I watched the tree begin to breathe -- the entire trunk expanded with every slow inhale. Vibrant, glowing beams of blue and purple shined through the small cracks in the wood.
"Christ," I gasped as the beams of light fell over me. My eyes burned and everything began to go underwater as cool rivers trailed down my cheeks and poured off my chin.
"Y-you okay, Marco?" a voice whispered off to the side. I turned my head and blinked away the swashing waves of color and smiled as Athel, my roommate, came into focus. I had completely forgotten he followed along with me on tonight's forest venture.
"Yeah, bud, just enjoying the trip," I chuckled and let myself fall back onto the grass. Dew soaked through my shirt and kissed my warm spine with its icy lips.
Athel plopped down beside me, looking up into the lilac sky.
The beams of blue and purple shooting out from the trees disappeared as a darker crimson red glow took over, igniting the dark.
I sat up as I noticed a new colder air fall on us. "Looks like the fire's going out," I climbed to my feet, only to almost fall back on my ass again as the blood left my head. I started to make way deeper into the forest.
"Where are you going?" Athel sat up now, I looked at his pupils and became fascinated with how dilated they'd become, they seemed as big as marbles.
"Gonna get more firewood, can't be sitting out here in the dark now can we?" I turned back to him and smiled as I continued. Before I could take another few steps, I felt his breath graze over the top of my head. "Scared to be left all by yourself in the woods? You big puppy,"
"I figure I'll come along and make sure you don't get yourself killed," Athel shrugged.
"As if one tripped out idiot isn't enough," I laughed.
Trees soared above us and the sounds of the night strung together in this mesmerizing chorus. Small flashes flickered and glistened in the dark. Like jellyfish, they ballooned up and propelled themselves through the air before they disappeared again in the black.
A familiar warm, stillness from behind told me Athel was close. Thoughts of thick, bristly fur grazing over my bare skin brought the few hairs I had on end. Gentle breaths now brushed the nape of my neck. Is he getting closer? I hadn't realized it, but my heart was beating a little faster with the thought of my large friend wanting to be closer. Then a twig snapped.
Suddenly, a heavy paw draped over my shoulder and yanked me back so quickly I almost fell back on my ass yet again. Barely catching myself on my heels, I dropped onto a knee and scanned the area madly. "Nothing is ever out here, we didn't go that deep into the woods," I hissed softly. My eyes struggled to find anything in the dark while I focused on getting my heart to slow.
Athel had stepped forward, putting himself between whatever may come and me. His frame towered above me and his shoulders broadened significantly as he breathed. A zephyr flowed through the fur blanketing his back, my eyes locked on the swaying hairs. I swear I had fallen into a field of him. I let myself be swallowed in the soft warmth.
There's a deer straight ahead. Just about scared me shitless. You're okay." Athel sighed softly. My eyes opened and I realized my arms had draped over his shoulders, my body leaning into his back.
"Jesus, shrooms must have been really potent," I chuckled as I quickly tore myself away from him. My face grew hot. Tiny red particles danced around in my vision now. As Athel turned around, I couldn't stop looking at his eyes. Pupils still dilated, he seemed like a cartoon character. He stepped forward and I stepped back, my foot crunching down on leaves and twigs. I couldn't figure out if I had stepped back in fear of him -- or fear of me.
"Could I ask something of you?" Athel smiled with an open maw and eyes all scrunched up as he gently rubbed the back of his head. His tail hung low and his hind paws pointed inward just slightly. I heard a heavy, deep thump coming from within his chest. Like someone was banging a sledgehammer against an empty barrel drum, it almost vibrated through me. I had never seen him so nervous
My heart skipped. God dammit. I couldn't look away from him. Thoughts and desires punched their way up into my conscious, screaming for attention. Months of meticulously analyzing and discrediting every single flutter of attraction to the almost seven foot hybrid all crumbled to my feet. In an instant, I was almost praying to the universe he was about to do what I hoped he would do for ages.
He took another step forward. I couldn't move now. With so much conflicting emotion swirling through my head, I just could not comprehend the process of moving. His cool, wet nose was but a few inches from mine. He had become an entirely different being now -- so composed and relaxed, as if he knew what he was doing. Maybe he knew exactly what he had been doing all this time? Was the nervous, innocent demeanor nothing but a ploy to get my defenses down?
"Please, forgive me," Athel whispered as he slid a knuckle under my chin and lifted my lips to his.
Athel, a powerful anthropomorphic being and Marco, a young hunter, take a quick hike through the woods together after ingesting some delicious psychedelics.