The Beast of Bodmin Moor
“Hmmm…more…” His murmur was a purr of pleasure that shimmered down Jake’s spine and shivered across his skin like the stroke of a thousand feathers. As compelling as the unabashed response of Phin’s body; every sense as finely tuned as a Stradivarius string. Muscles that flexed with such fluidity, he would run like a ripple of ribbon in the wind. Phin’s ungainly grace, like a newborn foal finding its feet, had smoothed from staccato spurts of movement to a melodic glide. A violin stroked by the bow of a master, rather than plucked at random by a truculent teen.
All these shifts might have been too slight to notice, had Jake not been intent on doing just that. Having never watched himself in motion, he’d been blind to the subtle, yet startling differences he now saw in Phin. Even if he had studied himself, his gaze wouldn’t have been graced by a ghostly gleam of pearlescent skin in the soft glow of night-sight. Let alone an endless streak of naked wraith on a sheepskin rug; carved from ivory, kissed by moonlight. Exquisite. His.
Barely conscious of his own movements now, Jake just…let go. Allowed his body do as it demanded and surrendered to the all-consuming craving. Revelled for once, in being no more, no less than a creature of flesh, blood and bone deep need…who needed Phin more than his next breath.
Closing his eyes, Jake focused instead on a world of touch, taste, scent. Relished the rhythmic thud of the most precious sound in his world. As strong and true as they’d ever remain to Phin. Mates for life. I did not think that. Did too. Twin pulses; racing ever faster as Jake sped up, spurred by an impossible pressure, sparking up his spine, boiling his blood. The world behind his eyelids, ablaze in haze of scarlet bright, like infra-red on LSD. No drug on Earth could compare to this. Nothing had ever, or could ever compete. No one. There was only Phin.
It was an irrevocable truth. Written in blood. Their blood. Jake’s scent coursing through Phin’s veins….calling his jackal out to play.
Rather than being gloriously glutted, Phin felt so fizzy he could do sprinting up the side of a mountain for a sumptuous picnic and spot of alfresco sex. He was still starving hungry. In every way. Crikey.
Jake sighed and did sinking down onto Phin’s back in a smudge of slick skin. His sigh was a lush shimmer of sound that seemed to do stroking Phin’s ears. A feeling so luscious he didn’t blame Foxy—Jack—one bit for going all gooey when his were fondled. If the ear thing and being hypercharged, rather than knackered seemed weird, it wasn’t a patch on the fact Phin was willing to swear that Jack felt happy. Not in an instinctive way like before, when he’d sensed that Foxy wouldn’t hurt him, but in a very real way. He knew that Jack was chuffed t’bits. As certain as if Jack had done telling him.
Phin knew lots more things, too…
“Yeah..?” Jake did pressing a silky kiss to Phin’s spine before slipping from his body and doing flopping on the rug beside him. The ache he left in his wake was hollow rather than ‘hurt’. Phin had never felt finer in his life. Unable to resist the lure of lying flat on fluffy fur, Phin did lowering himself to his belly and turned his face towards Jake.
“You know…don’t you?” Phin was so unsure how Jake would react that his voice came out all husky, hesitant. While he was quite convinced he knew how Jack felt—Jake didn’t tend to do singing from the same hymn sheet—the daftest turn o’phrase Phin had rustled up yet.
“Yes.” Jake’s swallow sounded so dry it did scraping up his throat. “I’m so sorry, Phin. I should be shot.”
“Jake…I’m glad,” Phin did reassuring him, lifting his hand to trail his fingertips down the gleaming gold of Jake’s chest. Twitches of pleasure did skittering across its surface as his eyes sighed shut, despite himself.
“You won’t be…then you’ll hate me for it.” His voice was a rasp of velcro rather than velvet. Another whiff of vinegar assailed Phin’s nostrils.
“I could kill for some chips,” Phin admitted, before adding, “Yes, I will…and won’t do hating you. Ever.”
“You can’t say that…you don’t know.”
“I just did saying it…and I do. I could never hate you, even if you didn’t fancy your bone much and did shredding me with your teefs. So that’s that.”
“What the—? You’ve just realised that I’ve turned you into a mangy mutt! How the hell can you insist you won’t hate me for it, so that’s that!?”
“Eew…I hope I haven’t got mange. It sounds scratchy…ah well, never mind. I will be able to do licking my balls, that should prove plenty distracting.“
“Oh fuck…” Jake’s shoulders started doing shaking when a chuckle bubbled up—despite himself—which seemed to be his contrary response to all sorts o’stuff. Quite how he managed to do so much despiting was a mystery. He was forever contradicting himself in a loopy loop of lunacy. Jake should have been a werewolf, so persuasive was the sway of all things lunar upon his person. Phin didn’t say any o’that aloud. He had bigger fishes to fry.
“Yes please.” Phin grinned.
“What? Again?” Jake’s jaw did dropping a tad.
“I find I’m feeling peckish already.”
“You need food first,” Jake stated, spearing Phin with a steely glint of silvery blue.
“Then you’ll do filling me up in a more fun way?”
“Yes…” Jake sighed and did rolling his eyes, as if he was hard done to.
“It’s a good job I know you’re doing pretending, or I’d be most miffed. I can’t help it, it’s your fault.”
“I know… and I’ll never forgive myself,” Jake snarled. The snarl was self directed, the words were wafted Phin’s way.
“You’re bonkers…you can’t blame yourself for having the lushest tush on the planet. You didn’t do picking it from a line up of best bums, y’daftie. It was bestowed on you, so you’ll just have to do making the best of it.
“F’chrissakes, I wasn’t thinking about my arse.”
“I was…it’s one of my favourite things in the world to do thinking of. Anyhoo, I already told you that I hoped to turn Foxy and I wasn’t doing fibbing. I meant it.”
“Why the hell would you want that?” Jake snapped.
“So I can be with you…in every way. Both ways. Always. Can we have sex, d’you think?”
“What now? I told you…food f—”
“Noo…when I’m in foxy form.” Phin interrupted.
“God, I hope so…” Jake groaned.
“See…you do want me to be foxy,” Phin grinned with glee.
“How the hell d’you work that out?” Jake growled, the blue ablaze with outrage. Hmm…
Phin was a fast learner. Except for stuff he couldn’t do learning at all. Like logic. He didn’t mention that, he was too busy frying fishes. “Easy. You said: I hope so. If a part of you didn’t secretly want me to be foxy, you would never have said that—longingly—the way you did. The very thought would have done affronting your…honour.”
“Honour!? If I was honourable, I would never have laid a finger on you.”
“That’s bollocks. Blimey, I seem to be doing lots of thinking about balls. Odd that. I agree with Jack.”
“What?” Jake spluttered, as if he’d gone deaf, all of a sudden.
“I’m with Jack. It’s a Gift.”
“A Gift!? I don’t know where the fuck to begin. It’s NOT a gift, it’s a goddamn curse. You agree with him…how the—?” Jack abruptly ran out of steam, as if his brain was too taxed to do cobbling words together. He sprang to his feet in a flash and stomped to a coffee table by the sofa, upon which sat a bottle of whiskey.
Phin had been too distracted to do thinking about a drink…but now that he had thought about it, his thirst was so intense he could glug The Albion dry. Jake glanced over—as if Phin had uttered that aloud—then gave the lid a swift twist before lobbing the bottle at him.
Next thing Phin knew, he’d snatched it out of the air and seemed to be kneeling up, rather than lying on the rug. He must have done shoving himself up so sharpish he missed that part. It was all a bit of a blur.
“Thank you,” Phin grinned, unscrewing the strewth its tight lid for a quick guzzle. Jack winked when their eyes did locking, but Phin still saw the flick of a honeyed wrist in his peripheral vision. He shot an arm up to catch the tumbler hurtling his way—without looking—still ensnared by bewitching blue. “Strewth…d’you think I could play in goal for Plymouth Argyle?”
“You might want to acquaint yourself with your strength first, or you’ll take out half the team when you lob the ball back into play,” Jake’s chuckle was gruff rumble of sound so luscious Phin wanted to do licking it. He was finding it even harder to do concentrating than usual. His marbles were skittering hither ‘n’ thither, his focus tugged in different directions, trying to absorb the scents, tastes, sounds besieging him. It was a very lot of too much to do taking in at once.
Jack came and sat down, then did leaning against the armchair with his legs stretched out on the rug. They looked as if it had been glazed in golden syrup and sprinkled with silky hair. Phin wanted to lick those too…and very much more. He hoped Jack wasn’t planning on doing cooking, or he might starve to death. Twice.
“Phin…” His name was a warning growl.
“That’s not fair. I didn’t say a thing.”
“It was hardly necessary,” he huffed.
“Crikey.” Phin blinked, looking down. He had his very own jack-in-the-box cock. How splendid.
“That’s the least of it. I’d know if I was standing in the kitchen. I can smell you.”
“What do I smell of?”
“Lust, longing. Need, which is torture,” he groaned.
“Not acting on it. Jack…knows and he’s…fuck!”
Phin’s guts spasmed with a shaft of pain alongside Jake’s curse, which came accompanied by scrunched eyes and a sharp hiss of air sucked through gritted teeth. Phin wasn’t even sure whose pain it was. He could do sensing Jack’s…frustration, which didn’t seem daft; his instincts always told him stuff, but never in a way that clawed his insides as proper pain. Scratchiness was different, that didn’t do hurting; it made him want to claw his skin off, but that was a consequence, not a cause.
Phin crawled across the rug to Jake and found himself sitting astride his lap, arms wrapped around his neck, before he’d done wondering if it was wise. Why bother? He had to comfort Jake, it was a twin-tug on his heartstrings; Jack needed him too. He’d been trying to do far too much thinking, which always made him make muddles.
Instead of fretting about making Jake miffy and upsetting Jack, he should do following his instincts. They never did faltering or faffing about. Stuff would become so much simpler if Phin just did doing.
Jake wondered if his brain might blow up when his skull could no longer contain the chaos; there were too many conflicting emotions waging war in there. The predominant one being guilt. Guilt as vicious as a steel-jaw trap, having done the very thing he’d feared most. A crime so unspeakably selfish that Jake should, by rights, be skinned alive. Shooting would be too quick—too painless—and more to the point, he’d probably survive it.
Murdering Phin would have been less despicable. Death would have been more merciful than the life he’d damned Phin to. A knowledge Jake would have to live for the duration of his, having forfeited the freedom of revenge. His penance would abandon Phin to the fate they’d forced on him; the one act more cruel than the future Jake had condemned him to.
‘I’m glad…I could never hate you…So that’s that.’
Three pearls of wisdom from Planet Phin. A world of whimsy where forgetting was an art form that defied all reason why, or why not. Jake knew full well that Phin believed every word that flitted from his lips, even when he was ‘doing fibbing’. A fact as unfeasible as it was accurate.
Phin’s assertion was honest—his scent unsullied by deception—he was telling his own truth. He hadn’t said it to comfort Jake, or in an effort to salve his guilt. The reason Phin gave for being ‘glad’ was the most horrifying of all:
‘So’s I can be with you…in every way. Both ways. Always.’
Phin, quite possibly, envisioned their jackals scampering off into the sunset together, serenaded by pan-pipes. How the hell could he want to suffer Jake? He wouldn’t wish himself on his worst enemy; no one deserved that fate less than Phin. Not even as a furry friend, let alone the ‘mate’ Jack was hell-bent on believing he’d found. Scented a kindred spirit on the wind, or some such nonsense.
Scoff ye not, you upstart. You know damn well what you sensed.
Kinship? We’re not related.
You’re not human either. So why cite such an irrelevance? Kinship, soulmate, bondmate, mate-mate, whatever. ‘Life partner’ if you prefer a pastel rose by any other name. Take your pick. Then you might want to do remembering that You fell in love, so suck it up.
In love? You can’t just declare that as ‘fact’ in so few days. Particularly after bastardising Shakespeare.
Can and did. I scented a kindred spirit on the wind or some such nonsense, don’t forget. So you took your time, tardy arse.
Three years is taking my time, not three bloody days. It’s too soon to claim something so ludicrous. I can’t go there—
Too constipated, that’s why.
What the hell am I supposed to infer from that?
Y’should eat more sausages?
Sorry, it was irresistible. Like sausages. I meant: you’re too bunged up with crap to go. ‘There’.
No, it’s not. Still true, though.
Could you possibly look more satisfied with yourself? Don’t answer that.
“I’m with Jack. It’s a Gift.”
Setting aside the fact Phin had declared it a gift, rather than a curse…how did he know that Jack insisted this? Jake had no idea what Phin thought about fuck all…although he could sort of tell how Phin felt. But that was based on instinct and scent, not intuition so astute it was absolute.
Phin’s reflexes were astounding. Jake had never seen anyone move as fast as Phin had snatched the bottle from the air…but then, Jake had never watched himself. Excepting the part it was impossible to ignore when that sprang to attention…a party trick Phin had already nailed, with alacrity.
They would barely be able to leave the house if this kept…up. A fact Jake would welcome, if not for a very real responsibility to Phin. Jake could not fail him, Jack could not facilitate that failure. It would be a dereliction of duty. Downright neglect of the man they would die for. The least they could do was pave a way for him to live.
It was impossible to tell if Phin’s…Phinness would prove a positive or negative factor. He didn’t seem to give a shit about participating in ‘society’, he just pottered around doing… Phin things. So how the hell was Jake supposed to prepare him for something he was never a part of in the first place? Purely because Jake deemed it his ‘responsibility’? Surely that would make him as guilty as those who’d tried and failed to chip away his too muchness? Hadn’t doing just that been their ‘responsibility’ too?
Phin would have every right to resent him for even attempting something Jake had no wish to do. All of which left one road clear for Phin’s campervan. A singular raison d’être for Jake. Be there for him. Help Phin come to terms with it on his own terms, ensure that he felt as comfy in fur as his skin.
They’re both ‘his’, numbnuts.
I know they are, he’s hardly going to wear yours, is he?
Ours. Your pronouns are offensive, you should be shot. By the PC police.
Oh, shut up…If there’s ‘something you’ve been meaning to mention’…? I’m not that big a bastard. I’d bite my tongue off before misgendering you—
Us. You’re at it again…so y’can shove respecting my identity where the sun don’t shine. While you’re at it, ask Phin to explain ‘exception that proves the rule’. That’ll justify your belief in honouring folk’s pronouns—apart from ours—you pillock. By the way, I’m somehow certain ‘your’ tongue is as safe as the part you were particularly fond of, half an hour ago. Odd that.
Why the hell did I get saddled with the most pedantic and cussed critter on the planet?
No idea, we’re sure…