The train looked older than what I was expecting, but it had character. The interior was spacious, and there was an Old World charm to the wooden paneling and worn leather seats. Looking around, I decided the place was just a bit threadbare but still inviting. I threw my bags into an overhead rack and settled down into one of the booths. The high-back seats were comfortable and provided a lot of privacy.
I had gotten to the train almost a half hour early and was the first one in the car. I spent a little time going over some papers, but mostly just looking out over the scenic view of the city. Copiapo was lovely in the Friday afternoon sunlight and I was enjoying myself immensely. A relaxing weekend in a first class hotel was awaiting me. Life was good.
The train started with a jerk, yanking me out of my daydream. I looked around and saw only a half dozen people scattered about the cabin, all men.
"Well," I thought, "should be a pretty quiet ride. I could use a good night's sleep."
I stared at the scenery for a while as the train pulled out of town, watching a thick layer of clouds roll in from the south and cover the setting sun. It looked like snow, and the view was just changing to winter twilight when the door in the front of the train car opened and let in a blast of freezing air. The conductor quickly slid the door shut and walked to the back of the car. He then started punching the tickets of the few passengers in the car, working his way forward. He was a bit slow about it, chatting with the people. I would be his last stop. I went back to my reading...
I nodded as I handed it to him.
There was the metallic click of a punch. "And how do like my country?" he asked as he handed my ticket back.
Great, he spoke English! "Chile? It's beautiful. I love the air, the mountains, the people... It's so colorful... Back home I'd be celebrating the July 4'th weekend. That's a holiday for our independence. It feels so different to be here, in winter now."
The conductor was a good listener, just letting me ramble on.
I felt a little sheepish. "I guess I really look like a foreigner, huh?"
The conductor smiled as he nodded. "We're on schedule. Should be arriving in Santiago at 10 AM." He paused for a moment. "Are you here on pleasure?"
"No. Actually, I've been working here in Copiapo for a while..."
"Oh really? Where were you staying?"
"The Hotel La Casona."
"Ah, very nice."
"Yes, very nice indeed. It's right in the downtown area too, very convenient. I work for Banco Santander."
The man nodded again and paused for a moment. "And what do you do?"
"I build models."
"Financial models. Until a month ago, I worked in the bank's New York office. I developed a small-business model to predict industry trends. Copiapo was a perfect place to test it out. We use it for both investment banking and customer risk analysis."
"And your superiors are happy with it?"
"Oh, they're ecstatic. The projections are we're going to make millions with this. I'll be in Santiago all next month, meeting with the senior executives and setting up a second program there."
"Excellent senor! I hope you will find Santiago as worthy of love as Copiapo."
I nodded. "It's forty times as large, almost five million people! This is really a tremendous opportunity for me... Say, do you know, is it much higher up? In elevation I mean..."
The conductor was quiet for a moment as he thought. "About the same as Copiapo, I think. Maybe Santiago is a few meters higher. But both cities are less than 500 meters, I'm sure... From sea level, I mean... Breathing should be no problem. The air will be a bit thin as we travel over the mountains though..."
I nodded. "Yeah... Thanks..." He looked liked he was about to take off and I glanced about the car. "Very few travelers. Is it always this empty?"
For the first time, I saw the conductor frown. "No... Some of the cars further up are half full, but here... Ah, superstitions die very slowly..."
"Oh? This sounds interesting. What do you mean?"
The conductor just yawned for a moment, and I thought he wasn't going to reply. But then he said, "It's been three years now. I try not to think about it... There was a death on the train, in this car in fact... It was very strange..."
"Ah... A murder?"
"The police weren't sure. There was never a good explanation for what happened... Ah, best not to speak of it. Enjoy the ride senor. The views through the mountains are beautiful, even at night."
I thanked him as he walked forward and left. I looked at the mountains for a while, until the blowing snow obscured the view. It looked bitterly cold outside. It felt nice to be inside the train, cozy... I had a light snack from my backpack, watched the storm, did a bit of reading. The rhythmic clack of the wheels on the rails was very soothing. I decided to sack out.
The train dimmed the interior lights in the late evening. I was asleep for a long while, and then in the dead of night I heard the back door of the train- car slide open and close. I was semi-aware of someone walking up and down the aisle, and decided to wake up and see who it was.
What I saw was completely unexpected. I guess the closest description would be gothic gaucho. It was a young woman, very thin but fit, dressed in a black leather gaucho hat and poncho, black pants and boots. As she got close, I could also see she was wearing black lipstick and black nail polish. Even her hair, and there was a lot of it, was dyed a jet black. Her one small travel bag was, of course, black. Her face was a mask of concentration and distress and... sadness? The total effect was startling.
She kept looking over the few sleepers in the car, as if deciding where to sit. There was so much empty room, I couldn't understand why. But then I thought maybe she wanted some company. So as she passed, I smiled at her and waved my hand at the seat across from me in my booth. She looked startled at first, surprised I was awake, but then shrugged and nodded, throwing her bag on the opposite seat and sitting down next to me on my side of the booth.
I've always had a fantastic sense of empathy, so strong I could run magic shows with it when I was a kid. I would pretend to be a magician who could read minds, and my hunches were so often on target it drove the other kids nuts. But nothing prepared me for what hit me now, wave after wave of gnawing hunger. The woman looked so young, I wondered if she was a teenager, and it felt as if she were starving. Without thinking, I blurted out in my broken Spanish, "May I feed you?"
"What?!" she hissed, looking both mortified and furious. My empathic sense threw me a complete curve ball then. I got the crazy feeling she was about to lock my head in an embrace and give me an intensely passionate kiss. I backed up out of reach and shook my head in bewilderment, and then thought about what I had just said.
"Oh! So sorry. I didn't mean to sound insulting!" I looked at her eyes for the first time, pure black. Tinted contact lenses? How bizarre was this night going to get? Well, at least she spoke English. "I've just started learning Spanish a month ago... I have some food. Are you hungry? Would you like some nuts... a piece of fruit?"
She made a deep frown, and then shook her head no.
Her response was at total odds with my senses. She looked thin, really thin, and my empathy was still sounding alarm bells about waves of gnawing hunger. I persisted. "Are you sure? When was the last time you ate?"
"I don't want your food."
"If you don't eat for long enough, you'll get weak."
She laughed. "No, not me!"
"Huh? Sure you will."
"Sure I won't."
I blinked. "Oh yeah? So what does happen when you don't eat?"
"I get hungry."
"But how about after that?"
"Even hungrier." She flashed me a wicked smile.
"But eventually..." I blurted out.
"Yes! I get so hungry I must eat!"
"Right... So how long has it been since you've eaten?"
She paused for a moment. "Years..." she whispered and then glared at me, daring me to challenge her.
Okay, I thought, I give up. "Gee, I'm sorry if I pestered you. My name's Gary, by the way. I'm pleased to meet you."
She stared at me for a moment, looking very surprised that I had introduced myself. "My name is A'moth," she whispered back.
"A'moth?" I said uncertainly. There was a long A sound with the accent, followed by the word moth. I had never heard of such a name before.
The woman looked furious at my uncertainty. She hissed at me. "Yes, A'moth! What's the matter?! Doesn't my name sound feminine to you? I assure you, I can be very feminine!"
I was hit again with a strong wave of empathy, an overpowering feeling she was about to hold my head and fiercely kiss me. I backed up in confusion. "Hey! I meant no offense. And I admit, I was a bit surprised by your name. I kind of like it though. It fits you."
She looked very confused by my response, finally just nodding and looking away for a moment. Then she stretched and took off her poncho and threw it across the booth to the opposite seat. I gasped at the sight of what was underneath.
She was wearing only a sleeveless tee-shirt on top, black of course. Obviously no bra, and her shapely breasts were clearly defined in the soft cotton fabric. Her nipples were quite visible, I guessed from the cold. But as alluring as her breasts were, my eyes were drawn to her bare arms. They were magnificent. Femininely proportioned, but rippling with sleek muscles. Try to imagine a beautiful model doing technical mountain climbing twelve hours a day for a year. It still wouldn't compare to what I was looking at.
I felt sure she could pick me up and carry me off the train very easily if she wanted to. "Uh, look, A'moth. I really do apologize. You're obviously in excellent shape. I don't know why I thought you were starving."
She nodded at me but looking more confused than ever. This conversation was not what she was expecting.
We sat in silence for a while. I was getting a whole bunch of confusing signals from my empathy, crazy feelings of danger, sadness, and sexiness. It didn't make any sense. I finally decided to try conversing again.
"This'll be my first time in Santiago. How about you?"
"Santiago? Oh, the train..." She paused for so long I thought she wasn't going to continue. "I was there a long time ago." She smiled for a brief second. "I bet it's changed a lot."
I nodded. "I'll be working at a bank there. How about you? Do you have family there?"
She shook her head no, looking upset by the question. What did I say?! "No, no family. Santiago... It's a place to be, that's all."
Oh my gosh, I thought. She looks so young. Is she a teenage runaway? "A'moth, do you need a place to stay?"
"Do you want me to come with you?" She actually smiled and relaxed when she said this, as if she were expecting to be propositioned. The conversation was entering familiar ground.
"Huh?! No, of course not. I'm not trying to hit up on you. A'moth, do you need a place to stay?"
"If you don't want me, why should you care?"
"Just from kindness. A'moth, do you have any money?"
She dismissed the question. "I don't need money."
"Yikes! Of course you need money. You have nothing in your bag?"
She shook her head no. "Just some things my mother left me."
"Left you? A'moth, have you been abandoned?"
"Huh?!" For the first time I heard her laugh. It was a beautiful melodic sound. "You think I'm a youth?! Look into my eyes! Tell me what you see!"
We locked eyes with each other. The depth of her black irises was infinite, deep pools of countless sorrows and survival. My empathy began to overload me with signals I didn't understand. I finally broke the eye contact. "No. I think I understand. You're no teenager."
"Hardly!" And then she smiled at me, smiled with kindness for the first time.
I smiled back. She beckoned me to caress her, moving close to my side and sharing her warmth with me. I reached up and gently brushed my fingertips at the edge of her hair. "Your mom didn't happen to leave you a comb, did she?"
A'moth and I were almost about to kiss, but my question startled her. "Huh?!"
"A'moth, your hair, it's full of knots. Here, turn around."
She looked uncertain, but then on a whim decided to play along for a moment. I got out my comb and started to work at the knots in the bottom of her hair. Neither of us spoke for a while as I worked.
She had hair most women would die for. I realized it was naturally black, not dyed at all. And the words super luxurious wouldn't begin to describe it. My hands were soon engulfed in something all softness and silkiness. Super clean too, with a faint sweet fragrance that made my mind want to drift, to dream and imagine lying next to this delightful creature for the night. She was so beautiful...
I blinked myself back to reality. I had worked the last of the knots out a while ago, and now was just stroking the comb slowly through her hair. A'moth's emotional state was a deep puzzle to me. I could feel that being caressed was very unfamiliar to her. I sensed she was both yearning for more and deeply disturbed by what I was doing. She finally gave one soft cry and pulled away.
A'moth turned around and took the comb from my hand and stared at it.
"Keep it," I said.
She nodded, putting the comb in her back pocket. She then returned to my side, facing me. She lifted her head up and waited for me to kiss her. I almost did, she was so beautiful, so desirable, but we happened to lock eyes again instead. The moment seemed to last forever as she gazed into my soul. She finally whispered, "You're a seer, aren't you? Like me..."
I brushed my fingers gently across her cheek. "You mean empathic? Yeah, I guess so. I'm getting a whole bunch of feelings right now... that I don't understand."
"I can feel you too," she replied as she smiled. "How attractive you find me. Sexy. Desiring me..."
"Well, yeah. Some feeling I do understand. But A'moth, I'm not trying to push you into anything."
"Oh, I know. I'm the one who pushes."
She sighed and changed the subject. "Another seer... I haven't met one in a very long time. Do you read too?"
"What? I don't understand what you're asking."
"Can you read people? Their lives..."
"Oh... You mean like reading their palms? Reading their future?"
She laughed. "No, of course not! The future hasn't been created yet. What is there to read? I meant the past. Here, let me show you. I can read. Give me your hand."
I was intrigued. I freely offered her my hand, wondering what she would find. She turned my hand palm up and laid it in her lap. I could feel the soft leather of her pants on the back of my hand, high up on her thigh near her hips. She then placed three fingers across the inside of my wrist, at the pulse point, and then looked back into my eyes.
Her eyes were so black. I dimly thought they didn't look like contacts at all, but naturally jet black eyes... Was that possible? There was something else too about her eyes, so unusual. What was it? Something about her eyes...
A'moth smiled at me as she pressed her fingers into my pulse. "Like this, I can read you very well. You are unattached... no children... that's good... smart... you had an interesting life... only came to Chile... a month ago..."
"Ha! Good guesses!"
"I'm not guessing... You are kind... truly kind... I'm sorry I picked you..." She glanced out the window. The snow had stopped hours ago and there was a faint promise of pink on the eastern horizon. She sighed heavily. Did I see tears in her eyes? "But it's too late for me to change..."
A'moth leaned over and kissed me, full on the mouth, her hand on my wrist holding me to her. I was too startled to push back, and then I didn't want to. She was all softness and femininity and my body was begging to be inside her. She leaned over and pressed her body against me, and everything was warmth and full of sexual promise.
I got lost in our kiss. Her tongue somehow kept my tongue out of her mouth but she playfully entered mine. It was very sensual, and after a while my mouth sensed a sweet taste, quite unusual. I drifted in the intense sexuality.
I blinked in surprise when I realized her hand was caressing my penis through my pants, probing its firmness. I wasn't sure how much time had passed, but my erection was throbbing for her. We were still locked in a kiss, and both of us were panting in arousal and urgency. She had already unbuckled my belt, and had almost worked my pants off from my hips.
I didn't want to hurt her, didn't mean to take the sexuality this far. But it was hard for me to move, infinitely more difficult than I would have imagined. I raised my hand to push her away. A'moth adjusted her position and let my hand cup her breast. Such a beautiful shape, ripe with promise... So soft... So beautiful... I felt overwhelmed with desire for her, and so sleepy. I dreamed of suckling the hard nipple that pressed into my palm... I dreamed resting my head in her lap as I suckled her...
I blinked and realized I had been drifting again, caressing her breast and drifting. We were finished kissing, and A'moth had my penis free of my pants. She had the fingers of her right hand curled around my slick shaft. It was covered in the moisture of her saliva. Her pumping strokes on the slick lubrication were incredible. My erection felt super stiff.
And it felt so good! I wanted to lose myself in the pleasure, just close my eyes and imagine my penis thrusting into the warm moisture of her vagina, dream of mounting her and holding her and... But no! I barely had the will to drop my hand from her breast to her ribs below. Her body felt strange, as if her ribs were not quite in the right location. I pushed anyway, finally separating us.
A'moth had been staring at my penis in intense concentration, adding moisture from her mouth as she prepared to take me to orgasm. She looked up very surprised that I had made an effort to stop her from jerking me off. "I know you want me," she hissed. "And I won't stop. Just relax and give in to your desire for me." She kissed me briefly on my lips as she continued to pump my erection. She spat into me, and a sweet taste of apples and honey and almonds covered my tongue. I swallowed, and felt the sweet taste tickle my larynx.
"No. A'moth I can't!" My voice was suddenly a whisper, even though I was trying to shout. I could barely make a sound. Why was I so weak? My arms felt they were wrapped in heavy lead weights.
A'moth looked up with me, her eyes crying in sadness. "You have no choice! Neither do I. The sex will bring you great pleasure. I can promise you that!"
"Oh, it's not the pleasure! I want you so much, but not like this!" I could only whisper. My arms felt so weak, I couldn't hold them up anymore. They fell loosely to my sides. My whole body felt numb. A'moth moved back close beside me, pressing herself against me, wetting her fingers, moistening and probing my anus, spitting on my cock and then returning to stroke me... My loins ached for her...
And my body wouldn't respond when I tried to move away from her. The only spot that seemed normal was my cock, fully erect and begging for release as she continued to pump my shaft. I made one last effort to talk. "A'moth, no! This is wrong!" She would not look at me. "Please?!" I cried in a whisper.
She sobbed but shook her head no. "I have no choice!"
"Of course you do!" I whispered. "You said it yourself! The future isn't written yet. A'moth, sex shouldn't be based on force. You're raping me if you take me like this! Please..."
"I have no choice! I promise you great pleasure." She was crying, silent tears falling from her eyes.
"Not enough! Damn it! Your promise is not enough! A'moth... please... no..." I drifted for a while, barely woke when I realized she was kneeling between my legs. My erection was a phalanx of raging stiffness, she kept forcing blood up into my cock with her curled fingers, pumping at the base. My body couldn't wait to enter her.
"A'moth... no... please stop..." I whispered. I felt so confused, so tired. "Why am I so sleepy?"
"I can't kiss you anymore. I need you to be semi-awake... to maintain your erection for me..."