At the knock on the door, Stephen Wagner looked up, then put down his textbook, The Ethno-Geography of Prehistoric China. He crossed the small dorm room, unlocked the door, and peeked outside. A young woman stood at the entrance, smiling back at him in the light of a single bulb glowing in the hallway.
Stephen smiled back. "Oh. Hi, Amber."
"Hi, Steve. Is your brother here?"
Stephen opened the door wider. For a moment, Stephen let his eyes linger over her tight belly exposed under a tank top that swelled over her full breasts, then forced himself to look her in the eye. "Uh, no. Kurt left an hour ago."
"Oh." Amber twisted one of her curls of blonde hair on a finger. "I've been trying to get in touch with him all day."
"Kurt's band, the Horndogs, is playing at the Zenith Pavilion. It's a big auditorium on the south-east corner of the campus, can't miss it."
"I know. I was just over there. Kurt wasn't there. Damien is singing with them tonight." Amber chewed on her lower lip, then raised her blue eyes to Stephen's. "Steve, can I come in for a minute?"
"Uh, sure." Stephen held the door open for her, allowing a quick peek at the curves of her buttocks under her shorts as she walked past him.
Once inside, Stephen closed the door and scurried to the desk where he had been working. He began shuffling around the stacks of textbooks and notepads he had been poring over. "Sorry about the mess."
Amber leaned over the desk, allowing her eyes to wander over the mountain of paper. "That's okay. You studying for a test?"
"Uh, sort of. I'm supposed to be." Stephen picked up a gray and pitted skull resting in a box on the desk. "I kind of got caught up in researching this. I found it in the University's archives as an unidentified primate skull. I think it might belong to an undiscovered hominid from the Paleolithic Era. I might be able to get a thesis if I can identify it. If you'll notice here, the teeth are similar to the australopithecine, but the brain is very large, more like a Homo habilus--"
He stopped when he noticed the look on Amber's face. His cheeks flushed as he put the skull back down. "Sorry, got a little carried away."
"That's okay. It's nice that you're so into this science stuff." Amber sat down on Stephen's bed, bouncing slightly as she crossed her long legs.
Stephen sat down in the chair across from her. "So what did you want to talk to me about?"
Amber fixed her eyes on his. "Stephen, I want you to be honest with me. You're his brother. You know him better than I do. Is Kurt seeing another woman?"
Stephen froze, blinked, and then lowered his eyes. "Uh, well, I don't know. I'm not around him all the time--"
"Steve, be honest, please."
"Well, I mean, I don't know for sure, but a girl did call before Kurt left, and she said her name was Brittany. And I did see him having coffee with a woman last week. They looked kind of...intimate." Stephen looked into Amber's eyes, watching them pool with tears, and decided the moment of truth had arrived. "Okay, Amber, the truth. Last night, Kurt came in late with some redheaded girl on his arm. He gave me ten bucks to go see a movie, and told me not to hurry home. If you know what I mean."
Amber lowered her eyes, which began to glisten in the dim light. "Yes. I know what you mean. I knew he was seeing someone else. It's probably Ginger, that slut from the coffee shop."
"Ginger? No, I told you, the woman who called said her name was Brittany."
Amber burst into tears, clawing at her cheeks with her fingers as she hunched over. "Brittany, Ginger, who cares? Kurt's got a million women. I was so stupid."
Stephen climbed out of his chair and sat down on the bed next to Amber. "No, come on, don't beat yourself up. That's just Kurt being Kurt. He uses women. You're not the first woman who's fallen for it."
As Amber raised her head, tears ran down her cheeks onto the cleavage swelling from her tank top. The tears trickled down to vanish within the valley of her breasts. "I know, Steve. I knew Kurt had other women, but I wanted to believe I was special."
Stephen watched Amber sitting next to him, felt the heat of her body, and thought the moment had come. He shifted a little closer to her, trying not to shake the bed too much. "You are special, Amber. Even if Kurt doesn't see that, I do."
Amber raised her blue eyes up to him, giving him a crooked smile. "Thanks, Stephen. You're so sweet."
Stephen felt his heart pounding in his ribs as he brought his hand up by sheer will alone. He rested it lightly on her arm. Just the touch of her skin made his body tingle. "Amber, you don't need Kurt. Lots of guys would love to date you."
Amber's eyes softened. Her lips twitched. Stephen moved closer to her then, his hands trembling as they touched her forearms. He leaned in closer, feeling her breath against his face, carrying the scent of strawberries.
Amber slipped away from him, off the bed. She stood up and ran her hands down her hips, smoothing out her clothes. "I'd better go."
Stephen rose to his feet. "No, Amber, don't go. I like you a lot. I've liked you ever since I met you, but never said anything since you started dating Kurt. Come on. We don't have to stay here. Let's go catch a movie or something."
Amber winced. "Oh, Stephen, I can't. I'm still dating your brother."
"What? But I just told you, he's seeing other women."
Amber turned away, running her fingers down her cheeks. "I know, I know. But I still love Kurt."
Stephen breathed harder. "How can you say that? He doesn't love you."
"Look, it's not about Kurt. Even if I wasn't seeing Kurt, I couldn't date you." Amber turned to take both Stephen's hands in hers. He felt his heart leap at her touch, but her words made his heart sink again. "Stephen, you're a really sweet guy, but I'm just not into you."
Stephen pulled his hands out of her fingers and turned away. "Oh. I see."
He could hear Amber come up close behind him. "Hey, Steve, come on. It's nothing personal. You're funny and nice, and really smart. I like that. But I like a guy with a little edge, you know? Some excitement. I'm sorry."
Stephen kept his gaze fixed on the window in front of him, watching snow fall outside the dormitory. "I understand."
"Good. Well, I'm gonna go try the coffee shop. Sometimes Kurt likes to go there. Maybe I can catch up with him. I'll see you later, okay? Maybe we can grab a coffee sometime, just as friends. Bye."
Stephen kept his fists clenched as Amber's footsteps faded, the door opened and closed, and the room fell into silence.
He couldn't believe it. He had dreamed of telling Amber how he felt about her, ever since he first saw her. It had been at one of Kurt's parties, and Stephen had been sitting in a corner as usual, nursing a cup of punch. Along comes Kurt out of the pool with two women under his arm. One of them had been an Asian girl named Kim who ended up breaking up with Kurt in a week. The other had been Amber. They all wore swimsuits, and Stephen couldn't take his eyes off Amber's breasts bouncing under her bikini top. She hadn't noticed Stephen, too busy laughing over one of Kurt's jokes and rubbing his brother's muscular arms and stomach. The three of them ended up climbing the stairs, and Stephen had been treated to the sight of Amber's round butt in a thong. From that moment on, Stephen had been hooked.
To Stephen's surprise, Amber's relationship with Kurt lasted longer than a week. He knew all along that Kurt saw other women, but didn't want to say anything to hurt her. But every chance he got, Stephen tried to get Amber alone and get to know her. The two of them seemed to get along well. She didn't share his love of prehistoric archaeology, but at least she listened. Maybe if they had met under other circumstances, Stephen would have had a chance.
Stephen sighed as he closed his eyes. All his life, he had lived in the shadow of his brother. It looked like that would never change.
He rubbed his face and tried to focus. He still had that test on evolutionary history to study for. As he faced his desk again, the mysterious skull gazed up at him from its box. The open mouth gaped at him in a permanent smile, mocking him. A round hole in its forehead seemed like a third eye, watching Stephen.
"Just you and me now, huh, pal?" Stephen asked it. "All alone, Saturday night, looking at dirty old skulls. That's my life. That'll always be my life."
The rush of humiliation overwhelmed him. He plucked the skull out of the box, turned, and hurled it at the wall. The skull shattered into pieces of fossilized bone and powder that rained down onto the floor.
But the powder didn't stay on the floor. It swirled in the air like a miniature tornado. Stephen lunged back as the powder turned the color of gold, sparkling in the dim light as it whirled towards him. He screamed as the dust overtook him, but his lungs filled with the powder. It burned inside his chest, and Stephen doubled over in coughs. The sparkling light filled his eyes.
The dust flying over Steven turned ice-cold. He opened his eyes, and saw nothing but white. He looked down and saw his hands submerged in a foot of snow. Stephen shuddered as he felt an icy wind sweeping over him and raised his eyes.
Stephen's dorm room had vanished, replaced by a vast plain of snow. The sun shone high over the edge of cliffs that surrounded him. Dunes of snow filled the edges of the towering rocks. The glittering dust had been replaced by a snowstorm that filled the air with particles of ice. Already, snowflakes clung to Stephen's shirt and jeans, and more added themselves every second.
"Where am I?" Stephen whispered.
Stephen's body trembled violently as he tried to rise to his feet. He wrapped his arms around himself as he yelled into the wind. "Hello? Where am I? Is anybody out there?"
A crunching noise drew Stephen around to look behind him. His mouth fell open.
He watched five enormous animals lumber across his path. They looked like elephants, but covered with a thick coat of brown hair that rippled as they plodded through the snow. One of them turned its massive head towards him. It almost knocked Stephen over with the curved tusks that jutted from its mouth. The creature snorted, then headed off with the rest of the herd towards a mountain on the horizon.
Stephen breathed harder as he hugged himself tighter. "That was...that was...that was a woolly mammoth. But that's impossible. The woolly mammoths have been extinct since the Ice Age. Unless..."
Stephen raised his eyes to the clouds rolling over his head. "Unless I'm in the Ice Age...one million years ago."
Stephen trembled again, but this time it came from the temperature. The exposed skin on his arms and face felt chilled to the point of burning. In the distance, he could make out a shadow against the cliffs. It looked like a cave. His sneakers punched through the crust of ice into the deep snow as he ran. He felt them become soaked with melting snow, but within seconds it had turned into solid ice against his skin. By the time Stephen reached the cave, he could barely walk.
Wind sweeping across the entrance of the cave filled it with the echo of a low moan. Icicles hung from the ceiling like teeth. Stephen tumbled into the cave and collapsed against the rock wall. He felt a moment's relief at getting out of the wind, but knew it wouldn't be enough.
"Gotta make a fire," Stephen whimpered. "Gotta make a fire. Don't worry about how I got here, gotta make a fire. Think, Stephen, think. How did they make fire in the Ice Age?"
In a flash, Stephen's research on Stone Age tools came back to him. He looked around the cave and found what he had been searching for. A few feet away, a small shrub reached its twigs out from between the cracks of two rocks. Stephen managed to uncurl his fingers and tugged the shrub out. As he had hoped, the shrub had died and left only dry twigs behind.
Stephen set a handful of the twigs down in the hollow of a boulder, then dug through a pile of rocks. He found two that he recognized as flint and pyrite stones. He struck the two stones together over the twigs. Sparks flew from the impact. Stephen kept striking until the twigs caught a spark and burst into flame. Stephen kept added twigs until a fire blazed in the pit of rock.
He hunched over the flame, warming his hands and body, until he heard a snap behind him. Stephen whipped around to look deeper into the cave.
Something moved in the shadows where the light could not fall.
Stephen huddled closer to his fire as he called out, "Hello? Anyone there?"
A figure crawled out of the darkness, and Stephen realized it was human as it crawled towards him. Animal furs draped over its body, and locks of blonde hair draped the face. When the human raised its head, the hair fell away to expose a woman's face.
Her skin had grown dark from an intense tan, but her blue eyes pierced through like diamonds. Her brow seemed a bit thicker than normal, but she struck Stephen as incredibly beautiful.
Stephen blinked, then reached out a hand. "Hello. My name is Stephen."
The woman flinched and shrank away from the hand. A series of low grunts came out of her clenched mouth.
Stephen narrowed his eyes. "You're not a modern-day human. Sloping forehead, heavy brow, angular face. Yeah, that cinches it. I'm in the Paleolithic Era. Don't know how I got here, though."
The woman grunted again, and her eyes flicked towards the fire. She shrank back more.
"No, it's okay. It's fire." Stephen reached his own hands towards the flame. "It's warm. Haven't you ever seen fire before?"
When he looked deeper into the woman's eyes, Stephen nodded. "I guess not. It's okay. See?"
He rubbed his hands near the fire. The woman glanced at him, then shuffled a little closer to the fire. As the warmth reached her, the woman's eyes widened. She rushed towards the flame and Stephen had to throw his body between the two.
"No, don't touch it." Stephen held her by the arms. "You're hurt yourself. Just enjoy being close to it."
She blinked at him, and then looked at the fire again. Her body softened in his arms as if the flames melted her body instead of the ice clinging to her furs.
As he held her at arms' length, Stephen realized the furs only draped over her. The woman seemed to be nude beneath them. Stephen glanced up at her, then peeked down into a gap at her neck. Her skin seemed to be less tanned further down, and he could see the valley between her breasts. She shifted her legs, and he caught a glimpse of a patch of blonde hair.
Stephen let go of the woman, who gave him another cautious glance, then huddled against a wall by the fire. He held her hands up to the fire again, and she imitated his movements. As the heat played over her blue fingers, the woman broke into a smile. She looked up at him and spoke in a rapid language that reminded him of the languages from the southern half of Africa. He could only recognize a few words that sounded like words for "hot" and "good."
Stephen settled down beside her. "Yeah, it's nice, isn't it?"
The woman wiggled her fingers at the fire, then reached down and peeled the furs off her body. She settled back against the wall naked. He could only stare at her large breasts, tipped by nipples made firm and red from the cold. Her hips settled on her furs as she made herself comfortable, turning her buttocks towards him. She seemed to have no sense of shame, not trying to cover herself or moving away from Stephen's eyes.
The woman rubbed her body with her hands, making her breasts jiggle wildly, then looked at Stephen again. She spoke in the language once more, and this time Stephen recognized the Kwa word for "magician." She said it again and pointed at Stephen's chest.
Stephen touched his own chest. "Me? Oh, no, I'm not a magician. I'm a college student. It's just fire. Anybody can make that."
But the woman didn't seem to be paying attention to him anymore. She plucked at Stephen's shirt with a frown creasing her long face. Her fingers traced the red cloth in wonder. Her index finger grazed over Stephen's nipple, making him shrink back. The woman looked up at him with wide eyes, and a giggle burst from her lips.
She plunged her hands into the neck of his shirt. Stephen tried to break free, but the woman's arms encircled him and tore at the cloth. Before he could stop her, the woman had ripped the buttons off the shirt, exposing his bare chest.
Stephen felt his cheeks redden as she stared at his naked chest. Her left hand reached out to touch his skin, but hesitantly as if it might burn. When she rested her palm flush against his ribs, the woman smiled again. Stephen dared not move, but felt his heart beat faster as she let her hand glide down her body to the crotch of his jeans.
Her fingers traced the contours of his hardening flesh. She looked him in the eyes, then began to pluck her fingers at the zipper. Stephen swallowed a lump in his throat, then reached down to the tab of the zipper. As he dragged it down, the woman's eyes grew at the sight of the metal teeth coming apart. She glanced up at him once more, then tucked her fingers into the open gap.
Stephen closed his eyes as her fingers burrowed into his jeans, through the gap in his boxers, and came in contact with his bare skin. His body had already responded to the woman's touch. The jagged edges of her nails scraping along the length made him grow even harder.
The woman growled as she began to yank on Stephen's pants. He tried to move away, but she tugged him back down to the ground. The force managed to tear his jeans free of his waist. The woman pulled them down his legs. Stephen helped her work his jeans off his legs. She stretched the jeans out lengthwise, sniffing at them cautiously, then let them fall.
She dropped onto her hands and knees, locking him in a gaze that he felt on a primal level. The woman began to crawl towards him, making low moaning noises in her throat, then turned herself around. Her hips arched, turning her buttocks up towards the roof of the cave. Stephen's mouth became dry as he saw the inflamed red lips peeking out from between her cheeks, glistening with moisture in the light of the fire.
Stephen eased up onto his knees as the woman began to crawl away from him, then turned around to give him the look of hunger once again. The moaning noises came once more, and when she presented her rear to him again, Stephen had no doubt of what it meant.
His naked body felt the bite of the cold, but the fire warmed the side facing it, and the heat of his desire warmed the rest of him. He slid between the woman's legs, and she grew still, waiting with her buttocks turned upwards again. He told hold of his throbbing flesh and guided it into the slit between her legs.
The warmth of her interior around his shaft seemed to flush into his entire body. He pressed against her, savoring the feeling of being inside her, but the woman made a howling noise like a cat. She pumped her hips against him at a rapid pace, and the slapping of their bodies coming together again and again echoed off the walls of the cave. Stephen groaned and tried to match her thrusts, but she outpaced him until he could only keep his hips motionless and let her ride.
The woman's grunts grew louder as Stephen filled her again and again. He reached around to cup her breasts and felt the hot flesh ripple in his palms. Her nipples poked out between his fingers, and when he tugged on them, the woman squirmed in delight. Stephen felt her juices dripping onto his thighs as he pounded her. He wanted to try to enjoy the sensation of their bodies together, but his hands burned with friction when he tried to slow her hips.
Stephen fell back against the wall of the cave, and she pinned him there. He could only brace his hands against the rough stone as she rammed him against the wall. He felt his whole body tighten as if to focus all his strength on the pressure building at his crotch. His moan became screams as the pleasure reached its peak. His shaft twitched as it pumped his seed into her womb. The woman arched her back and wailed, and Stephen could feel her tighten like a fist in her own climax.