THE CREATURE WITHIN

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THE CREATURE WITHINPROLOGUE:The video connection rang on the hour and Sylvia made the connection. Sylvia wouldn’t tell me who we were conferencing with, so I grabbed a light blouse I kept in the office I rarely used. It covered me above the table, anyway. I looked up at the screen as it came alive. “Sam!” I looked at Sylvia, “Why didn’t you just tell me?”There was a slight delay, but Sam came to Sylvia’s rescue. “My fault, Annie.” He was quiet for a moment. “My … I had forgotten how beautiful you are. Sorry, that’s probably a really sexist thing to say …”“It’s okay, Sam. It’s not like I work for you or anything like that. Besides, I doubt I really looked that good when you found me. Thank you, again, by the way.”“Well, that was something you repaid several times on the way out, you and your two friends.”I looked at Sylvia and back to him on the screen. “Not that I don’t like seeing and hearing you, again … what’s going on?”“I contacted Sam. He gave me a phone number … in case.”I looked at her, “In case of what? What’s going on? Someone talk!”Sam, “Annie … Sylvia was concerned by some of your actions, some of your … changes? … maybe changes, yeah. Annie, do you trust Sylvia?” I nodded immediately and took her hand. “Do you trust me?”“After five weeks in the jungle? After you brought me back to life? Of course, I do!”“Okay. Annie, I already told you while we were in the jungle that I couldn’t make sense of your recovery from the wounds, besides your other … abilities: vision, reactions, reflexes. So, just to be safe, I gave Sylvia a phone number if she ever had reason to be concerned about you. You matter to us both, Annie. I really hoped that I would never hear from her; not that I didn’t want to know how you were doing, Annie, but it would mean you were good.” He looked down at something on the table in front of him. When he looked up, “Annie, truthfully, just between us who you trust, can you tell us that there haven’t been things happening to you that have made you question, wonder, what is happening to you? Your hair, your body, other things?”I looked at them and tears filled my eyes. Sylvia took me into her arms. I nodded. He was blurred to me through my tears. But, the words I heard from him made me freeze.“Have you ever heard the term ‘Cross-species DNA’?” CHAPTER 1: CONFLICTEDMy mouth hung open. Not my best moment of reaction, but it was real. I didn’t know what ‘cross-species DNA’ meant; I didn’t recall every hearing about such a thing. The phrase did, however, conjure up an impression on my brain. Why did he just ask that? Was he referring to something to do with me? Why else would he utter that phrase? It was clear to me that we were together, even by electronics, to discuss concerns that each of these two had expressed about me. This was clear to me to be some kind of intervention on my behalf; if I wasn’t willing to consider what was happening, they were taking the steps to bring them to my attention.I looked at Sylvia, wondering if this was all a script they were working from, sharing bits of information that they were already both aware of. Sylvia shook her head. I believed her. She might have her concerns, but she hadn’t been conspiring behind me … except to initiate this conversation.I put my strong demeanor back on and looked into the screen at Sam. “Okay, I’ll bite. What’s ‘cross-species DNA’?”From unknown miles away through the marvels of electronics and the internet, he just looked at me blankly. Finally, he sighed. “Really? You’re going to play that dumb? I can understand that you don’t know specifically because I didn’t until … well, I didn’t, either. You have an idea, though.”“Sam, I don’t want to think about what it is you are talking about. I don’t want to let myself go somewhere I don’t have to go with my imagination. So, what are you talking about? And, why bring it up here at all?”He sighed, again. “Okay, but your imagination couldn’t go too far wrong, I promise you.” He looked down at something on the table in front of him. He looked up. “I’m no scientist. We have them here and this is the result of what they have learned so far. Bear with me in trying to explain this. I wanted you to get some information and then allow you to decide if you wanted more and what you wanted to do with this information. If you want more, we have the scientists to help you find what can be learned.”“Sam, get on with it. Enough of the qualifications.”“Okay. From what I understand, cross-species DNA is theoretical, only. Nobody has ever found a real living case of it. That is not to say that some haven’t tried to ‘create’ it through experimentation, but it has never gone well.” I showed my renewed exasperation. “Sorry, adding qualifiers, again. Cross-species DNA is the presence of DNA from at least two different species in the same sample.” He went quiet, not looking up at the camera in front of him. Finally, he did. “Maybe I should show you as a better explanation. We got lab results for you from various time in your past and compared them.”I looked at Sylvia. She held up her hands in defense, indicating she had nothing to do with it. I looked at him accusingly, “I thought medical results were privileged information.”“Annie, you have a slight idea of who we are or at least what we do. If there is information in some server that is connected to a network that is connected outside, we can find it. Let me go on, please.” I extended my hands toward him in a gesture of ‘it’s all yours’. “I am going to use the computer to show your blood work from different times, specifically the DNA markers from each. It isn’t important that you, or I, understand the specific information, just the comparison.” A chart came up on the screen. “This is the exam you had when you enrolled in the community college outside of Phoenix. This next one is from when you were in the hospital after … after Jake Collins dug you out of the ground. Now I understand your comment in the jungle that if I had buried you when I didn’t find a pulse, it wouldn’t have been the first time. Anyway, look … I can overlay them and they are identical. This is what we expect, right? DNA is becoming the new fingerprint for identifying people. You can smooth out your finger tips and eliminate the ridges, but your DNA stays constant. Next, is the results when you started working at the resort. As I understand the rules, all staff and guests have to have blood work done to eliminate HIV and STDs. That has given us lots of results to use.”Sylvia reached over to me and took my hand. She was feeling the buildup like I was.“All three of these overlay perfectly. As I said, as we would expect. Now …” he looked up, “now, we have the results from the hospital AFTER we came out of the jungle.” He put it up alongside the other overlaid results that had showed no difference. I leaned forward and stared at the screen. I finally got up and walked to the screen. I must have walked out of the view of the camera, “Sylvia, where did Annie go?”I responded, “Sorry, I am at the screen for a better look. Go on …”“I am going to overlay this one on top of the others. See which ones have gone fussy by inconsistencies?”“Yeah ….”“Do you want more or are you already too freaked out?”“I’m already freaked out, but go on.”“I’m going to use colors to highlight certain ‘inconsistencies’. The first color is brown.” I stared as two of the markers turned brown. “Annie, please sit down.” He waited until he saw me sitting down, again.“You’re going to scare me now, aren’t you …”?“I think so. As near as our people can tell, the brown is equine.”“Horse!!?!”“Are you sure you want more?” I nodded, now I had to know. “The next color is dark grey.”“Oh my god … that seems like a lot …”“Yes, well … remember that one would be a lot. The next color is black.” I buried my face in my hands. On glance it was still a small percentage, but … “Dark grey is canine.” He let that sink in for a moment. I heard him take a deep breath and I looked up at him. “The black is feline.”Feline. Canine. Horse. My eyes popped open. That was the order of my last mating before … the plane. Preta was the last one and the feline markers are the strongest. Oh … my … god … An idea came to my mind, “What a minute. The hospital did duplicate tests the next day. Did you check those? Maybe this is a mistake, contaminated somehow …”“We thought of that, too. Here’s the second test from the hospital.” He overlaid it and it match perfectly. “I don’t think there is any question, Annie. But, you have had another test we found after you returned to the resort. Here it is …”NO! My mind was reeling. No, this can’t be. Can’t this just be a bad dream that I will wake from, maybe in a hospital after being rescued from the jungle? But, no, I know it’s not. Three more markers are fussy. When the colors are used, there is another feline and two more canine. He can’t even tell me it is stable? Whatever is happening is still happening?I grasped blindly to the side for Sylvia, her hand, arm, anything to hold onto as my world seemed to rock beneath me. But Sylvia’s hands are on me before I found her. She is pressing the side of her face to mine from behind, whispering, whispering that it will all be okay, somehow it will be okay. I raise my hand to touch her face and turn my eyes to the screen and Sam’s image there.“What’s wrong with me, Sam? What happened to me? Am I … am I going to eventually turn tokat escort … become … something?”“We don’t have the answers, Annie. We want to do more tests, to understand this better ourselves, but to help you understand it, too. But, we don’t think so … about turning into something. It’s theory right now, but it is thought that your human part will be the primary and, somehow, these other parts will be contributors. Obviously, we want you to come here. Better here than a hospital where they will have to notify authorities, the CDC, or where it might become public. Can you imagine what people might think? You need to decide for yourself, Annie, but it is not thought to be temporary. You can wait and see if it goes away, but a simple DNA test for identification would give you away. Another thing … it might be hard right now, but … don’t think of this as a ‘wrong’ thing or something negative that has happened to you. I think this can be a positive, an enhancement, a gift if it is understood, developed, and controlled.”“Sam, you wouldn’t let them turn me into a lab rat, would you? Are you in a position to control that? If I came in, I mean …”“I can, Annie. I already have the assurances. They are interested scientifically, but they don’t see the potential for duplication, if that is your concern. I’ll be honest, though, there may be some governments and agencies who might be interested if they knew about it.”“Are you trying to scare me to come in?”“No! I will honor whatever you decide. You saved my life, too. A couple of times, as I recall.” He was smiling. “Annie … this explains why you’ve been feeling different at times, why your body has changed. There could be more. With x-ray, CT-scans, more specific blood testing, there might be more to learn. It could help you adjust.”“Are you trying to recruit me? I thought you wanted out of the Agency?”“I did. It has changed. When they figured out why I disappeared, heads rolled. It’s still the Agency, but it’s different. I can say more if you are here. Think about it. Talk to those you trust. Then let me know. I hope you agree, Annie. Personal reasons, too.”The screen faded away and the link was broken. Sylvia was behind me, her hands on my shoulders. “I’m afraid. I don’t know what to do. What do I do?”In almost a sigh, she responded honestly, the only thing she really could say, “I don’t know.”“But … I mean … if I caught a virus in the jungle, I could get treated. This … this THING … this whatever is in me … there is b**st DNA in me, changing me. What …?”She spun my chair around and knelt before me. “Listen to me, Annie. Maybe Sam is right. Remember who you are. If there’s a b**st inside you wanting to come out, maybe you should let it. Every a****l I have seen you encounter has ended under your control.” She smiled and her eyes twinkled, “You’re Celina, after all …”* * * *We spent the night talking. I felt sorry for Sylvia more than myself as dawn approached. The adrenaline of the news still had me wire, but she had to be dead tired. We agreed on some important points, though. One being that important secrets kill friendships, so I needed to talk to the team. Mostly true, anyway. I was discovered to have some irregularities in my system that required more testing. It might mean I would be gone sometimes and back sometimes. I assured them, however, it was not believed to be fatal. There were some things causing changes that needed looking into.Dor wanted to lighten the mood, if possible. “So, boss, you’re going in for an extended checkup?” I nodded. “Well, in that case, have them check into that purr of yours.” It was quiet for a moment, then we all laughed, largely to release tension.The other thing was that I needed to talk to Bobbi and Jake. And, as honestly as I could. They, I knew, I could completely trust.* * * *Having arrived in Tucson early afternoon and picked up by Jake while Bobbi was on patrol, I had time to adjust to the surrounds, again. The dry, high altitude of the ranch was a stark difference from the island, but it all came rushing back to me. Jake was insightful and anticipated that I didn’t want to say too much until Bobbi arrived and it made the afternoon relaxing from the long commercial flying time. Even when Bobbi arrived and through dinner, they didn’t press me, know that whatever it was that was bothering me would eventually come out. I had simply told them that I needed their guidance on something very important; I had several days, but I needed to make a decision on something soon.They were patient, trusting in me to come to the time of discussion when I was ready and when I felt the situation with us was ready. After dinner and relaxing in talk and sharing, I was sure they were itching to confront me, but they didn’t. They shared details about what was happening in their lives, Bobbi shared about her family, and Jake shared about some of the projects he was working on for some regional groups. When it got quiet, again, it got very quiet. The sun had set behind the mountain to the west and I suggested going out to the porch. I had decided it might be easier to ease into the discussion in the dark.We took our drinks outside and I immediately started blurting out the story. I started pouring out the entire story from the need for more a****ls and the travel to the jungle villages, through the various matings and challenges, to the encounter with Preta, and the plane. I talked about waking in the hut with Sam, how he had saved, but nearly buried me. There was nervous laughter, all of us remembering vividly how we had first met.I gave brief comments about changes identified in me including my hair, reactions, sight, etc. I then took a deep breath and summarized the video conference call with Sam just days before and the report of finding a****l DNA in my DNA samples. And, that they were increasing.When I stopped talking, finally, it was quiet. It was deafeningly quiet. It was the reason why I wanted to have this talk in the dark. Bobbi had been holding my hand between the two of hers and she wouldn’t let go. I anticipated she might not have a lot to say or offer. She would provide strength and comfort. Jake was the thinker, the solver of us all. I expected Jake to crunch the information in his brain for moments, develop thoughts, and consider how to present them. When it came to it, there wasn’t much to discuss.“Are you afraid, Annie? Scared of what this is?” Yes.“Do you trust this Sam?”I smiled and chuckled. “He saved me. He thought I was dead when he found me. I had no pulse that he could detect. I was 100 feet in the air suspended by the parachute, entangled in the jungle canopy. It would have been so much easier for him to just cut me loose and let me fall the 100 feet. He didn’t. He struggled to get me down. Even then he couldn’t find a pulse, but he pressed on. He almost buried me right there, but something in him said it wasn’t right. He saved me. Yes, I trust him.”“You think you need to get the testing done, don’t you?”“Yes, I think so. I as much as eluded to that to my team on the island without thinking about it. I just don’t know … is it something I want to know? Is it something I can handle knowing? My life was going so well. Now …” I squeezed Bobbi hands and looked to Jake. “You’re agreeing with me, aren’t you?” He nodded.We were headed into the house and Bobbi stopped me. “I almost forgot … could you go to spend some time with my mom tomorrow, early afternoon? The men will be gone and it will just be her.” I looked at her quizzically. “I think she wants you to help her. Kaye and mom were talking at a gathering and Kaye had a couple strong drinks. You know she usually sticks with beers. Anyway, she let slip something about the dogs and then was pushed into more … pretty soon mom had an idea of what was happening.” She laughed. “Turns out mom has had similar thoughts about dogs for years. She even confided in dad but they kept it to themselves and nothing ever came of it. While there, talk to her about these things. My mother has a way of seeing complicated situations in … interesting ways that I don’t.”“Okay. But, why don’t you help her?”“Ewe … really? My mom? It’s bad enough thinking of her having a sexual life much less getting that close to it.” That got Jake and I laughing at her expense … at least until she finally joined into the laughter.While still chuckling, I took a hand of each of them and led them to their bedroom. I now needed to feel some reassuring love from my old partners. Neither of them resisted or objected.For an instant it felt like old times, but I reminded myself that things were different between us. They were still willing partners, but they were married and I was headed for a life that, at the moment, seemed rather unsettled. But, for the moment, all seemed perfect as I stood between them at the side of the bed, the bed that not that long ago was our bed.I took Bobbi’s face in my hands, kissed her passionately, feeling Jakes hands on my hips, sliding up my side and cupping my breasts from the back. His hands left me and shifted to Bobbi’s breasts. A smart man not to leave his new wife out of the action. As Bobbi and I continued to kiss, Jake’s hands returned to my blouse, opening the buttons and pulling it out from my shorts. He pulled the garment back off my shoulders and down my arms. He then turned the same attention to Bobbi until tokat escort bayan she too was in her bra. I felt him working the clasps to my bra and then him moving around us to remove hers. Then, we were bare breast against bare breast. It felt so good to be in her embrace, again, like this, bare skin against bare skin.It didn’t last long, however. I pulled back from her, gave her another parting kiss, then turned to put Jake between us. I pushed them together and they didn’t need more encouragement. They took each other into their arms and brought their mouths together. While they were so occupied, I worked Jake’s shirt up his body and over his head. He pulled Bobbi into him, feeling her naked breasts and nipples against his chest.I wasn’t done, though. Now I was moving quicker, seeing the goal I was wanting, needing. I reached between them, worked Jake’s belt open, then the snap and zipper of his jeans. Then, I had his jeans and underwear at his feet and off. I then did the same to Bobbi, removing her shorts. She took his hardening cock into her hand and stroked it slowly as they continued to kiss. His hand slipping between her legs, stroking her pussy lips. I stripped out of my shorts and panties, then moved them closer to the bed.They stopped and looked at me, lust in their eyes, the same as in mine. I touched their arms, “My choice?” They looked at each other and smiled. They knew me, knew how I was with sex and how much I enjoyed it. There was nothing for them to lose in giving me my choice in how to proceed.I moved to the bed, laying down on it with my head to the foot of the bed. I indicated for Bobbi to straddle my head and both of them understood immediately. One of our favorite positions when it was the three of us and a position I have employed with the team when possible. Without further instruction from me, I soon had my mouth clamped to Bobbi’s clit and upper pussy as Jake’s rigid cock was sliding along my nose in and out of her pussy.Bobbi’s head lowered to my pussy, but her focus shifted repeatedly by the stimulation given to her by both Jake’s cock inside her and my mouth and tongue outside. When they did cum, very close together, I was nearly crushed underneath her as she collapsed from her orgasm. We laughed as I pushed her to the side and moved around to lay alongside them. I went out to the kitchen and returned with another drink for us and we talked, sprawled out on the bed, comfortable with our post-coital bodies. Like old times. With some people it is like starting up where you were whenever you last were with them. That is how it always is with Jake and Bobbi for me.We weren’t done, yet. Not by a long shot. Bobbi and I teamed up against Jake, our singular intent on getting him hard, again; this time to fuck me. The poor man had no chance at all, much to all of our delights.* * * *I had been to Bobbi’s parents place several times, but I was always a passenger. I am terrible at remembering where I have been unless I am driving. This time I was driving and by myself. Bobbi gave me written directions, turn-by-turn, with landmarks for easier identification. Many of the little road out there are not marked well. Landmarks are a great assist.I turned onto the road that was barely maintained as it serves only a few ranches. It is suddenly very familiar as I drive down the gravel/dirt road, plumes of dust rising behind Jakes older truck. I remember, as I always do, that this was the truck he dumped me into and raced to the hospital after finding me buried in the desert. I am still walking and enjoying this earth and I have so many people to thank for that. And the list is getting longer. Now, I can add Sam to that list of people.My thoughts have me distracted and I miss the track leading from this road to Bobbi’s parents. I give a soft curse and slam on the brakes. Almost instantly the truck is engulfed in the dust that had been chasing me. I backup into it further, peering through it for signs of the turn-off.I pull up near the house and assess the surroundings. I was assured that Sofia would be alone today. As I looked around, it seemed that it was very possible. The usual assortment of pickup and cars were absent. I stepped down from the truck and about to go up to the front door when I heard a voice, Sofia’s voice, call from the side.“Annie?”I turned to find Sofia coming around the corner of the house. I walked into a familiar hug. She pushed me to arm’s length.“Good, God. You look so good, girl. We didn’t have time at the wedding to catch-up. I heard you had some … trials. Are you okay?”“For the most part, yes. But … well … Bobbi suggested that I talk to you about that. I’ve talked to Jake and Bobbi … and others I value at the resort … and elsewhere. But, Bobbi believes you have a unique way of looking at things. So, if you don’t mind …” She grabbed my arm and started leading me to the house. “No. I mean after. I’ll help you, then you can listen to me.”“Help me … so, you know what I want from you?”“Your daughter might not have the courage to do it, but she knew what you wanted.”She laughed. “Bobbi, bless her. I understand that you didn’t have a great relationship with your mother. But, Bobbi and I have always been very close. Even after her ****, we could talk, not that it did a lot of good, but we did. But, this … I think this was too much for her.”We both laughed. I took her hands in mind, “So, you want to fuck dogs …” She laughed, again, and pulled me to the back of the house. She whistled the same kind of whistle that Jake had taught me, which I did not expect from another woman. I smiled at her and marveled at what we don’t know about someone, even when we think we know them.They had two dogs, which were apparently very similar in temperament and independence as the three that accepted Jake’s place as home. But, it was clear that the dogs and humans both shared a common bond of the land and support of each other, a bond that contributed to a mutual co-existence.We talked about the process that I recommended. I confirmed that we wouldn’t be interrupted and that our afternoon would be private. With that assurance, I began undressing in the shade of the back of the house. She watched as my shirt was pulled up over my head. I slipped my hands behind my back and unclipped my bra, slipping the straps off my shoulders and down my arms. She stood before me, watching, then inspecting my half naked body from where she stood.“My god, Annie! What a body you have. The jungle and mating with a****ls must have agreed with you.” She chuckled. I smiled. That made her nervous. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you, if I referred to something that I shouldn’t have.”I stepped up to her. “Not you, Sofia. Me. It is what I would like to discuss later. I will clarify those feelings then.”She smiled and relaxed. She was still inspecting my body, though. Her hand rose to my left breast and her index finger tentatively touched the tattoos. “Bobbi mentioned these, but your Maid of Honor dress covered them. Is it true what she said? The dogs, other species?” I nodded. She traced over the panther. “Beautiful. What of this?”“The tattoo doesn’t quite do the actual a****l justice. And, yes, him, too.”Her eyes shot from my breast to my eyes. “You … fucked a panther? A wild panther?” I nodded. “Okay … wow … I need to do this; I am so turned on. But, later, you’ll tell me all about it?” I nodded.The rest of my clothes and all of hers were thrown from our bodies in the next instant. She was about to ask how this worked, when I motioned for her to lay on the grass. She looked at me quizzically, but I put a finger to her lips. I told her to spread her legs and called the dog she had selected. He sniffed around her nervously. I put my hand to her mound, slipping finger over her pussy lips, then inside. I pulled it out with the wetness of her anticipation and held it to the dog’s snout. I then patted her pussy and the dog ventured between her legs, in pursuit of the scent, the same scent that I had put to it with my finger. As the dog began to lick her, I quietly talked her through the stages of being with a dog; the way I knew to assure repeated satisfaction for both dog and woman.I considered, for a moment, the idea of sharing with her the joys of canine mating since she had two dogs. But, I elected to focus my efforts instead on guiding her through her first mating with the dog. Perhaps there will be another time for sharing these pleasures with her.After watching her unabashedly orgasm on the back lawn under her dog’s relentless tongue, I guided her into the manner of repaying the effort to the dog by licking and sucking his cock. The very cock she hoped to be mated on soon enough.She looked at me as she gazed down from her kneeling position at the dog, on his side before her. “I should suck his penis now?”“Do you give your husband pleasure with your mouth?” She nodded, bashfully. “Then, yes.” I explained the reasoning for my approach. She smiled and bent down to the dog. She wasn’t questioning, after all. She was merely affirming my intention, not wanting to do more than my intention because her state of lust. I chuckled within myself, if she only knew that it might be difficult to ‘do more than my intention’ in a state of lust.She looked up to me as I knelt beside her as I stroked the dog’s head and neck. Her face was a full smile and she went immediately escort tokat back to licking and sucking the cock. When I saw enough cock out of the sheath, I put a hand on her shoulder. She seemed to reluctantly comply by raising her head from the dog’s belly. I kissed her on the lips, tasting the pre-cum on her lips and chin.“How is it?” She gazed into my eyes, her tongue playing over her lips after ours parted from each other’s. “Wonderful. This is so much more than I imagined. Tomas is going to be so excited.” I smiled at her. “Now, I want to be mounted.” I smiled wider.She moved onto her hands and knees. Again, I talked her through the steps of the process and what to watch for, what to anticipate. She cried out loudly at the initial penetration, but she pressed back further onto the dog’s cock in response to it. When the knot was ready to enter her, she moaned and groaned and complained, but she continued to move in assistance to the dog. It was like she was determined much beyond curiosity to achieve this mating. It was like this was a fulfillment of something long inside her and now possessing her. When the knot stretched her pussy enough to be pushed inside her, she cried out again, this time louder. Her eyes, though, were glazed over in lust as her back arched up into the dog, taking even more feeling of her mating and the cock and knot inside her. She cried out yet again as the dog’s cock and knot swelled up to maximum and jerked inside her pussy, signally the a****l’s impending climax. It was a signal that sent her into her own climax, orgasming underneath the a****l with shaking arms and legs. When the dog shot its first spurt of dog seed into her pussy, she groaned and announced it, not so much for my ears but for hers, accepting and reveling and owning that she was being mated by her dog.* * * *I came out of the back door of the house holding two large glasses with ice and water. The door slammed shut behind, startling the dog who had curled in the shade of a nearby tree after cleaning its cock and knot from the combined juices of his seed and his new female’s juices.Sofia raised her gaze to me as I approached. She was sitting on one of the patio chairs where I had assisted her after she and the dog had extracted the knot in mutual effort. She was still naked, as was I, slouched in the chair, her legs parted and gazing down between her legs. Although she really couldn’t see her gaping pussy, she gazed down at the junction of her thighs, a satisfied sigh periodically escaping her lips.She noticed me watching her and looked up embarrassed. “I can’t believe I finally did it. You can’t imagine how long I have had that in my mind. I finally did it.” She took the glass of ice water from me, took a big drink, and patted my hand resting on the arm rest of the chair. “Thank you, dear. I don’t think I would have gotten there without you.” I smiled at her and nodded my understanding. After all, it was her daughter who provided the encouragement for me to get into b********y. And, I also understood how awkward it could be for a daughter to assist her mother into something like this. We all need that support and reassurance.She took several more drinks from the glass and nearly had it drained. She went into the house and returned with a plastic pitcher of more water with ice in it. She sat down and turned her chair to more directly face me.“Okay. Wow, that was great. Thank you, again. Now! Now, you had something you hoped I could help you with. Is it okay if we stay naked … this just feels so amazing.” I was beginning to wonder if she would be able to focus on anything besides the feelings from her mating with the dog. But, the attention she then put onto my face eliminated any concerns and I knew I could have this talk with her.I understood that she only had a brief understanding of my trip to Brazil and the villages, much less anything that happened after. I started with the reason for going to the villages, our pursuit of specific a****ls for our bestial guests without the timing issue of having to train them ourselves. I went into as much detail as I could about my stay, the challenges, the training for the horse, the belly-riding, and finally the black panther discovered sick and in need of attention. Along the way in the story as I retold it, the element of the villager’s beliefs, practice of a****l mating over generations, the unknown woman leading them into that practice, and the villagers murmuring of the name in my presence. I described all of it.She could see that my telling of the story shifted in my attitude as I came to the part of the airplane, the rockets, my falling from the airplane and the explosion above me. I retold the story Sam told me of his finding me, treating me, and my ‘interesting’ recovery. I told of our journey out of the jungle, the conflicts along the way and the assistance of the a****ls.She stopped me. “Wait. The a****ls? What a****ls?”I neglected to communicate that Preta and Wolf had somehow found me in the jungle, I was so intent on communicating my own experience and what was to be discovered. I then went through the hospital, but slowed my telling as I came to the events that led people to question me, to point out small changes they perceived. I even added some thought of my own, the result of such comments and looks from others.I ended with the video conference with Sam, my discussions with Sylvia, my team, and now with Bobbi and Jake. She had my hand in hers. “So … everyone who you have consulted seem to have encouraged you to seek more information, more insight into what this ‘cross-species’ DNA is about?”“Yes, everyone who I trust the most.”“And, yet, you still wonder if you should? You are not convinced that you either need to know the truth or dare to know? And you now seek my advice, my thoughts? I am a woman you know less well than all the others.”“Yes … but for Bobbi.”She looked at me while deep in thought. “My daughter. Yes … we could always talk and I suppose my thoughts and suggestions might have sounded wise to her. My thoughts were often along a different angle from many. That is what you seek now? Not merely reassuring encouragements, but something that may challenge your perspective?”“Yes. Curiosity in and of itself is only that. The truth, though, may hold pain, perhaps self-loathing, if not taken for a deeper meaning and purpose. Does that make sense?”“It does, Annie. I think, however, that you are already there in your thinking … or nearly so. Okay … I will play with you.” She smiled warmly, “Hopefully, you will find what you desire from it.”She asked penetrating questions about mere comments I had provided earlier in my story. She asked about how I felt about Celina, about hearing the name called from the people. She asked about my reaction to the interaction with the sick panther, his comfort with me and not to the others. She asked about our mating. She asked about the two a****ls fleeing for no apparent reason, but the timing of which must have coincided with the destruction of the plane. She asked about the a****ls finding me in the vast jungle and then accepting each other with me, conflicting a****ls in the wild at peace in my presence. She asked questions about my healing from wounds, about my hair, my body, and how my body now responds in action and use.She finished her questions and our back and forth. She went inside the house and returned with a bottle of liquor and two glasses. She poured some into each and smiled. “We should be dressed before my husband returns …”“Annie, I am no expert in genetics or any such, but there is little difference between human and chimp. I think 6%. I think one of your concerns is if you are turning into something. I don’t think so. That alone is something to find out, but I don’t think so. The human in you will greatly outweigh the other species that are mixed. Your friend, Sam … his Agency undoubtedly has the experts, or access to them.”Just then Tomas arrived. Sofia led him into the house, promising only a few more minutes. “Evolution is not random, Annie.” She put up her hand to stop my protest. “I know; this is not an evolutionary change. But … it might be similar. Evolutionary changes fill a necessary need. Although this is different, it may too be filling a necessary need. Don’t misunderstand this as a religious predestined thing. But, maybe it is mystical. I don’t know that science will give you that answer. Consider, however, that you survived not one, but two death experiences; your relationship and communion with a****ls, even here; the experience in the villages, not only the a****ls, but the people, as well; the story and relationship to Celina; the a****ls, Preta and Wolf, and that unusual connection. Annie, there is something different here. I’m not one to believe in mysticism normally, but this …” She held up her hands, “How else can you see it?”We were quiet for a moment. There was one more thing I could hope to have from her. She searched my eyes, came to me and put her hands on the sides of my face, staring into me. “I’m nervous to say this boldly, but I think it is what you want from me.” I nodded. “Take this onto yourself, dear. Don’t shy away from it. Embrace it and own it. Don’t look at this as scary or frightening or something to hide from. Take it as a gift. A gift to what purpose? You must find that out, but you will only do that if you take it unto yourself boldly and fully. You seem to control wild things, Annie. Control this, own it, mold it into what you can use.”I wanted bold … she gave me bold.* * * CHAPTER 2: TESTED will follow * * * Thanks for reading

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