My Mother Said

Short story in three parts

Michael Gouda

When I was about five years old, the family went to live in a house in the country. At the bottom of the garden there ran a stream. It had steep banks and was I suppose a couple of feet deep. There were little silver fish darting from one patch of weed to another, sticklebacks with three sharp looking spikes on their backs. Mother was terrified that I'd fall in and drown but it didn't stop me from going down there, standing on the garden side bank and staring in and occasionally across to where the wild wood started. The other bank had some bushes, scrubby and prickly looking, further on the trees started, in my mind huge brown trunks soaring high into the sky. In summer the branches were covered in leaves which rustled and whispered as if they were talking to each other. In winter they were bare and gaunt against the grey sky. I thought the wood went on for ever.

In the summer holidays the village boys played amongst the trees, appearing and disappearing through the shadows, playing their games which I wasn't allowed to join. They fascinated me, those boys who occasionally noticed me standing solitary on the opposite bank to them. Sometimes they would call out telling me to join them or just shouting rude remarks. I wanted to join them but I never dared, and they wouldn't come across the stream into my garden for my father was the policeman and, in those days, there was respect for such a person. They knew that if they were caught by him, he would clip them round the ear and, should they complain to their parents, they would get another clip from them.

So I stood and watched and saw their thin brown bodies racing from tree to tree, appearing and disappearing, hear their shouts of joy and occasional cries as they might fall and cut open their knee, cuts which were a badge of honour amongst the gangs, bound often with a grubby handkerchief. How they escaped blood poisoning or worse I never knew. Perhaps children were stronger in those days, becoming immune to the bacteria because they had grown up with them and not been shielded by antiseptics and cleansers.

How I longed to join them. To tear off my clean white shirt (fresh every morning) and run half naked with them, or wrestle in the leaf litter until one or other would shout 'Pax' and be released. To find out what their games were, 'tag', and 'british bulldog' and 'grab the goolies'. This last was a strange game where they tried to grab each other between the legs and squeeze. It sounded from the reaction rather painful, but I still found it intriguing. I didn't really understand the rules of british bulldog either but it did seem to involve a lot of wrestling on the ground, sometimes whole groups of them together so that there was a whole bundle out of which only occasional arms or legs emerged – and lots of shouting and laughing.

Once a boy of about my age, perhaps a bit older, came right to the other bank and started to talk to me. He was nut-brown and had hair which went every which way but loose (as mother used to say), patched shorts kept up with an old tie and boots but no socks.

"Why are you wearing that hat?" he asked. "It looks silly."

My mother always made me wear a sun hat when it was hot. She thought otherwise I'd get sunstroke. I blushed when the boy said that and pulled off the hat throwing it into the stream. It landed upside down and floated, occasionally being held up by rocks or circling as it reached little eddies. We pursued it shouting and throwing stones hoping to make it sink, until my garden finished and I reached the fence that marked its ending. I could hear the boy's shouts as he pursued the hat on his own while I remained behind, forlorn and deserted.

I invented a story for mother that a bird had dived down and taken the hat off my head and flown away with it. She obviously didn't believe me and called me naughty, which I suppose I was, but she didn't buy me another.

My mother said that I never should
Play with the bad boys in the wood
If I did, she would say
Naughty boy to disobey.

* * * * * *

By the time I was fifteen, the stream had shrunk to what it really was, a little brook that could be jumped over, admittedly there was a slight danger of not quite making the other bank top and sliding back down into the water. There seemed to be much more weed and fewer fish by then, and the wood had shown that it had certain well-defined limits and didn't in fact go on for ever. Walking through it, I could reach a main road about half a mile away. Still the wood itself was dark and mysterious in the coniferous parts though much of it was ash, beech and oak and other deciduous trees.

Of course I was at school now but was a lonely child and hadn't made any close friends. The wood was still a fascination and my mother still warned me against entering, this time the danger, in her words, were the gypsies who from time to time made camp in glades there, lit their fires, left some rubbish and eventually disappeared.

One evening while I was walking through the wood I came across such a camp. There were a few modern type caravans drawn up in a half circle together with a couple of old-fashioned horse-drawn 'vardas' and two animals grazed peacefully just outside the semicircle.

It was high summer and still light so I could make out the women cooking and the men sitting and smoking, a couple of dogs chewing a bone and growling, The women wore bright clothes, the colours of which clashed yet went together, the men in corduroy trousers or jeans and shirts, their sleeves rolled up. I didn't want them to see me so I backed out and crept away little realising that I snapped twigs and scraped by branches so that everyone knew I was there.

I thought I'd got away but soon I was aware that there were shadows slipping quietly through the trees on either side of me. I was scared and thought of running but suddenly a young man appeared directly in front of me, stepping out from behind a tree trunk.

"Where you going, chavvie?" he asked.

"Home," I said even more frightened at the tone of his voice. "I was just walking home."

"The people don't like being spied on by you gorjers,"

I didn't know what the word meant but it didn't sound complimentary. "I'm sorry. It was just by chance. I didn't mean . . ."

"He needs to be taught a lesson," and I was immediately surrounded by a group of youths, tough looking in the remaining light of the evening, berry brown. I could smell them as they grabbed hold of my arms. It wasn't unpleasant, a mixture of wood smoke and lack of all those modern scents which we use, deodorants, soap, after shave.

They pushed me to the ground in the leaf litter and the leader was sitting over me, his knees on my arms so that I couldn't move. "Take off his rakonis," he said. I didn't know what this was either but I soon found out. Hands were at my belt, another pulled down my zip and my trousers were pulled off. They laughed at my underpants but they went too. There I was exposed.

The guy on my chest looked round. "Hung like a grai," he said and there was a touch of admiration in his voice. What were they going to do? Despite myself and my fear, I felt myself getting hard. Two people lifted my legs so that my arse was exposed.

"Kushti bul," said one of them, slapping my cheeks.

The others laughed and one said something which I couldn't catch. The guy sitting on my chest nodded. "Me first," he said. "Then you all can have your turn."

I suddenly realised what they intended to do and my scrotum tightened, my half hard withered. I clenched my butt cheeks as if that would stop a determined effort to be penetrated. I felt a finger probing.

Then a voice, adult, harsh shouted, "Doosta."

The boys around me drew back letting me free. I staggered to my feet looking around for my clothes. One lad, shamefacedly, threw me my trousers and I struggled into them not caring where my underpants were.

The man, grey-haired, but obviously someone with authority, waved them away, then turned to me. "We apologise for that," he said. "The boys have no discipline. But you now, jal avree – go away – go home."

My mother caught me slinking into the house. I had tried to brush myself clean but there were obviously leaves and mud on my clothes which I had not been able to remove.

"You've been into the woods," she said accusingly, and I felt myself a small child again. "The gypsies are back," she said to my father. "You should get them turned away."

"The youngsters are a bit wild," he said, "but their leader Jed Smith is a good man. He keeps them mostly under control."

I went to my room and thought about what had happened, or rather what hadn't happened. If the man hadn't turned up, what would they have done, one after the other? What would I have felt? Pain? Excitement? I grew hard and had to finish myself off. I wondered who had taken my underpants and what he was doing with them.

My mother said that I never should
Play with the gypsies in the wood
If I did, she would say
Naughty boy to disobey.

* * * * * *

At age twenty three, I had finished my academic education, in other words, passed my A-levels, gone onto University, at the insistence of my mother of course and obtained a lower second (Hons) in Classics, which equipped me for very little – except I suppose teaching, which was what I did, though not very successfully.

Though I'd left the house in the country and was living in a grotty bed sitter in Camden Town, I often went 'home' (as I thought of it) to see mother. Dad had retired from the force and was now more often than not to be found on the golf course. Mother had joined the W.I., made jam and still worried about the wood.

One evening in high summer. I was bored with watching TV and said I was going out for a walk, perhaps a drink at the village pub. "Don't go in the wood," said mother.

"Of course not," I said and went out of the front door, but, as soon as it was shut, I doubled back, round the side of the house and down to the stream.

It was a magical evening, the air warm and close. Even though it was early evening and still light, a full moon, pale and numinous, hung in the sky, an opposite companion to the setting sun. There were the scents of honeysuckle and roses from the neighbouring gardens but, as soon as I got into the wood, these were replaced by those of dampness and coniferous resin. Some bird I couldn't identify sang its song with a descending scale of three notes, one, two, then a gap and the third.

Remembering a previous adventure I had perfected the art of walking quietly through the leaf litter. I hoped I might come across a badger, or even better a family of badgers though it was probably a bit too early in the evening for them to be out of their sett. I froze as I saw the russet-brown hide of a dog fox as it slipped from one patch of evening sunlight into the shadow beyond.

It was while I was standing there hoping that I was unobserved that I heard the laugh. Rather like the laughing cry of a green woodpecker, the yaffle, but lower pitched, deeper, and there was something mad about it that made the hairs at the back of my neck rise.

It certainly disturbed the fox for I saw him returning and this time his staring eyes did not even see me though he passed within a couple of yards of me. What could have made that strange noise which didn't even seem to be human.

Part of me wanted to run but another part was inquisitive. The sun was sinking and the shadows grew more intense. In fact the sun now only lit the tops of the trees so they were golden while the ground was dark. I edged forward and heard that same sound again, though this time it was answered by a similar though perhaps deeper laugh. There was a burst of talking in a foreign tongue but one which I nearly recognised. I felt I ought to understand it but the pronunciation was different from any I had heard before. I repeated the syllables to myself and suddenly knew what it was. 'Lupus est homo homini, non homo, quom qualis sit non novit.' A wolf is a man to another man when he hasn't yet found out what he's like. A quote from a play by the Roman dramatist, Plautus. I'd studied him vaguely at University though I never really understood what he meant by the lines.

There was another outburst of this mad laughter and I wanted to be out of the wood. I turned but suddenly didn't know which direction was the way back. It was as if I had been blindfolded and turned round and round and then released. I wasn't even sure which way was up and which down. And the laughter echoed and re-echoed through the trees, bouncing against the trunks so that it seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere.

I clutched a tree to find some solid, stationary point to stop my dizziness though what I wanted to do more than anything was run, run away.

"Veni laudique, puer." The voice rang out. "Come and play, boy." And I knew the direction I had to go. The English had a strange accent but I was suddenly in an open glade which the last rays of the setting sun lit and two figures, strange and uncouth, lolled in the centre of it.

They both were male and naked, proud to show off their maleness. One was handsome but the other gad a twisted expression on his face, almost a leer and amongst the curly hair of both were other curved things which I suddenly realised were horns. The leering one's buttocks and loins are covered in matted hairiness. They were drinking from cups, no not cups, chalices and dark wine ran down their chests and into their groins. They smelled goatish and sexual. musky, exciting. The handsome one held out the drink and I walked forward reaching to take it but as I got near he whisked it away and instead clasped me into an embrace, a kiss where he passed the wine from his mouth into mine.

Then I was clasped from behind and reaching back I felt hair, coarse-curling and animal. It was the other being and he had me in his clutch.

There was a sigh from the wood, a soughing of the wind that had just sprung up. It sounded almost as if something amongst the trees regretted allowing an escape.

The one in front kissed me, a rough, brutal kiss that was almost bruising in its intensity, crushing my lips against my teeth. I stared into his eyes which were green yet in the last light of the evening sun, they glowed with a yellowish tint.

A sexual tension crackled in the air or perhaps it was the electricity from the storm clouds now hanging over the wood. I was pulled even closer so that our genitals, hard and hardening. were pressed together through the material of my trousers and his nakedness. From behind fingers explored the cleft between my buttocks.

"Not here. Not now," I protested.


"Anyone could see."

"There's no one there. No one to see," said the voice from behind.

There was a snuffling sound. Hands fumbled at my belt and zip. "How is it fastened?" asked the voice.

Casting discretion to the winds, I undid my trousers and let them drop around my ankles. Hands grasped my underpants and they were ripped open and tossed into the bracken.

"What's that noise?" I asked.

"What noise?"

But I could hear padding all around as if leopards prowled the length and breadth of the glade, and hard clipping sounds like cloven hooves tapping on the hard-baked ground. The one behind me breathed in and then out deeply through his nostrils. He snuffled like an animal exploring an interesting smell and I felt a nose investigating the crack in my arse.

The younger one and I were still standing face to face, chest against chest, loins pressed together. Only my legs were apart so that he stood between mine. A sound broke the air which had momentarily stilled - the calm before the storm. It resembled the wind blowing down an organ pipe. There were two notes, two solitary notes, high-pitched and tremulous. They seemed oddly apart as if neither belonged to the scale of the other. One high and the other lower but discordant so that my ear drums, hearing them both together, felt abraded, as if the very sound scraped something deep inside my head.

I shuddered at the sound.

A third note squealed its way between the other two. A pause and then there were three more so that the six notes formed a tune but one which raised the hairs at the nape of my neck, set vibrating some primitive nerve endings at the base of my spine, weakened the sinews in my legs so that I wanted to run in a drunken panic away, away from the sound.

But whatever it was behind holds me fast and, whereas the tune, if it could be called that, terrified me, it also provoked me into a mounting state of sexual turmoil. Wild urges were clamouring to be released. The faun's quivering body pressed against me aroused my cock. The one behind me pierced my sphincter and I was entered.

I heard myself crying out, in pain, in excitement, in ecstasy.

My protests were ineffectual even if they were meant to be. The music played faster and faster. My mouth was filled with more wine, or perhaps saliva. It dribbled out of my mouth and down my body and I felt heavy hairy haunches gripping me from behind and an erect hard member going in and out in a regular rhythm.

The sun disappeared behind the trees. Where it had gone, there was a halo of dark red-gold which seemed to shine up from the depths of the earth as if with a last despairing grasp, The piping was suddenly punctuated by sharp cracks of thunder and a jagged bolt of lightning streaked from west to east across the sky. The first few drops of rain fell, fat and heavy, followed by a downpour which slapped against the leaves of the trees. They nodded and tossed in protest.

Other things were in the glade, not that I could see them. There was a feeling of pressure, of bodies filling the space around us, warm, hungry bodies, panting, and giving off smells of wet fur, or hair or skin. Unwashed bodies, rank and malodorous, smelling of earth and sweat and even less agreeable stenches, faecal, sexual. And still the music played, in its wild, unmelodic, discordant mode, stretching the nerves, grating the nails and teeth, echoing in the cavities of the brain - Pavane for a Mad Infanta.

Naked I was able to feel, if not to see, the pelts of whatever presences surrounded me. It was pitch black everywhere and we were just pale struggling figures in the livid blue-white flashes of the lightning.

I snarled my lust. The glade screamed with sexual abandon as satyrs and centaurs coupled with each other and the dryads and hamadryads of the trees. I was entered again and again. Goatish Pan, member erect, mounted me from behind. I felt the faun's cock rubbing against mine. There was a crescendo of animal noises, brute and human indistinguishable. Faunus, Silenus and his fauns, Bacchus, Pan, Silvanus, Cemmunos, the Green Man, Dionysus and his Maenads. Squeals of lust. Animal grunts, heavy breathing, whickers and whinnies, harsh coughs and snorts.

Combining into a final orgasmic howl as we came.

And then silence. . . . .

My mother said that I never should
Play with the satyrs in the wood
If I did, she would say
Naughty boy to disobey..

* * * * * *

And yes, I was a naughty boy – and I didn't mind.

Date started: Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Date Finished: Friday, February 2, 2007
Words: 3,547

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