Old Man Wiggins waded through the murky water, proceeding cautiously to the deeper end. He poked the surface with the butt of his rifle, and drew closer.
“Anything?” Lizzie struggled to hold back the tears.
Wiggins looked up, and slowly shook his head.
“How convenient. Sunday mass is upon us, and Terrance is nowhere to be found,” she whispered. “Would you mind searching farther downstream?” she asked.
The old man nodded.
“Bless you, Wiggins,” said Lizzie. “And when you find him, let me have a few words before you shoot him.”
As he turned, a giant reptile leapt out of the water, snapping its massive jaws. The old coot fell backwards, firing into the trees. “Crocodile!” Wiggins cried, tossing the gun at it, and darting into the woods. The lizard scooped up the rifle, and swallowed it whole as the geezer fled.
“A crocodile?” said Lizzie. “Crocodiles aren’t indigenous to England. Unless…” The wind whipped her face. “…unless someone was to keep it as a pet.” She made the sign of the cross as the creature descended into the muddy depths.
“What sick mind would keep a crocodile as a pet?” Her words hung in the air.
Terrance jumped as gunfire erupted in the distance. “Good gracious, what was that?” A splash of water trickled down his naked body, the creek coming to his waist. Poking through the foliage above, shafts of light bounced off his chiseled frame. He doused himself in the icy waters, whipping his dark locks back.
A gentle breeze swept through the woods, turning his skin to gooseflesh. As a twig snapped nearby, the rogue turned, trying to pinpoint the source.
“Who’s there?” He stepped out of the water, and peeled his dank clothes from a branch. Terrance did not bother putting them on, holding them at his waist as he searched the trees around him.
“It would be wise to invest some caution in these waters,” came a woman’s voice. “Many foul things bathe themselves here. It is not uncommon to catch smallpox or the bloody flux in such streams.”
Terrance stalked the trees around him, unable to locate her.
“Here,” a voice came from behind.
A tall woman with long, dark hair and a matching robe leaned against a tree, her eyes glued to a book.
“How long have you been standing there?” he asked.
“Long enough to learn that the best parts of you do not recoil in frigid waters.” The stranger adjusted her glasses.
Terrance spotted a bottle at her feet. “What a quaint little spread. Did you come alone?”
“I am never alone.” She flashed her emerald eyes.
He scanned over the woods, coming up empty once more.
“Books keep the loneliness at bay, and stir the passion inside.” The corners of her mouth turned slightly inwards.
Terrance lit up. “In that case, may I pour you a glass of wine, my lady?” He tossed his clothes aside.
“You will not touch my wine.” She continued reading her book.
“Not even a little?” He reached for the bottle.
“No.” She pushed him away with her bare foot.
“What are you, some kind of bookish snob?” Terrance grabbed his clothes and stormed off.
“Not that way.” She considered his plump rear.
“I’ll go where I please,” he grumbled.
Suddenly a crocodile jumped out of the bushes, snapping wildly. It devoured the spoiled heir’s clothes as Terrance danced around, and cowered by the lady’s side.
“Be still,” she whispered in his ear as he pressed up against her. “She just wants to express her dominance.” She licked his ear. Her robe loosened around her body, teasing Terrance with a glimpse of her naked body. “I’ve brought them here to study their mating patterns; perhaps today, they will be studying us.” She took the lobe of his ear in her mouth.
“What are you, a zookeeper?” Terrance asked. “Crocodile hunter?”
“Reptiles have always been dear to me,” she replied.
Terrance recoiled as a second croc slipped out of the creek, and considered them. “What do you suppose he wants?”
“Perhaps he’s afraid you’ll poke him in the eye with that thing of yours.” She put the book aside, and pulled Terrance closer.
The lizard hissed, and crawled into the bushes.
Terrance grabbed the bottle, and guzzled it down.
“Save a touch for me.” She snatched the bottle. The stranger opened her robe, and poured the vintage over her ripe breasts. She filled her mouth, and kissed him deeply, letting him drink the sweet blush from her lips. Terrance backed her against the tree, covering her mouth and neck with his.
“If you want the rest of my vintage, you’re going to have to lick it from my body,” the stranger murmured.
“As you wish,” his icy stare pierced her as he took her into his mouth.
“Ravish me,” she uttered, picking up her book, and continuing to read.
Terrance stirred from his sleep. “What is this?” He squirmed, his wrists bound to a beam overhead. His eyes strained to make sense of the dim walls around him, settling on a lady in a dark robe against the doorframe.
“I hope you enjoyed the vintage.” She gazed at her book.
“Just splendid. But I must say, I’m partial to the dessert afterwards.” He tugged at his restraints. “Since your pet crocodile ate my clothes, perhaps you could spare me a robe?”
“Oh, I like you the way you are.” She turned the page. Behind, a crocodile scurried past.
“Very well. I’m surprised with all this rope you didn’t tie down Old Willy as well.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll get to him soon enough.” Her eyes did not leave the page.
“What’s to worry? Dangerous crocodiles on the prowl…a twisted bookworm tying me up for her own sadistic sex play…Say, you know what would be dandy? More of that bubbly blush.” Terrance cheered. “And by the way, I’ll have you know this isn’t my first time being tied up.”
“I’m afraid you’ve run me dry.” The stranger shook her head. “I’ll have to brew some more.”
“Then what are you waiting for, you wretch? Get on with it already! I’ll just hang around while you ferment. And please close the door after yourself--I wouldn’t want to catch a cold.”
“There is no door, and I doubt you want anymore of my potions,” said the lady.
“Potions? Don’t you mean vintage?” said Terrance. “And why do you have your nose stuck in that book all day?”
“It’s a book about love…and sex,” she replied.
“Sex? Then why are you hoarding it all to yourself, you haughty sadist? Do share. Jump aboard and we’ll grind out a few passages together.”
The woman finally looked up. “It’s a spell book, you moron. I used one of the recipes to immobilize you.”
“Oh darling, I don’t hold it against you, and neither does Willy. In fact, you’ve given him the erection of a lifetime. Oh, and you really should try this bondage thing. I’m growing quite enchanted,” Terrance beamed.
Another crocodile scattered by.
“I’ll wait my turn,” she glanced at him. “So tell me, dear, do you love me?”
“Love? Don’t tell me that you tried a love spell on me,” Terrance chuckled. “That will never work!” he howled.
“Damn it. The spell was perfect. Why didn’t it work this time?” The witch threw down the book.
“Besides, why on earth would you want to fall in love with me?” Terrance asked.
“Don’t be ludicrous; I care nothing for you,” she sneered. “I have bigger fish to snare. And once I am done with you, I’m going to feed you to my flock.”
“You evil bitch! I love your dark wit. Come here and let me spank those devilish curses from you.”
Without warning, she cracked her whip, striking him across the buttocks. Terrance did not even flinch.
“Ooh… foreplay. Won’t you tell me your name you rotten witch, or are you just going to tease me all night long?”
“Belinda.” She stepped forward. “But people around these parts call me Bel.”
“Black-hearted Bel? I knew it was you! You’re the deviant who poisoned Wilber Snooky’s candied apples last October.”
She whipped him again.
“That’s it! I’m loving you more and more with every strike, my primrose prostitute,” Terrance exclaimed.
Belinda lashed him a third time.
“Sorry mistress, you’re not going to get a rise out of me unless you use one of your crocodiles,” he chuckled. “I’ve already been shot in the bum--I cannot feel a thing!”
Bel struck him as hard as she could, and then threw down the whip in disgust.
“You nasty little girl. Your turn,” he grinned.
Terrance flexed his arms, snapping the ropes, one by one. He grabbed the witch, stripped off her robe, and tied her up. “Now it’s my turn to dawn the nifty, little robe.” The cloak barely covered his knees.
As he tied the robe shut, he brushed aside a dirty cloth, revealing a wine rack underneath. “I knew you were holding out on me.”
“Those aren’t wine bottles, they’re potions,” she warned.
“I think I’ve heard enough out of you.” He cracked the whip. Terrance opened the bottle, and took a swig. “Isn’t this a blast?” He thrashed her again.
“You will never get out of here alive.” The witch scowled. “The entire farm is swarming with crocodiles.”
“Who said anything about leaving? We’ve got a swell thing going on here. I think I’ll stick around for a while. So who’s your daddy?” He cracked the whip again. “Come on now, bookworm. If you don’t play along, I’ll have to stir up a little potion of my own,” Terrance grinned.
Terrance stumbled down the road, holding several bottles dear. “Now that’s what I call a jolly good time!”
He staggered over the hill, and thumped his head against the front door of the mansion. The drunkard shook the handle, but it did not budge. “Come on now, open up.” He knocked, but did not hear a peep.
Around back he doddered, spotting the nun at her desk. “Good news, Lizzie. I survived!” He gulped down more vintage.
Elizabeth froze. She put down her quill, and slowly turned. “I missed Sunday service looking for your stupid hide.” Lizzie cracked open the window. She took a whiff and cringed. “I see you’ve been drinking again.”
“Is that all you smell?” Terrance sneered.
“You can sleep in the barn with all the other animals.” She closed the window, and pulled the curtains shut.
“Oh come on, Lizzie.” Terrance tapped the glass, but she did not reply. “Fine. Good night, then.” He hobbled to the barn.
Chickens scattered as he plowed through. “Don’t worry, my little chickies, you’re safe until I wake up.” The rogue plopped down on a pile of hay, and yawned.
“Victorious once again.” He toasted the moonlight, and gulped down the strange vintage until his head fell back in the hay. As he made himself comfortable, something rustled below.
Terrance brushed the hay aside, and shook his head. “Bloody hell, not you again!”