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By Sarah Hapgood

“This is ridiculous”, Bardin complained, the next morning “More trouble than it’s worth”.

“I’ll be the judge of that”, said Bengo.

He was already wearing his riding-clothes, and was bustling about stuffing some muslin, retrieved from Finia’s sewing-box, into the back of Bardin’s shorts.

“My arse will stick out”, said Bardin “People will think I’ve got an abnormally-large arse”.

“It doesn’t stick out that much actually”, said Bengo “Now stop complaining, or do you want me to ride with you tossed over my saddle?”

“Do I need to answer that!” said Bardin.

“No”, Bengo giggled “Anyway, who are these people who are going to see us? Hopefully we’ll see no one. I’m not even sure what it is we’re supposed to be doing”.

“Going to see what’s on the other side of the woods”, said Bardin “If there is another side. I suppose we’re sussing out the neighbours. See who’s been intruding on us”.

“Probably bloody Wood Demons again”, said Bengo.

He walked around Bardin, tweaking at the shorts, straightening the legs.

“No point trying to make them perfect”, said Bardin “I’ll be putting my riding-breeches on next”.

Bengo swatted his behind in exasperation, and met just the scrunch of the improvised muslin cushion.

“Haha!” said Bardin “Fooled you!”

“I think I’m going to take over your Humiliation”, said Bengo “Adam’s trying his best, but it’s not having any effect on you”.

“It is”, said Bardin, as Bengo helped him into his breeches “But you can do it too, anytime you want”.

“Oh I’ve got the ultimate prize”, said Bengo “I’m married to you. You belong to me”.

“Bengo”, Bardin gulped “Oh God, it’s embarrassing, all this emotion lately”.

“I get all the benefits of what Adam does”, said Bengo, cuddling him “He keeps you in order. I get my lovely Bardin”.

He pulled out a hanky, and blew Bardin’s nose with it, as if he was a little boy. There were noises of increased activity outside the door.

“Come on”, said Bengo “Let’s go and see what silly old demons and monsters are in the silly old woods”.

They were taking all four of the horses on the trek. Bengo and Bardin sharing one, Joby and Kieran on another, Julian and Hoowie on one each. Ransey and Hillyard - who would normally have made up the six - were too busy with their beer production. Hoowie was in a bad mood. Bardin seemed to have even more swagger than ever this morning, and he was jealous of anyone else being the ship’s sex-toy, other than himself. But he was also consumed with frustration, because he longed to get Bardin into bed again. Bengo realised this, and knew that Hoowie’s sulkiness wasn’t the way to go about achieving it.

“Pack in the squabbling”, said Bardin, thrusting his riding-crop to split the two of them up “Or one of you stays at home”.

“Well he’s driving me mad”, said Bengo, flouncing off “He doesn’t know how to do anything!”

“Now look”, said Bardin, lowering his voice to address Hoowie sternly “If this is because of what happened with Julian yesterday, then you’re being stupid. OK I got a blow job, scarcely unusual around here!”

“Oh it’s not that, Bardin”, said Hoowie “It’s a number of things”.

“Such as?” said Bardin “Come on, out with it, we haven’t got all day”.

“Well I spose one thing is I do get jealous ‘cos he admires you so much”, said Hoowie.

“If it’s any comfort to you”, said Bardin “He also whacked the living daylights out of me, and had me sobbing”.

“You was sobbing?” said Hoowie.

“Oh I was fine really”, said Bardin “I just got a bit emotional that’s all. I sometimes do after a good spanking”.

“Would you like me to kiss your bum better sometime?” said Hoowie, glaring at him intently.

Bardin knew an awful lot hinged on how he replied to this. To say ‘no’ could possibly tip Hoowie into depression, he hankered after Bardin so much. To say ‘yes’ would not only make him happy, but would mean that there was a very good chance Hoowie would behave himself for a long time to come. Plus, Bardin could no longer remember what his objection to going to bed with Hoowie was!

“Yes”, he replied.

“Oh Bard”, Hoowie nearly cried “I dunno what to say”.

“That does make a change”, said Bardin “Tomorrow night, after dinner. Be extra nice to Bengo, he’s been a champ lately”.

“I’ll slobber over him”, said Hoowie.

“At least it means my shorts will get a night off”, said Bardin.

“I’ll see your lovely golden pubic hair”, said Hoowie.

“Alright, ‘cmon, let’s get on with this bloody trip”, said Bardin, briskly.

Bengo was so pleased by what had happened, that he wrapped his arms tightly around Bardin once they were on horseback.

“Bengo, ease off”, said Bardin “This isn’t practical”.

“OK”, Bengo giggled.

“What a bunch of old softies we are”, said Julian, who thought the whole ting was very amusing “Forward into the dark woods!”

Actually they rode in single-file along the edge of it. After Kieran’s experience of being thrown into a ditch, they didn’t want to risk any injury to the horses.

“We’ll probably just end up going round in a bleedin’ circle”, Joby grumbled.

In fact they didn’t. After a short distance they found themselves at the end of an old track which ran along the woods on one side, and a vast overgrown, poppy-strewn field on the other. The track wound in a westerly direction. At some point, long ago, this must have been cultivated land, but had lain fallow for a good long while.

“That would make sense”, said Julian, who was riding at the front “We know the original village must have been round here, where we live now, and this must have been farm land”.

“Something drove them away from here”, said Bengo.

“Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves”, said Julian “We don’t know that. There could be any number of reasons why they re-located”.

“Sounds like we have to do some history stuff in town”, said Bardin.

They hacked along the lane for a way. The horses seemed quite content to plod along peacefully, showing no signs of spooking at anything untoward. Even so, Bardin was glad that Ransey (as usual) had insisted on them coming out armed. The feel of his revolver in the holster he wore under his shirt gave him comfort.

“We’ll go up as far as the bend in the lane”, said Julian, pointing ahead with his crop “And see what’s there. You alright with that, Bardin?”

“Yes!” Bardin snapped “I refuse to believe I’m the only one here with a sore arse!”

“Now who said anything about sore arses?” said Julian “I was merely asking you in your position as Captain”.

“Huh, that’ll be the day!” said Bardin.

“Anymore snarkyness out of you and I shall assume the soreness is unbearable”, said Julian “And we’ll take your breeches off you and throw you over face-down in front of Bengo like a saddlebag!”

“Ooh yes”, said Bengo.

Bardin knew full-well they were quite capable of doing this, and he thrilled at the idea of it too. But until they knew who (or what) else was in the vicinity he felt they had better keep his delicious Ritual Humiliations to the neighbourhood of the ship and the old tower. They had to be constantly alert here.

They reached the turning, and paused. The lane flowed on for about another mile. In the distance, the furthest they could see, was a low, dark building, of somewhat grim aspect. They passed the binoculars around, but even with them it was hard to make out any obvious features, let alone tell if anyone was there.

“No fire smoke anywhere”, said Bardin “But at this time of year that might not mean anything”.

“They’re a good distance away from us anyway”, said Julian “Kieran, you’ve been suspiciously quiet, what do you make of it?”

“I think that if you want to explore any closer”, said Kieran “We should ask Hillyard to bring the truck, not take the horses any nearer, until we know what’s what”.

“Agreed”, said Julian.

“And also try to get more information in town”, said Bardin.

Hoowie and Bardin stood facing each other in Bardin’s cabin. Both were wearing only their dressing-gowns.

“We were like this before”, said Hoowie “And then something went and bloody happened! We never got back on track”.

“Well we’re here now”, said Bardin.

Hoowie walked over to him and put his arms round him, loosening his own dressing-gown in the process.

“You smell nice”, said Hoowie, sniffing Bardin’s hair.

“C’mon, let’s have a glass of wine”, said Bardin, pouring out a couple of glasses from a carafe “I thought it’d make a change from all that beer”.

“Julian says we’ll be shaving in it next”, said Hoowie, sitting down on the sofa.

Bardin sat down next to him. Their naked legs brushed against each other, and Hoowie felt a frisson run through him.

“Relax”, said Bardin, squeezing his knee.

Hoowie took a swig of the wine, and said unexpectedly “Remember that mammoth custard pie fight we did at Magnolia Cove that time?”

“Where we ended up putting some demon or something in one of the cement-mixers?“ said Bardin “Bengo had me hiring every bloody old clowning lag there was”.

“It was great though”, said Hoowie “I was covered in gunk, from head-to-foot. Took ages to clean it off”.

He put his glass on the floor, and then leaned back and kissed Bardin lengthily on the lips.

“Let’s move over to the bunk”, said Bardin.

They lay and watched the light change as the evening wore on. It had been a very pleasurable, low-key session of lovemaking. Mutual masturbation, blow-jobs, and kissing and hugging. For both of them it made a refreshing change from their usual strenuous carnal exertions.

“I can’t imagine you get much mellow time with Julian”, said Bardin, lying facing him afterwards.

“Oh you’d be surprised”, Hoowie smiled, gently circling Bardin’s nipple with his fingers “It’s not all about shoving his massive cock somewhere, or smacking my bum, as everyone thinks”.

“It’s nice to pull back for a moment isn’t it”, said Bardin.

“You and Bengo do this though?”

“Oh yes. More often than not. Sometimes I massage his feet. He suffers a bit from being on them all day. There’s till some wine left, I’ll fetch it”.

“No, stay there, I’ll get it”, Hoowie clambered over him, his great long dick hanging down like an un-gelded horse.

Bardin stretched and put his hands behind his head. Hoowie gave a chuckle as he poured the wine.

“I can’t get over how many pairs of shorts you’ve got”, he said, indicating the neat piles on top of the chest of drawers.

“Are you admiring my knickers?” said Bardin.

“They’re brilliant”, Hoowie laughed, touching the heavily-starched cotton “Can see why Adam and Julian want to keep spanking you in them”.

“Julian yanked them down the other day”, said Bardin “I had them around my knees”.

“That’s ‘cos you’ve got such a cute bum”, said Hoowie, handing him a glass and then climbing back over him onto the bed.

“Will you stop getting jealous now?” said Bardin.

“I was only jealous ‘cos I fancy you so much myself”, said Hoowie “And you’re so bloody sexy I couldn’t compete”.

“What tosh”, said Bardin.

“No it’s not”, said Hoowie “And don’t say it’s all because of your shorts either”.

He looked approvingly at Bardin’s finely-toned slender body. Compared to Hoowie’s it was comparatively hairless, just fine, blonde, downy hair on his legs and round his genitals.

“You’re gorgeous”, he said.

“I’ll start crying again in a minute”, said Bardin “Be like when Julian had finished smacking me”.

“Can we do this again?” said Hoowie.

“Well I was rather assuming this wouldn’t be a one-night stand!” said Bardin.

Hoowie gave a gasp of delight.

“And you won’t get all silly if Julian has his wicked way with me?” said Bardin.

“No”, said Hoowie “He might even let me watch”.

“Thanks, I should’ve known that was coming!” said Bardin.

There was a gentle tap on the door.

“That’ll be Bengo”, said Bardin “It’s late”.

He got up, padded across the room and unlocked the door.

“Is it safe to come in?” said Bengo.

“I’m not sure about safe, but come in”, said Bardin.

“Hey Benje”, said Hoowie “You’ll have to join in next time, we’ll have a clowns’ threesome”.

“Oh gawd”, said Bengo “Isn’t it time you were in bed? Your own I mean?”

“On my way”, said Hoowie, picking up his dressing-gown and tripping gaily out of the room.

“I’m glad you agreed to that, Bardy”, said Bengo “It’ll stop him being so edgy”.

“That’s got to make life easier!” said Bardin.

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