Of Squirrels and Water
Word Count 400
Rain came at sunset, and woke Archie, a great wet slap of it, through the open window.
“Wzz- raining?” Horatio said.
Horatio squinted one eye open, wrinkling his face in sleepy distress. His hair had come emphatically loose two hours ago and now it covered his shoulders, stuck to his mouth. There was a red mark at the angle of his jaw where the great pulse lay. Archie had pressed hard there, crazy with need, a biting kiss, and Horatio had pulled him in tight to prolong it. The need would come again, two or three more times before morning. Now was the sweet slack tide, after. Reaching out to push the curls back, Archie touched the little place in caress and apology. Tomorrow Horatio's stock would cover it.
Archie was closer, he could reach. He propped himself on an elbow to swing the shutter closed.
The rain was coming harder now and the wind with it. It was streaming down the gutters now, rushing down the streets to the sea. On the Indy they would have rigged canvas to catch the good clear water. It sounded different ashore. He could hear, at intervals, acorns along with the water, striking the slate roof of the inn.
Somewhere out there in the world, between the inn and the sea, small creatures slept snug and waited for the rain to stop. There were squirrels in the oak outside the window. He and Horatio had remarked on them this afternoon. There had been two of them, notable for their plump and glossy insolence. Maybe they were curled into a nest, even now, warm and soft in the center of the oak, listening to the drum of the rain.
Were there squirrels inclined as he and Horatio were? Perhaps the two they had seen both male? He found himself smiling at the thought. A squirrel had no need to worry about the Articles, or the law. They could have the pleasure of each other whenever they pleased.
Still and all, he would rather not eat acorns. He had eaten acorns, actually, in France. Maybe they tasted better if one was a squirrel.
He pushed that memory away good and hard. He was here now, fully here, beneath the rainy sky, beneath the slate roof, beneath a warm blanket, snug as a squirrel.