George’s description of Beltane as basically an orgy with religious overtones was—typical of George—understated. Comparing Beltane with Easter, Christianity’s most sacred holiday, it’s hard to see how the new religion ever replaced the old. I mean, which would you rather do: get up at sunrise to sing Christ the Lord is Risen Today and watch your kids hunt colored eggs, or cast all inhibitions aside with some of the priestesses’ special brew, dance with abandon, pick a partner other than your spouse, and slip off into the woods for some church-sanctioned adultery? And then come back to the fire and do it all over again.
The only children present were Nimue’s two daughters, and they left before the festivities got going good. George’s speculation that Nimue had brought her daughter eight years earlier to discourage lustful behavior was totally in error: she was in attendance because she had already been marked by the goddess as the next Lady of the Lake. Niniane at ten was poised and serious, as befitted her lofty station in life. She curiously looked a lot like Adeline although they shared no genes—undoubtedly because her father Merlin so closely resembled Adeline’s father.
Nyla, a six-year-old spitting image of her older sister, wanted nothing to do with the strangers that had invaded her little world from who knows where. Or perhaps the concept of “sister” the same age as “mother” was too confusing. Only when Niniane gently led her over would she consent to meet her half-sister, and even then kept a safe distance. Well, there would be other visits, and her shyness was probably just a phase. Bribery couldn’t hurt either. A doll, picture books, plastic hair clips with flowers and ladybugs on them—something would be sure to delight her and begin to win her over.
Beltane Punch was decidedly different. On Imbolc, its chief characteristic had been to induce visions. Or at least that’s what I speculated about the hallucinogenic qualities. Beltane’s version had some of that but, more than anything else, it enflamed the passions while destroying the inhibitions. Couples moved off into the forest to satisfy the gods and themselves, but they didn’t necessarily go very far, and stumbling over a two-backed beast in the undergrowth—or being stumbled over—didn’t deter anyone’s quest for carnal self-actualization.
My own Beltane experience didn’t quite parallel that of the villagers. There were more than twice as many here as had attended Imbolc. The throb of the drums, heard for the first time in its sensual intensity, was undeniable. As dancers began to pair up, the dance became both more frenzied and more sensual. Couples disappeared, only to stagger back into the circle of the firelight five or fifteen minutes later, leaves in their hair and clothing awry, to begin the cycle again. Nimue contributed to the unreal sense of barbarity by voicing an atonal chant featuring long, held notes in loud, clear tones that rose and fell with the drums. One of the men began dancing with Adeline, and soon they disappeared. Hmm.
And then Sabrina sashayed her way over to where I was sort of swaying along in my urban white boy version of dancing, caught up in my fascination of observing people behaving in a manner I’d never before imagined. “OK, Rick Whittaker. Are you planning on fucking me tonight, or were you thinking about waiting until next year? Because the competition is looking better by the minute, and I’m about thirty seconds from heading off into the forest with one of them.”
“Oh, I dunno. Tonight sounds pretty good to me.”
Despite our growing urgency I took time to grab my pack, which had a blanket. Good thing, because I ended up on my back with Sabrina devouring my lips and nipping at my neck. Holding me down with one hand, she peeled off her top in one smooth motion with the other. Then she unhooked her bra with that most deliciously feminine of movements, flinging it to the side. Her body shone like ivory in the moonlight as she rubbed her fingers over her breasts, pinching her own nipples, head thrown back to the heavens.
“Don’t go anywhere,” she growled. Then she slid down my legs, pulled off my shoes without unlacing them, tugged my jeans and briefs off. She had a little trouble getting them over my erection, which felt about as long as my forearm and hard enough to drive nails with.
“I brought condoms,” I managed to choke out.
“You can’t use condoms on Beltane. The old gods would smite you impotent for the rest of your life at such a sacrilege.”
Sabrina hiked up her long skirt and settled herself down on top of me, sliding along my hardness. She was so wet, and her movements so slow, that there was barely any friction. She positioned herself for womankind’s ultimate down stroke, and then hovered there, motionless. Head thrown back again, eyes closed, chords showing on the sides of her neck, sucking in deep breaths and holding them before releasing each one with a loud sigh. Running the length of her middle fingers back and forth along her nipples, flicking them as the fingertips passed. Hips totally still, suspended in time and space.
Despite my determination not to be the first to give in, a groan escaped my lips.
And then in that sacred motion more ancient than humanity, she took me deeply and savagely into herself.
With two months of foreplay, enhanced by the intoxicants and the dancing and driven by the urgency of Sabrina’s thrusts, it should have been over quickly. But astonishingly, it wasn’t. With a perversity born from who knows where my body decided, Hey! This is cosmic! Don’t stop yet. Sabrina found her own tempo and her own pleasures. Stopping to savor and linger over each orgasm, and then back into the rhythm.
And then she opened her throat wide and out came a long sustained note, just as Nimue had done. Perhaps not quite as unwavering, considering the relentless pounding she was inflicting on herself. But unwavering enough. My soul and my voice rose with hers and we exploded and collapsed with a finality that probably caused a supernova or a black hole out there somewhere.
We lay there in a heap for a long while, gasping. I could feel her heart gradually beginning to slow, as mine was doing.
After a bit, Sabrina kissed my eyelids, tugged at my bottom lip with her teeth, nipped my earlobe. And slowly began the tiniest of movements with her hips.
“So, big boy. You want to wander on back to the fire, get another drink of that home brew, dance a little, and pick out a new partner?”
“Think I’ve got a shot at the golden-haired high priestess? That’d be pretty hard to turn down.”
“If you can only get laid once a year, I don’t imagine you’d be sharing with your guests, no matter how hospitable you were feeling.”
“Well, in that case, I think I’ll just stick with the one I’ve got. Seemed to work out OK the first time.”
“OK?! OK?!!” She nipped me again. “I’ll show you OK.” Her hips increased their movements a little and began to rotate.
“I like what you’re doing a lot. But you’re not controlling the show this time. You’ve had your fun, woman. My turn to be on top.”
“Yes sir. Think we can roll over without disconnecting?”
“Probably. But I’ve got something else in mind.”