And the river is where I am."
"The Sea Refuses No River"
Mutt slumped over the railing catching his breath. He shook his head slightly and looked at the crew. The jackrats and the howlers, working together. Who would have ever thought it possible? He looked at a few of the pirates who were also working along side Maria's crew. He shook his head in amazement, then saw Chris coming down off the aft mast.
Chris skipped over to Mutt and gave him a big hug. "Rumor has it that we'll see land before sunset!"
Mutt grinned. "Yeah." he said, looking over the man. Chris had reverted back to his human form in the last two days, and he was a nice looking guy. Early 20's, slim, muscular, Mutt could see why Vermin took him, to strip that all away. Mutt looked at the water. "Rumor has it you're leaving the ship on the island."
"Yeah." Chris said. "I'm back to being human now. So I thought I could get off the ship, go home, see my family."
Mutt nodded slowly, never bothering to look at Chris. "I was kinda hoping you'd stay."
"Why?" Chris asked. "What's holding me here?"
Mutt sighed, and picked himself up from his lean. "I gotta help Duke." He said, barely looking at Chris as he made his way to the dalmatian. As he walked, he sniffled to himself, but never turned around.
Red leaned into the pole and held his telescope to the horizon. The setter's gaze was unwavering, and he looked just to the port side. "Are you sure it's supposed to be there?" He asked aloud.
"Maria's maps said it should be." Silver said, helping to hold Red steady. Silver looked down on deck to see Sharpeye, who held his hands up to question. Silver shrugged his shoulders, and looked with Red.
Red then stopped his scanning, and looked intently. "What do you think?" he said to Silver, offering him the telescope. Silver gingerly took it, and looked at the spot Red was pointing to. After a moment, he handed it back and nodded. "You want to say it?" the setter asked.
"You found it." Silver said with a smile. "Come on, I know you've always wanted to yell it."
"Dice was right." Red said, scratching Silver behind his ears. "You're very sweet." Silver blushed as Red took in a deep breath, and with all he had yelled out "LAND HO!"
"Yes. They've spotted land." Rev said quietly. His hand on Maria's form. "I've sensed that too, but I'm not too worried about it. They will all be fine." a slight pause. "Are you sure you're up to it? I have faith in the crew to…" He paused again. "I understand, I'll go tell Captain Yars if you'd like." He paused one more time. "I will certainly ask him for you, but I think I know the answer. He's still uncomfortable with his position here, I don't think he's trying to hurt your feelings."
"Maria would like to talk to you." Rev said. "You've been her captain for a long time, you never have spoken to her."
"I've had no need." Yars said. "And what would I have to say to her?"
"I've heard that 'hello' is a nice way to start a conversation." Rev said, twitching his nose. "She would like to at least get to know you."
"She knows me." Yars said. "It’s not like she can't hear or see everything that happens."
"At least think about it?" Rev asked. Yars nodded, and went back to his work on the bridge. Rev turned to leave.
"Oh, Rev?" Yars called out. The rabbit stopped in his steps. "Thank you." Yars said. Rev nodded, and walked out, leaving the tiger to his job.
Hours later Ironbar was with Yars by the main rudder. He was nervous. "Are you sure Rev said to let her do this?"
"We're sailing as a crawl." Yars said. "By morning we'll be ready to tie her down on shore. From what I've been able to tell, she knows where she needs to go more than we do. And if she hit’s the reef or worse, we can swim from here." They looked at the island, getting larger by the hour. "We need some rest. Tomorrow will be a hard day. If we're staying for a week or more, we need to set up shelters."
Ironbar nodded, and nuzzled with the tiger. "We'll have to get Vermin off the ship somehow."
Yars grinned, and chuckled. "Something tells me he won't be leaving the ship tomorrow morning."
"WHAT?" Vermin spit out. One of his lieutenants stepped back. "What do you mean I'm stuck here?"
Robert chewed on his whiskers nervously as Abacus spoke for him. He was always better at explaining these things. "Maria said that if you stayed on board for two more days, she'll concentrate on healing your wounds. You'll get off the boat after that."
"What if this is some kind of trick?" Vermin asked. He then screamed in pain as one of his jackrats was trying to smear something onto his exposed shaft.
"No, not like that." Robert said. "Snap the aloe plant like this, then squeeze the plant leaf, then take that stuff in your fingers and GENTLY apply it!" Robert demonstrated on the fingers of the rat. The rat nodded. "If you don't, it'll dry up and he won't be able to get it back in his sheath without pain once he's better."
"You better do it right!" Vermin said to the rat in question. "I'll be fucking you with that later!"
"Not if you leave the ship." Abacus said quickly. "Maria said that we'll be able to board and leave at our own desire while we are at the island." Abacus stood up, brushing the dust from his pants. "If you stay here, she can help you. If not, you won't be doing anything… fun… for white a while. Your choice." Abacus rolled his tail in a way meant to mock. "I won't miss your libido, but you might. Robert? If you're done with 'Vermin the bent'?"
"I am." Robert said, he then turned to the rat as sternly as he could muster. "Just, GENTLY. Ok?" The rat nodded, and Robert joined his mate to leave. After they had gone up the stairs, he squeezed Abacus's paw. "Why are you so mean to him?"
"Previous experience." the raccoon said sharply. "And besides, once he's better he'll forget it. He'll have sex with one of his rats and that'll be it. So I'll torment him and take my metaphorical pound of flesh while I can." Robert nodded, and they walked to the main deck to see the island again.
Red was looking at the island all day when another came up form behind him. "Can you hear them?" Red turned around to look at Belfry. "Listen!" Red tried, but nothing. Belfry picked up Red's floppy setter ears and held them upright, pointing them at the island. Red listened intently, and heard noises. "They're singing." The bat said.
"Sounds like noise." Red said.
"It's singing to me." Belfry said happily. "I haven't heard those sounds in years."
"Animal sounds?" Red asked. The bat nodded, and Red thought about that. With the exception of the occasional whale or dolphin, there was no sound other than those made from the Ship itself. And the sound of birds wasn't totally unwelcome. Red nodded. "Tomorrow night you'll be able to hear them better."
"I hope so!" Belfry said. "You have things to do yet, I'll take over for you now if you'd like." Red nodded, and collected his things. "Oh, do me a favor? Tell Dice that I said hello?" Red nodded, and walked away before realizing how odd it was to nod to a blind bat. Belfry leaned against the front railing and added his own voice to the singing.
The next morning, The Howlers were on the starboard side, looking down carefully. They could see the sandy beach below the water, and the ship was deftly maneuvering by herself through the water. Yars was standing back. "Steady old girl." he said to himself. He looked up front to see Mutt holding a length of coiled rope, ready to jump off to tie Maria down. The jackrats were ready to drop anchor with some of the others, and the pirates were ready to leave. He wondered how well this would go on the island.
"On my MARK!" Yars yelled out. Maria slowed herself next to a cliff outcropping that was at perfect height to disembark, a natural dock. Maria slowed down, and the Howlers were poised to leap. Maria then, slowly, stopped. "DROP ANCHOR!" The rats, with the help of some of the larger crew members, released the pins, and the anchor hit the water with a large spray. The Howlers jumped from the starboard side with ropes, and scrambled to the tree line to tie her down. And in minutes, Maria was secured to the island.
Yars smiled as his crew celebrated. He let them, it would be a long day ahead.
Supplies were transferred to the island as they could be found. All hands helped as gear was brought up from the holds and out to where they were needed. It was all set out a few hundred yards away, on a beach front that had a lot of what they were looking for. Protection from the elements, opportunity to go into the island for food, and a view of the Maria to make sure she was alright.
Vermin was brought to the top deck to look out. "Damn." he said. "It's all green." The other rats nodded.
"We should set up shelters there." Sharpeye said to Yars. "I think each group has a better idea of what they want to do, so we should let them do it."
Yars nodded in agreement. "I've already got Frank working with his men. The Pirates are setting up over there." Yars pointed a few hundred yards up the beach. "They want nothing to do with us."
Sharpeye nodded. "With your permission, I'd like to set up a party to explore the island for research purposes."
"Make sure Robert goes with you." Yars said. Sharpeye flicked an ear. "He asked me the same thing before we made landfall. I guess he wants to bring a few things on board if he can." Yars smiled. "You know, old man, I think I'm going to like this week off."
Sharpeye nodded happily. "A lot of us will."
Captain Langley walked the beach, looking out to the sea. The animals were so far true to their word, giving him and his men enough blades to survive on the island. Captain Langley wondered to himself how long that would last. He stood in one spot, looking out. He saw the tiger walking towards him with dignity. He stood, and waited for him.
"Before we leave, I intend on keeping my promise." Yars said as he stood next to Langley. The remainder of your weapons will be returned, and you will be given sufficient money for your troubles."
"Where will we spend it?" Captain Langley asked. "We are out in the middle of nowhere."
"Not true." Yars said. "My navigators tell me this island is near a few major shipping routes. Maria said she will help in all ways she can. If she can build you a small boat, and get you a course to find a major island, she will."
"Why?" Langley asked. "Why are you letting us go?"
"You have the luxury of a choice." Yars said. "Most of us did not. Enjoy that freedom and don't ask too many questions. In a way, Maria feels bad for imprisoning us all, but on the other you did try to plunder her." Yars tensed his body, looking at the human captain. "I recommend you accept her charity and thank whatever God you believe in that you get to have your lives back. Most of us can't do that. We will be leaving in a week or two, and I will personally tell you when we intend on casting off. Good day." Yars turned to leave. Langley stood still a moment, then thought of a better plan for his week. If all went well, he figured he'd be off the island in a day or two, with a prize better than gold. A very ornate ship.
Silver finished putting up the oilcloth shelter that he and Sharpeye would have on the island. Sharpeye nodded appreciatively. "Are you sure you don't want to sleep on Maria?" Silver asked.
Sharpeye smiled, and hugged his mate. "I've been aboard her for too long." he said. "She's my home, but I want to get away from that for a while." He nuzzled Silver gently. "And you can't tell me that you've never wanted to sleep on a nice warm beach at night?"
Silver licked Sharpeye's muzzle gently. "I can see your point. But what about insects? What about mosquitoes?"
Sharpeye put a finger on Silver's muzzle. "Maria said not to worry about it, so I'm not." He removed Silver's vest with his other paw. "Besides, you'll have far more problems than bugs. Like how to get sand out of your more tender fur." Sharpeye let one of his paws wander down to Silver's tail, and he let a finger trace the muscles nad bones of Silver's tail.
The gray fox grinned, looking around. "Out in the open?" he asked, with a wry grin. "Here?" Sharpeye nodded, and Silver suddenly felt a rush. He began to slide out of his sheath as Sharpeye's paw wandered under his beltline. The two kissed deeply as Silver removed his mate's clothing for him.
That night, Yars slept in a shelter next to the Howlers. All the dogs were sleeping soundly, except the few sentries that the Howlers left to watch for wild animals. Yars suddenly opened an eye, and raised his paw to block the arm bringing a knife onto his chest. Working more on reflex and instinct, he brought up a hind paw into the groin of the man attacking him. The man let out a wail of pain, and doubled over. The knife dropped, Yars grabbed the man's wrists and rolled on top of the man's chest knocking the attacker over.
"Funny thing about tigers." Yars said with an unnatural calmness. "We sleep light."
"Don't kill me!" the man begged between his panting and wincing in pain. He was still recovering from the groin kick when a few more Howlers came running over. Yars never looked up. He could smell the fear of the man.
"I could do worse." Yars said, his muzzle in a snarl. "I could do MUCH worse." They could all smell something acrid as the man wet himself in raw fear. "But I'll only do this for now." He raised a paw into the air. The man screamed in terror as Yars brought a mighty fist down on the man, knocking him unconscious.
Yars stood up, and looked at the Howlers around him. Dice walked over to the man, and picked him up. "Want us to take him to the brig?"
"No." Yars said. "I'll wait until morning. Secure him to something, keep a guard on him, we'll question him in the morning."
"You got it." Dice said with an evil grin. He took the unconscious body to an out of the way location, and stripped him naked to get him out of his urine soaked clothing. Red walked over, and Dice looked up. "Know anyone who'd be interested in keeping guard ON this prisoner?"
Red smiled evilly. "You're not thinking of doing that to him, are you?"
"He tried to kill the Captain." Dice said. "And the Captain told me to keep a guard ON him." Dice secured the knots so the rope held the man's hands behind his back, and then put that rope around a tree. "And I think he'd deserve having a guard on him, don't you? We're not on the ship, nothing's gonna happen."
The next morning Yars woke up with Ironbar shaking him awake. "I have some bad news."
"And good morning to you too." Yars said bleary-eyed. "What's wrong?"
"Dice took your instructions too literally." Ironbar said. Yars's eyes got tighter as he looked over to where Ironbar was motioning. There was a man, arms tied behind his back, absolutely naked. A tail had formed between his legs, and a light covering of fur was visible. "Dice didn't do it, but I know who did. Dice talked him into it. What should we do?"
Yars shook his head in disbelief. "Let me talk to the prisoner."
The man was shaking, still terrified. Yars knelt down next to him. "You know what's happening, don't you?"
"Yes." the man said quietly. "I'm being punished for doing what Langley told me to do. He said it was the risk."
Yars looked over to Dice, who was looking guilty. "Can you explain this?"
"I didn't mean anything by it." Dice said.
"He talked me into it." said the other dog, a rottweiler. "We thought since we weren't on board we could have a little fun, you know. No harm in it?"
"I guess the curse carries over here." Dice said. "We stopped once we saw his tail form."
Yars looked over the man, and saw his form had gotten thinner. His tail was defined, thick at the base and thin at the tip. Small black claws had began to form on his hands and feet, which were both webbed. "I can return you to your men." Yars said to the prisoner. "But I can not guarantee your change will stop. Your choice. Stay here and complete your change, or I send you back."
The man looked up, his wide eyes and rounded, and head defined in a rounder shape. His ears had shrunk, and started to shift. "I feel… funny… about going back. I want to go back, but I know they'll send me back here or kill me outright." He was shivering in fear. "No, finish it. I did the crime, I'll do the punishment. I'm ready." He was breathing harder now.
"What's your name?" Yars asked.
"Mike." the man said. "Why does that matter?"
"It matters to me." Yars stood up. "Untie him, let him be comfortable as you do it. At least give him that. If he wishes to stay, he may." Yars shook his head. "If he tries the same stunt he tried last night, you know what to do."
"Aye captain." a dog said, removing the rope restraints around Mike's arms. Mike's shoulders were massaged as he tried to get comfortable on the ground.
Yars turned away, and walked to Ironbar. "I didn't think they'd try it on the first night." Ironbar shrugged. "I think for all our safety we should sleep together." The tiger grinned, and Ironbar did too.
Silver awoke to the howling of one of the dogs. He slowly opened his eyes, feeling Sharpeye's shaft between his cheeks and under his tail. Silver sighed to himself, and felt very happy. His own shaft was exposed as well, and the smell of his own pleasure was heavy on both their fur. Silver shifted his tail, and felt his mate's tip touch his hole gently. Cooing softly to himself, he heard the dogs yowling and barking, he knew someone was already doing what he was about to do.
Mike felt more in tune with the dog in him than he ever felt with the pirates he had arrived with. With a clawed paw, he traced the circular eye fur of the dog who was impaled inside him. Bullseye was digging his claws into the hips of the man, and panting harder and harder while humping eagerly. Mike could also feel the dog he was laying on, supporting the both of them. Dice's shaft was exposed too, but his eyes were on an irish setter who was watching from the side.
Bullseye's body began to buck harder, losing himself into the pleasure. He yipped a few times, and began to pant. Dice grinned, and reached around to Mike's own exposed shaft. Mike's sheath had formed along his lean, slender body. Dice stroked Mike hard. "Cum with Bullseye." Dice whispered into the side of Mike's head. Mike's ears had formed on the top of his head already, along with his thick fur coat. The musk he was producing was almost intoxicating to everyone around him. Mike was so close to the brink already that he didn't need any other coaching.
Mike's body clenched onto Bullseye's shaft, and Bullseye howled as he climaxed. Mike bit his lip, and came silently, riding in Dice's paw as his thick spray covered his dark brown fur. Mike bucked with quiet grunts, with Bullseye's shaft almost into his prostate. Mike grabbed Bullseye's hips, and forced his knot into him in one pulling motion. Bullseye yelped, then moaned as he climaxed, his hind legs pushing his body into Mike. Bullseye's legs gave out on his final wash of orgasm, andhe collapsed into Mike's chest resting hip to hip.
Dice grinned, and helped the two of them lay down on the ground. "There ya go." Dice said stroking Mike's furred head. "You'll probably be tied like that for a while. Good time to get to know each other." Mike nodded, panting hard.
Red knelt down behind Dice, and probed under his tail with his exposed shaft. "You won't mind if I get to know you better then love?"
"Please do!" Dice said, putting his paws down and arching his back for Red. Red pushed into his mate, and Dice closed his eyes, softly moaning. Red didn't take too long, and he rotated his hips as his knot swelled up to it's full length. Dice whimpered in lust, and relaxed his body to take his mate fully into him. Red gently pushed his knot through, and sank hip to tail with his mate. Red and Dice both howled at the coupling, and Dice began to pull himself forward, massaging Red by his knot.
"I'm gonna… oh love! I'm…." Red's body shook and he yowled in bliss as he climaxed. Dice pushed back, feeling his mate's seed fill him. The feeling sent him over the edge, and he too climaxed, bucking his hips hard. Red's knot tied him into Dice, and the two of them rode each other for a long minute before slowing down, spent.
Mike looked up to the jack russel terrier still tied inside him. "Is it always like that?"
"Naw." Bullseye said with a grin. "Red usually is the one on all fours. You'll learn about it soon enough tho."
Sharpeye awoke with a wonderful feeling, and realized that Silver had been riding him in his sleep. Sharpeye rubbed his muzzle into the grey fox's neck. "Not shy anymore?"
"Not if it feels this good." Silver said. "I could learn to like this!"
Sharpeye smiled. "Then at least let me give you something to like." Sharpeye nibbled Silver's neck as his paws reached down to massage Silver's sheath. Silver sighed, and surrendered to the pure pleasure of an open-air mating.
Rev had discovered a waterfall inland that gave fresh water foerm a spring, and he took the opportunity to truly bathe for the first time in weeks. He washed his clothing in the same current, and stood under the waterfall, feeling the cooling water on his fur. He stepped out of the water and saw Robert staring at him. "Oh!" Rev said, caught off guard. "Care to join me?"
"I didn't think you would…" Robert stammered. "I mean you've never approached anyone… I mean…"
Rev smiled and shook his head. "No, my son. I meant just to enjoy the water. I must admit that it's nice to have clean water like this to drink and wash with."
Robert's ears turned bright red. "I'm sorry. I thought…"
"I'm touched!" Rev said. "But I thought you were with Abacus? Speaking of which, where is he?"
"He's talking with the Captain and a few others." Robert said, motioning away from the waterfall. "I guess they're discussing how much the pirates should get when we leave. I always get lost when they talk about that, so I wanted to take the time to look over the island. I heard you went this way."
"I followed a scent." Rev said. He picked up his clothing and went with Robert to a quieter place in the pool that the waterfall created. "It's amazing what I'm finding I can do! I never quite imagined rabbits had this sense of smell!"
Robert looked down, making circles in the water with his toe. "That's why I wanted to find you." he said quietly. "The visions are back. I'm scared."
"Well, no sense in being scared." Rev said, laying out his wet clothing and then himself. "The Lord never gives you more than you can handle, including your visions." Rev patted Robert's paw gently. "But I understand. Would you like to talk about it?" Robert nodded, and Rev got comfortable.
The days passed for the crew. Most explored the island, looking for fresh food or water. For his part, Mike adapted to his new form well even though he was not sure what he was. He found himself in the water constantly, swimming in the salty ocean and enjoying the feeling of freedom it gave him.
Vermin and the jackrats left the ship after the second day. Vermin still walked with a slight limp, but he seemed his usual angry self to the other crew members. He scorned the shelter built for the jackrats and instead informed anyone who would listen that they would be on the other side of the Maria. "You better not leave us here!" he scowled to Yars.
"I wouldn't imagine it!" Yars said mockingly. "I wouldn't want the pirates on the other side of the island to feel crowded in." Vermin scowled, and stormed away. Yars grinned to himself, happy to see Vermin was back to his old self.
Robert and Sharpeye led a team into the island to get plant samples. Robert was happy to collect all he could. Sharpeye made maps while the others explored the area to map it by hand. On the third night, Robert woke up in the dark with a start. He looked around, and saw nothing. But the last thing he saw before waking up bothered him. He looked down at Abacus, and saw he was still sleeping. Robert leaned over to his mate, and kissed him gently on the forehead. Abacus sighed in his sleep, but didn't wake up. Robert quietly stood and walked up the beach.
Chris sat near the ship on the rock outcropping, looking east. Robert padded up behind him and sat down. "Ever seen a sunrise?" Chris asked. Robert shook his head. "Well, wait a few minutes. It's coming."
"I heard you're leaving the ship." Robert said in the dwindling twilight.
"I'm thinking about it." Chris said. "I mean, I'm normal again. I can go home."
"Don't leave the ship." Robert said. "Please? Don't."
"Why not?" Chris said, looking at the tabby cat. "Don't you want to go home too?"
"I am home." Robert said. "I love Abacus, I'm never leaving him. And I don't think you should leave either." He tried to make it sound like an order, but couldn't muster the feelings behind the statement.
"Did Mutt put you up to this?" Chris asked, looking east again.
"No." Robert said quietly. "Maria did."
Chris snapped his attention back to Robert. "I thought she was healing herself."
"She is." Robert said. "But she showed me something that scared me. I fear two things." Robert looked out to the east himself. "When Maria sets sail, I fear a gold eyed monster will be on the island."
"Gold eyes?" Chris asked. "Yars has gold eyes."
Robert shook his head. "No, wrong gold." Chris looked to the cat with uncertainty. "Maria only shows me images, I knew about Silver because he's the only gray fox on the ship. I knew about the mast because she showed me how to put it back up. And I know that the gold eyed monster is real, and it will kill the pirates, and possibly anyone else who stays."
Chris looked to the horizon, light beginning to pour from it. "You said there were two things."
"I did." Robert said quietly. "I fear a death by broken heart."
Chris hung his head. "David?"
"I'm not sure." Robert said. "I only saw a funeral at sea, and a bleeding heart from the corpse. The Howlers were all there, but I couldn't see faces, just who they were." Robert closed his eyes. "Maria shows me these things because she cares for us. She loves us, in her own way. Rev has helped me accept these things she makes me see." He opened his eyes, looking at Chris. "Mutt has been miserable since we landed. He's got a spot in his heart for you. He's got a spot in his heart for everyone, but when you were with him on the ship he seemed so happy to be with you. I don't think he wants to be a mate or anything, just that he likes you. He doesn't want to see you leave."
The silence hung in the air for a long time. Chris looked to the east as the golden rays began to crest over the water. "Sun's coming up." he said. Robert looked, and nodded. "I haven't made up my mind yet.
Robert nodded. "I haven't been wrong yet." the cat said sadly. "Think about it, ok?" Chris nodded. Robert looked out to the east. "It's beautiful."
"Yeah." Chris said. "I guess it is."
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Being a work of fiction, none of the characters herin
are based on a real person (Save the narrator and one other person...)
And similarity to any person alive, dead, undead or unalive is coincidental,
totally. However, if you see yourself or someone you know in a character
be honored. You've been immortalised.