire tried to grasp onto their lengths, but they were too silky, too smooth. A shiver of desire ran over him as the tentacles slipped through his fingers, retreating into the water.
Aire breathed heavily, dazed, and stared at the now silent pool. The lily pads had gone, the surface was clear and still. Only one small ripple betrayed any tale of movement below. Aire stayed by the bank for long moments, almost wishing that Sidian and his wicked tentacles would come back. Aire had never had such an...intense experience in his life.
He adjusted his tunic, pulling it back into place over still trembling legs. His sandals squelched, thoroughly soaked, but he didn't mind. A slow smile spread over his lips. Dmitri would never believe this.
Aire gathered himself up, standing somewhat shakily. His behind burned, but pleasantly so. Walking carefully, he stumbled back through the forest, intent on returning to the beach. Perhaps voyaging wasn't so bad after all, he mused.
The smell of smoke and roasted meat greeted his nose as he neared the shore. Aire broke through the line of trees onto sand, stumbling across the beach to where the others had made a campfire. They were cooking what looked like a wild pig, turning it over the flames.
Dmitri looked up as Aire approached them. “You took your time,” he snapped. “Did you find water?”
Aire nodded dreamily. “Yes, I did.”
Dmitri looked him up and down. “Well, where are the water-skins?”
“Uh, um....” Aire looked around him, belatedly realising he had left the skins, unfilled, by the water's edge. Eli and the others chuckled.
Dmitri said, “You fool. Now you'll have to return to wherever you left them, and fetch our water.”
Aire opened his mouth to retort, then paused. He felt his lips twitch, and his eyes must have been twinkling. “Yes,” he agreed. “I will go right away.”
Dmitri raised an eyebrow in question.
Aire turned away, before the smile engulfed his face. He called over his shoulder, “I may be a while!”