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Night of the Long Grass

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Even with the sun long set, an oppressive summer heat lingers in the village. The still night air is thick and damp when I breathe it in, sitting heavy in my lungs.

It’s the night of the summer solstice - an important festival for the animals - and celebrations are in full swing. Every year on the evening of the solstice our town hosts a medley concert at the town square. Animals pour in from all of the neighboring villages to participate, eager to earn the adoration of the crowd and score a shiny trophy. Following the concert is a spectacular fireworks show and a raucous party that I’m told often lasts well into the morning hours.

Instead, here I am on a perfect summer night, furiously knocking on the door to Static’s house.

“Oh for the love of... open up already! I know you’re in there! Well, probably.”

I’ve been pounding away to no avail for a while. The curtains are drawn and I can’t see inside. It’s entirely possible that he wants to be left alone, but with the way he vanished after performing at the concert, my concern overrides my desire to respect his space. I was never particularly good at that, anyway.

Energetic music and the steady thrum of a bass resounds from off in the distance, creating a certain sense of isolation - of being disconnected. When the first fireworks burst overhead I decide I’ve waited long enough.

I test the knob. It turns without resistance, confirming my suspicion it was left unlocked. The light inside is on. I push the door open just enough to slide in and shut it softly behind me.

It’s a single-room, prefabricated house, just like most of the animals around here live in. Against the predominately monochromatic decor Static’s bright purple fur and distinctive yellow stripes stand out across the room.

He’s standing hunched over his desk, turned away from me. When I sidle closer I can see he’s holding something and is so deeply absorbed in it that he hasn’t noticed my presence yet. His voluminous tail is held low, a gathered pile of fluff on the ground. Every few seconds it twitches into a new position, reminiscent of an agitated cat.

“Hello.”

“GAH!” Startled by the salutation cutting through the silence, the squirrel jumps and his tenuous grip on the object falters. A little square of glossy paper escapes his claws and starts to flutter downward but he reaches out and snatches it just in time, hastily jamming it into a pocket. He whirls to face me, eyes wide and ready to fly into a rage, “Who in the- Oh. It’s just you.”

“Hmm! It’s good to see you too. This welcome feels familiar.”

“Yeah, bet it does! We’ve been neighbors for over a month and you still haven’t figured out how knocking works! Don’t just let yourself in!”

“We hang out almost every day, aren’t we past that? Besides, I did knock. Stood there knocking for a good while, in fact. You’re just deaf as hell.”

“Hah! I’ll have you know my hearing is excellent, I can hear a pin drop from-”

“Well, judging by your reaction, you didn’t hear me open your front door either. Or come in and stand there waiting for you to notice me for like, a minute.” One of his small spoon-shaped ears twitches with annoyance because he knows I have a point. “Super deaf.”

“Not deaf!” He reiterates, sounding genuinely defensive now, “Just… thinking about stuff.”

“Like how deaf you are? I suppose it was inevitable. This is what a lifetime of loud music gets you. Early preventable hearing loss.”

“Hmph.” Despite the grunt of indignation, Static’s posture finally relaxes, shoulders slumping under his bright, melon-print tee shirt. His tail lifts into its usual gentle curl as the tension drains from him. With a sigh he drops down into a chair. “Well, anyway, what the heck do you want?”

“Rude. Maybe I just wanna hang out with my favorite squirrel.” Bashfully he turns away and rubs the back of his neck and I’m acutely aware of his paw running through the short fur there. I break away to idly pace the length of his room but I can feel his eyes tracking my every movement. “Really though, why’d you run off? You placed in the top three. You didn’t go up to collect your trophy.”

“Eh, that sort of thing doesn’t really matter to me.” He surprises me with the uncharacteristic modesty. “I played my set and then I split. Would’ve stayed to watch the other performers, but I was last one, so.”

“You know who you placed alongside? Pecan and Biskit.”

“Biskit!” He spits, incensed as I expected, “Pecan, I can understand. That girl can hold a tune alright. But Biskit? Cripes. What a joke.”

“It’s basically just a local talent show.” I remind him, pausing when I reach the oversized bed shoved into the corner. The wall beside it is adorned with a curious assortment of mementos. A sea of gaudy band posters and moody, evocative photographs of musicians I don’t recognize. In the middle of it - completely out of step with everything else - a postcard-sized print of a peaceful looking K. K. Slider, seated atop a tree stump and cradling his guitar.

“You’re so nosy.”

“Nah, you’re just an interesting guy.” He doesn’t respond and I know my subtle flattery worked, buying me a bit more time to poke around without criticism.

A storage unit at the end of his bed houses his impressive music collection - two of the compartments for vinyls, two for disorganized stacks of tapes and CDs. I’d spent many days with my feet kicked up on his couch, just listening to whatever artist from his collection Static insisted I needed to hear. Nearby, an electric guitar and bass are on display. They must be sentimental items because I know there are reasons he doesn’t play them anymore. Various wires and miscellaneous electrical equipment usually litter the floor here but now they’ve been carefully packed into transparent plastic tubs.

Glancing to the shelves again, I notice they seem less overstuffed than I remember.

Something dawns on me and I turn back to survey the room. It’s much cleaner than it should be. He’d tidy the place if he knew I was coming, but if I turned up uninvited, I’d see papers scattered over the desk, used coffee cups sitting around, an errant shirt here or there.

“Wow, who were you expecting tonight?” I attempt to sound casual. In truth, several possibilities run through my mind and I’m not comfortable with any of them.

“Er, nobody. I just cleaned up for once.” Static replies, inferring my train of thought. “Though I guess I half-expected you to come looking for me. Don’t you have a party to go to?”

“It’s not the same without you. Maybe I’ll just hang out here.”

“Oh...” It’s not the answer he was expecting. He’s turned backwards in the chair now, legs splayed out either side. “But you’ve never seen a solstice like this, yeah? You should go. I don’t think it’s something many humans get to see.”

My gaze drifts past him and falls on several cardboard boxes nested under the desk that I didn’t notice before. They’re already sealed tight with packing tape, so I can’t discern their contents. “You finally putting some of your stuff in storage?”

“Hey, uh, on second thought, I don’t want to stay in here anymore.” Static stands abruptly and the the bare feet of the chair screech harshly against the hard floor, making both of us flinch. “It’s all stuffy.”

Before I can respond he’s off toward the door, picking his acoustic guitar up along the way. He slings it across his back and adjusts the strap. When he’s satisfied that it’s in place he pulls open the door, looking back at me expectantly.

“You feel like going for a night walk? There’s a place I’ve been meaning to show you.”

 

 

“It’s a good thing the moon’s out, huh?” I call out to Static’s back, glancing up at the clear night sky. The underbrush rustles beneath his quick strides and keeping pace with him proves difficult, even with my longer legs.

Chirping crickets compete with the ringing in my ears slowly fading away from the evening’s concert. At this hour, those are the only sounds in the forest’s gathering dark. Yellow sparks of fireflies blink between shadowy tree trunks.

We are quite far from the town now. With electric lights faded out behind us, the glow of the full moon in a clear sky is all that guides us through the trees. It’s fortunate that it’s plenty enough to see by, as I’ve been following him for a while now and I’m not completely sure he knows where he’s going.

I put the now distant town from my mind and jog to catch up to him.

“Hey, Static.”

“Yeah?”

“It uh, feels like we’ve been walking for a little while now. Do you know where you’re going?”

“Me? Not knowing where I’m going? Shit, kid, have a little more faith in me, would ya?”

Whoops. Of all the animals in town - and likely in the ones neighboring ours too - Static was probably the one who knew all these nooks and crannies the best. He was always wandering off on his own to god knows where. And from I know from past experience he doesn’t appreciate having his sense of direction questioned.

“You’re right, sorry. I trust you completely.” There’s a short-lived silence and I feel surprised at myself for how sincere and heartfelt I sounded. I hadn’t meant to say it with that kind of voice.

“Good. Just keep walkin’.” Thankfully, he doesn’t give any sign he noticed. He gestures further through the trees ahead and turns to look at me, making sure that I’m paying attention to him. “We’re close now.”

He continues to walk, taking a few steps before his foot catches under an exposed root and he almost topples. On instinct I catch him by the scruff of his shirt, pulling back to bring him upright.

“Oof, guess I better watch where I’m going.” He sheepishly goes through the motions of dusting off his clothes even though he didn’t hit the ground.

“No shit,” I smirk, “Since you’re the only one who knows where we’re going.”

“You’ll see.” Static flashes a grin in response to the implied question. The glimpse of his oversized front teeth in the moonlight brings a sudden guilty flush to my cheeks and I’m deeply grateful that the shade under the trees is enough to disguise it.

We press on in the quiet, leafy darkness, human following squirrel. Neither of us speak in the short time before we reach our destination, emerging from the forest.

The thicket of trees ends abruptly when we step over the threshold, giving way to an enormous flat field. Here, the sky stretches out open, moonlit and dusted with stars. Down below a vast sea of overgrown grass is laid before us toward the horizon, fireflies lazily winking against the darkness. Compared to the narrow and winding path we trekked through the sheer openness of this place is almost dizzying.

“Whoa, crazy... What is this?”

“I dunno. Somebody’s farm, I guess? Not that they’ve done anything with it for a while.”

“Oh! We’re trespassing now. How unlike you.”

“It’s not trespassing!” I knew that would rub him the wrong way and I can’t help but laugh out loud, irritating him further. “We’re just going to borrow it for a little.”

I watch as he begins to wade through the tall grass with some difficulty, out toward the middle of the field. The grass that would only reach halfway up my calf is about knee-deep to him. I have to stifle a vivid mental image of me whisking him off his feet and carrying him. In reality, being picked up is a slight Static would not tolerate.

“Hey!” His familiar baritone calls out to me. I’d fallen further behind than I thought as I’d taken in the sight. “What’re you doing standing there all slack-jawed? Follow me!”

“Aren’t you afraid of snakes and spiders and all that?”

“Yes, actually!” He replies, not inspiring any confidence in me at all. “Just follow my tracks. That way, if someone has to endure a nasty surprise, it’ll be me and not you.”

The grass is dry and easily broken and he’s already carved a considerable, zig-zagging path for me. I quickly catch up to him, following him at his heels.

He halts suddenly and I almost run into him. “Alright. Right here is good.” He tamps down the grass with small, squirrel-sized stomps and plops himself down, cross-legged. I settle in beside him, almost shoulder-to-shoulder.

“Consider this a little gift from me. It’s not that easy to get to, but it’s worth it. As long as you have your back to the forest, it looks almost endless, doesn’t it? And I promise it looks just as breathtaking on a sunny day.”

“Wow, Static. I never took you for the romantic type.”

“I wouldn’t go that far. I come out here because there isn’t a soul around and I hate everybody.” He reaches around and pulls the acoustic guitar he hauled here into his lap. He then sets to work on tuning the cradled instrument, striking each string and twisting the pegs on the headstock accordingly. “Except you, I don’t hate you. You’re cool.”

It’s a rare opportunity to tease him twice in one night, so I can’t resist. “So, basically, what you’re saying is you’re sharing a neat secret place with me because you really love me, right?”

“Psh. If that’s how you want to see it, then go ahead.”

“Aw.” I extend an arm to pat him on the head, as though he were a dog. An actual dog, not like the one that lives near me and walks on two legs and wears pants and pays taxes. He furrows his brow and just looks at me with his usual scowl. “It’s okay, I love you too.”

“You better.”

“I know I already congratulated you on your win earlier, but...” I start, shifting the topic, “Seriously. You were really good. You have a nice singing voice, you know.”

“Nah. Passable, maybe. But definitely not nice.”

“I’m serious! Did you have a good look at the crowd?”

“Nope. Was too focused on performing. Besides, you can’t see much of anything when you’re standing under the lights.”

“Oh? I didn’t realize.” It only now dawns on me that Static wouldn’t have had any way to see me in the crowd and I wonder if he was just presuming I was there. “You should’ve seen the look on everyone’s faces when you started singing. They were really blown away. I mean, you already know that since the finalists are decided by popular vote, but I wish you could’ve seen it with your own eyes.”

“Ughhh... No, it’s better this way.”

“How come?”

“I’ve always had a thing about singing in front of other people.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. Had to sing backup vocals a few times during my... career.” His ‘career’ was a touchy subject and I start to feel I’ve walked out onto thin ice. His fingers appear to move along the frets on their own accord as he relives the memory, lazily forming the chords of whatever song it was. “It was awful. Being on stage is fine as long as I’m just playing. It’s what I do best. But as soon as there was singing involved, well, I panicked. Still, somehow, I managed to get up there and do my thing. But then after the show I’d always lock myself away in my room and not come out for days.”

“Oh, so that’s what you were doing when I walked in on you earlier.”

“Guilty as charged.”

“So why didn’t you curse me out and whack me with a broom until I left? You know. Like you did the first time I entered your house uninvited.”

“Oh, well, groupies are an exception.”

The jest catches me off guard. I realize he’s just messing around, but what if he isn’t? Suddenly a part of me wonders what the hell we’re doing out here and whether I did everything wrong tonight. Maybe I shouldn’t have made small talk, paced around his room. Maybe I should’ve just pushed him down onto his bed, pinned his arms over his head, lavished kisses all over his cheeks and neck-

“Groupies!” I quickly repeat, mock anger in my voice. “You terrible, lewd old squirrel.” I rip up a handful of grass and throw it at his face to admonish him, even though I’m smiling so hard it hurts and he’s laughing harder than I’ve ever seen him laugh. “You’re the worst.”

“And you’re my number one fan!”

“Yeah, I am.” It’s still part of the joking exchange, but he catches the sincerity and beams at me.

“So, then, number one fan... Got any requests?”

’Through the Fire and the Flames’.”

“Fuck you.” It’s the most toothless, fake ‘fuck you’ I’ve heard in my life and I can tell he’s trying very hard not to laugh.

“Oh, okay then. What about ‘Classical Gas’?”

“Hey, you know what? I’m just gonna go ahead and play whatever comes to mind.”

Static hunches down over the guitar and clears his throat, even though he’s not going to sing.

Practiced claws deftly pluck the strings, filling the air around us with a gentle melody, soft enough to talk over. It’s a mindless and simple tune ingrained into his muscle memory and requiring no mental effort, and also one I’ve probably heard him strum out a thousand times before in moments like these.

The moon inches overhead, easy and slow. I sprawl out over the ground, stretching tired limbs. Now supine I can feel how the walk here had taken its toll on me. I do nothing but listen to his meandering tune and focus on his outline in the dark, less than an arm’s length away. I wish I could do more - to move closer to him somehow, lean on him - but I must content myself with this.

A thought is tugging at the corner of my mind and I speak without thinking, “You seem different tonight. Not your usual self. What’s it called...”

“Hm, different?”

I glance over at him, trying to find the right word to fit the feeling. He seems a thousand miles away with his face turned skyward and wide, luminous eyes reflecting the night sky. Drifting fireflies flicker around his head to provide tiny stage lights and illuminate, briefly, yellow on purple.

“... Melancholic.”

“Melancholic, huh.” He replies, echoing my choice of words again. “Maybe a little.”

“It’s because you’re leaving, isn’t it?”

The plucking of guitar strings terminates, the final note squelched by his palm instead of resonating to silence, confirming my suspicion beyond any shadow of a doubt. The sudden cessation of music makes the following silence especially oppressive and painful. I didn’t want my hunch to be right and I suddenly feel very nauseous.

“Heh... guess there’s no getting things past you after all. Yeah. I’m leaving. Tomorrow. The moving truck’s coming in the afternoon.”

“Wait, tomorrow? What the hell, Static?”

I immediately right myself and crawl over to sit in front of him, hugging knees tightly to my chest, forcing him to look at me, searching his face for answers.

“Kid, I’ve gotta level with you.” He talks as though he’s trying to be frank but he can’t meet my gaze. “This move was in the works for a long time. I’ve told everyone else already. You’re the last one to know.”

“Why?”

“Uh, gee... ‘Cause it sucks out here? Thought I’d try living out in the sticks for a while, see how it treated me. It’s a beautiful place, sure, but nothing ever happens around here. This is the place where excitement comes to die.”

“Well, that’s because it’s the sticks. Use your head. Besides, isn’t a place with a pace like this good for you, since you’re-”

“Still so young and adaptable!” He interjects, perfectly predicting - and precluding - what I intended to say next. My memories of the birth year printed on his identification card and the old original records in his possession suggest otherwise. “Yeah. I’m sure I could make it work if I wanted to. But I’m getting restless and I really need a change of scenery. It’s time to hit the road again, you know?”

“You can’t just leave.”

“H-huh?”

“You haven’t given this town a decent chance yet. You’ve barely lived here at all.” I speak as clearly and deliberately as I can to conceal the rising panic in my voice. My heart flutters in my chest, desperate and cornered, and I’m scrambling for something to say to make him change his mind. “You’re wimping out.”

“Sorry, my mind’s set as concrete.” Static sighs heavily and I can’t tell whether it’s because he’s feeling low or annoyed at my dissent. “Besides, the wheels are already in motion, what am I supposed to do? Cancel the lease on the place I’m going to? Call up the movers in the morning and be like ‘Hey, guys! Move’s off! Someone asked me to reconsider, I’ve gotta restructure my life around their whims!’”

“Right, so I’m just trash and our friendship means nothing, I get it now.”

Ignoring my aches, I spring to my feet and leg it quicker than I thought possible. Tall grass gives way and I plunge deeper out into the open. I’m dangerously close to tears and I don’t want to risk being seen by him.

“Hey! Wait!” I’m heedless of his clipped, sharp calls as I move, keeping my strides long, not headed anywhere in particular, just propelled by hurt and blindly determined to place distance between us. Behind me, I can distantly hear the guitar’s discordant twang as he disentangles himself from it and drops it in the grass. Rapid, scurrying footsteps close in on me faster than I expect and with a well-timed lunge, Static catches my wrist and even his slighter form is enough to drag me to a halt.

“You idiot! Don’t just storm off like that! You don’t know your way back, you’re going to get yourself lost!”

“It’s fine, I’ll manage somehow.” In truth, I don’t have a phone with me and I don’t know the area at all, so I probably don’t sound confident in my assertion. “I know I’m being selfish, believe me. But you have no idea how much this hurts.”

He loosens his grip. “I think I have a better idea than you realize.”

I want to say something, but I don’t know what to tell him.

“You...” He’s speaking softly now, softer than I’ve ever heard him speak. I wonder what he looks like right now but I can’t bear to show him my face. “You’re the only person who tried to stop me. With everyone else it was ‘oh, bye!’ and ‘see you, take care!’. So, thanks. It’s nice to be wanted.”

It takes a moment to pull in a shaky breath and digest what he said. “Didn't think you were the type to care about what people think of you.”

“Nobody likes being hated.” He immediately supplies. He’s probably right, but it’s not really an answer, not to what I said.

“Static.” When I face him abruptly it breaks his hold on me. “Just be straight with me. What do you really want?”

“Hey, look. I know you’re basically in love with me. Who wouldn’t be? And you know what, kid, I think you’re pretty great. And maybe I love you too. But it’s not gonna work out.”

The admission is couched in uncertain terms but I understand why he said it the way he did, given the circumstances. Even this hedging confession is enough to ignite me. Despite anything else, he reciprocates my feelings. I want to tear away every layer of his resistance.

“Why wouldn’t it work?”

“Seriously? You looked in a mirror lately? You’re a human. I’m an animal.”

“And? I know you animals date and even marry outside of your species all the time. So isn’t the distinction between animal and human pointless?”

“Well... yeah.” He admits, shrugging. He glances off to the side, seeming unsure of himself all of a sudden. The perfectly pointed observation dismantled his argument quicker than he expected. “If you think about it that way. But most folk don’t. They just see it as something weird and deviant.”

“I don’t give a damn.” These are all thoughts I’ve turned over in my head countless times already. Every time I fantasized about selling off my shitty little prefab house to move in with him. Every time I watched the one koala and bull couple walking around town, paw-in-hoof, and wondered plaintively if I could get away with something like that too. “I can think of a dozen people back home who’d never look at me the same way if they knew I fell for someone like you, and I’d still choose you every time.”

As always his eyes are hooded but it feels different this time, off-balance, weakened. There’s a prolonged pause before he sighs in resignation. Despite the dark I can see the corner of his mouth curl into a smile. "Well, if that's really how you feel, I guess this is all I can say." Instead of speaking, though, his hand dips into a pocket and he produces the scrap of paper he'd hidden before. He reaches out to take my hand, turning it up, and gently places his gift in my palm with the other.

There’s enough moonlight to make out the photograph. It’s a no-frills portrait of himself, shoulders-up and snapped with a bare white wall as the backdrop. Usual sullen expression. No effort to smile or pose for the camera. That’s the Static I know and love. There’s a message scrawled with black marker in the margin below the picture, though it takes me a moment to decipher the impossibly cramped, angular handwriting:

‘To the one who brought back my spark - Static’

"So, yeah." Static finishes. Short fur on the back of his hands tickles my palm where he's still holding the corner of the polaroid, anchoring with a clawtip. I can feel the slightly leathery texture of the pads on his strange, sciurine hands as he holds my own.

After what feels like an eternity, his hands separate from mine, leaving behind the photograph. It’s a very tangible reminder that all of this was going to be over soon. Tomorrow he won’t be here anymore. I linger on it a moment before sliding it into my pocket, lump forming in my throat. “This is... really nice. I’m glad you gave it to me in person.”

“Would’ve preferred not to. I suck at goodbyes.”

“Yeah, but now I have no way of saying thanks. I got nothing to give you in return.”

“Pah, don’t be stupid. I don’t need any- uh?”

Static’s narrow shoulders bunch on contact when I reach out and grasp them. A small step forward closes the already narrow gap between us. He blinks up in bewilderment as I dip down and press a kiss to the bolt-shaped marking on his head. Then, my lips travel slowly down, marking each point of the zig-zagging pattern with light, lingering pecks, pausing only when I arrive at the end, on his brow. He’s about a head shorter than me and I can feel his warm breath fanning out over my neck. I can’t resist stamping one last kiss on his small, black nose before I release him.

It seems to take him a few seconds to process the turn of events before he blinks back to reality, laughing nervously. “Uh... Okay then. Wow.” His voice is shaky and about an octave higher than usual. He realizes this and coughs into a fist, hacking unattractively and making a grand gesture of it. “Ahem. You’re makin’ a fella blush here.”

“Cute.” I remark, because it is. It’s rare to see him so out of his element and the sight of it is incredibly endearing. “Just a modest thank you. But, you know, I wouldn’t mind if you wanted a bit more.”

“Oh, uh, geez...”

“Because you’re perfect and I love you.” I hastily add. “And I’m going to miss you terribly once you’re gone.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Static so wide-eyed. The squirrel was unaccustomed to holding his tongue and always had a retort for any situation. It’s strange to see him at a loss for words. His mouth opens and I can hear him draw breath, as though he’s about to start saying something, but then he just sighs. He narrows his eyes at me, seriously considering something.

He reaches up over my shoulders, claws weaving their way into the hair at the back of my head. A gentle yet authoritative pull guides me to his level, our mouths meeting in the middle.

Even this chaste kiss is enough to fill my head with the smell of him, a sort of musky aroma. His lips are thin and the most distinct sensation is his fur tickling my face as he sucks and teases. His hands drift down to settle on my hips, squeezing. A few times we break away, pull back and reconfigure, navigating the difference between our mouths. My eyes snap open when I attempt to deepen the kiss and my tongue crashes against his large incisors instead. Once again he accommodates me, tilting the angle of the kiss and opening his mouth just a fraction further, allowing our tongues to meet at last.

He tastes of ozone and forests, wild and untamed. Our tongues circle and clash, never at a pause, always in motion. Already there’s a heat radiating off him when his arms encircle my waist and draw me in against him, hungry for contact. The needle-like points of his grasping claws poke through my thin shirt, pricking the flesh underneath. I lose all sense of direction in the dizzying cacophony of swirling emotion and building heat. My legs start to buckle and little by little I feel myself bearing my weight down on him.

We topple together, landing soft in the long grass.

It’s a tangle of mouths and limbs, fur on skin, needy and desperate. It’s months of furtive glances and unspoken feelings realized at last. For a moment our clothes are the only way to tell where I end and he begins. The kiss is broken only long enough for me to pull his shirt off over his head. My hands explore the textures of his body, seeking to memorize the details of him. The fur around his neck and shoulders is short, coarse and laid close to the skin. On his stomach it’s ample and fluffy. I can feel him doing the same under my clothes, fingertips kneading knotted back muscles and pressing experimentally against my soft belly. He doesn’t mind his claws and I can feel their tips raking against my skin as they travel.

I swipe my tongue across his teeth before I finally pull up with a loud, wet smack, exhausted and breathless. He seems similarly spent with eyes half-shut and chest heaving. My heart nearly skips a beat as he reaches up to push a lock of hair away from my face, tucking it behind my ear with a tenderness I didn’t know he had. I want his pelt against me and undressing like this is inconvenient.

“Gimmie just a sec.”

“Hm?”

With a grunt of effort I pick myself up off him to stand. Static sits up with sharp attention as I begin casting off each article of clothing in rapid succession, only taking care to ensure the polaroid doesn’t fall out of my pocket. He leers up at me, unblinking and tail twitching behind him, seeming more interested the more bare I become.

Finally, I slide my underwear down my thighs and allow them to drop to my ankles, shoving them aside with a foot. The night air is still hot and there’s no breeze to offer relief, but it feels nice to be free of my sweat-damp clothes regardless.

“Mmmm. Nice.” Static’s low purr of satisfaction surges through me, making something in my loins twist.

“Yeah,” I drop to my knees and advance on him immediately, eager to resume, “I know. But feel free to say so all you want.”

I lean in to kiss him again and I can feel him smirk against my mouth. Even an hour ago, all of this would’ve seemed impossible. It already feels completely natural. It tickles when he darts down to kiss my collarbone, subtly shifting his weight forward, instructing me to fall under him.

“Static, wait,” His head snaps up, ears twitching, as if he’s expecting me to call it off. “Let me be on top. At least to start out with.”

He tilts his head, questioning, but doesn’t probe for a reason. “Alright then. If that’s what makes you comfortable.”

With that he flops onto his back, sprawled out like a starfish. I didn’t mean for him to go completely submissive but I recognize the consideration in allowing me to take control, so I can’t complain. The dry grass is scratchy and uncomfortable under my knees when I scoot into position over him. He grins as I pepper his face with little kisses, raining them over his neck and chest, inching my way downward.

I sit up and shuffle back, preparing to remove his pants. My hands are frozen in place, fingers curled around the waistband of his shorts, one motion away from stripping him naked.

Static raises an eyebrow in question. “Second thoughts?”

“Um, no. I’ll just be honest. I’ve never done anything like this and I’m afraid of screwing up.”

“Whoa, hold up.” Static rights himself, propping up on an elbow. “You’re a virgin?”

“No, I mean I’ve never... you know. Been intimate with an animal before.”

“Oh, thank goodness. I’m not sure I could handle that kind of responsibility.” That expression of relief as he lays down again fills my head with questions. Just what sort of attitude toward sex does he have to say something like that? It seems old-fashioned. “I’m too old to be offering lessons in the basics. You’ll be fine. It can’t be that different.”

Nodding, I realize he’s right. He was a mammal, after all, and not some kind of amphibian or avian - at least in this case I more or less know what to expect when I strip him. With that in mind, I steel myself and rend his lower half bare.

It’s difficult to keep my expression neutral. I try, but I probably can’t help looking surprised. I wasn’t ready when I’d uncovered the enormous, furry undercarriage squashed between his thighs. Each testicle is easily a handful and disproportionately large on his body, making me aware that the loose pants served a practical purpose. It takes every fiber of willpower to avoid making a comment to do with squirrels and nuts. Above, a rounded cockhead peeks out of its sheath, the pale pink flesh a sharp contrast to the dark purple of his coat. Had I left him hanging so long that he’d lost momentum? Surely this isn’t all there was?

I can feel him eying me intently. This will become awkward if I hesitate any longer and I definitely don’t want to risk offending him. I grasp it gently between thumb and forefinger, the nub giving an eager pulse in response to my touch. The skin feels marvelously supple and soft under my fingertips, almost velvety in texture. Bending down, I lavish the sheath with a broad, brisk lick before fixing my mouth on it, probing with tongue-tip, eager to coax his manhood out of hiding.

A wave of relief washes over me as his cock expands in my mouth with a few slow, strong swirls of my tongue, swelling against my lips and pressing into my cheek. Salty dribbles of precum mix with my saliva as I work him, warm and slightly slick. On an impulse my free hand cups one of his balls, offering only the gentlest massage whilst sealing my mouth around his girth and slurping. He groans at the combined sensation, body writhing and flexing up off the ground. My face is buried in his crotch and with his growing arousal, the smell of his musk quickly borders on overpowering. There’s a strangely intoxicating, aphrodisiac quality to it despite the intensity and my head starts to spin again.

Maybe I should have just let myself fall under him earlier. All I can think of is him frantically breeding me and filling me with his cum. Being filled up by him. Having him inside me.

Wait, wasn’t I naked right now? I pull up abruptly, the smell and taste of him still clogging my sinuses. Static looks dazed as the full length of his member flops back flush against his stomach, free from the confines of my mouth. The shaft is shorter than what’s average for a human, perhaps five inches at a glance, but deliciously thick, especially around the base. More than enough for my purposes.

I crawl forward quickly to position my hips over his, trembling with need and anticipation. His half-lidded, love-drunk gaze meets mine. He watches me shimmy back and forth, trying to align him with my entrance on feel alone because I can’t look away from him. His hands had been clawing at the ground but now they come to rest on my thighs, squeezing reassuringly. Patient, comforting. Finally, I wedge his head between my lips just so and lower myself down on him. There’s a light in his eyes as I feel him push past the breach inch-by-inch, sliding easily into my dripping wet sex.

Tentative and shallow, I begin to move over him. My shaking thighs and weak knees make it hard to leverage my thrusts. Rising on my haunches, easing up until only his head remains inside, pausing a moment and slowly pressing back down, focused on the sensation of pushing his cock into me over and over again. The ecstasy of being joined like this, making love to the person I adore on a warm summer night beneath the stars. Fucking in a field. Like animals. My toes curl, the thought of it almost bringing me to climax alone. His hands grip my hips and attempt to guide me but they feel impatient, urging me to go faster. I want more, too, but I don’t know just how rough and careless I can get. He’s not fragile, but I’m larger and I don’t want to crush him. He seems tense, brow furrowed and incisors clinging to his lower lip. He hasn’t said anything in a while and I feel the need to check in on him.

“You alright?”

“Guh… just... tighter than I thought.”

“Hey, I’m not that much bigger than you.” For the audacity of that comment I power up through my thighs, rising and slamming back down onto him at full force, making him gurgle. “What, were you imaging a hotdog in a hallway? Get real, I’m a human, not an elephant.”

Static answers me with a sharp jab of his hips, far stronger than I expect, bucking me into the air and causing me to let out a squeal.

His face splits into an amused grin. “Huh. I like that noise, make it again.”

Once more he jerks upward, plunging himself into my depths as far as he can go, quick and fierce. With a shuddering sigh I respond, rolling my hips and grinding, drawing a groan from him in turn. We spur each other on, driven by reactions, and it’s not long before the squirrel abandons the prospect of holding back and letting me set the pace, rutting up into me and huffing with effort. His hands brace my hips, helping to raise and lower me on his cock with decisive ease and once again his strength surprises me. Successive shocks of pleasure wrack me each time our tempo aligns and he meets me thrust for thrust. We fall into rhythm and one of his hands moves between my legs. The pad of his thumb brushes over the bundle of nerves there, pressing and circling with flawless cadence and expert precision, like he’s done this countless times before.

I contract around him with the extra stimulation, clenched so tight I think I might lose my mind. The first shudders of orgasm approach and my legs lock up, quaking and unsteady. His claws dimple the flesh of my rump as I double over him. Seeking closeness, seeking him. I catch only a glimpse of his strained expression before our mouths crash into another wild, sloppy kiss, teeth teasing lips and tongues twisting hot against one another. His breathing is heavy and frantic, filling my lungs with his air. He’s trying to match my kiss, service me and chase his own orgasm all at the same time. In mere seconds the elation builds and erupts, seizing my body, Static purring in complete satisfaction as I whimper and moan into his mouth.

I break away from him and right myself, wheezing for air, allowing only the briefest second of recovery before I resume fucking him with all that remains of my strength, teeth grit, pussy burning with the pain of over-stimulation and legs feeling like they’ll snap like twigs beneath me. He’s right on the verge of his own climax and I want him to cum.

It’s not long before he lets out a grunt, body tensing and arching up off the ground as he spends himself inside me. He grabs me by the hips once more and pushes me down onto him, holding me in place while he fills me up. I hum with contentment, eyes fluttering shut for a moment, feeling the pulse of his shaft. I expect it to be over now, but he doesn’t release me. I open my eyes again and find he’s more or less frozen in position. Is he... still cumming? I just watch, blinking, utterly rapt at his shuddering and occasional hissing and the way his face contorts into slightly different expressions.

Finally, after what I swear had to have been half a minute, the tension drains from him all at once and he goes totally limp. It’s not an exaggeration to say he looks half-dead now.

Mystified by what I just witnessed, I bend forward and spread myself apart a little more, trying to get a better look at where we were joined. There’s a strange sensation of fullness inside of me. Testing, I press down on my stomach and flex my hips. There’s an unattractive, thick, wet squelching noise, confirming my suspicions.

“W-wow... You’ve been saving up.”

“What’re you mumbling about...” He glares up at me for daring to disrupt the intimate silence in the afterglow.

“Ah, it’s just really amazing.” He twitches as I stir my hips against him, still semi-erect but overstimulated. I feel the subtle slosh of his copious cum at the mouth of my cervix, although it’s starting to ooze out in this position. The fur under my thighs is matted and slick and I know it’s mostly because of him. It must be a squirrel thing I’d never heard of before. “There’s so much of it, I can actually feel it inside me.”

I’m braced for a retort, or perhaps just a ‘shut up’ if he was feeling lazy, but Static only manages to stare dumbly up at me. It’s so enchanting I can’t help but press his buttons some more.

“Hahahah... Could you imagine? If this was just a little different.” I place my hand below my navel, gliding my palm over my stomach and glancing down. Meditating on the thought for a moment. “You know. If I was more like you.”

It’s very fortunate that I am not more like him, because in truth I am nowhere near prepared for that possibility. But, what if?

Static offers no repose to contemplate that absurd scenario, suddenly seizing my waist, claws driving deep and threatening to break skin. He lets out a low, rumbling growl that sounds completely incongruous coming from someone evolved from a prey animal. My eyes grow wide as I feel his cock fill out inside me once more - just what sort of insane refractory period does he have? Quicker than I can process, Static sits bolt upright and leans into my body, attempting to budge me off his lap.

“Ugh, move already! You’re too heavy, take the hint!”

“Sorry, I’ll-”

I attempt to pull away but he sharply reins me back in, trapping me with arms around my waist. “Not like that! Get on your back.”

“On my back?”

“Hurry up!”

There’s a sense of urgency in his voice I can’t ignore and I fall back, complying with the order. We remain joined as I pull him down with me, rolling into position under him. On top at last, Static’s hands curl around my hips, gripping like a vice to keep steady as he breaks into a full-tilt, frantic rut between my legs, tail held high in the air and bobbing along with his movements. I’m still stuffed with his cum and sloppy, wet sounds accompany every thrust, semen dripping down my thighs and pooling under my ass.

It’s especially perverted being taken like this, the squirrel mounting and breeding me like I’m a doe in heat, humping in earnest. Static stares down at me, unblinking and eerily expressionless. The sight of his large black eyes glinting with moonlight and hovering over me sends a chill down my spine. He looks more animal than person.

My tortured, oversensitive pussy aches and spasms as he hammers away at it, plowing rough and rapid. It’s the sharpest pain and yet the most fulfilling pleasure at the same time. Light bursts behind my eyes and my mouth falls open in a soundless cry. All I can do is fill my hands with whatever I can reach and hold on to, clenching fistfuls of his chest fur. Searing heat rushes through me over and over, rippling, painful, shallow orgasms, each diminishing in intensity until all that remains are sparking aftershocks.

With one final push he buries himself as far as he can go and freezes, squeezing eyes shut and muttering a barely-audible, broken whisper. It sounded like my name, but I can’t be sure. There’s a faint gush of warmth deep inside me as he empties himself a second time, his seed uselessly flooding my womb.

He looks like himself again when he slowly opens his eyes and glances down, drawing in ragged breaths. “Hah... and you were... impressed before... there’s more... where that came from.”

“It feels great.” I admit, similarly breathless. It feels consummated, like we’ve become a part of one another, like he’s left an indelible mark on me. I know the sentiment is too sappy for his tastes and I settle for something simpler. “You’re amazing.”

“Eheheh.” He smiles one of his rare, impossibly handsome, toothy grins and I almost feel like dying on the spot, chest clenching. “You’re not so bad yourself.”

He rolls off me, landing beside me in the grass with a harsh ‘thud’, meeting the ground limp like a ragdoll. If he looked half-dead earlier he surely looks full-dead now, struggling to even keep his eyes open. I worry that he’s going to conk out and I’ll have to carry him back to the village somehow.

He lets out a groan, burying his face in his hands. “What the hell was that? Crazy... It’s really like I’m twenty again.”

I chalked up the speedy recovery and round two to some sort of squirrel anatomy thing. I didn’t realize it was unusual. “Hmm. Does your body want something that’s impossible?”

“I don’t know.” Static surprises me with the frank and immediate answer. It was just supposed to be some banter. “I really don’t know, and I don’t wanna think about it either, so don’t me ask stuff like that.”

I turn and sidle up against him, resting my head on his chest. “You just don’t like thinking about anything much.”

“Whatever, egghead. Hush.”

With that, he drapes his arms around my shoulders and holds me close. His nose is cool on my burning skin when he presses a kiss to my forehead, lips lingering there longer than I anticipate. With my cheek nestled into the soft fur of his chest I can hear the rapid thrumming of his heart. I wonder if it’s from the exertion moments ago or if that’s just how it is - I’d heard that some animals have a faster heart rate. Dwelling on the thought reminds me that, despite everything, I still know so little about him.

“Hey...” Static’s voice snaps me back into the moment, deep and reverberating in his chest. “I know this sounds lame, but you make me feel things I haven’t felt in years.”

The honest admission brings a smile to my face and I try to hide it in his fluff. “Yeah, it’s pretty lame. But I guess that makes me lame, too, since I’ve never felt this way about anyone else before.”

“Heh. That makes me happier than you know.” His long tail curls around my body, ensconcing us in a soft cocoon. My scalp tingles with pleasure when he idly rakes his claws through my hair. “Even though you’re still young and you’ll forget about me soon enough once someone else comes along.”

“I forget you still sometimes talk shit.” I try to tell him off, but I’m relaxed and melting into the embrace and it’s probably pretty toothless. “As soon as I’m done here, I’m gonna head out there and find you.”

“Oh? Is that so?” He sounds amused by the idea, even if I can tell he doesn’t believe a word of it. “Then what’re you gonna do?”

“I don’t know. Kiss you, probably.”

“Could be nice.”

We fall into silence and I can sense the feeling shared between us: this was a wild fantasy, and for whatever reason, we felt the need to pretend that some hope existed for us.

I lift my head and briefly glance at the clothes scattered around us. “Maybe we should... head back.”

“Not yet. Just a bit longer.”

His arms tighten around me. I bury my face into the crook of his neck, basking in his comforting, familiar scent. It’s too hot to be swaddled in his tail like this and the dry grass feels like a bed of needles, but it’s intimate. I don’t want to move.

We lay together long enough for the stars to drift.