Smut Marathon 2018: Final Voting Round

Black and white retro image of Lancaster bombers from Battle of Britain in World War Two

Oh gosh!

Seriously!

I can’t believe this is the final round of the very first Smut Marathon! For four years I have done this for the Dutch community, and here I am, looking back on a year of BRILLIANT stories. There are no words to describe just what the Smut Marathon means to me. Just yesterday, Liza Daen (friend and jury member) asked me why I do the marathon. Okay, this was not about the Smut Marathon, but about me thinking of hosting a Dutch marathon again, but the answer still applies to the Smut Marathon too. She wanted to know what the marathon brings me. My answer was: it’s giving people a platform to showcase their writing, but also to develop their writing and to grow as writers. Yes, she asked, but what does it bring you? I answered: that’s what it brings me. I help people, and that is my reward.
And seriously, I mean this. I am not a saint. Far from it. It really brings me energy to help others, to do something for this wonderful, supportive community, and that’s why I will always keep on doing it.

I won’t lie, hosting the marathon is lots of work (which is why I have to think long and hard before I do the Dutch version again), but I love to do it, and each time a writer tells me how much it has helped them, my heart sings!

Okay, enough of the mushy stuff… on to the final round of the Smut Marathon 2018. I know you can’t wait to read the stories!

The assignment

Write an erotic story with WWII as the time setting.

Stories had to be a maximum of 2250 words, and any facts in the story had to be historically correct.

What should you do now?

Read all entries – you have a week to do so – and vote for the three stories you like best. You have to vote for three – no less, no more. Don’t forget to click the ‘Finish Survey’ button when you have made your choice!

Please note:

  • Writers are not allowed to tell anyone which entry they have written!
  • You can only vote once.
  • The voting round closes on 1 December 2018 at 23.00 CET (Amsterdam time).
  • Results of the voting round will be published on this site on 2 December 2018 and then I will announce the author of each of the stories.
  • Please note that entries are not placed in the order in which they have been received. I use a randomizer to order the entries.

One last thing

I know it’s a lot to read and even more to ask, but it would be lovely if you could leave as much feedback as possible on the entries, or to make it more manageable, please leave feedback on the three entries you chose as well as three entries you have not chosen. Make sure your feedback is composed in such a way that the writers can learn something from it. This will be highly appreciated.
(Feedback can be left in the comments section at the bottom of this post. Comments will only be approved after the voting round has closed.)

Enjoy reading and start voting!

~ Marie Rebelle
Source image


1) The butcher

The butcher is a big man: six foot two, and as wide as a tank. He prefers her to call him by his name – Robert – when they are in bed, but she calls him the butcher when she is talking to other people, because to do otherwise would give away the true nature of their relationship.

Secretly, she thinks of him as the butcher whether they are in bed or not. It is a large part of what appeals to her about him: the way he can take apart an animal piece by piece, the manner with which he wields a cleaver in his calloused hands, the fact she’s never seen him display a single emotion.

He’s married, of course, as all men of forty-four are – has been for twenty years – but he has no children and his wife is more taken with her knitting than with him, or so he claims. How that can be, Rose cannot fathom – she herself is unbearably aroused not just by the man, but also by the joints and carcasses that fill his shop – the bright red meat, the clean white bones, the shiny metal hooks it all hangs from. Sometimes she lingers outside and gazes through the window, watching as he wraps sausages and chops until he comes and chases her away as if she were a child of five, not a woman of twenty-four.

‘Should you not get a fella your own age?’ he asks sometimes, though she suspects he only says it because he thinks it unlikely. In some ways, he’s right – she’s content for now, but she would like babies one day, and she knows he’s not the man for that.

Lately, she has tried to linger outside the shop less often. For one thing, she is much more likely to be remarked upon – the crowds inside are thinner because the price of meat has risen so high – and, for another, anyone who did notice her might think it distasteful for her to be gazing longingly at carcasses of any kind. After all, despite the relative calm in London, some people are already waiting for letters from France.

To Rose, France feels a million miles away. No one she knows has been sent there to fight, although that might be because she has no brothers and few male friends. The only man of fighting age she does know is the butcher’s assistant, Jack, and though he joined the Navy at the very start of the war, she’s heard from his mother that it’s not France he’s been sent to, but Scotland. Where exactly in Scotland is a mystery – the censor’s seen to that – but regardless, it lacks the only thing she and Jack could agree was possibly romantic about war – the opportunity to see the world. She’s never seen it, but she doubts there’s anything particularly romantic about the sea off Scotland.

‘She’ll cry for you when you’re gone, lad,’ the butcher had told Jack before he’d left. Rose had been in the shop buying brisket and she’d scowled at them both. ‘I will not!’ she’d protested, and they’d both laughed. The dynamic between the three of them was an odd thing – she had the sense that Jack knew how things were between her and Robert, but that he also might have had feelings for her himself. And Rose? Does she have feelings for Jack? Truth be told, she’s not quite sure. She feels some affection for him, but she fears it comes mainly from the knowledge that he’d be a wonderful father to their children. Desire – blood red desire, the kind she feels for the butcher – is so much easier to understand. Besides, it would be gluttonous to want them both.

Recently, she has discovered the true extent of her gluttony for the first time. Besides the irritation of having to lower the blackout blinds every evening and the endless talk of conflict on the wireless, the war has so far had little impact on her day-to-day life. But 1940 has barely begun when the announcement comes that bacon, butter and sugar are all to be rationed. Rose, who enjoys cooking as much as she does eating, is bitterly disappointed.

The newspapers warn of consequences for customers discovered trying to get in with their local shopkeeper, not to mention for shopkeepers caught setting aside extra rations under counters and in back rooms. But the possibility of punishment only spurs Rose on. She’ll make do with her butter and sugar rations – she hasn’t a sweet tooth anyway, so cake is no great loss – but surely there are ways she can persuade Robert to let her have an extra ounce or two of bacon?

It is barely 7 o’ clock, and, being January, still dark. The shop is not yet open but Rose has stopped in on her way to work. These early visits are becoming a regular occurrence, and she never knows quite what will await her – one morning she’d discovered the butcher gutting a grouse, and though the smell of it had caught in her throat and near enough made her retch, something about the slick pile of innards on the counter beside him had aroused her, too.

‘It’ll have to be a quick one this morning, Rose,’ he tells her. ‘This new rationing business – you’ve no idea. Be a good girl and wait out the back. I’ll be with you in just a moment.’

Sometimes she likes it when he speaks to her as if their liaisons are nothing to him. At other times, such as now, it infuriates her. Suddenly, the ploy for extra bacon is not a game, but a matter of principle.

‘I didn’t come for lovemaking,’ she says. ‘I came because I want to make a bacon and leek pie and heaven knows it won’t be possible with a mere four ounces.’

‘You know I can’t help with that, Rose.’

‘An extra half an ounce,’ she suggests, dropping to her knees in front of him, her hand reaching under his striped apron. ‘An extra half an ounce if I suck you.’

‘That’s hardly a tempting offer,’ he replies. ‘You’ve sucked me three times this last fortnight, and I know you’ll willingly do it again, bacon or no bacon. Look at you, you can barely contain yourself. Besides, like I said, I’ve work to do.’

It’s true, she does like to suck him, is more eager than willing, in fact, but what else can she offer that would be more surprising? There is very little he hasn’t yet introduced her to.

‘Very well,’ she says. ‘Then perhaps you should suggest what I might do instead?’

He answers so quickly that the act must have been on his mind for a long while. ‘Stand up,’ he says, and when she does, he spins her round, bending her over the marble worktop. ‘Hands on the counter,’ he adds, and she instinctively spreads them wide, to keep her balance as much as anything. Once he has her as he wants her, he wastes no time on pleasantries – he thrusts her dress and her petticoat up around her waist, pulls her bloomers down. She glances sideways – the blinds are still drawn, thank goodness – and hears a sound not dissimilar to the noise she imagines a soldier might make when spitting in the gutter. A damp finger presses at her rear entrance.

He is not gentle, not in the slightest. Rose holds her breath, caught somewhere between anticipation and fear. Might goose fat not be better than saliva, she wonders.

‘Lean further forward,’ he says, gruffly, and she does as instructed. Oddly, she finds herself trying to remember what the bible says about sodomy. She knows it’s not permitted between two men, but is it still a sin between a man and a woman? She’s not even sure she believes in God, so why this would concern her now, she has no idea.

His member nestles briefly between her buttocks, and then he makes a sudden movement and the very tip of it is inside her. She gasps, because the sensation is unlike any she has ever felt before.

‘Ohhh,’ she cries, too loudly, perhaps – his wife is likely still asleep upstairs, she’d forgotten that – because his hand, which carries the metallic scent of raw beef, as it almost always does, is clamped across her mouth, and she has to fight the urge not to bite him. She feels as if she cannot breathe.

Gradually, there is more and more of him inside her. She’s never felt fullness like it, and there’s some pain – her back passage is narrow, and he is a well-endowed man – but it’s less than she’d feared. Somewhere deep inside her there is a seed of pleasure, too, and the urge to touch herself soon grows unbearable. She shifts her weight to one hand, and moves the other to where she needs it, pressing and rubbing as he shunts behind her, groaning softly.

She slips two of her fingers inside herself and moves them in the way that always works when she is alone and missing him. His hand moves from her mouth to her hip, allowing her to gasp, over and over again, ‘Yes, please, more, please.’ He pumps at her like a steam train until god, oh god, she can’t take it anymore. The sensations inside her crest and then break. She is almost delirious.

The butcher’s shunting grows more rapid and she knows that he is close to completing inside her – an idea that excites her anew – when there is a sudden hammering on the shop door. His hand moves back to her mouth, silencing her – for a moment it feels like neither of them is breathing. Even in wartime it is surely too early in the day for a matter as urgent as the knock suggests.

And yet, there it is again, frantic-sounding. Suddenly he’s no longer inside her, but her rear still feels stretched and tender, and there’s a stinging pain she wasn’t aware of before. She pulls up her bloomers and he shoos her into the backroom – if they were caught together at this hour, the game would certainly be up.

She hears the metallic scrape of the rusty bolt sliding open, followed by the sound of a woman’s voice. It’s familiar somehow, but it takes her a moment to place it as Jack’s mother because it’s so distorted by sobbing. Rose peeps around the doorframe, hoping she won’t be noticed. Mrs Brown is wearing her fur coat, and her hair is styled, but she looks somehow dishevelled nonetheless. She is clutching a copy of the Morning Post, and even from her hiding place, Rose can make out the headline: HMS EXMOUTH SUNK!

She pieces together the rest from the little she can understand through Mrs Brown’s weeping. ‘Accompanying merchant ship … fired on … German submarine … no survivors … discovered by a schoolboy on the beach … telegraph early this morning.’

For a moment, Rose wonders why Mrs Brown has come to tell Robert so soon. Then she remembers. Jack’s father passed away some years back, and he has no siblings. Aside from his mother, there might be no one in the world who cares about Jack as much as Robert does.

Still, he provides scant comfort. He pats Mrs Brown on the shoulder, fetches her a fresh handkerchief from somewhere behind the counter. Minutes pass. Finally, she thanks him for his kindness and leaves.

Rose waits where she is for a moment, paralysed by something she cannot explain. Robert has his back to her, and she watches as his shoulders tremble, and then the trembling turns to heaving. He is crying like a baby.

It is Rose’s turn to try and provide comfort where nothing can hope to. She makes to embrace him, but he bats her away.

‘Leave me be!’ She leaps back, surprised.

Through his tears, his reaches for the tongs and lays out a square of waxed paper on the scales. He lifts one rasher of bacon, then another, onto the scales, crying all the while.

‘Robert, please!’

Another rasher is added to the pile. The needle was already showing just under four ounces, the additional weight takes it nearer to five.

He folds the paper around the meat, ties it with string. He holds it out to her, and she stares at it, confused.

‘You wanted more,’ he says. ‘Well, here you are. You may as well take what you came for, you heartless little bitch.’

It is only then that she realises she is not crying.

She takes the package from him. What else can she do? How can she explain that the reason she’s not crying is not because she doesn’t care, but because she’s afraid if she did start to cry, she’d never stop? She would have to cry for all three of them: for the boy who thought it was romantic to go away and fight, for the man who cannot understand why he is sobbing and she is not, and for herself, the girl who chose desire over love, and, as if she was being punished for that, lost everyone who mattered to her.

And yet, she thinks sadly, why should she be punished for that? Compared to war, desire still seems like the simplest and most innocent thing in the world.


2) For a Cause

Klaus never was a man for a cause. He tried to be as impartial as his father before him, measuring each action by how it benefited him. They were a family of scholars and scholars never rushed to judgement until all the evidence presented itself clearly. Something about the rise of Hitler troubled him though.

The fervor of the people had shifted over the last year. Trending from disbelief to an almost total acceptance of such ideas as the lack of humanity in the Jews. The logic seemed flawed and dangerous to him. They were people as much as he was, human to their core just a differing ideology. Klaus found the whole thing distasteful, but stayed silent in observation.

His money made him someone sought after for support. His classic aryan features, features of a “pure specimen in the race” as they frequently uttered, made him an ideal in other ways. Many a German mother threw their daughter his way, but none held his interest.

Klaus attended meetings, watching a charismatic man utter lies and half truths with such belief and zeal designed to inflame the crowd. He couldn’t understand why they gobbled up his manufactured hysteria, but nothing affected him enough to speak up.

That detached observation changed for him quite abruptly.

Out to collect his weekly groceries, Klaus walked just separate from the teeming masses. Round ups had started in recent weeks, the news full of stories of Jews being moved from ghettos “for the safety of the people” to other locations so Germans had the necessary space.

The sad faced inhabitants of the overcrowded Jugdengasse were being marched down the dirt road into boxcars. Even from here he could feel the despair pressing down like a black cloud.

He wasn’t sure what made him notice her in the group. Perhaps her bright red hat or the cheerfulness of her face, but in the sea of drab clothed people with yellow stars on their lapels, she stood out.

Klaus minded his business always, and nearly convinced himself to move on. This time, though, he couldn’t. He couldn’t ignore her joy.

When he signaled to a guard, the man hurried to him because of his prominence.

“Where are they going?”

“An encampment, thirty-five miles east of the city.”

“And what will become of them?”

“They will be cleansed, as is right for such animals.”

Klaus was not naive. He was well connected enough to have heard the whispers of what became of the Jews in the name of the greater good. Nothing had moved him to act until that moment.

Grabbing the guard, driven by a compulsion he couldn’t ignore, he stopped the man from walking away.

“That woman there.” He pointed to her in the crowd when it parted. “I would like to buy her.”

Buy her. It was so distasteful to say, and he grimaced, but it was necessary to save her.

“Herr Alsdorf, these ones must go to camp for cleansing. It is for—”

He threw his weight around in the only way he knew how; his status. “Safety of the German people, yes, I know, but I will have her and use her as I see fit. She means little so I will do what I will. Will you deny my request? Must I speak to your Kommandant about your insubordination?”

Visibly nervous, the guard stuttered through some comment that Klaus ignored. Instead he cut through the crowd, forcing the guard to scurry after him to keep up.

Klaus stopped in front of the woman, blocking her from continuing on. She barely reached his shoulder, her curly black hair frothing out from beneath that jaunty red hat like a cloud when she turned her face up to him.

Bright green eyes sparkled up at him and he realized how young she was just looking at her smooth face. He was struck, absolutely struck by her and had to resist the urge to gather her up and run down the street with her tucked under his arms. He could not let her go.

“Herr?”

Her voice was husky as though she hadn’t spoken in a while. It had a strange affect on him. He wanted to bury his hands in her hair and kiss those pursed lips until she moaned his name in that same husky tone.

“Herr Alsdorf?”

The guard jarred him out of his stupor.

“She is what I require.” He dug the money he had brought for groceries and handed it to the guard. “For the cause.”

“Heil-”

Klaus cut the man off again with a growl, grabbed her by shoulder, and directed her out of the crush of people.

“Your name?” He demanded as they stepped up on the sidewalk and moved along in the direction of the house.

“Jocelyna.” She sounded distracted and he turned to find her staring behind them at the people on the train. “Will I see them again?”

Klaus wondered who ‘them’ was? Did it include a boyfriend, a lover? The thought unsettled him.

He didn’t know the future, but he always trusted his gut. “I do not know. Times are… difficult for those who believe as you do.”

That clouded her lovely face, dimming some of the joy. “I should go with them.”

To her death? He would empty the whole train before he’d let her get on it. The strength of his conviction startled him. Such strong emotions were foreign to him, but he did not ignore it.

He turned back to see the door slam shut on the box car. There was an air of finality to it all. He’d saved her from something that would snuff out her light. The multitude of faces poking out from the windows made him realize it wasn’t enough.

“It’s the best I can do.”

“What’s the best?”

The stab of guilt made his mind wander, but he refocused on her. “Hiring you to work for me. I have need of a maid and you will suit.”

“I don’t know anything about serving.”

Klaus felt another tickle of that same feeling that had come over him earlier. Her serving him brought to mind thoughts that had little to do with tidying his study.

“I will teach you exactly what I require.”

Klaus convinced himself he’d done it for altruistic reasons as the weeks passed and the war carried on. He played lip service to the Reich at first, but less so as the atrocities started to become apparent.

He was saving her. Hiding her away and using his clout to keep her safe from the goings on outside the house.

Teaching her to serve him had been innocent at the start. Showing her how he liked his food prepared, his clothing laid out, and his house tidied.

Servicing him manifested in other ways. Changing her drab, ill-fitting clothing to more of the form hugging styles of the time. Of cleaning the house in smaller, tighter uniforms that just revealed the curve of her bottom and the deeper shadow of her breasts.

The more he learned about her, that she’d just finished her degree in history and had planned to work in a museum before the round ups began, the more he wanted her. She was smart, beautiful, and engaging.

Their debates in the evening energized him so much he couldn’t sleep from built up passion. Too many nights found him taking his cock in hand, tugging hard to thoughts of spending himself inside her body as she called him meister. Her husky voice so full of passion as he held her down was enough to have him coming like a pubescent boy all over the duvet. She never remarked on the stains.

Jocelyna didn’t hide her interest from him. She left subtle hints in the way she bent over during her cleaning or touched his arms when they talked. Her eyes communicating so much.

When she innocently walked in as he was finishing his bath, her uniform teasing him with what it almost revealed, he’d forgotten himself for a moment. She’d cleaned his room, well aware of his robed state, bending in that way he loved so he could just see upper thigh and the hint of more. He confessed to parting his robe and beckoning her closer.

She’d known exactly how to service him then. Her green eyes staring up at him with perfect innocence as she opened her mouth wide. Just the touch of her lips to the head of his cock had him shaking.

He’d groaned and buried his hands in those rich curls, his hips lifting as her warm mouth received all of him. Her own eager moans were music to his ears, vibrating up his cock and sending him over the edge.

She swallowed it all, like the good girl she was, and Klaus adored her all the more for it.

“Herr Alsdorf,” she whispered, her lips wet and plump, her eyes begging. “Klaus.”

The urge to defile her rose so high in that moment that he sent her away before he followed through.

He prided himself on never taking things further, of not indulging the darker desires that seemed to increase the longer he was in her presence. He would keep her safe in all things, even from himself.

A knock sounded at his door one evening. He answered it himself, as Jocelyna was cleaning and he refused to let anyone except him view her dressed so. She was his, her form for his eyes only.

The regional kommandant and two guards stood at the door. That tingle of foreboding hit him.

“Heil.” He nodded, refraining from saluting as it was too vile.

“Heil Hitler.”

They crowded in without invitation and Klaus grit his teeth. They filed into his drawing room and the kommandant made himself comfortable in his chair.

“To what do I owe this visit?”

No offers of tea, he wanted them out of his house. They were a danger to everything he held dear and his blood boiled. Fear held him in its grip. He heard Jocelyna’s footsteps in the room above and hoped she stayed hidden.

“We have come to secure your full support. The Fuhrer demands it for the progress and continued success of the Reich. Are you a believer, Herr Alsdorf?”

Klaus had no doubt that this was a scouting mission. He’d kept an ear to the news and knew they were tightening the noose.

“I am a man of logic, Kommandant Fischer. I understand the importance of the campaign and support the advancement of our people.”

Klaus was about to say more, but saw Jocelyna coming from the other hallway behind the guards. He stood in a hurry, moving as carefully as he could to the door and sliding it closed. A squeak came from behind the wood, but he was positive only he heard it.

“Damn draft.” His chuckle was strained. “Like I said, I believe in the betterment of our people as a race and would see us advance any way I can.”

Klaus pulled out a brandy sniffer and poured a dram. His heart raced, hands shaking as he brought the glass to his lips. Silence thickened in the room as the liquor burned down his throat.

“Good. We’ve known each other a long time, I would hate for an old friend to lose his way because of harboring criminal… notions.”

This was clearly a threat and he took it as such. Clanking the glass down on the sideboard, Klaus rounded on him.

“What do you require exactly? I have been steadfast and clear and am offended if this visit was an attempt to catch me out. My loyalty has never been in question.”

“My apologies for offending.”

“Yes, well, I’ll have to ask you to leave now, Fischer. I have things to attend to.”

He kept his voice firm, holding the man’s eyes. Fischer rose to his feet and moved with his guards to the door.

“Be mindful, Herr Alsdorf, any form of disloyalty will not be tolerated.”

Klaus slammed the door behind the man, hearing the warning for what it was. He leaned his forehead against the wood, his mind racing for ways to once again keep her safe.

“Herr?”

Her small hand pressed into his back, the heat of it burning through his wool shirt.

“We must leave. It’s no longer safe.”

“But—”

He rounded on her and backed her into the wall. “I will not risk your life. I cannot.”

The trust in her eyes was astounding. “Whatever you wish.”

That was his undoing. He captured her lips, unleashing all he’d been holding back. When he sank his hands into her hair, he pulled until her throat was exposed. Following his urges, he kissed over her racing pulse point and then sank his teeth into the spot where shoulder and neck met. Her breathy sigh made him picture all the things he planned to do to her.

Klaus lifted his head and stared down into her eyes. “Know if you go with me, Jocelyna, I will own you. You will be safe, but you will be mine.”

Her smile was beautiful. “Yes, meister.”


3) Broken…

Albert sat in the steaming water of the bath and let its warmth flow into his body. It may have been almost spring but he felt like he needed the heat. Fresh scented soap bubbles covered his skin and he lathered them again and again until he had scrubbed every inch. More than just being warm, he needed to feel clean.

It had taken a while to build up to this bath. Weeks of sponge washes from visiting nurses had kept the dirt at bay, but he had still never felt clean. Not since he came round in the hospital wing and discovered that he’d survived. Not since painful operations had released the stinking infections that had developed within his wounds, and not since they’d told him that they couldn’t save his leg. Not even since he was discharged home to recover, opening up the bed for the never-ending stream of wounded and dying. Still, avoiding bathing had allowed him to hide behind the memory of who he once was and avoid looking at who he had become. This was half the battle now; he was finally physically strong enough for the exertion but was he mentally strong enough for this complete exposure?

He already hated that he had to be helped into the bath; hated that he couldn’t trust himself to stand, balancing on his one leg. And when Albert did catch sight of himself in the mirror above the sink, he saw a stranger with only glimpses of his own ghost in the wasted body that stared back at him. Thin, skeletal, pale, but with a slight familiarity perhaps in the curve of his shoulders and the strength of his hands. Albert touched his new scars, permanent warpaths that decorated his skin. Reminders of the battles he’d fought; the battles he’d won and lost. He didn’t know this body yet and it’s unfamiliar shape was still jarring.

God, he missed who he was before. Before pain became horror. Before words like ‘invalid’ or ‘wounded’ became part of his everyday language. Before he needed a wheelchair, before he had become so scarred. Before he was broken. After such a long hospital stay both in the similarly bomb-scarred St Bartholomew’s Hospital and the local cottage hospital in the village, Albert felt lost, like the pieces of himself that he knew had drifted too far apart to hold together. He didn’t look the same, losing so much weight and still wearing bedclothes all day. He so rarely ventured beyond bed that dressing seems somehow frivolous. He certainly didn’t feel the same, no longer able to walk or support himself and his family.

Although he struggled to admit it even to himself, Albert most missed who he was in her eyes. Clara didn’t look at him the same way. Oh, she looked with love and gratitude, with respect at his fight, with pride in his resilience and survival, but it wasn’t the same. She must only see his wounds. How could it be otherwise when he is so helpless? The nurses may visit every day and Dr Staunton stops by whenever he passes, but Albert still felt the weight of his dependence in Clara’s eyes where they used to burn with desire when she gazed at him. Since their marriage in ’36, they had struggled to keep their hands off each other. He used to pull her into the shadows to kiss her lips and face and neck at every opportunity, often scandalising neighbours who caught sight of their trysts under the trees or around corners. And when alone, they would joyfully explore their bodies, making love for hours and melting into each other, sweat dripping and merging as their moans and cries filled the air.

So much had changed.

Clara hadn’t wanted him to travel to London to collect his nephew. Although the effects of the war could be felt all around them, their little village would never be a target and he knew she was secretly delighted that his poor vision had so far prevented him from enlisting. Did she blame him for taking the risk? The Luftwaffe bombing had become a daily event that September in 1940 and Clara had wept in fear when he’d told her of his plan to get Jackie, but he’d had no choice. The boy was only nine and after Albert’s brother George and his wife were killed when their shelter was destroyed, Jackie had no other family left. What was he supposed to do? The daytime raids were continuing but the boy was too shocked to make the train journey alone. Albert would be careful, he promised. He would be back home within a day.

But it wasn’t to be and Jackie hadn’t survived the second threat on his young life.

After the rescue from the rubble, recovery in hospital and repatriation, Clara had been so grateful that Albert had come home at all that he didn’t really believe that she still held on to any resentment at his choice to put himself in such danger, but she didn’t touch him like before. It seemed more that she was worried that he might break apart completely and he again cursed his helplessness. Honestly, the last time she held him in her arms was to help him to the toilet! They had even taken to sleeping separately as his nights were so fitfully disturbed with pain and nightmare. He didn’t know that he could miss that connection with his wife so much or that the change in their relationship could hurt as deeply as any wound that bombs could inflict. She was supposed to be his wife, not his carer. He was supposed to be the man of the house, the breadwinner and provider, not a burden.

Albert longed to talk about his fears with her but the words dried in his mouth and their unspoken weight drove them further apart. They had always been a team but Albert knew that she too had lost sight of him inside the scarred body that carried him. Worse, he knew she recognised the damage to his self-worth and his sense of masculinity. Goddamnit, they had always joked about the prim and proper lives of their parents and promised they’d never live like that, but some sort of stoicism had smothered them and he couldn’t see a way out.

Leaning heavily on the sides of the bath, Albert managed pull himself up to stand. Clara had left a bell to call for help when he was finished, but she had also left his chair within reach. Trying not to curse too loudly and alert her to his struggle, Albert lowered himself to sit on the side, twisting around and swinging his leg over the edge. Standing again on the roughly carpeted bath mat, he gracelessly hopped to the chair and sat with a thud. The sense of achievement was almost physically overwhelming but he suddenly started to see the possibility of strength in his battered body.

Feeling oddly renewed, he massaged his arms and thigh with a towel and tried to remember what it felt like to be touched for pleasure or with love. For the first time since he woke in the hospital bed all those months ago, Albert curled his fingers around his cock and felt a familiar stirring in his belly that he had almost forgotten existed. Moving slowly as if for the first time, he slid his fist up and down, feeling the same delicious thickening that he once knew so well. When so much else about him is different, Albert was stunned by how quickly his fingers recognised and remembered the feel of his cock, gliding over the network of veins that mapped the surface of the shaft and slipping over the head to spark pleasure just as he had done when he was seventeen. Flexing his body and tightening his grip, Albert let out a moan as pleasure flooded out under his skin.

‘Are you OK, my dear?’

Clara had opened the door to check on him, alerted perhaps by the sound. Mortified to be caught in such a position, Albert swiftly covered himself with the towel and almost slipped from the chair in his hasty attempt to disguise what he was doing.

‘Yes, I’m fine!’ he blustered, ‘I just, ah…’

‘Oh love!’ If she was surprised to see him out of the bath and if she noticed what he had been doing, she hid it well. ‘You know you can always ask me for help. That’s what I’m here for!’

She took another step into the room and Albert felt the resentment at his limitations growing within him again.

‘I made it out safely, didn’t I?’ He hated the sharp edge of anger that had crept in. ‘I’m not completely useless!’

‘I didn’t mean that!’

Suddenly she looked bashful. Unable to quite meet his eye, she started to speak but stopped herself, taking a deep breath before trying again.

‘I meant you can always ask me for help…as your wife.’ She was still unable to catch his eye, and Albert delighted at a pink flush that was starting to spread up her neck. ‘I didn’t know that you, I didn’t want to rush if you weren’t ready but…I’ve missed you and I, I could have helped.’

She stopped, wondering if she’d said too much. After a silence that seemed to stretch forever, Clara finally looked up to see a mix of apprehension and hope clouding her husband’s face.

‘You still want me? Despite everything? How? Why?’

‘You’re my husband and I love you – in sickness and in health, remember. And anyway, you’ve not changed that much!’

She was smiling more than Albert had seen since he first came home and as he smiled back at her, she came towards him, shutting the bathroom door behind her.

Kneeling, Clara tentatively lifted the towel that was still shielding him. She lifted his cock, running her fingers along the surface and circling the head.

‘Is this OK, my darling?’

Becoming bolder as he nodded, Clara leaned forward and took him into her mouth. Albert gasped at the soft warmth that enveloped him and he pushed his fingers into her hair to slow the movements of her head, already risking becoming overwhelmed at the intense and heady sensations that her lips and tongue were creating. Instead, he lifted his hips upwards, pushing himself deeper into her throat. Lips tight around him, she slid up and down as his cock swelled in her mouth until she was choking on him, but she didn’t stop.

Albert could quickly feel a ball of pleasure growing inside him as Clara continued to lick and suck him in, gaining speed as she regained confidence, spurred on by the moans that her attentions were drawing from deep inside him. He wanted this to go on forever, wanted to feel her lips on his skin forever, but he knew that was impossible. Soon enough, Albert cried out in long forgotten ecstasy, shuddering as his orgasm ripped through his entire body.

Sitting back and wiping her mouth, Clara grinned up at him.

‘Like I said, I’ve missed you!’

And suddenly, for the first time in too long, they were both laughing. Scrambling up into his arms, Clara sat in his lap and kissed him long and hard, just like they used to, and they held each other fiercely as if they could pull back all the time they had lost.

Later, she wheeled his chair into their bedroom and up next to the bed. Clara went to help him rise but stopped, letting him instead make the transfer, which he managed with ease. Slipping out of her clothes, she slid into bed next to him, snuggling back against his body once more.

As he drifted off to sleep, Albert marvelled at just how normal this felt after feeling adrift for so long, and how much the return to this routine could comfort him. He knew that this one good day couldn’t change everything, but he felt hope for the first time and that really was wonderful.


4) Eye of the Beholder

His hand rests on the curve of my hip as we shuffle our way around the makeshift dance floor. Couples cling to each other in the dim light, swaying to the swell of soft music. Muffled whispers of love flame passions and promises. My companion’s face is inches from mine. However, I can tell he is detached from our connection. His eyes scan the room behind me looking for his next dancing partner.
I can’t blame him. I knew he didn’t fancy me when he asked me to dance. I was conveniently standing by him when the music started, and I think he took pity on me. I’m sure I look a fright. My wild nest of auburn curls doesn’t reflect the modern sleek style, and I’m sure my lipstick has faded. A loose curl escapes from the pins, and I blow it out of my eyes. Our bodies move together, but he winces slightly as I step on his toe…again. I’ve never been a graceful gazelle. I liken more to a giraffe really, but I do love to dance despite my awkwardness. The music ends, and my partner tips his hat and slips into the sea of olive drab.

A crush of people heads to the barkeep before the band strikes up the next song. I fight for a beer and retreat to the edge of the bar. My time between the munitions factory and fire service duty leave me few nights to dance and drink. I watch the happy dancers for a moment and smile at the beginnings of possibilities. The beer feels good going down my throat, and my body relaxes as I toss back the rest.

“Impressive.”

A voice makes me turn around in time to see a tiny flame briefly illuminate a handsome face. The faint ember of his cigarette casts a welcoming glow.

“Hello, miss. Care to join me?”

A man in an American uniform stands and pulls out a chair. I notice he is just a touch taller than I am. A woman my height can be intimidating, but his sparkling blue eyes hint at admiration. He has a disarmingly charming grin, and I decide to throw caution to the wind.

“Thank you, but only for a moment.”

“Doll, you’ve just made me the happiest man in the room. My name is John. Captain John Byrd… P-47 pilot in the 358th fighter group, at your service, Miss ah…?”

I chuckle at his waggling eyebrows which make him look boyishly naughty.

“A pleasure, Captain Byrd. I’m Betty Jones. I haven’t seen you in the pub prior. Are you passing through?”

“Lovely to meet you, Miss Jones. Thank you for keeping me company. I’m stationed here until tomorrow and then I’m off to Southampton for maneuvers and after… well… the sky’s the limit.”

Over the next few hours, we talk about important things and nonsense. Our world shrinks to this tiny bar table, and I find myself falling for his charms save one peculiar habit. He keeps a satchel at his feet and glances at it when I brush a stray curl off my forehead. I keep testing my theory, and the connection is intriguing. Maybe it holds secrets, and he’s a spy!

My attention isn’t on the bag for long. I feel his thigh press deliciously against mine under the table. Each time we shift, he moves closer. The Captain’s thumb brushes the back of my hand when he reaches for another cigarette, and I bite my lip to suppress a sigh. He begins to tell me tales of his flying adventures, but the words in his story start to lose meaning as the shape of his mouth muddles my thoughts. Those generous lips encourage dirty daydreams, and his close proximity makes me want to pop off every button on his uniform until my hands can caress his naked chest.

I glance at my watch and shake myself out of wanton reverie.

“I hate to leave good company, but I must bid you good evening, Captain Byrd.”

As I slip on my gloves, John hurriedly gathers his things and slings the satchel over his shoulder.

“Call me John. Say… let me walk you home? Please, doll? I could use some fresh air and we were just getting to know each other.”

“Well, I suppose, John. If you can behave yourself.”
I’m desperate to maintain the illusion of composure, but I don’t really care if there is talk about me leaving the pub with a Yank. My heart leaps at his suggestion. I want more time with him.
The cool night air feels nice against my cheeks as we walk towards my place. I scrape together enough to rent a little flat above the bakery. It’s not much but the heavenly scent of bread every morning makes it feel like home. We can hear the faint sounds of a skirmish in the distance. John’s presence makes me feel safer.

“This war has me always scanning the horizon for trouble. To be ready for anything. But you! Sweet Miss Betty. You make me remember we are alive! The night is beautiful! You are beautiful!”
John grabs me by the waist and hugs me tightly. I laugh at his boisterousness and give him a playful push. He tips to the side and his bloody bag swings back into my leg. It makes me curious. It’s important to be alert duirng times like these.

“John? Pardon me asking, but what’s in the satchel?”

“This? It carries my pencils and sketchbook. I like to play artist when I’m not being chased through the skies. Say. Will you sit for me? My fingers have been itching to capture you in my sketchbook all night. The light in the pub was rubbish, otherwise, my book would be full of your face.”

I blush and touch my hair. My curls must look like a lion’s mane from the damp night air, but his words are lovely.

“Please, allow me the privilege of drawing you, Miss Betty.”

“Me?” I squeaked. “I hardly think… I don’t know. I must be a bit squiffy. Well, why the hell not? We only have tonight. Mine is just there. Won’t you come up?”

“Miss Betty Jones! I wholeheartedly accept your invitation!”

John dances me around in the moonlight as we walk to my flat.
Soon, I’m acutely aware of John’s eyes boring into my backside as lead him upstairs to my door. I put a little extra swish in my hips and suppress a smile for my brashness. I’ve only entertained a few gentleman callers at my place and never anyone from the pub. As turn my key, my mother’s warnings about not losing my head over a Yank rings in my ears. She would be mortified if I ended up like Ena Ryan. It’s a sorrowful shame, that Ena. She was sent off to a home for wayward girls last spring. I catch the scent of starch and spice as John leans over to open the door for me. His warmth surrounds me, and I could see how even a proper young lady could forget her upbringing.

I take off my coat and tell him to make himself at home while I freshen up. I hurry to my powder room and touch up my red lipstick and try to tame my wild hair. There’s no hope for it. I sigh and rush back to John. When I return, he is sitting at my tiny kitchen table with his hat on his knee. He’s bent over fiddling with some colored pencils from his bag but turns when he hears me enter.

“Hello, gorgeous. Come a little closer; I promise I don’t bite.” I laugh and wave him off while I busy myself preparing refreshments.

“I’m putting the kettle on. Would you prefer coffee? I think I might have coffee somewhere.” I clang around the kitchen and stand on my tiptoes to look on my top pantry shelf.

“Freeze, Betty. Stay right like that. Please. Don’t move. It’s perfect.”

John’s voice startles me but I comply, acutely aware that my garters are peeking out from beneath my skirt. My cheeks flush with embarrassment as I glance over my shoulder to see him with his sketchbook spread open on the table. His eyes move hungrily over my body as his hand skitters across the page. The sound of graphite on paper cuts the silence in the room.

He wets his lips and furrows his brow as he studies my body. His gaze skates over the curve of my round bottom, and I blush. He takes in my stockinged legs and a dreamy smile dances across his lips. I hope my seams are straight. He crosses and uncrosses his legs as he concentrates. His pencil moves feverishly across the page. Finally, our eyes meet. I become acutely aware of the damp heat radiating from my cunt as I feel his hunger.

My nose itches and I instinctively move to scratch it. The alarm that flashes over my face makes him chuckle.

“You can move now, doll. I’ve got you.”

I let out the breath that I didn’t know I was holding and nervously glance at him again before busying myself with the drinks.

“I’m out of coffee so you will just have to muddle through.”

Absorbed in his drawing, he doesn’t answer. The cups rattle as I place them on the table with trembling hands. I hurry to fetch the kettle, hoping he doesn’t notice his effect on me.

“John? Sugar or milk?”

“Hmm? Oh yes. Thank you, doll. Golly, you are a knockout.”

“May I see?”

He flips his sketch pad around with a flourish, and it’s me. It’s very definitely me, but I look different. My lips seem fuller. My legs longer. The drawing is alluring in a way that I would never associate with myself.

“I’m no Gainsborough, but I know beauty when I see it. Miss Betty, I could draw you every day for the rest of my life.”

I am flummoxed. John puts his sketchbook down and slides his hand under my chin. Our lips meet in silent agreement. His kiss erases the world, and I no longer care about Ena Ryan or idle gossip. This man, this moment, is what I need more than anything right now. He eases out of his coat and loosens his tie. I decide to be bold. My hands flutter to the buttons on my blouse and I stand in front of him, undoing them one by one. His hands twitch toward his drawing supplies.

I know what he wants, and I hold still while he captures me again.

He finishes and flips the page. Afraid my bravery will leave me, I lean for a kiss and return to undressing.

“Are you sure?” John asks in a whisper. “I’ve never drawn like this. I’ve never felt like this. You are a dream come true. Be my girl, Betty? Please? I can’t imagine a world where I don’t have you under my arm.”

I let my blouse fall down from my shoulders and I ease out of my skirt. Pages fill and spill all over my floor as we give in to the magic of the muse. Our kisses become longer between sketches and soon we are tangled up on the small mattress in the corner of my room. Scant clothing separates us as we push the boundaries of decency.

His hands move to my garters. He looks to me for approval, and I lift my leg to assist his endeavor. He unfastens each clasp and begins to roll down my stocking. His lips followed his hands down my thighs to my toes. He lingers at my ankle and nibbles playfully. I wiggle my toes to tease at his scratchy chin, and he snags one in his mouth and sucks until we both start laughing.

Slowly and gently, he removes my underthings while his eyes search mine for anything amiss. He cradles my breasts in his hands and coaxes a moan from deep within me as his tongue traces each nipple. My hips buck against him and he nudges a thigh between mine to give relief. He shifts and settles his weight on top of me. A gentle hand brushes my hair from my face as I smile. His eyes widen when he realizes my inexperience. I erase his hesitation with an eager kiss and soon the pleasure of our union tips us both into ecstasy.

The sun peeks through my curtains, and the scent of baking fills my flat. I know war will soon creep back into our lives, and John will leave. But for this moment, I’m in my fly-boy’s arms, and all is well.

………………………………………….

“He’s been at for hours, Sir. I’ve never seen a man so possessed.”

Sweat glistens on Captain Byrd’s brow as he puts the finishing touches on his masterpiece. He saved her lips for last. Each kiss of his brush on the hull of the plane feels like a love letter to his sweetheart. His heart swells with longing as he brings her to life with a final stroke of crimson. His Betty looks like an angel standing on tiptoe reaching towards his cockpit. The moment he fell in love was now emblazoned on his plane for all to see. Her smile radiates protection and reminds him of the reason he needs to come home safely.


5) Enigma Variations

Before I’d even kicked the snow off my boots, I saw the slip of paper on my desk. Torn from a standard-issue notepad and folded neatly in half with my initials printed in the top-left corner, its lack of ostentation or ceremony tugged at my stomach.

Straightforward. Unlike her. Plain. Unlike her. Bold.

Well, yes. Quite.

I opened it with fumbling fingers. Six lines.

9. 29. 167. 14. 12.
24. 5. 245. 17. 4.
46. 31. 37. 3. 22.
48. 6. 89. 21. 1.
59. 12. 402. 8. 15.
66. 18. 222. 16. 4.

And under them a single word: ‘Tonight?’

I half-fell into my chair, her note clutched tightly in one hand. I glanced around the office, sure that someone must have observed my agitation; worried that they might have mistaken it for something other than sudden, soaking arousal.

I peered again at the numbers and felt a smile lift the corners of my mouth. It was time to visit the library.

~

Joan started at Bletchley three weeks after me, in August 1940. A London girl – born and bred – she’d spent the first year of the war working as a typist at the Foreign Office, until she was quietly reassigned by a Section Head who clearly knew talent when it sat in front of him each day.

I believe she’d never seen the countryside before her train rolled out of Euston and into leafy Hertfordshire. She was terribly homesick, anyway – that much was clear. In fact, I thought her the most dreadful bore during those first few weeks. Mousy and pale, even as the rest of us basked in early September sunshine, she squeaked only when spoken to, and scurried away at the end of each shift to her boarding house in Steeple Claydon without lifting her eyes from the faded brown carpet.

The first time I really noticed Joan, she was also looking at the ground, but for very different reasons. In the dewy verge of a lane two miles from Bletchley Park, on the Monday morning after the clocks should have gone back, she knelt over the twisted frame of an old pushbike, muttering in frustration. I stepped off my own bicycle and joined her on the grass, barely stifling a gasp of shock when she turned to face me with blood running freely from a gash on her chin.

“Rode over a fucking pothole, didn’t I? Every fucking day I take this road to work. Dunno what I was thinking.”

“I…oh gosh, I don’t know what to say. Here, use my hankie.”

It felt like the feeblest gesture imaginable, but Joan took the handkerchief with a smile. After wiping mud from her hands and dabbing experimentally at the facial wound, she stood up and closed the gap between us.

The sun had barely made it over the horizon, and her dark eyes glittered in the milky half-light. Beneath the dirt and dried blood, her skin was perfectly smooth, with only a light dusting of freckles colouring her cheekbones and the bridge of her nose. At work, she scraped her hair into a tight bun, but by the side of the road it fell loose around her shoulders, revealing flecks of gold and copper running through the deep chestnut. I felt like a giant next to her, and shifted awkwardly from one foot to the other, unsure how to break the silence.

“Thank you for this,” Joan said, balling my hankie into a fist and stuffing it into her pocket. “And thank you for stopping. I know it means you’ll be late too, but would you mind awfully if we walked the rest of the way together?”

I shook my head as she continued to stare at me.

“Of course not.”

So we did.

~

The following day, I arrived at my desk to find a note tucked under my typewriter. I turned it over and frowned at what appeared to be a string of nonsense.

‘SQWHZ UQW HKGE PQ EAP HWJYD SKPD IE? K OPKHH DARE UQWN DAJGKE’

I didn’t recognise the handwriting and the note was unsigned. I put it to one side, oddly shaken by the disruption to my routine, and picked up the fresh sheaf of papers sent overnight by the War Office. Each long list of Italian ciphers would take hours to puzzle through, and I could already feel my lower back complaining at the prospect of another long day with minimal movement.

But as the morning went on, my mind kept drifting back to the paper now buried under a mound of foolscap. Finally I pulled it back out and looked properly at the jumble of letters. Grabbing a pencil, I started scribbling different combinations till I found the key.

Variation on the Caesar Cipher, with each letter moved four steps forward rather than three. Vowels jumped another step, so A became E, etc. Neat, but designed to be solved without much difficulty. I wrote out the full message and stopped, pencil hovering above the page.

‘WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE LUNCH WITH ME? I STILL HAVE YOUR HANKIE’

~

Over beef stew and boiled potatoes, I learned more about Joan’s early life. The youngest of five, she’d been sent by her father to a private girls’ school in London, where she’d excelled.

“I was a star pupil. My teachers were talking about university – maybe even Oxbridge. And then…”

She trailed off and shook her head.

“Another time. Things didn’t end well for me there. I was asked to leave.”

Our hands rested against each other on the cafeteria bench. I took Joan’s in – well, in solidarity I suppose. Or compassion. It felt small and warm as I curled my fist around it. I stroked her wrist and she sighed.

As we got up to leave, Joan held onto my hand, rubbing her finger across the palm in small circles.

“I like puzzles,” she said. “And I like you.”

Something in her tone went straight to my cunt. I nodded, silently urging her to say more. Instead she blinked at me – a slow, solemn movement even as the rest of her remained perfectly still – then turned smartly on one heel and walked away. I sat back down and squeezed my legs together.

~

Over the next two months, more notes appeared on my desk. There were transposition ciphers and elegant variations on Morse code; basic substitution puzzles and fiendishly complex asymmetric key algorithms. Her messages varied from the practical (‘Meet me by the gatehouse at 6’) to the personal (‘I’m so lonely in Steeple Claydon. I feel as if my heart may simply wither and die.’), and occasionally a hint of something I’d always longed to hear from another woman (‘I dream of you at night and wake with the smell of your hair in my nostrils’).

I began to look for Joan on my ride to Bletchley Park each morning, and to find excuses to visit her desk. She rarely spoke to me about anything other than work, and even then there were limits to what we could both say. Still, it was enough to push her into my dreams too. I’d been with boys before – of course I had – but the erotic images that carried me through sleep each night went far beyond anything I’d either experienced or conceived before her.

Joan’s lithe body on top of mine. My lips on her neck and breasts. Her fingers slipping over my clit.

As the days passed, it took me longer and longer to leave bed in the morning. I’d wake up with the sheet already soaked under me, and would spend as much time as I dared taking pleasure in the thought that one day Joan might be the cause of that wetness. It took all the composure I had not to flush scarlet in front of her when our paths did cross during the working day.

After a glum Christmas at my parents’ in Norfolk – there was still no word of my cousin, missing presumed dead in Egypt with the 7th Armoured Division – I’d wondered whether things might fizzle out on my return. Joan didn’t reappear till the 4th January, and I heard nothing from her for a full week after that. I’d almost given up hope – until I found those six neat rows of book key code waiting on my desk.

~

Trying to appear nonchalant, I walked into Bletchley Park’s staff library. With its collection of Boys Own fiction, classic literature, and guides on everything from fly fishing to Greek philosophy, the library offered some small measure of relief from the tedium of decryption by day and village life by night. More importantly, I knew it would help me find the answer to Joan’s latest riddle.

Counting from left to right, I started at the first stack and quickly located the 9th shelf. It was full of sporting almanacs, and I pulled the 29th out from the rest, then flicked to page 167. Scanning down to the 12th line, I moved my finger across the words:

‘…England completed a narrow 6-3 victory, forcing the Scottish manager to eat his pre-match words.’

Word number 12: eat! I had my first clue.

From there, I worked my way methodically through the rest of the stacks till I’d found all six words. Together they made my heart thump with anticipation:

Eat me like a summer peach.

Tonight…

~

At 5.30, she appeared at my desk. She watched me gather my belongings without comment, then led me down the corridor and into the entrance hall. We loitered by the front door as men and women weaved around us, grimacing at the leaden skies gathering overhead. I was intensely aware of Joan’s body, so close to mine and radiating enough heat that I wanted to pull her coat around me, trapping us both inside.

“There’s more snow coming and I’ve lost my gloves,” she said, taking my hand. “Let’s leave our bikes here. Come on, I figure we can make the next train. And then…”

~

A bitter wind chased us down the road from Steeple Claydon station, whipping at the hem of my dress and making Joan shriek with laughter. The temperature had dropped significantly since we’d left Bletchley and a light snow fell, landing on our cheeks and noses with a thousand tiny pin-pricks. I followed her through increasingly narrow streets and down an alley behind a row of terraced houses, all the way to the end. She stopped there and turned to kiss me.

“Sure you’re ok with this?”

I nodded and she flashed a mischievous grin.

“Oh I am glad. My landlady is a dry old stick, but she won’t be home for a good while yet. Come on.”

We crept through the gate and up a short garden path. The back door was unlocked, so I pulled Joan through it and drew her frozen fingers into my mouth. They clenched reflexively, her stubby nails dragging at my lower jaw as they dug into my gum. I winced and sucked harder, conscious of her eyes fixed on me throughout. She tasted of ink and machine oil, a mix that ought to have been unpleasant, but instead only made me take her fingers deeper, greedy for more.

With her other hand, Joan unfastened my coat and flicked open the buttons fastening my blouse. I squirmed as she laid her palm flat on my belly, pressing lightly on skin freshly exposed to the cold air; it made me double over, forcing her fingers to the back of my throat.

Without warning, she eased them back out, killing my gasp of protest with a fierce kiss. Knocked off-balance, I clung to her, and she drew me into an embrace that seemed to last forever as her tongue danced over mine.

“Time to show you why they kicked me out of school,” she murmured, steering me towards the kitchen table.

I hopped up onto it and Joan lifted my skirt up around my waist. As she leaned up to kiss me again, she jammed my thighs apart, and I felt thin cotton stretch tight across my cunt. I looked down as she moved one hand between my legs, and was pleased to see the white marks her fingertips had left on my skin.

“I want you to mark me,” I whispered. “I want you to make me yours.”

Joan carefully nudged my knickers to one side and traced a line up between my labia till she reached my clit. Behind her, a clock ticked loudly on the wall. I closed my eyes and counted silently, feeling myself get wetter with each passing second. My cunt was butter-soft under her fingers, and when I rocked my hips forward to get more – more of her – I landed in a puddle of my own juices.

As my orgasm built, Joan’s feather-touch got lighter and lighter, as if the slightest misstep might send me tumbling over some invisible waterfall. I reached for her then, begging shamelessly for her body against mine as I came; for a heat I’d known only in my dreams.

And still she held me at arm’s length.

Only later – much later – after I’d had my heart and soul ripped from my body by her skilful fingers did I remember our original purpose that night. Rolling over to face her on the blanket we’d tossed hurriedly onto the kitchen floor, I pulled her face close to mine.

“Like a peach, you said?”


6) Pillow Slip

Bill had left for the war in the autumn but Betty’s nightmares had started while he was still at home. Before he’d left, when the dreams first began, he would wake her and soothe her, his body against her the only thing that brought her out of that terrifying fog. Her mind was haunted with ragged limbs and smoke, horrible screams and constant, distant gunfire. She was always running to him in those dreams, but every torn and bloody face she saw, every broken body she tripped over, was someone else’s son or brother, someone else’s husband. In the weeks before he shipped out, they made love more than they had on their honeymoon. Still, the dreams persisted. He would hold her softly at first, speaking lowly until she came to, but the unspoken fear and fervour would move through them both and in those weeks, those hot late summer nights, they did things in bed neither of them had ever thought of before, much less anything they would ever admit. It left Betty both sad, and insatiable, when he was gone. When the dreams woke her alone in the night, she would switch on the lamp on his side of their narrow double bed and roll her face into his pillow. She hadn’t washed the pillow slip and didn’t intend to. Every week she stripped the bed and would leave his pillow as he’d left it, her refuge when his absence became too great.

It took awhile for the ache of missing him and the constant worry to somewhat abate. It was as if her brain and body had agreed that for this stretch of time, the pain and the worry, the nightmares and the cold sweats, would remain connected to the desire Bill had soothed her with. She’d wake up drenched in sweat, panting, groping for the light, but her thighs would be slick with arousal and her nipples would be painful pink knots. She could only sleep again if she slid her hand under her nightgown and remembered his hands and mouth on her. She coped in those first months, starved for touch and comfort, stroking her own wet, needy flesh as his image in her mind grew more and more faint.

And so, life went on. Betty proudly kept up their small home, she went to church, knit socks for Bill and wrote him letters. It was a new decade, a new war, a new life, really. She kept busy and managed just as every other prairie wife did, by hurling herself into maintaining the dignity of the homefront, not knowing that it would be years until Germany was vanquished. It was one Tuesday morning in late January that Betty’s new rhythm of living was altered by a knock on the back door.

She dried her hands on her apron and looked through the foggy window onto the snow swept porch. A woman stood there, cold but smiling, as Betty unbolted the door she was met with the statuesque frame and warm smile of Grace.

“Good morning. It’s Betty, isn’t it? I’m Grace – my sister Abigail and her family live behind you here, I’m staying with Abby awhile. I saw that all your washing had blown off the line. I picked up what I could find in the snow, but I didn’t find the second pillow slip.”

“Thank you so much! Yes, it’s Betty. I didn’t know Abigail had siblings?”

“Well, just the one, I’m all she’s got. If our father’d had his way, we would have been Peter and James not Grace and Abby, but beggars can’t be choosers, as they say!”

Grace laughed with the confidence of a woman who wasn’t afraid to be funny. Her honey coloured eyes flashed and Betty felt a warmth in her own cheeks as she clutched the stiff, cold laundry to her chest.

“I could look for it again? The pillow slip.” Grace’s face held the sound of her question, one thin, neatly curved brow lifted.

“Oh, no. You needn’t. It’s still on the bed. On Bill’s side.”

The two women exchanged a sympathetic silence and Betty stepped back into the kitchen.

“Grace, can I make you a cup of tea?”

“Only if you let me drink it!”

With that, Grace and Betty closed the door and spent the day at the kitchen table as if they’d been friends all their lives. Several pots of tea and a sandwich were shared, not to mention their life stories. There was a strange intimacy that hung in the air between them. Grace, with her strong, tall frame, who slapped her hand on the table when she laughed. She was a bit bawdy and loud, she slurped her tea, but Betty didn’t mind. There was a strength and resilience to Grace that Betty was immediately drawn to, as if she was giving the winter, the war, the whole world, a foxy little shrug and a casual laugh. She was so unafraid. Perhaps it was because she wasn’t married, she didn’t have a husband overseas. She wasn’t waking almost nightly to the imagined horrors of a faraway war. She wasn’t knitting any socks.

“It’s just as well that I never married,” Grace roared with laughter. “My knitting is about as good as my cooking, and my cooking could kill a grown man!”

They parted at the back door and Betty’s small frame was crushed against Grace in a tight hug and to her surprise, a quick kiss against her lips. They both paused before saying goodbye again, and Grace’s dark coat became a smaller and smaller spot against the snow as she crossed the backyard to her sister’s house. Betty leaned against the door and gathered herself. Her mind was spinning and her fingers shook as they touched her lips. She busied herself by making the bed up, but no sooner was the chenille coverlet smoothed, Betty dispensed of her apron and housedress, and sat at the edge of the bed, her hand shoved unceremoniously between her legs, Bill’s portrait face down on the bureau. She probed herself roughly with her fingers and feverishly plucked at the little nubbin Bill had showed her with his tongue, her teeth pressed into her lower lip until it was dented. She craved the feeling of being full, the tightness and stretch of her slick cunt was glorious as she used four fingers to satisfy the ache. She thought of Grace’s laugh, her long fingers and big hands, and her eyes, mischievous and the colour of beer. She climaxed, gasping and grasping at the fleeting memory of Grace’s mouth hovering over hers after they’d kissed. Betty fell asleep and slept through the evening and on through to the morning. No nightmares plagued her that night.

Mid morning, Betty stopped what she was doing and dashed through the house to answer a knock at the back door, her heart leapt with hope that it was Grace. Her stomach tightened and lurched as she opened the door to that same smile looming above her as it had the day before.

“I brought you some molasses bread. Don’t worry,” laughed Grace. “I didn’t bake it.”

With that she stepped into the kitchen and shrugged off her coat, and filled the kettle, uninvited. Betty could only smile as this beautiful creature made herself at home in her home.

“While that boils, let me just finish up what I was doing when you knocked.” Betty disappeared into the bedroom, heart thudding in her chest. She’d had twinges of longing as a school girl, she had always noticed how beautiful and soft other girls’ hair and skin was but she had never touched one, not in the way she wanted to touch Grace, and even more, the way she wanted Grace to touch her.

“Is that Bill?” Grace’s voice from the doorway startled Betty enough that she took a step back and sat down on the bed. Grace crossed the room and picked up the small pewter frame.

“Yes, that was taken at The Stampede last summer.” Betty felt her voice catch in her throat.

“He’s handsome.” Grace set down the picture frame and ran her finger along the edge of the bureau, sitting beside Betty on the neatly made bed.

“You miss him.” It wasn’t a question and Betty felt herself crumble in response. Grace’s arms encircled her and her whispered words of comfort pressed in softly on Betty’s hair. Betty found herself wrapping around Grace, clinging to her, drinking in the closeness and the touch, the smell of another person. Grace’s wide, soft mouth covered Betty’s and they kissed slowly, tentatively, until Betty began to pull away.

“Betty, honey, it’s Wartime. The whole world’s gone mad. You can’t deny yourself the simple pleasures. Not now.”

“Grace, I really shouldn’t …” but there were no words to finish the phrase as she leaned in again for another kiss. And another, and another until there were no layers of dresses or slips, no woolen stockings between them, just an undulating sea of flesh against the soft bedspread. Grace’s touch and movements were fluent and eager. Betty decided in the moments before Grace’s face pressed into her mound that this was not at all new to Grace and she was glad. She resigned herself to Grace’s deft knowledge and the sheer enjoyment of her, the sheer pleasure that she brought. Betty’s body began to remember the joys of touch and the need of it all. She was hungry for more, pressing back into Grace, inviting her deep within her body and mind, striving to keep pace. She watched with delight as Grace’s perfect lips tugged and suckled between her thighs, fingers spreading her, the delicate crescent moon of Grace’s pinky fingernail teasing at the tight rosebud below Betty’s slathering cunt. They took turns devouring each other, languishing in the warmth and wetness of one another, laughing and moaning into each other’s hot mouths, tumbling and thrusting until they had both called out for God and Jesus and More, many times.

Their affair continued through the winter, past the equinox, past the melting snow and it ended on a bright spring morning. Grace had brought two gifts for Betty that day. The first was a clutch of delicate, white, prairie crocus, a sure sign of change, clustered in an inch of water in a teacup, beside the picture of Bill on the bureau. The second was an envelope addressed to Betty, it’s top right hand corner a patchwork of stamps from far away. Grace knew when she had bumped into the postman and offered to take Betty’s mail to her, that the envelope could mean one of only two things: Bill was coming home, or Bill was never going to return. Grace kept the envelope tucked in the pocket of her dress, abandoned on the floor as they had luxuriously undressed one another. Grace knew that Bill’s fate, and her fate, were both concealed in that envelope and so she took Betty with a passion, rendering her soft, small body limp and flushed, the bed soiled with their sweat as she ground herself against Betty, sucked her and clawed at her, fighting the tears as she lapped at Betty’s delicious holes and poured out all the love and lust she felt. In the midday afterglow, Grace lit a cigarette, and exhaled a perfect blue plume above them, watching it swirl as she made herself comfortable, smug at the job she’d done undoing Betty. Grace reached to her dress on the floor and handed Betty the envelope. It took a moment for the gravity of it to show in Betty’s eyes. She trembled. Grace waited, picking a thread of tobacco off her tongue. Betty opened the envelope and read the short letter.

“He’s been wounded. But he’s alive and he will be home within the month.” Betty’s voice was barely a whisper.

Grace cleared her throat, emotions well controlled except for the warble in her voice.
“Abby’s husband John comes home next week. I’ll be going back to Winnipeg.” They both knew that was a lie but it was easier that way. Betty watched in silence as Grace stood and bent to sort through their clothes, quietly dressing. Grace smoothed the bed and plumped the pillow she’d been laying on, noting to herself that she had always ended up on Bill’s side of the bed.

“I’ll be leaving Thursday morning.”

“But you said next week! Grace?”

“I think this should be goodbye, Betty.” Grace’s hand covered Betty’s as she brought it to her lips, a lingering kiss stamped gently into Betty’s palm. Betty, her face tear streaked as she sat naked in her marriage bed with the tall, loud woman she’d fallen in love with, did the only thing she could think to do: she slid the cotton pillow slip off of her pillow and folded it neatly and handed it to Grace.

“In case you think of me and want to remember.”

“I’ll never want to forget.”
Alone again, Betty pressed her face into Bill’s pillow, now Grace’s, and breathed her in. She stripped the bed and put away the single pillow slip, unwashed, a secret memento that she would keep long after Bill returned, long after the war ended, long after their children were born and raised. That yellowed pillow slip would remain with Betty, and the memories of Grace and her strange beauty and big laugh, for the rest of her days.


7) Careless Talk

Settling down cross-legged in front of you I whisper your name, Josef. So long on the tip of my tongue – my mind wanders back to the start.

When war broke out I was nineteen. Father forbade my older brother, Alfie, to sign up. The farm needs him. Alfie agreed until April 1941, then joined the RAF, sick and tired of the Germans bombing us. He was posted to Lincolnshire, far from our Hampshire home.

“Now Mary, your turn to help in the fields. Be my land girl.” Father chuckled, pleased with his little joke.

“But I’m going out tomorrow! I’ll feed the lambs – can’t the fieldwork wait until Monday?”

“Go on, as you’re doing such a grand job with those babies.”

The following day David Sinclair parked outside hooting his horn for attention.

“I’m off, Mum, bye,” I shouted, over the bleating chorus of lambs. I jumped into David’s Humber and away we sped. Finding a secluded spot on the edge of the New Forest he produced a picnic basket and blanket from the boot. It was a glorious, mid-April afternoon. We ate egg sandwiches and sipped hot coffee. After lunch I lay back, the sun warming my face. David’s fingers crept under the hemline of my dress.

“Got stockings and chocolate for you in the automobile. Next week I can wangle some bananas for your parents.”

Stroking the skin just above my stocking tops as he spoke.

“Wonderful.” I murmured, opening my legs slightly.

“Your skin is so soft, let me play,” his breathing was audible now.

He rolled on top and clumsily steered his hard dick past my French knickers and into me. Orchestrated by a long groan.

I kept still, staring at clouds as he buried his face against my neck. It didn’t take long. A few thrusts, he peaked and fell onto me. Standing, he carefully disposed of the used rubber, slicked down his hair, and put on his jacket.

I knew David from the village chess club. He was assistant manager at the town bank, a protected occupation like farmers. A man in his position could get all kinds of rationed goodies. A few treats made a difference when the air-raids sent us scampering for the shelters and left our nerves frazzled. Hampshire was very badly bombed. After an attack, the air smelled so sweet and smokey you could taste it.

David had pursued me before the war. I reminded him of Jessie Matthews, he said, with my rosebud mouth and rosy cheeks. I was not impressed then. He looked well enough. Kept himself trim – expensive flannel suits, a nifty thin moustache. But he was old, maybe thirty-two.

The war changed everything. I can’t deny I liked nice stuff, and he gave me plenty. Perhaps I was a little flagrant in those days but all the young lads were off fighting. I wasn’t after love any more than David.

Sitting up I sighed and rearranged my knickers.

*

“Mother, please. I just want to do my bit for the country. You did and at Netley in the first war. Please talk to Father,” I put on my little girl voice. “I won’t need to move away.”

Netley hospital stood close by.

“Don’t whine Mary. I’ll speak to him. Netley was an experience I… I can’t forget. Are you sure you’ll be able to cope my dear? You’ve a knack with those lambs but nursing is a different kettle of fish. Horrible injuries, deaths, not to mention the Netley smell. That never leaves you.”

Fortunately, a local lad started helping out on the farm so I became a nurse.

Netley spanned two hundred acres, a vast community behind high walls. Work was harsh. messy and bloody. After basic training I was posted with the POWs and felt resentful, thinking of my brother.

Not only that, our boys were billeted in temporary shelters in the Netley grounds while the Germans were inside the building. As prisoners, they needed a secure environment. Locals were outraged and at one point the shipyard workers went on strike in protest.

Witnessing the injuries was an eye-opener, and gradually my viewpoint changed. If Alfie ever became a prisoner of war and needed medical attention, I prayed that he would be treated so well.

New recruits learned on the job. After a few weeks, at the end of a shift, I caught you alone playing chess. There was a serenity in your expression that drew me over. I couldn’t resist challenging you to a game. I’d been the grammar school champion and Netley staff were encouraged to help prisoners feel at ease while recuperating. But I could never have foreseen, Josef, how meeting you that day would change my life forever.

Your English was excellent. We were both competitive, intent on winning. Distracted by our small talk I’d miss your nimble fingers manoeuvring a chess piece. Though I did notice heavy scarring on your forearms.

I spent an extremely pleasant time being beaten by you and wanted revenge. It wasn’t long before I got the chance. I was assigned to your ward and we reacquainted. I heard your story – how the Messerschmitt had crashed near Derby and you only just escaped the fireball of the wreckage. Severe burn damage to the upper body. Luckily your face was unmarked, your blue twinkling when you smiled. On admission, the doctors said it was touch and go whether you would live. Now on the road to recovery you were allowed to wear hospital undress – a blue suit with a red spot on the back. This gave the armed guards a target to aim at if a POW tried to escape.

I’d never met anyone like you. Intelligent, self-assured, with a quick wit to match your charm. At the end of a day we’d be deep in conversation, learning about each other’s lives. Do you recall, Josef, how you teased me about that uniform I had to wear? The pinafore was not very flattering. At dusk, the whole hospital would be swaddled in blackout. The urgency we felt to engage was enhanced by the darkness and dim candlelight.

I’d watch your lips moving as you spoke English with a German accent. When being inquisitive you would often meaningfully stroke your left eyebrow. You were curious about where I lived and my daily routine. And I didn’t miss a trick where you were concerned.

Sometimes we sat so close, on the sofa or playing chess, that I could feel the warmth of your breath and longed to kiss you. You’d look at me as if no-one else existed. In my head, we were already naked. Yearning to soothe and caress your wounds I wondered if your dick had been marked by the flames. When we accidentally touched I would spy the outline in your trousers becoming more defined, alert. My skin would tingle with excitement and my sex would clench, wishing to trap yours.

At night I would visualise your long fingers tracing the outline of my body from the nape of my neck, around the curve of my ample breast. Passing over my taut waist, sliding across my hip to tug at the curls covering the swell of my mound, following the damp slit into the centre of me. With this in my head, I used my own hand to bring myself the pleasure I longed to take from yours.

*

David called by. I explained things were different now: I enjoyed painting lines on the back of my legs with an eyebrow pencil and had given up chocolate. He left. The very next morning I was heading to the village bus stop when suddenly I was grabbed and roughly pulled behind a hedge. I wrestled free before realising it was you.

Wide-eyed, sweat glistening on your forehead, you stuttered through the drama of your escape, hidden in the back of a hospital delivery truck. Shaking, you explained that our talks, my words, had provided all the details you needed to find the farm. My mouth became dry. I was shocked, speechless, but I had to trust you, as you had trusted me.

On the outskirts of our land was a barn. Deserted and derelict. Father had truly meant to knock it down. It would do for now.

That evening I brought supplies. Some of my brother’s old clothes, a camping stove, tea. It was comfortable. Then we kissed. Oh, how we kissed. I crept back to the house, terrified of raising suspicion, promising to return at dawn.

The sun rose, bright and warm, remember? I arrived early and again you teased me,

“Tea, what is this tea you English girls like to drink so much? A Ger – Man, needs coffee. Make it strong.”

“Oh, so demanding, a fine way to behave when this English girl loves you.”

The words just slipped out. I hadn’t even considered it before. But the moment I made the declaration I knew it was true. You held me tight. My heart began to gallop. Mouths met, searching, and together we fell onto the bed of straw, as you undressed me. First my blouse. Then removing my bra you looked down and sighed. Finding a nipple, biting gently, sucking. I wanted to see you. Your scars, imperfections. Your truth. I reached for a button, but you stopped me.

“Please.” I murmured.

Looking straight at me you removed the shirt. I gazed at the white and charred lesions covering your torso and started to kiss them better. Gently touching and stroking the tender skin. To me your flaws were beautiful. So enchanted, I didn’t realise you were crying, silently. Tears streaming, creating pools by your mouth. I licked the salty water. Tasting your hurt and taking it away. No more pain.

We dropped our remaining clothes and I mounted your hardness right where you sat. Slowly, lowering myself as you pierced into the heart and soul of me. Knees either side, able to manoeuvre for our pleasure and see your face all the while. Now I had tears – of happiness. Never had I been so full of joy. Our coupling was right, meant to be. We fitted together, our bodies each an instrument for the other. Whispering to me in German, forgetting yourself, you cupped my breasts with your beautiful hands. When it was time we reached ecstasy together, clinging, two bodies merged into one.

We lay, caressing, and talked about the future for as long as we could. I wanted us to be together. But I stifled my selfish desires knowing you needed to be free. After the war things would be different.

I had lived by the coast all my life and knew some boat people. I planned to find someone, anyone, who could get you across the channel. As I left for work, hope danced in your eyes.

At Netley all the talk was about your disappearance. I kept my head down until the shift was over then dashed to the port. I found an old boyfriend who worked the tugboats. He agreed to hide you in a ship’s hull until arrangements could be made. We were to meet him at eleven p.m.

*

It was a moonless, still evening, “additional cover” you said, as we started across the fields. We should have been more observant. Two guards from Netley. We didn’t notice them, but they saw us. One shone a torch onto your face. Panicked, you ran.

“Stop, or we shoot!” He yelled.

I heard the shots. Two in quick succession and saw you fall. Finding my legs I ran to your side. But you were already gone. Smothering your body with mine, weeping, hysterical, I wouldn’t let the guards touch you.

Eventually, I was dragged away sobbing.

*

It turned out Netley staff had noticed our friendship. The guards had been sent to see if I had any idea where you might have gone. I was questioned, released, and don’t remember much afterwards. I could see only darkness and slept around the clock. Father lectured me about careless talk, telling me I could have been arrested, jailed. He didn’t understand – you were my love, we’d been cheated. Mother stood by me. Sent me to stay with Aunt Stella in Devon.

And that’s where I gave birth to Evelyn – she has your eyes.

Adoption was suggested but I would never have let Evelyn go; my reason to live. I helped out on the farm. Father was happy, and Evelyn won everybody’s heart.

My brother came home in the Autumn of 1945, just a short while before yours found me. Franz thanked me for trying to help you. He’d tracked me down from the Netley records. When he laid eyes on Evelyn he whispered,

“Josef.”

She’s growing up fast and looking so like you. As does Franz. It wasn’t difficult to learn to love him.

*

Now I’m sat here by your small headstone, the best I could afford, looking back on all that happened. My careless talk, your life. I’ll never know if you loved me, but Franz does. He wants us to marry so he can take care of Evelyn. It’s the right thing to do. I miss you every day, Josef, but with hope in my heart it’s time to move on.

I ask for your blessing.


16 comments

  1. I can’t believe we are voting on the final round of the Smut Marathon! This final round has brought us some exceptional stories to read and I for one think you have all done marvellously. While I did manage to picky my favourite three there really wasn’t one story that I couldn’t find favour in. You have all brought your a-game to the final and I hope you are all exceptionally proud of how far you have come.

    My top 3 and feedback for those stories are as follows:

    1. Wow! This felt like a novel of a short story. The depth and detail certainly allowed my mind to see a bigger picture than you can actually pain in the word count given, which is a tremendous thing. I also very much enjoyed the erotic elements, and think the dynamic between the two of them was extremely well written and I was thoroughly captivated the whole way through. A final Smut Marathon entry to be proud of.
    2. Oh I loved this! Not only did I find it utterly arousing, I was totally caught up in the story that surrounded them too. I realise there may be no answers but my mind is racing with curiosity as to what happened to them next. What a wonderful tale you have weaved.
    4. This was freakin’ delicious. I honestly wanted more of their sexy adventure. Everything about this from the writing to the story line was fabulous. Win or lose you finished the Smut Marathon in style!

    As I said I think all of the stories were fabulous and my thoughts on the other entries are:

    3. This was heartwarming and sexy all at once.
    5. Finding passion and love in the midst of war, what’s not to love about that. Great story.
    6. Oh! I don’t what emotion I am feeling more of … arousal, sadness, relief … you managed to get me feeling a whole lot as I read through this story. Heart strings and fanny strings were well and truly tugged!
    7. Another tale that delivered far more than you might expect with the word count allowed. A great tale, that was well written and a joy to read. Even if it did make the heart ache a little.

    Once again a huge well done and round of applause for everyone who has reached the final, you are all such wonderful and talented writers x

  2. I enjoyed them all. It was hard to pick only three, four of them really peaked my interest. The Butcher, Enigma and Pillow Slip are the ones I selected, however… Eye of the… was seductive and engaging too. Good luck everyone :0

  3. I just want to congratulate each one of you who made it to the final round. Each story was wonderful and you all deserved to be here. I don’t have a lot of differing comments about each one but I will try.

    1) Very good story. The ending emotions of each character were complicated but realistic.
    2) I loved this one! It had bits of kinkiness and romance but was also suspenseful.
    3) Very good story. Romantic, naughty and realistic I thought.
    4) I loved this one! Absolutely beautifully written.
    5) Very good story that just made me smile.
    6) Beautiful! Kinky and romantic.
    7) I loved the story line in this one. It was like she was writing a letter to him.

    I just want to say that I’m honored to have been in the competition with such a talented group of writers. Good luck to each of you!

  4. This first Smut Marathon really was a marathon, not a sprint. I have deep respect for all the writers that have made it to the finals.
    This last assignment wasn’t easy. The authors had to do some serious fact checking and place the story in WWII. I must say I was a little disappointed in the lack of smut. After all, this was a Smut Marathon. I had hoped for some steamy hot smoking sex. After all, ‘swinging’ us said to originate from WWII, when pilots left for war and told their wives they could ‘fool around’ in their absence.
    Another point of general critique is that four of seven stories started with a name. I know it is a good way of introducing the protagonist of your story, but I always recommend against starting with a name, or person (I, he, she). Ans I think my point is proven in this final, that it just isn’t original as an opening line.
    Here are my points and some comments for each of the seven finalists:

    1. The butcher (6) The author uses a lot of long sentences containing clauses and sometimes even clauses within clauses. Sometimes the author uses hyphens, and at other times commas. This doesn’t enhance the overall readability of the story. That being said, I did like the erotic tension at times of stress, and the way the Rose would sell herself for an ounce of bacon. Good choice to let WWII not be the main character of the story, but still a major factor of influence.

    2. For a Cause (4) The author took a big risk with this story, and I must say I was puzzled with how to rate it. I have a problem with the genre (stories of submission and domination in Nazi style). Stories like these have been banned even from FetLife. I can see the author did try to at least raise some doubts to the motives of Klaus, but still to me personally it comes across as very inappropriate. It was a big risk writing in this perspective, and for me unfortunately, the coin flipped the wrong way. Just a minor thing (when it comes to facts): Germans use(d) kilometers, not miles.

    3. Broken… (5) It is not particularly this authors fault, but this is the third story that starts with a name (first: the butcher, second: Klaus and now Albert). What is it with this round that this seems the obvious reason to start a story? Most of the times I am a big fan of romantic dramatic stories with an emotional impact. But it the light of the Smut Marathon, I think the author could have made this one a bit more erotic.

    4. Eye of the Beholder (7) This is a nice romantic story, but I think the author could have made it so much more exciting by not choosing a chronological order of events. Now, I could see where this was going to from miles away, and that made it a nice story, but not a winner.

    5. Enigma Variations (10) Very clever story. I liked how you played with the theme of this assignment and used WWII as an important time frame for the story, but not one that is too heavy on the plot. I also liked the flashback, which made the story so much more interesting to read. But is it smut? Anyway, well done.

    6. Pillow Slip (8) And again, a story that starts with a name. I started to wonder if no one would come up with the idea of infidelity. So many women that were left behind, that must have led to some naughty adventures. The story came across as realistic.

    7. Careless Talk (9) From all the stories, I think this one was the most ‘smut’-like. I am not a big fan of stories that contain a lot of persona’s, but in this story it works.

  5. The writing quality in this round of the competition is absolutely phenomenal and every finalist very much deserves their place here. I’m extraordinarily happy to be one of the sponsors, publishing stories from the Smut Marathon – indeed the writing quality throughout has been fantastic. Choosing three stories to vote on has been difficult – I read all the entries then left it 24 hours to see which stuck in my head, before coming back to re-read.

    I’ve been incredibly picky about word choice and typos in my critique – at this level of the competition, it really does come down to the small details…

    The three I voted for are:

    1) The butcher

    The language is sparse, some of it decidedly *unerotic* (“the smell of it had caught in her throat and near enough made her retch”) which adds to the texture of the piece. I also like the historical accuracy in terms of dates and details. Ultimately, it’s a complex piece of writing about love and loss and circumstance. Beautifully done.

    5) Enigma Variations

    This is one of two FF stories and I really liked its raw feel and clever use of codes, riffing on the Enigma theme whilst retaining a unique angle. Again, there’s a sparseness to the writing to reflect the circumstances of the time.

    7) Careless talk

    This is another story that stuck in my head. There’s a lot to it – it’s rich in detail and there are more scenes in this than some of the other entries. This hasn’t affected the pacing or story telling though and it works really well. There is a word missing (‘eyes’) and reading back, there’s not much erotic content. However, in terms of story-telling, I really liked it.

    *****

    2) For a Cause

    Whilst I liked a lot about this – it could almost be a commentary of what’s happening in the US right now with the ‘slow boiling frog’ – and understand that it’s a piece about decisions and circumstance, there’s an element of coercion that doesn’t quite sit right. On reflection, I think Jocelyn’s character should be more developed and the word count does allow for both this and the story to be fully told. Telling the story from a German perspective did make it stand out from the others in terms of characterisation and it’s a clever idea.

    3) Broken

    Like other entries, this is a very human story and is really quite lovely. There is a typo (it’s rather than its) and I felt a little jarred by “Clara hadn’t wanted him to travel…” as the story jumped from feelings and actions. That said, this is a feel good piece of writing and it left me smiling.

    4) Eye of the Beholder

    The line spacing on this story is inconsistent which was off-putting in terms of reading the story flow. I did like the premise and the story was well-written. The ending worked well without over-explaining and I love the idea of how that particular image was captured.

    6) Pillow Slip

    This story is different in that it’s set far from any war arena. I love the characters and the dialogue works very well. My biggest gripe is with the word “slathering” – it’s not a word I associate with erotic or sexy it pulled me out of the narrative. Whilst I understand the ending and feel it works, I also think it’s slightly rushed and holding on to that letter for a quick fuck does seem out of character for the honesty we implicitly associate with Grace. Were I able to vote for four stories, this would have been my fourth choice.

    1. Ah wow – so thrilled you picked my story – sorry about the word missing – unlike me, but i nearly didn’t make the deadline so my last edit was let’s just say rushed – life got a little in the way 😉

  6. 2) For a Cause
    I struggled with this, I’m afraid. While I thought you’d worked hard to ensure the promise of a sexual relationship between them was consensual, and I thought you were wise to hint at the sex, rather than making it explicit, I felt that the subject matter was too tragic to be erotic.
    3) Broken…
    This is romantic, and good, in a classic rebirth story kind of way. I struggle a bit with stories that present love as a fix for disability, because they oversimplify reality, but you dealt with it relatively sensitively, in my opinion.
    4) Eye of the Beholder
    One of the big challenges of this assignment, I thought, was balancing the gravity of war with an erotic story, and I think you’ve handled that pretty well. The bit where she’s on tiptoes and he’s drawing her is very sexy. The problem is, there’s not much conflict in your story, I don’t think – or perhaps you just don’t draw it out quite enough – yes, the war intrudes into their liaison, but the story might have had more emotional depth if you’d dwelled on that a bit more.
    5) Enigma Variations
    The fact that it doesn’t become apparent for a good few paragraphs that this is a story about two women is a clever twist, you develop the dynamic between them convincingly, and the code-breaking thing is an original take on the war theme, but I didn’t vote for this story for two reasons. Firstly, because the sex is not something I’m into, so I didn’t find it that erotic (although others obviously will!) and secondly, and perhaps more importantly, because the story failed to move me, which I felt was key with this assignment.
    6) Pillow Slip – *VOTED*
    I liked this. You really exploited the potential to have lots of erotic moments in it by including not just the sex that Betty has with Grace, but also the sex she has with Bill before he goes away, and the solo masturbation description. I was also a fan of the way it was Grace who called the ending first – it made Betty’s feelings for her seem stronger. The one thing I wished you’d done differently was to make the mystery of the missing pillowcase last a bit longer – Betty seemed to admit very quickly to a relative stranger why it wasn’t on the clothes line, even though I think you made an effort to show that Grace knew where it was anyway.
    as a school girl, she had always noticed how beautiful and soft other girls’ hair and skin was but she had never touched one, not in the way she wanted to touch Grace, and even more, the way she wanted Grace to touch her.

    7) Careless Talk – *VOTED*
    This is a nice story – you’ve certainly packed a lot of plot into just over 2k words. I wasn’t always convinced that it was the best written of all the entries, but one of the things I look for when I’m reading/deciding who to vote for is whether there’s anything about a story that sticks with me after I’ve finished reading it. With yours, ‘Then we kissed. Oh, how we kissed,’ was that thing, and it was what won my vote.

  7. Everyone: it was hard to choose and I loved the varied perspectives and well crafted stories! Thank you so much.

    The Butcher. So visceral and such a cleverly crafted story. I could smell the meat (my first husband was a butcher) and feel the emotions.
    Pillowslip. What lovely women and such a deliciously realistic story. I imagine this happened quite a bit. Your dialogue was so effective and natural.
    Careless Talk. An intricate story with believable touches. I’ve always appreciated that love crosses barriers and this works for me on this level so well.

  8. I loved the rawness and uniqueness of The Butcher. So that got one vote. The Pillow Slip was a beautiful, emotional story that honestly nearly made me cry. Naturally, that also got my vote. I was really torn between Broken and Eye of the Beholder, both of which were fantastic. I eventually chose Broken as it was the strongest for me from start to finish, whereas Eye of the Beholder grew on me as I read it.

    I usually write separate feedback for each, but they really were all just exceptional. I love that no two stories were remotely the same and I can tell all of you worked extremely hard on your entries. Any one of you would be a deserving winner and have done amazingly throughout the whole process.

    Good luck!

  9. The Butcher
    As it was first on the list I read this one first and got to the end and thought, wow, the rest are going to have been damn amazing to beat this for me. The funny thing is they all were amazing and I really do mean that, trying to put them in some sort of order was so hard and involved picking the most delicious over the most amazing.
    But this story got my top votes just because it is everything I love about an erotic story, gritty and dirty, strong well written characters that I can easily picture and some fairly filthy anal sex. I really have no idea who wrote this but they totally nailed it with this story in my opinion.

    Enigma Variations
    I love these two characters, there development as the story goes on really hooked me in and the line ‘eat me like a summer peach’ literally made me squirm because it is so good damn sexy. If someone sent that to me I would be so turned on. The story is beautifully structured, it all leads up to that delicious message and then continues on to eventually bring us back to that fabulous line at the end. The title is a very clever play on words and totally fits with the war theme and setting but in my head this piece will always be called Summer Peach.

    Eye of the beholder
    This story really captures the urgency of love and romance during the war perfectly and also something of sex and relationships of the time; her fear of pregnancy and the reference to what happens to those girls really captures that but also helps to show just how swept away she is by this encounter. It is beautiful tender story that gave me all the feels.

    For a cause
    This really is excellent writing. I was hooked right from the beginning and totally invested in the story. It feels real and terrifying and also made me very uncomfortable which shows just how great the writing is but it didn’t particularly turn me on because of my discomfort at the power imbalance between them. I really can’t emphasis how strong the writing it here it just missed the ‘sexy’ factor for me.

    Broken
    This was the one story here that I felt needed to be longer because I felt like the reconnection part was a bit rushed and ‘easy’ and that in reality it would have been more awkward than that and developing that within the story would have made it a stronger piece. However it is a minor quibble of a very good piece of writing

    Pillow Slip
    I really enjoyed this story but found myself a little bit conflicted at the end as I kind of didn’t want the husband to come back so they could have their happy ever after which is odd as I am generally not a big HEA fan. Or even maybe the three of them find happiness together but yes I am totally away that would require WAY more words.

    Careless Talk
    The one thing that bothered me about this story is she has very little apprehension or conflict about what was happening which just didn’t really work for me as I feel like a women in that position at that time would have struggled hugely with it all. Not that the romance wouldn’t have happened but that she would have not slid into it so easily.

  10. This was absolutely the hardest round to vote on because all the stories were such a high level of polished writing. Someone remarked to me that everyone had upped their game – and I totally concur with that opinion. Whoever is not in the top 3 should feel very proud because they deserved to win – I think this final round of voting will be purely about taste: most of us readers voting on whichever story ‘floated our boat’.

    Anyway my thoughts were as follows:

    1 For me the subject matter was so tinged with sadness that it unfortunately did not feel sexy. I also felt concerned by the balance of power, did the girl really enjoy the encounters or was she complicit to keep herself safe?

    7 Incredible amount of detail relating to wartime here, very authentic – the car, the smell, colloquialisms, to the target on the back of the POW’s pyjamas. I also loved how complete and ‘full circle’ the story was. The contrast between the perfunctory sex at the start and the loving couplings later in the story was well drawn also.

    5 Wonderful addition of coded messages in this story – gotta give it extra stars for that! The awakening attraction and sex were deliciously described, the tension built very well.

    6 I loved all the sensory descriptions in this story. The relationship’s build was very well drawn, particularly how the wife’s sexual experiences grew and developed. Firstly with her husband before he left and later with the more experienced lesbian – enjoyed the erotic touches here.

    4 Both romantic and sexy – and I’m a sucker for a twist in the tale. I loved how the Yank drew this sweet virgin out of her shell.

    3 How joyous this injured man’s journey back to himself and his wife was. It was poignant and sexy and delivers the message that time is a great healer.

    1 Wonderful descriptive touches and exploration of motivation, but the subject matter was such that I couldn’t find it sexy – the location and the terrible sad news crushed any spark of eroticism for me.

  11. Each of the seven stories that dropped into my inbox for the final round of the Smut Marathon 2018 has left me in awe of the talent of these writers. Seriously, I liked ALL of them and some of them even left me with a lump in my throat after reading it. Each and everyone of these writers deserve to be the winner of this year’s marathon, but there can be only one… and of course the two runners up. But to me, they are all winners!

    My feedback for the seven stories:

    1) The butcher
    In my opinion this story has captured the terrible time that war was, but what I absolutely love here is the shocking realization Rose comes to in the end, that she has lost love without knowing she had it, and in the process she also lost her desire. The symbolism to me is striking, as war is never about winning, but always about losing. A beautifully crafted, raw story!

    2) For a Cause
    When I gave this assignment, I wondered if any writer would have the guts to put their story right there in the Nazi territory and with mention of the persecution of the war. This very first story I received gave me the answer: yes. It’s wonderful and I cannot help but think that there were more people like this, who didn’t believe that what happened then was right, and who helped the unfortunate ones to escape. I just cannot believe that all of them were bad. This story shows a piece of humanity in a terrible time in history, and I like the bits of submission and dominance in the story.

    3) Broken…
    This story really touched me in my heart, and yes, I know it’s because of my husband’s increased invalidity, but also because the writer has captured the mental fight so well, not only of the husband, but also of the wife (I speak from experience). This story is touching and the sex scene in it really works for me, also the last sentence. So special!
    (And a story that brought tears to my eyes.)

    4) Eye of the Beholder
    This story is buildup beautifully, and I could ‘feel’ the characters. I love that there are mentions of the war, but what I love even more in this story is that even though it has not been said, the urgency of not waiting to do things is palpable. Tomorrow they could be dead. Also (yes, call me a romantic fool) falling so deeply in love in such a time as war… it’s just beautiful. After reading the last paragraph, I had a lump in my throat. This story is worthy of a place in the final round. Well done!

    5) Enigma Variations
    Such a well written story, filled with he intrigue of secret notes, notes that have to be deciphered before the full meaning becomes clear. The biggest moment for me in this story was when I realized it wasn’t a story about a man and a woman, but two women. Brilliant and sexy and hot. Thank you, writer, not only for this special story, but also for reminding me that back in my teens, I also wrote notes like these to my girlfriends… sadly they were not the kinds of girlfriends the two in your story were.

    6) Pillow Slip
    I started reading this, was pulled right into the story, and when I got to the end, I had tears in my eyes. This is so incredibly well written and if a story evokes this strong emotion in me, to me it’s a winner. You have done so well to naturally build up the relationship between the two women, and in a few words, their sadness that what they had, had to end. Brilliantly done!

    7) Careless Talk
    Another story where I wondered just how many times this happened in the war, where a woman fell pregnant and the father of the child didn’t make it through the war. And yes, also love stories between people who should have been enemies, because their countries were at war. This story is beautifully told, and it was another one that had me crying when I reached the end.

    Charlie Powell, Violet, Cara Thereon, May More, The Other Livvy, Kitt Wolf and Exhibit A (not he order of the stories, but the order in which these writers entered for the marathon back in the beginning of this year) thank you for sharing your talent and making this round so incredibly special! xox

  12. Wow: you made it! You have done it! I know how hard it has been, how you sweated over every single word, how you dreamt about the comma’s and houw you thought the theme doesn’t bring you any inspiration. But you did it and you brought joy in the lives of many, inlcuding mine, and I thank you for that!

    Judging the finals is hard. I wanted to read everything coming together: the theme, a solid storyline, metaphors, strong dialogues, erotic excited stuff. I suppose it is also a matter of taste….I congratulate the winner and hope you all keep writing the remarkable, exciting, beautiful stories!

    Anyway: here are my choices and remarks

    # 1: The butcher: 10 points and for me the absolute Winner!
    Strangely enough, I am a vegetarian. Have been for ages and I don”t think this will ever change. The only meat that passes my lips is Man meat, and then of one man in particular. For a vegetarian girl to choose this story as number one just indicates how good I thought it was. Reading the meat smells and attraction towards it made me a bit sick in the stomach. Because I believed everything, because it was so well written it made sense.
    Furthermore, this story is not just about anal sex and thee motions of a submissive, it is the beautiful interaction between people. I loved it. It is different, it is surprising. I thought it was really really really good.

    # 2: For a cause: 9 points
    This might have happened and could have happened. I don’t know abut the reality check. But I liked the fact how fear and desire and the forbidden fruit interacted in this story. His emotions, his passion and the ‘coming out’ of his sexual nature were very clear and believable and well written.
    Having said that: she was maybe a bit too easy. Doesn’t she resent him at all? Doesn’t she grieve over her family, the circumstances? It would have made the story even better for me if the author had said something more about that. Still, it is an exciting and sexy fantasy and it was a very original perspective.

    # 3: Enigma variations: 8 points
    Only half way the story, where the author says: ‘something in her tone went straight to my cunt’, I realized the story was about two women. I loved the seduction in this story. The storyline has some nice and good flashbacks and the dialogues were strong between the two main characters. I loved the final sentences in this story. However, the war seems not the play a significant role here. It could have been anytime I suppose, although I appreciate that the coded notes were related to the department they were working for and it is known that during the war the women at the foreign office were smart and used for decoding messages.
    The outcome was not surprising, you know where you are heading from the start Good writing skills however made it very attractive to read.

    # 4: Broken: 7 points
    I do not like people who behave like a victim, so reading the beginning made me resent the main character. He is so sorry for himself. But at the end of the story it was clear how the proces from being a victim to his healing went. It made the story strong. Restoring the intimacy between the couple was beautiful and moving. I liked this story mainly because the development of the emotions was very powerful and believable. Still, to me it was not a very horny story and I think a bit more sex in it would have been nice, it lacked a bit of erotic tension.

    # 5: Pillow Slip: 6 points
    A solid story and written well enough to be in the finals of this marathon. Although the use of the pillow slip is very original, the rest of the story was not. She misses het husband dearly and that leaves room for another person to slip into her life. I suppose this is a reality in any war. The start of the story, with all the nightmares, was way too long. I would have used this space for more sex, a description of all the things she does with her husband before he leaves. And when they are so into kinky together, why not let her be excited about telling her husband all about her sexy adventures with Grace? Maybe it is the time-setting that lesbian love had to be secrete, but I still feel you missed opportunities here.

    # 6: Careless Talk: 5 points
    I didn’t like the form it was written in: the author making the main character tell it to him. But he already knows how it went, so why bother? In the end, it was a nice story, very romantic, not enough sex.

    # 7: Eye of the beholder: 4 points
    Although it is quite well written: where is the sex? Sure enough I appreciate the seduction and the storyline, but this is the final of The Smuth Marathon, here is your chance for your masterpiece and all I find is the sentence: ‘….and soon the pleasure of our union tips us both into ecstacy’. This is supposed to be about erotic writing, so this one sentence in this one paragrapgh is really not enough for me to meet that standard. Sorry!

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