It was peaceful here. There was a peace and contentment found in the small mountain cabin that Sadira hadn't found anywhere else in far too long. No one for miles around and a small lake ten minutes away made for the perfect retreat. It was the perfect place to rest, to regain her bearings. In other words, it was the perfect place to hide.
Jack would never find her here.
She was one of the lucky ones. She had managed to escape her abuser with her life. Not all women were so fortunate. Not all women had the friends she did. The damage had been done, though. The once vibrant woman confident in her own strength and abilities now saw only a shell of her former self when she looked in the mirror. That was what this retreat was about. It wasn't just hiding from Jack, which she would freely admit was a big part of it, but it was about finding her strength again as well. About remembering who she used to be.
On her third day at the cabin she rose with the dawn and pulling on only her short robe she left the cabin to make the short hike to the lake just beyond the small grove of trees that shielded the cabin from view. Enough time had been wasted sleeping and recovering from her mad dash from the place she had called home for the last five years. It was time to explore her surroundings, and herself, and recapture some of the magic she had let Jack destroy.
His disdain of her family's traditions had started out small, seemingly joking remarks disparaging paganism and witchcraft quickly turning into blatant acrimony once she had moved in with him. At first she had defied him, insisting she would not give up her traditions just because he did not agree with her spiritual path. It wasn't until she came home to find the small alter she had erected on her side of their room destroyed that she had packed away all of her ritual items. She wouldn't risk them being destroyed as well. She had tried to leave for the first time after that and had almost not survived his brutal response.
Forcing her thoughts away from the past she focused on the forest floor beneath her feet, the trees towering overhead, and the first rays of the golden sun as it broke through the morning haze to bathe the lake and the trees surrounding it in a golden light. A nearby tree stump was chosen to hold the towel she carried and sliding the robe from her shoulders she laid the satin material on top of the folded terry cloth and stepped to the edge of the lake.
Chilled water lapped at her toes and she shivered, a smile beginning to curl the edges of her lips as she turned her face up to greet the first rays of the sun as they broke over the tree line. It had been a long time since she had greeted the sun like this, without fear of discovery and the consequences that would come from being found out. Closing her eyes she let her head fall back, sending cascades of golden chestnut waves to brush against the curve of her ass as she offered herself up to the healing power of the Sun.
Time became irrelevant as she stood there, basking in the growing warmth of the sun, the water lapping at her toes, the earth beneath her feet, the pure air of the woods filling her lungs. She was anchored to the elements, filled by them, buoyed by their strength and she might have stayed as she was for a good portion of the morning had the sudden sound of a twig breaking not broken through her elemental meditation.
Eyes that had been firmly closed snapped open, her head lowering so that her piercing green gaze could scan the line of trees surrounding the lake. Her body became as still as stone, her breathing slowed until it was so shallow even she could not hear it without focusing on it first. Her reaction was instinctive, her body quieting so she could focus on her surroundings and the source of the noise she had heard coming from the trees beyond. This was the forest, the likelihood that she was alone was slim, but the question was ... was her companion four legged or two? She wasn't afraid of her four legged companions; at least not in the same way she would be a of another human being, but she knew better then to treat them with anything less then the respect they deserved.
The forest seemed to fall silent around her, as though responding to her need for quiet to sense her surroundings. After several tense moments when nothing more nefarious then a skunk wandering through the underbrush across the lake from her appeared she relaxed. Mentally shaking her head at herself she laughed and that simple act broke through the tension and all around her the forest came alive again, the call of birds mingling with the wind as it rustled through the trees. She was far away from anyone who could hurt her and the one man who would, would never find her here.
Wading into the chilly lake water to her knees she knew she would have to take the plunge or she would chicken out and retreat back to the cabin. Steeling herself against the shock that was coming she pushed off the ground and dove cleanly into the water, breaking through the glasslike surface and sending ripples to the far corners of the lake.
Emerging through the surface she gasped from the shock of cold water. It had been colder then she'd been prepared for, but she welcomed it. It made her skin tingle, turning pink from the chill, and for the first time in a long time she felt awake ... alive. Stretching out she began to swim short laps about the lake, her arms pulling her through the water with long smooth strokes. The water soon felt warmer and though she knew it was her own body temperature rising as she acclimated to the cool water, she still felt enveloped by the caress of the water, safe, welcome.
She swam laps until she was breathing heavily and her arms were beginning to feel like lead weights. Slowing her speed she moved to float on her back, her body cradled in the gentle water. Inch by inch she relaxed, her body floating serenely as the silken caress of the lake lapped against her limbs. It was the first gentle touch her body had been graced with in ages and she felt herself slipping into an almost meditative state as the water brushed against her sensitive skin.
Slowly her hands drifted through the gently lapping water until her fingertips caressed against the sensitive skin of her hips and thighs. Instinctively she parted her thighs as though welcoming the more intimate caress of a lover and she gasped gently in surprise when the motion caused the water to lap against her slit. Her body was growing warmer in spite of the cool water and fanciful images of a lake god using the water to caress her instead of his hands began to fire her imagination and had her squirming slightly beneath her own touch. Jack had hated it when she touched herself, wanting to control every bit of her life including her pleasure, and to avoid the fights she knew it would cause if she had continued to do so, she had stopped all together. Since the sex with Jack was rarely about her pleasure she might as well have been celibate and now she found herself hungering to be touched, even if that touch was her own.
Hesitantly, as though afraid she would be caught and reprimanded any moment, her hands began to explore her body, relearning the generous curves she had nearly forgotten she had as her left hand skimmed up her stomach to caress her breasts, her fingertips teasing her nipples until they tightened almost painfully beneath her touch. Continuing to awaken her long slumbering libido her right hand eased down her body until her fingers brushed almost shyly over her pussy. Cupping herself she felt her body tighten with the anticipation of being touched and her fingers might have delved between her swollen lips but the sound of something, or someone, large moving through the trees broke through the fantasy she had submersed herself in, loud enough to have her body jerking upright, the water splashing around her as she turned in circles to examine the shores of the lake.
She saw nothing but the slight rustle of leaves settling after being disturbed had her kicking off the lake bed and swimming quickly to the shore and scrambling up towards where she had left her towel and robe. Panic seized her as she wrapped the towel around her without bothering to dry off first and turned to make her way back up the path leading to her cabin at a near run. The part of her mind where logic ruled argued that the likelihood of it being Jack was slim, but the fight or flight part of her mind didn't care about logic. Besides, if it wasn't Jack, just who the hell had been spying on her?
Rounding a bend on the dirt path she came to a sudden stop, nearly stumbling over her own feet with the abrupt action, and a strangled cry filled the oppressive silence. Standing on the path and effectively blocking the way to the cabin, was a large ash gray wolf. Just the sight of a wolf that large was enough to startle her, but seeing it so up close and personal had her suddenly worried about another kind of predator all together. Her eyes met the wolf's and she was startled by the icy blue hue that gazed calmly back at her. Blue eyes ... not gold. There was no time to ponder that oddity, however. She should be backing away, slowly and carefully, but she couldn't seem to make her feet obey her mind. She was entranced, enchanted by the wolf's stare.
Wolves had always held a very sacred place within her life. Wolf was her totem animal, her spiritual guide and guardian on the astral plane, and she'd had two wolf's paws tattooed on her lower back long before she had met Jack. He had hated them, but they had always reminded her that she was strong enough to endure him, to endure anything he did, and that she was not alone.
The wolf now standing before her moved forward, just a bit but enough to cause awareness to return and in response she eased a step or two back. As though the wolf understood she was afraid he let out a soft whine and lowered himself down to the ground, his head falling to rest on his front paws. He seemed to be trying to reassure her, the light of intelligence in his eyes again capturing her attention. She didn't know how she knew the wolf was a "he", she just knew. She could feel it, sense him, and the energy roiling from the wolf was definitely masculine.
The situation was so surreal she began to wonder if she was dreaming, or hallucinating, but how either of those circumstances would have come about was beyond her. This must be real ... right? She was a witch; she was supposed to believe in the magic of the universe, was this part of it? Deciding she would have no one to blame but herself if the wolf in front of her decided to rush her and use her as a breakfast snack, she began to ease forward slowly, her right hand extending to the wolf as her left clutched the robe still dangling from her fingertips to her chest.
"Um ... hello boy?"
What the hell do you say to a wolf? A wolf that looks as though he understands every word coming from your mouth, no less. At the hesitant sound of her voice the wolf's head raised, his head cantered to the side as he sniffed the air as though checking for danger. Once satisfied she meant him no harm he stood to his feet and ambled slowly towards her outstretched hand. Her breath caught in her throat as he neared, the brush of his muzzle against her fingertips causing her to exhale in sudden relief. Gaining confidence she stroked his head and he moved closer to her. He must be someone's pet, she finally decided. Some people kept them as pets and in this neck of the woods, no pun intended, it would be far more likely to find someone with a wolf this large as a pet.
Mentally berating herself for being so foolish she smiled and let her hand fall from the wolf's head. "You lost buddy? C'mon. I think I can find some breakfast for the both of us."
Feeling utterly foolish she began to make her way back down the path, the wolf quickly falling into step at her side. Glancing down at her new, and highly unusual, companion she couldn't help but smile at the turn of events in her life. She had not been looking for companionship but life did not always turn out how you expect it too. Besides, this kind of companion she could handle.
Arriving at the cabin she climbed the few steps to the porch and beckoned for the wolf to follow her. He might not be comfortable in doors, depending on how his owner treated him, and did not wish to force him into an enclosed space. She personally did not feel a wolf could be kept as a pet. They might befriend a human or two, but they would always be a predator. Propping the door open she stepped aside and waited to see if he would enter the small cabin or choose to remain on the porch. After a few moments of examining the interior from the threshold he finally stepped over and padded into the main room. Closing the door behind her she smiled, genuinely, for the second time today.
"Welcome to your temporary home, Wolfie."