Free Read: The Last Men On Earth

I’m super close to being done typing up all the stories from my 2015 Erotica Under Glass project, “She’s on the Bottom” — I only need to finish typing up one story, and fill in some blanks on another — and I’m preparing to announce the theme for my 2016 Erotica Under Glass project. Part of the ‘Under Glass’ deal, though, is that I give away some of the content for frree and I hadn’t chosen a “She’s on the Bottom” story for that…until now.

I sent an email out to my newsletter asking the subscribers which one of my stories they’d like to read for free (unfortunately, I did something wrong and only part of the mailing list got the email–sorry!). There was a tie, but I cast the deciding ballot and I’m happy to tell you I will be making ‘The Last Men on Earth‘ available as a free read.

The Last Men on Earth is quite long–nearly 10,000 words–so I don’t want to just put it in a blog post, that would be a nightmare to read. So I’ll be getting it edited this week and then formatted as an e-book right after. It should be available for download within three weeks. In the meantime, here’s a couple thousand (unedited) words to whet your appetite 🙂

And thank you for your continued support of Erotica Under Glass. I can’t wait to tell you what the next theme is… I mean I can wait, and I will wait (until next week) but I’m really looking forward to it! 🙂

Word Count: 9,650
Kink Level: D/s featuring M/f and M/m action and spanking but no actual intercourse.
Under Glass Theme: She’s on the bottom

ETA: Holy crap, I can see typos and required edits already. For example the dog’s names are Cain and Abel. I mean, they are both quite ‘able’ but that’s not their name… >_<

The Last Men on Earth

by Cori Vidae

Her arms and thighs were heavy from exertion and the wind tore at her clothes and poked numbing fingers through their many layers. It made her eyes water and she blinked furiously to keep tears from forming and freezing to her face. Even so, her eyelashes stuck together each time they met, pulling away reluctantly like over-stretched chewing gum. A small copse of evergreens offered some shelter to the West but reaching them would take her from the most direct route to Jacksons’ ranch and already wading through the knee-high snow was taking its toll on her. She wouldn’t have made it this far as it was without her dogs, Cain and Able.

She peered at them over the sled through the breath-clouded air. They were getting tired too–of course they were–the snow was up to their shoulders in some spots. Though she could hear their laboured panting clearing over the swoosh, swoosh sound of the sled cutting through the snow, they never slowed, never stopped pulling. Pit Bulls were known for their tenaciousness but she didn’t think that was what drove them. Like her, she suspected they were motivated by the precious cargo bundled up and sleeping on the sled between them.

“Good boys,” she called, putting her shoulder into pushing the sled and continuing her weary trudge behind it. “Good boy. We’re almost there.”

Good lord, had Jacksons’ always been so far away? It had seemed a whole lot closer before.

“Not even if you were the last men on Earth!”

Those had been her parting words to Jake. The irony in them was difficult to ignore, but hopefully, if he was there, he wouldn’t hold them against her now all these years later. They’d just been kids then. The whole world had been as innocent as kids then–before the plague.

“Good boys,” she called again to encourage Cain and Able as the sled’s pace slowed. “Good dogs.”

“Olivia?” The voice, a man’s voice, penetrated the storm and hit her like a punch to the belly. Not only because it was unexpected and the first time she’d heard her name in over a year, but also because it was a familiar voice. She knew that voice even after all these years. Just as he apparently still knew hers.

“Liam?” she yelled into the blizzard and the wind stole her words, tossing them here and there like the snowflakes it was pummeling her with. “Liam?”

She heard the unmistakable jingle of harnesses to the West and called to the dogs to stop. They obeyed immediately. Cain dropped down into the snow deep enough she nearly lost sight of him completely and Able stood, sides heaving and tongue dropping. “Liam?” she called once again, this time facing West.

A sled, a real sled driven by a team of horses emerged from the storm. The blowing snow and a small rise in the ground combined to make it look like something from a movie, or a dream. But the barking of the dogs, the plumes of snow behind the horse-drawn sleigh and the man waving at her from its seat were real enough. Her knees went weak with relief and only by clinging to her sled did she stay upright. “Enough,” she snapped at her dogs and they, weary as they were, stopped barking immediately.

“Olivia!” Liam said, pulling his sled to a stop just in front of her. “What’s wrong?”

“We were being hunted.”

“Who is we?”

The fact he didn’t even have to ask who was hunting them or why was telling. It was the same everywhere, it seemed. She gestured to the small bundles on her sled. Huddled together and fast asleep their only movements were the rising and falling of their chests.

Liam jumped down from the sleigh. “Load ’em up in my sled. It’s faster.”

She nodded and trudged through the snow to the other side of the sled. Maelie barely stirred as she picked her up. “I didn’t know where else to go. I tried to go home but–”

Liam was there beside her, scooping up Carter as through he weight nothing, his dark brown eyes–the only part of his face not covered by a balaclava–sympathetic. “It’s okay. He’ll know what to do.”

Olivia nodded and followed Liam back to the sled, stepping where he’d stepped to avoid having to break the trail through the snow. He’ll know what to do… Liam was probably right but at this point she’d settle for him just not slamming the door in her face.

They settled the kids into the back and went back for Avery.

“You just get back?” Liam asked.

A snappy reply leapt to her lips but she swallowed it back. Liam never had been very good with tense situations, it seemed even the end of the world hadn’t been enough to change that.

“Just got back. I had no idea about the farm–” She’d known her folks were infected. They’d told her as much before the phones stopped working, warned her to stay away. She had grieved them a long time ago and had thought she’d steeled herself for whatever she’d find when she returned to her childhood home to hide out for the winter. She was wrong.

“I’m really sorry about that. Jake and I, we do what we can, but last fall… well, we put out the flames as soon as we saw ’em. I’m sorry Liv.”

The intensity of emotion at his words surprised her and she blinked back tears she couldn’t blame on the wind, nodding because she didn’t trust herself to speak.

Liam gathered Avery in his arms while she grabbed the small packs that contained all their meager possessions. Liam reached the sleigh before her and looked down into Avery’s face as he laid her down with the others. “A girl?” he sounded incredulous.

“Two of them,” she said, gesturing to Maelie.

“Wow.” He shook his head and turned back toward her sled. “Let’s load that up on the back here–”

“No,” she said. “No, can you just take the kids? I’ll follow with the dogs.”

Two years she hadn’t let the kids out of her sight for even a heartbeat but here she was asking Liam to take them and have her follow. Not just because she trusted him–though she did–but because she was a coward.

“I can bring you all–” Liam gestured to the sleigh, it was built like a wagon but on skids instead of wheels, and was nearly as long as a half-ton. Her entire homemade dog sled could fit in it three times over. Still she shook her head.

“Please?”

“Nope,” Liam set his shoulders and walked through the snow to Cain and Able, shouting back at her in order to be heard over the storm. “No way I’m going to be the one to tell Jacob you’re back. Nope. Tell ’em not to bite me.”

“Tell Jacob not to bite you?” Olivia tucked their bags in beside Avery.

“Your dogs. Tell your dogs not to bite.”

She followed in Liam’s footsteps over to the dogs. Fine. If they were going to do things this way at least they were going to do them quickly. Like a Band-Aid, off in one go. She stepped around Liam and started unhooking the dogs from her improvised harness. “I’ve got the dogs,” she said.

“Want me to load this up?” Liam gestured at the sled and she shook her head.

“Leave it. I’ll get it–or take it. That’s good too.” As soon as she’d unhooked the dogs, Liam lifted the sled, which must have weighed over a hundred pounds. Before she finished speaking though he’d put it back on the ground.

“Right,” he said, the air in front of him fogged from his heavy breaths. “We’ll come back for it.”

On the plus side it would make it harder for Jacob to kick her out if she didn’t have her sled with her.

“C’mon boys,” Olivia slapped her frozen thighs and the dogs followed her back to the sleigh and climbed in beside the kids while Liam climbed into the driver’s seat. Liam hadn’t changed in all the years since she’d last seen him, she prayed the same could be said for Jake. The Jake she knew would help the kids, even if he still hated her, he would help them.

***

The jingle-jangle of the sleigh’s harness alerted Jake to Liam’s return. About time too. He’d been starting to worry. Liam knew how to take care of himself well enough but anything could happen when he went on a supply run to the city, and there was also the matter of the storm. Setting the milking bucket aside he patted Bessie’s butt to send her on her way, and stroked across the barn toward the big sliding doors.

He heaved them open and the air in front of him fogged as the warm barn air, moist with the breath of their livestock, met the blizzard’s fury. “Hurry up,” he hollered over the wind’s wailing. “Before you let all the heat out.”

“Yah!” Liam called, and Jake heard the slap of the reins across the horses backs followed by the creak and clatter of the sleigh moving into the barn.

First the horses emerged from the fog, then Liam’s form came into view. “I was starting to–” the words froze on his tongue. There was someone else in the sleigh with Liam. A slender someone. The sleigh came to a stop and the stranger stood. Even through their parka and ski pants he could tell it was a woman.

A woman!

He looked at Liam whose gaze beneath his balaclava was heavy and full of import. A woman. Here. Then she turned and the way she moved triggered something in his memory. Something long buried.

“I didn’t know where else to go,” she said, unraveling the scarf from her face.

Jacob felt dizzy as one of the snowflakes currently being thrown about outside and clutched the barn door so hard his knuckles turned white. Olivia? Alive? Here? Now? This had to be some kind of great cosmic joke. He laughed, a sharp bark that escaped his lips before he could stop it.

​Olivia’s face paled, then flushed, and her blue eyes went wide and wet. “I–we had no where else to go. I didn’t even know if you’d–”

“We?” He was pretty sure he knew all the words she was using but their meaning wasn’t penetrating the whirling in his mind.

“Kids,” Liam said, pulling the balaclava off his head and jumping down from the sleigh. “Three kids, Jake. Two girls. They need help.”

They need help. Those were words he could understand. Even more, they were something he could cling to like a life-preserver while he floundered through the flood of emotions seeing Olivia had created.

He skirted the horses and peered into the bed of the sleigh. Three children and two dogs were back there. The dogs, Pit Bulls by the looks of them, appeared exhausted. Their lips were stretched into facsimiles of smiles, tongues lolling out and chests heaving with their great panting breaths. They eyed him suspiciously as he drew nearer but didn’t move. The children were all small, he’d guess between two and five. Their jackets and blankets were pulled tight around them, disguising any of their features.

“Okay, let’s get them into the house.”

The low sides of the sleigh let him reach over but when he went to pick up one of the kid’s the low rumbling growls emanating from the dogs made him pause. “Liv?”

“Cain, Able. It’s okay boys,” she said. Just like that they lay back down in the bed, tongues lolling and pseudo-smiles in place.

Jacob leaned over the side of the sleigh and scooped up the two smallest children, one in each arm. Resting them against his shoulders he trotted across the yard to the house. His boots beat out her name as he ran, O-liv-i-a. He could hear Olivia and the dogs behind him. Liam must be tending to the horses in the barn. Great. Because what he needed more than anything right now was to be left alone with the one that got away.

He considered turning around and telling her the dogs belonged in the barn, but then he’d be face-to-face with her again and he wasn’t quite ready for that. Besides, he was just being petty because he wanted an excuse to lash out, to be angry. Anger was a far less complicated emotion to deal with than the ones cycling through him right now.

He and Liam had been camping out in the living room to take advantage of the heat provided by the fireplace and the wood-burning stove in the attached kitchen, but he couldn’t share that space with Olivia and her kids. Especially not with her. So he laid the children down on the bed in the room just off the living room–the spare room–the room that had been his the last time he’d seen Olivia. He wanted to look at her, to see if it sparked a reaction in her, but he didn’t. What if it didn’t? Even worse, what if it did?

“I’m going to get firewood to warm this room up. It’s been closed quite a while. You can grab some blankets from the hall closet.”

***

Olivia left, obeying Jake without question. She was in the kitchen when she realised what she’d done and a wry smile twisted her lips. If she’d done more of that ten years ago things might be a whole lot different now. Things are what they are, she reprimanded herself. Wishful thinking never got anyone anywhere.

If it hadn’t been for the kids her pride would have sent her back out into the storm when Jake laughed back at the barn. Then she’d watched him pick up Mailie and Avery and race across the yard with him and it was like a blanket settled over her. A blanket of snow that doused her red hot emotions. Jake was in control. He’d know what to do. Everything would be all right.

It was dark in the hallway but she didn’t need light to see where she was going. The well-worn floor beneath her feet, the chair rail beneath her fingertips, the gouge in the floor from where she’d once dropped a hatchet, they were all familiar. Now that she was here, in this familiar place that seemed not to have changed as dramatically as the outside world, she felt insulated from her emotions, like everything was wrapped in cotton, or she was outside herself, watching but not engaging. Part of her was thinking about the kids, about Jake and Liam, about how surreal it was to be here, exactly here, again, but it was dispassionate, detached. She opened up the hall closet and pulled out a couple comforters, moving more by feel than by sight and headed back to Jake’s old bedroom. ​

Jake’s plaid shirt strained against his shoulders as he moved, hunched down in front of the fireplace in the living room, feeding logs into it. The couch was shoved off to the side and a mattress consumed all the free space on the floor in front of the fireplace. It made sense–the better to stay warm. It was also no wonder that all the other doors in the hallway were closed tight.

Looking away from his back, Olivia crept into the room where her kids were sleeping. Moonlight poured through the two big windows, casting shadows and lighting her way toward the immense bed which dominated the room.

It was wooden and, to her educated eye, obviously designed for play. The headboard had multiple tie-points built into it, the corner posts reached almost all the way to the ceiling and what looked like a giant spider web was stretched between the two at the foot. Most of the adaptations to the bed wouldn’t even be noticeable to a child, but that web? That would look like a playground to her kids…and it was a playground, just not one appropriate for them.

Olivia pulled the kid’s boots off but decided to leave them in their snow clothes. Firstly because she didn’t want to wake them but also because the air was still chilly enough she could see her breath when she breathed out. She tucked a comforter around each kid, then unhooked the web, folded it up and placed it carefully in the top drawer of the empty dresser at the foot of the bed.

She should go talk to Jacob, explain, catch up, thank him… but then Avery cried out in her sleep. Olivia lay down beside her, running her fingers through the child’s jet black hair. “Shh, baby. It’s okay. Shh…”

***

The dogs barked to alert Jacob when Liam came in from the barn, but when he called them by name as he’d heard Olivia do they settled back down. Presumably because they knew they were in his home, he thought, but possibly because they were just too exhausted to do otherwise. Liam knew better than to try and engage him in conversation about Olivia, instead he pulled off his boots, stoked the fire and climbed into bed. “Some night,” he said.

“Some night,” Jacob agreed, and went back to staring into the flames. When he’d gone to check on Olivia she was curled up on the bed with her kids, fast asleep. He’d covered her up with a blanket and then taken his place here, sitting on the corner of the mattress by the fireplace. What a freaking night.

“You want to play?” Liam asked, running the tips of his fingers down the back of Jake’s arm. Jake considered the offer and then shook his head. He was exhausted, emotionally and physically exhausted. He wasn’t thinking clearly enough to trust any of his decisions and given their history Olivia finding him actively with Liam might present more drama and complications than he was up to dealing with tonight.

Instead he stretched out on the mattress facing the fire with his back to Liam, felt the other man curl his body around him. His last thought before oblivion took him was to wonder if it was ironic that Olivia was back in his bed again and he was out here. Probably, he thought. Probably.

Consciousness returned slowly and in stages. First he smelled bacon and thought, “Oh, that’s unlike Liam,” then he realised the footsteps in the kitchen were too light to match his partner’s plodding tread. Panic kicked in then because who the fuck was in his kitchen? That’s when the events of the past twenty-four hours slammed into him.

Olivia.

Olivia was alive. And here.

Olivia was alive and she was here!

With three children.

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