1The first sound James learned to love was the soft murmur of the deep river, the second one the laughter of his sister, the sweetest and purest creature in the jungle, echoing of the mighty trees in celestial ripples that made him tingle to the core. He was too ignorant to grasp he felt sensations he shouldn't have.
*****The first touch Zilpha learned to love was the brisk coolness of clean water, the second one the touch of James, the bravest and kindest brother in the world, a touch that made her feel complete and she loved being with him more than with anyone else. She was too pure at heart to know she felt sensations she shouldn't have.
*****Zilpha entered the room and walked towards him. "Do you know who blew up your ship?"
*****Zilpha opened the door to her empty home. She wasn't crying anymore. It was no use. James wouldn't give in no matter how many tears she shed. He had always been this way. Or not? Couldn't she just remember those times before everything changed for the worse? The happy days when she and James were close in the most innocent and joyful ways. Content with what they had, not wanting more. Those blissful yet irrecoverable times.
2James took his sister to all the tremendous places he liked and where he felt free of the stiffness of their home. He and Zilpha strolled through the woods and climbed its trees in playful races. They bathed and washed in the river and dried their upper garments in the sun. They chased rabbits out of their burrows and ate fruit plucked fresh from nature. They were happy. One in their very own jungle. Unfortunately, he was the one who knocked them out of that peace lying in the grass one glorious early morning, lazily masturbating, imagining the face and body of his sister. Though it was disturbingly wrong he couldn't stop the evil lust affecting him. He came in a painful splash still pleasant enough to want to do it again. Torn between longing and guilt he aimed those sensations at her, treating her like an impure creature, even though he was the one rotten in heart and soul. He avoided her and still she haunted his dreams every night and made him do the unspeakable again. The pressure of his sin turned unbearable, and his struggle made him insufferable as a companion for her or anyone else. The poison of a despicable sin took its destructive and unstoppable course.
*****The evil in Zilpha's body ignited the day she was a witness to girls coming on to James. Zilpha hated those giggling fools. None of them were good enough for her brother least of all strong enough for his likings. None of those creatures would run through the wilderness with him, climb on trees, or swim in the river, stripped down to their underwear. Forbidden pleasures she and James indulged in whenever possible. She loved watching his strong body dripping wet or his muscles flexing showing off for her. Sometimes he caught her staring and looked like a tomcat chasing a mouse. The lightness of those days was snuffed out by the time she caught him laying hand on himself panting her name. Yet she couldn't look away seeing his pleasure and his beauty, was mesmerized by the strange treat, and surprised by the sudden tickle between her legs. She gasped and ran home but didn't dare to imitate his actions by touching herself down there. She couldn't confront her strangely flushed face in the mirror and put a black scarf over it. She couldn't forget though how satisfied he had looked and sounded, and at that because of her, and not any of the plenty girls drooling over him. Wasn't she mad to feel so darned happy about it? As mad as a Delaney.
*****The fighting was done. The battle was over. They sailed away to a new life. There were victims, of course, several gravely wounded. One of them was Lorna. Much to his chagrin James cared more than he liked about her survival as well as about his spared allies on this journey. Yet he couldn't stop thinking about his sister taking her life. The love forever lost to him. And this was his fault alone.
*****Zilpha ached at the sight of him limping across the deck, looking at the sea as if he were searching for a sign of her spirit. That alone tempted her to cry out his name. Yet then she remembered how he had spoken to her the last time they had seen each other. He didn't deserve her pity or comfort. He made certain he didn't need or love her. He already found a better companion, as well, didn't he? She scowled at the woman in question. How dare her taking an interest in him? How dare her pretending to be her friend standing up to Thorne? She was not fit to satisfy James' likings. Nobody was. She pulled her hat down and went back to do her duties with her fellow sailors. One of them was the man she had paid generously with the diamond to spy on James in all those weeks he had prepared the ship for leaving. She had been well informed about what James had done or how he had struggled and failed. That spy had smuggled her on board right before the enforced getaway. And now she was right in grasp of James, taunting him and fate without batting an eye. A punishment he had well deserved, and she would enjoy sipping at his pain until the last drop was drained and her anger quite quenched.
3One night James drank himself senseless to drown the pain of his sinful desires. He then lured Zilpha into the forest and told her explicit details about his adventures with various girls. Things a girl of Zilpha's age shouldn't know or think about. Zilpha stared at him coldly. That look egged him on to rip her dress open, exposing her breasts. She shrieked. He didn't care but pushed her down and robbed onto her, searching for the delicious spot between her legs. She wriggled under him, but he was relentless, fingered her until she came on his hand, damp and sweet, gasping for air. He smirked and let go of her then, turning on his back rubbing himself off in the aftermath of his victory. In the meantime, she was getting up, not saying a word. After straightening her underskirts, she walked away briskly. The subtle swinging of her hips in sight he came so hard he almost blacked out. Bloody glorious! He whistled at the leavy trees above and around, certain he wanted to commit this very sin every day from now on.
*****When James appeared around midnight dragging her to the forest, Zilpha couldn't say no. For weeks she had suffered his absence and cruel disregard and was desperate to relive the intimacy they once had. She listened gladly to his boastful stories about the girls he had fucked, delighted by his trust in her, not in the least fearful or disgusted. When he came on to her, she put up a struggle to keep her dignity, but his touch was enough to make her gasp with delight and rapture. His fingers down there stirred up the most wicked yet lewd sensations, and in awe she couldn't stop him or herself from floating in those cravings piercing through her. Oh my. A past mystery unravelled as soon as she reached the highest point listening to him panting his lust and her name into the spicy night. The power over him was exhilarating and her heart sang though she put her skirt in order and walked away shortly after he had finished. He couldn't know how much he owned her. Not now or ever. Not for not wanting to do the thing they had done though. Good heavens! No. But for tasting the most sinful fruit and still wanting more. In that moment she knew she would burn in hell for eternity.
*****The sea was pitch black, no light was shining out there in the dark or on the ship moving towards its destiny. James didn't care if it was either day or night, or that he needed sleep like everyone else, though nobody dared to tell him to lay down already. James wouldn't take advice from anyone because he was a soulless creature with a short temper, quick with a knife, and tough as a nail. Not invincible, though. He didn't cry for his tremendous loss anymore, but tears were itching in the corners of his eyes constantly and his injuries were torturing him just as much as the death of his sister was haunting him. He barely noticed the crew working the ship except for Robert who was watching him. His boy. His flesh and blood. Hers too. His existence was haunting James just as merciless as the shape of a phantom walking the planks by moonlight lighting up his cabin. A shape of fragility and sorrow. A remembrance of what he had done and his coming eternal damnation. Oh James. I'll dive deep into your soul and feed at the last spark keeping you alive until we are one in death. Do you hear me, dear? Do you hear me sing of your doom?
*****At night Zilpha slipped below deck nursing the wounded while being watched by a boy hiding in the dark corners. She was the angel coming up from the depths of the sea doing everything possible to make the sufferers more at ease. At sunrise she vanished to do her daily work on deck merging with the sailors. Did she regret hiding in the shadows and not having any contact with anyone still human? Or him? Well, no. Not at all. This was still better than being raped and tortured by light. Better than being abused by the man who swore to love and protect her in the face of God and the Holy Spirit. Dear Lord! So much for men and their promises. So much for a beloved creature taking everything from her and giving nothing back but a hole in her heart. So much for the depths of their love. Hence with them! Kill and bury them! Haunt them until they perish into madness.
4James was done waiting. He lured Zilpha to the river once more, swimming and splashing around with her, making her laugh and wet to get him hard and ready. Today he didn't let her rest and dry under the trees but pulled her soaked undergarments down and fingered her into bliss. He didn't let her finish though but entered her in a sweeping push to slip into her hot-blooded centre. Naturally, she bent and screamed. He put a hand on her rebellious lips and drove his cock in deeper. She clawed his shoulders, wriggling like a leaf in a thunderstorm, bucking her hips like a wild horse. He pushed on, thrust into her with long and slow strokes, behaving like another kind of animal. Zilpha screamed into his relentless hand; a desperate panicky sound of a bird trapped by a crushing enemy. James didn't care. When she clenched around him, he squirted off and filled his sister's womb with his seed, digging his nails into her ass, grunting. "That will teach you to mock me in front of girls visiting our house." She looked at him breathing hard as well as unsatisfied yet silent in her wishes. "But for being a good girl here and now you shall be rewarded." He put his head between her legs and licked at her dripping fanny. She twitched against his tongue, moaning, and then, at last, she was screaming her needs loud and clear within their sultry jungle. Ah. I hear you now. I feel you in me.
*****Zilpha hadn't guessed he wanted to make her surrender this very day. At first it hurt plenty, yet she plunged into the flow of his utter delicious movements, drinking the scents and flavours of James, and the forest around them, her screams echoing of the shadowy and muffling trees. Torn between her neediness and the fear of being caught and the exhilarating pressure of his hand against her lips she struggled only to make him do her right and in the way she wanted him to take her all along. She couldn't say so, could she? Only hope he would sense her wishes and do what was improper for any woman to tell. His splash of seed made her tingle though she didn't feel sated. He didn't give her a change to be upset long though. Him going down on her licking his way into her secret passage caught her by surprise but was neither dreaded nor unwanted. She squeezed her legs shut, made him hers, even though he was on top and wouldn't have agreed with her feeling superior. Yet she awarded him with vivid sounds of pleasure. Oh. I see you now. I feel you in me.
*****James turned sick with a curious fever, and suffering for days in his bunk, he was mumbling of once dearest times in the jungle that he couldn't have back. Ah. His fault. And begging for forgiveness he spoke of his love for her, his want to make her his wife someday far away. Deep-rooted longings forever linked to the currents of their childhood river, the water as blissful and vibrant as when their bodies were united and completed each other. Those glorious days branded in his flesh and mind were regularly rising to the surface. Ah. He didn't notice the figure keeping around his bunk. That Lorna was a witness to his lament yearning. Well. He wouldn't have cared anyway.
*****Hearing about James' sickness through the gossip passed on by the crew Zilpha dared to go under deck at night paying him a visit. He was lost in fever dreams, talking about guilt and regret, and the loss of her. Good. She stirred up his guilt by whispering naughty nothings about the past into his ear while wallowing in the pleasure of touching him here and there leaving her saliva like a deviant mark on his skin. "You need to get better so I can have my vengeance, James. I don't need you beaten. I need you strong and feisty so I can wreck your soul like you wrecked mine."
5Everything was going to hell when his father brought suitors for Zilpha into their house. Wealthy men of old age drooling over his sister like ugly dogs in heat. James hated every one of those slimy buggers and he hated her for making him feel like he was one of her suitors. As punishment he chased her down at sunset fucking her no matter if she wanted him to or not. There wasn't any love present in the consummation only lust and the deviant desire to possess her solely. He was lucky no one ever had caught them so far for dishonouring the peace in the forest or wash off their sin in the river afterwards. He was cunning though to make them wear masks in those erring hours. Bloody hell! Cunning indeed. One fateful dark and crazy night a gang of drunken thugs scared them up during making out and drove them running for their lives and honour. The pack of incited men chased them like frenzy wolves and he and Zilpha bumped through the scrub like doomed prey. And then Zilpha barged into the shrubbery and they both had to hide and pray for mercy. Aghast and in fear for Zilpha's sake he took an oath to never use her given name again if God let them get away while he put a hand over her quivering lips. Finally, the mocking gang was tired of searching and went their way lamenting their loss.
*****Strangely the angry fucking didn't bother Zilpha in the least. The power of making him jealous about men she would never consider marrying anyway made her want him more than ever. She took his abusive love and his cock without any complaint and walked away afterwards straightening her skirt like nothing exceptional had happened. She didn't feel any pain but exhilarating desire. The power of driving James to lose all control gave her the most wicked satisfaction and she couldn't wait for him to fuck her again. Oh Lord! Take pity on me. Soon after a gang of men staring at her exposed body, howling alarming joy, scared her to death. She kept hold of her mask running like a weasel. She already knew enough about men to know what would happen if they would catch her and the everlasting mark of shame and violation such an attack would leave behind. She promised herself to put a stop to her improper behaviour if she and James could escape such cruel fate. And the Lord was merciful. Hence, she felt humbled and didn't tell James about her decision just withdrew into silence and avoided meeting up with him to honour God's generosity. And as she fought her inability to resist his pull, she did the unforgivable to get rid of his seductive presence. A desperate act of defiance that broke them apart.
*****The day James was strong enough to enter the deck again Lorna took the chance to speak her mind.
*****The day came that forced an involuntary course on them because Zilpha lost her gripping climbing the rigging too fast when James looked at her too closely. Robert was witness to her falling into the sea crying out in fear. "The angel!" James fetched a rope and jumped in after her dragging her back to the ship. Salt in her eyes and on her lips, she clung to his body frightened of the spirits taking her down to the bottom of the sea. And then she was fidgeting like a caught mermaid on the planks with the male wet clothes not hiding the distinct curves of her body anymore. Oh well! Her cover was blown. But incredibly she was glad about being alive and seen by everyone. How about that?
6James kept his promise. He didn't touch his sister anymore though he suffered as much as he had foreseen by giving her up. He put his pain elsewhere, acted out at school, got into fights with other boys, talked back to superiors, let his grades slip and didn't care about any of those matters. His father raged but for once didn't lay a hand on him. The look in James' eyes told him this would be a bad idea. Indeed. Yet he snapped when Zilpha revealed the reason for James' despicable behaviour. He was livid now, whining about the bad blood of his mum, and put him on a slave ship, telling the captain about his nature. James didn't put up a fight because he couldn't bear to be around Zilpha anymore. He couldn't bear to be around himself anymore. It must be. Wherever I sail. Take me far away!
*****Zilpha never complained about James brushing her off even if that was what she had wanted. She suffered in silence touching herself by night thinking of him on his knees begging for forgiveness. If he treated her like a whore and ignored her, why shouldn't she banish him from her life for good? She was tougher than he thought. She could go on without having his attentions even though she was incessantly desperate for his touch. She could make his life a living hell by letting the truth slip. She wasn't sure though if she wanted to break with him forever but then the Lord gave her a reason to do just that. She wasn't bleeding like every month, and she knew she was pregnant. For days she could barely breathe nor put her mind at rest. The very idea of bearing his child was making her numb with fear and the only solution she could come up with was to get rid of James and the bloody creature growing inside of her. She must make way for a proper life with a proper man or die in shame.
*****James was pacing the deck for days, grunting and fuming. That she'd played him like this was well deserved and he had it coming, sure, but still. The crew and his companions in misfortune wisely didn't disturb him in his dangerous mood. He would have struck anyone down trying.
*****Shortly after they anchored at a harbour too small to be on any map, James told Zilpha to leave the ship to take a walk with Lorna.
7On a glorious sunny day Zilpha was swimming in the river though she was crying. James chased after her and reeled her in. She struggled. He tightened his grip, yet he kissed her tenderly. She moaned. He carried her to the bank and made love to her. She gripped his shoulders. "Oh, James. I missed you." He felt a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth but lost the endearing sensation jerking awake in a blast. Horrible scents attacked his nose at once. He was in a soaked and jolting place penned up with hundreds of slaves sailing to a cruel destiny. Idiot. The past is over. Zilpha is no part of your life anymore. The guilt about leaving her without saying goodbye gripped him hard no matter she had sold him out to their father. He had that coming. Yet he had hidden a brief note in one of their secret places. Did she read it? Did she burn it? Did she even care he was gone? That he had to deal with this mess and keep up to survive or perish on this vessel of damnation? So, that one day he can come back and beg her forgiveness. Not that he should. Not that he believed he could. Yet he must.
*****Zilpha couldn't believe James had left without a goodbye or a letter even. She couldn't grasp she was alone and pregnant at that. In her desperation for advice, she confessed her sins to a priest. He couldn't help her in her moral dilemma though. Hence, she did everything to get rid of the baby but didn't succeed. When her condition grew visible, she confided in her father. He didn't rage or threw her on the streets but his cold demeanour towards her was equally hurtful. He kept her hidden in the house for months and told people of a strange sickness. He paid a woman to help her with the birth in secret and the baby boy was snatched from her the second he slipped out of her womb. She never saw his face or heard his voice. James' child. The bastard made in sin. As gone as his bloody father. The traitor who abandoned her. Right. On her own she got back on her feet and was introduced to Thorne a brief time later. The chance for a proper life as a modest wife. Proper indeed. If she had known what was lying ahead, she would have jumped off the bridge that very day giving her consent to the engagement. When the message that the ship with James on board went down to the bottom of the sea and he had drowned, she grieved like a widow even though they were never married. She came to the verge of committing suicide several times and only her faith kept her from performing the ultimate sin. And then something happened that kept her in line for the next ten years. James' spirit appeared to her and the sensation of him being alive against better judgement swept over her like a wave of fortitude. And this force stayed with her keeping her company in most desperate times. Until the day she was stupefied by a blessing in disguise.
*****A couple of days after anchoring and sailing on, James took his cabin back. He had enough and slipped into the bunk right next to her like this was the most usual thing to do. She didn't say a word nor moved away from him. Idly minutes trickled away. The air was impregnated with sorrow and longing. The rolling of the waves rocked the pair into softness yet not to sleep.
*****Zilpha hadn't locked the door to the cabin taking a bath. This was James, not Thorne. She never hid her nakedness from him. Her soul maybe. Never her body nor her desire. He relented for a fleeting time and then surrendered getting into the bathtub with her. She fetched the soap and washed his back. He grunted his consent. She smiled and nuzzled her nipples to his skin, savouring his heat, before gifting a trail of kisses to his neck and spine.
8He couldn't look away. His sister. His blood. The woman he couldn't forget in ten years. "The one thing Africa did not cure is that I still love you," he confessed despite of everything." She deserved to hear that at least. She deserved to be happy. She deserved to leave with him. In the darkest corners of his rotten home, he jerked into his hand. "My love, I can't wait to take you away." He spilled his seed. "I can't wait to make you mine again and show you the world."
*****She couldn't breathe. James. Her lover. The man she couldn't forget in ten years. Told her he still loved her. Oh, she believed him. He was a Delaney. Mad in the head. Yet she would play along. She would get rid of Thorne. She needed to kill her darn husband to be free for happiness. "James," she moaned, giving herself her treat. "I can't wait to be taken away by you." She bucked her hips. "I can't wait to be yours again and for our life to begin."
*****James was swimming above the surface rejoicing in the sun shedding light on his face. Zilpha was swimming next to him. And the boy. Unburdened by a false truth. Yet better to keep this secret for now. Wait and see what the fateful future might deliver. Someday maybe. Just now James splashed water on his beloved and chuckled. At the sound, his mother appeared from the thickness of the jungle around and smiled at them. James knew what she wanted him to do. Show Zilpha the letter you found in your father's trunk. Tell her the truth. That all is good and one day you and her will go to heaven.
*****Zilpha was bathing in a sea of happiness. James loved her no matter what. One day she would tell him that his father had confessed in his last hour that she wasn't his daughter, that her mother was already pregnant when he met her, and she was a bastard child only protected by his mercy lie and not related to James by blood only by heart and soul. This was a secret she would keep to herself daring the mysterious future lying ahead. Daring fate and the man she was decided to follow to heaven or hell. Someday maybe. Though not yet.