Sweat stung the eyes of the archaeologist as she concentrated. She was attempting to tie a proper knot around the eye hook in front of her, but she was having some difficulty.

“Gah, there!” The archeologist took a step back and tugged on the rope three times to signal that the crate was ready to be hoisted up. She was currently standing in a roughly hewn hole that was only several feet wide, but it made up for its lack of width with it’s great depth.

The young student winced as she looked up and watched the crate move upward. She hoped dearly that her knot would hold, but she supposed she wouldn’t have much time to regret it if it didn’t. She pulled off her glasses and wiped them on her dirt stained shirt. 

Her name was Penny Mint. At five six, she was a small woman with sharp features and short, unkempt hair. Her face was so smudged with dirt that it was difficult to tell her gender through her thick working clothes, but beauty was the last thing on her mind as she watched the crate disappear out of the small circle of light at the top of the hole.

“Thank goodness,” she breathed a sigh of relief as she took up her flashlight. She swept it slowly over the ground to see if she had missed any of her excavation materials, then nodded in satisfaction.

 A few moments later, the rope was lowered back down, and she grabbed the end of it to tie a loop.

“Oh, what?” her voice echoed dully in the deep sepulchre as she realized that a loop had already been tied for her. She smiled wryly and slipped her booted foot into the loop before grabbing onto the rope with both hands and tugging it.

She ascended gracefully as she stuffed her flashlight in her waistband. A moment later, she broke through the exit and took a deep breath. The air outside was hot and slightly humid, but compared to the heat of the hole she’d just come from it felt cool and inviting.

A young man offered her a hand, which she took gratefully. Once she’d gotten her bearings, she dusted herself off and faced him with a grin, “Do you think I’m incapable of tying my own knot?” She asked as she signed with her hands.

The young man, who didn’t look much older than the girl, signed back, “I thought you might want the help, also my knots are better.”

The young woman laughed, “Can’t argue with you there, thanks for the help,” she said without signing as she spoke directly to him.

Her partner nodded once. His name was Trenton Kai. He was tall and of average build with deeply tanned skin and soft features. The first thing that most people noticed when they met him, however, was the fact that he was deaf. Though he wasn’t mute, he preferred to sign, and Penny had never heard him speak for as long as she’d been working with him.

That fact suited her just fine. At her first year of university studies, she took sign language as a second language course. She hadn’t thought she’d have much use for it at the time, but when she met Trenton it had come to her aid quickly. Like her, Trenton was working for the university as an intern archaeologist, and currently the two of them were on their last assignment. If they were able to find enough specimens, or important enough, then their excavation would guarantee them their degrees.

Find anything good?” Trenton asked with his hands as he knelt in front of the crate he’d hauled up.

Yes, a few Keptic shards. This reinforces our theory that the people who lived here before the Magdrabda knew how to use them, at least on some level.” Penny signed without speaking. The two had been working together for nearly a month, and signing had become as natural as speaking for her.

Trenton dug through the box carefully and held up one of the artifacts with a smile. He set it down and chuckled soundlessly, “I thought you were crazy for wanting to go down there, but you might have cinched this deal for us.”

“Not gonna say I told you so,” she mouthed deliberately to him with a small, smug smile.

He laughed once more, “Come on, you look a wreck, let’s go cool off.”

She nodded in tired agreement as she covered her face from the early afternoon sun, “Good idea.”

Fifteen minutes later, Penny found herself sitting in the shade beside her partner with a tall cup of flavored water. The weather was unseasonably warm for that time of year, and as Penny looked up at the sky she could see the most distant sun beginning to set. The landscape was an interesting mix of jungle and desert, and there was a certain beauty to it that she knew she was going to miss when it came time for them to leave.

Trenton sighed heavily and settled back against the tree they were sitting under.

She turned to him and signed with one hand, “What’s wrong?”

He offered her a weak smile and shrugged, “Just thinking about my own mortality; tomorrow is my birthday.”

“Oh, you didn’t tell me that before,” she said with a bit of surprise. “You’re like, what, thirty two?”

Trenton glared at her with a smile, “I’m turning thirty one.”

She giggled nervously, “I’m sorry, it’s just that you have such an air of maturity about you.”

He chuckled, “What about you, miss youth?”

  “You’re not supposed to ask a lady her age,” Penny signed as she spoke with a slightly flirtatious smile.

“Oh yeah? I think you owe me this information after that crack. How old, twenty seven?”

It was her turn to laugh, “You’re too kind. I’m twenty nine; this is the last year of twenties and then it’s all downhill from there.”

“You’re not exactly encouraging me,” he snickered. “I really thought you were younger, it must be your air of immaturity.”

“All right, I deserved that,” She took a sip of her drink before asking, “So, have we known each other long enough for me to ask personal questions or are we still strictly business?” She’d spoke deliberately and slowly so she could read his lips. She’d learned that he was quite good at it and most times he didn’t even need her to sign if  they were facing each other.

“I’d say it depends on the question… well, not really, I’m an open book, I just don’t offer information about myself unless someone asks.”

She’d known him for a little less than two months, and she knew that she was taking a risk when she agreed to embark upon their excavation. Her friends (more like colleagues) had thought she was crazy for venturing out into the tribal area with someone she barely knew, but she was determined to prove herself. In the end, her biggest driving factor was her own desire to overcome challenges, and she was doing it more for herself than for anyone else. Still, she wasn’t the type to pry, and it was only recently that he’d begun to open up to her.

“Let’s see. I suppose the question is: why did you pick archeology as a major?”

“Oh, that’s easy; I’ve always loved the idea of studying old cultures and civilizations. It’s intriguing to me because we think we’re always advancing, but in reality the majority of our technology has existed in some way shape or form for thousands of years. It’s exciting to see the past in the present; like the shards you found. It opens up possibilities for new trains of thought, which I personally think is important to the scientific community.”

“That was a wonderful speech,” she grinned, “Really, I mean it. How long have you been attending the university?”

“Three years now…” Trenton paused with a thoughtful look, “Yeah, just about.”

“What were you doing before that?”

“Stuff I didn’t like as much. Just working on compression chambers with my father. That was how I lost my hearing, in an accident.”

Penny frowned, “I’m sorry,” she mouthed sincerely.

He smiled, “Hey, don’t be. In many ways, it was a good thing for me. My fiance left me and I got to come here to pursue my dream, really it’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me.”

“What? You were engaged?” She signed as her curiosity got the better of her.

“Yup, is that so hard to believe?”

She shook her head, “No, no, it’s just that it surprised me.” She paused, “And… she left you because you lost your hearing?”

He nodded, “She tried to convince me that it was for other reasons, but I knew that was the only reason. She saw me as handicapped at that point, and honestly, after I got over it, I realized that I didn’t want to be with a woman who couldn’t handle such a small thing. I mean, yeah, it altered my life in an extreme way, but I don’t feel handicapped. There are things I miss, of course, like music, but I’m not going to grow old and bitter about it.”

Penny furrowed her brow, “Still, that’s wrong of her. I’m glad you didn’t end up with someone like that.”

“Why do you look so upset? You seem more mad about it then I was.”

She blinked. She hadn’t realized how emotional she was becoming, and she shook her head, “Oh, it’s nothing… just hit a little close to home, is all.”

“Oh, well now you have to tell me your heart wrenching tale,” He sat up expectantly and placed his fist under his chin as if he were waiting for her to tell him a story.

She laughed lowly before casting her eyes downward, “It’s kind of personal.”

“Ah, well you don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to,” Trenton became serious.

“No, it’s fine, it’s just that I’ve never really told anyone. It’s not a huge secret, anyhow,” she added as she moved her hands in front of her. She took a moment to gather her thoughts before she spoke, “I was engaged once, as well. This was years ago, I was twenty three and my fiance was a successful researcher who was five years older than me and seemed to have everything figured out,” she spoke as she signed, and somehow the extra movements made the story easier to relay. “I had a checkup and it didn’t go so well. Got a call from the doctor and they said that, uh, I was infertile. I asked about options, they said that there weren’t any and ultimately they told me that I would never have children. My fiance didn’t take it well and we started fighting then he ended it.” She pursed her lips and sighed. Whatever tears she might have shed were long passed, but she still felt an inexplicable pain whenever she thought about it.

Trenton looked at her soberly for a long moment before reaching out and placing his hand on hers. He pressed down reassuringly before taking his hand back, “You deserve better… that guy didn’t deserve you, and he can keep his fancy lifestyle.”

She replied with a half smile, “Thanks…I think you’re right.”  She held eye contact with him for several seconds before looking away suddenly, “I need to go talk with Hanma, i’ll see you at dinner?”

“Yeah…wait, no, they’re having that ritual tonight.”

“Ah, yes, the ritual,” she paused, “Hanma said we were invited, but I think I’m going to wait in my tent, I want to respect their privacy.”

“Likewise,” he took a deep breath and raised his arm like he was going to tell her something, but lowered it immediately.

“Well, I’ll see you later,” she smiled softly as she wiped her forehead.

He nodded and took a sip of his drink as she walked away.

Penny strolled through the village and greeted several people as she went.         The Magdrabda were one of a few civilized natives that lived far away from the cities of the main continent, and they maintained a humble lifestyle that largely went without the conveniences of modern living. Where Penny came from, keptic shards acted as batteries that gave power to just about everything, but recently she’d learned how to do most everything without them.

The villagers themselves were every bit as diverse and interesting as one would expect from an economy driven by pure trade. Most of them wore handmade clothing, and Penny herself had already acquired several outfits by trading things that she’d brought with her from home.

Most of the homes she passed were made entirely of cloth and fur, which suited the arid climate. The archeologist stopped in front of one particular hut that was so large that it could have easily been mistaken as a more concrete structure.

She parted the thick fur doors and clutched a cloth bundle in her arms as she stepped in.

A few people sat inside, speaking amongst themselves. An elderly woman at the far end of the room waved to her, and Penny headed over promptly.

“Did you finally dig up your fortune?” The woman asked with an incredulous though well meaning smile.

“In a way, yes,” Penny answered as she set the bundle down in front of the woman. 

The elder of the village, Hanma, was obviously well on in years, but there was no hint of senility behind her eyes as she swept open the bundle. It was agreed upon from the beginning that anything Penny found during her excavations would be brought to the elder for inspection. There was always a chance that her findings could hold some sort of religious significance for the village, but so far Hanma hadn’t been interested in anything Penny had brought.

It seemed like today was no exception, and the elder glanced over the old dusty trinkets indifferently, “More crystals, enh?”

“Yes, it’s a good find for us. They aren’t of any real value, other than historically, but it’s helping our hypothesis about the area.”

“Well, as long as you’re happy then I suppose I won’t call it junk,” Hanma laughed. “I’ve seen enough, and you’ve been here long enough for me to know that you’re not going to try and run off with anything without letting me know first.”

“I appreciate your trust,” Penny chuckled as she rolled the old crystals back into their cloth. “We’re not doing this for profit; Trenton and I are simply trying to get our degrees.”

“And then what will you do?”

“Oh, well, the same thing I suppose, only I’ll have a silly piece of paper certifying the fact that I know how,” she laughed. “It’s all so political, as I’m sure you know.”

“That’s why I’m here,” Hanma agreed, “Everything is political, though it’s unavoidable anytime people get together. Speaking of getting together, will you be attending our little party this evening?”

“Oh, I don’t think so… I really don’t want to interfere with…”

“You can’t interfere,” Hanma laughed as she waved the girl’s comment off. “Not unless you start throwing things at the drummers.”

Penny pursed her lips, “If you don’t mind me asking, what is it exactly that’s happening this evening?”

“The annual Rizm ceremony,” Hanma replied flatly. “It is both the closing and opening ceremony for the upcoming year and represents the life and death of everything that keeps us moving forward.”

“I see…that’s fascinating,” Penny said genuinely as she leaned forward, “How is this celebrated?”

“In many ways, but in all they are celebrated with the drums of the Sketn, that would be skin in your language. One hundred drummers sit in a circle around the great fire pit in the center of our village. When midnight strikes by the sign of the moon’s shadow, the beat begins. One drummer plays. Every minute that passes, the next drummer joins him, until all drummers are playing. The beat is kept at pace by our head Kelnm, who escalates the volume and speed at his discretion.”

“Interesting… very interesting. And… that’s it?” She added, unable to hide her curiosity.

Hanma cackled, “That’s it, she says. Child, yes, that’s it. The Rizm is the party. On this night, people do the things that they never had the courage to do at any other point of the year. It’s been many years, but men used to settle their disputes on this night by fighting to the death by the music of the Sketn. People pray and challenge the gods; some have visions. Many children are conceived on this night,” she nodded knowingly to the young woman, “Because their parents cannot contain their passion. You and your partner should join in,” she added offhandedly, as if the two statements were separate.

Penny blushed, “N,no, I don’t believe we will, thank you for the offer just the same. My partner is deaf, you know, and our relationship is strictly professional.”

“Ah yes, strictly, I’m sure,” Hanma cackled again. “It doesn’t matter that he’s deaf; the music will get through to him, it gets through to everyone. You might want to tell him that; I’ve seen the way he looks at you and there is nothing professional about it. Come now, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about, surely a woman your age is thinking about settling down and having a child or two?”

Penny stiffened as she attempted to stifle another bout of flushed cheeks, “I am incapable of having children… so no, it hasn’t been on my mind.”

The village elder laughed and Penny went wide eyed. Every time she’d brought up her infertility for some reason or another, people had always looked upon her with pity and offered her some sort of consoling word. She hadn’t doubted the sincerity of theirs, or more recently, Trenton’s condolences, but never in her life had anyone laughed about it. She wasn’t sure whether or not she was offended or mortified, but she decided that it was more humorous than anything, so she began to laugh along with the woman.

“My dear girl,” Hanma said as she quieted herself. “Just because some doctor or another said you couldn’t get pregnant doesn’t mean that you can’t try.”

Penny coughed, unable to hide her reddening cheeks the third time around, “Y,yes, I suppose not. In any case, I think it’s best that I stay inside, but I really do appreciate the offer and all of the hospitality you’ve shown us.”

Hanma nodded, “Of course, it’s been a pleasure having you.”

Penny turned to leave but the elder raised her finger suddenly, “Oh, a word of warning: no matter what you do, you won’t be able to get away from the Rizm. We hold it on this night not because we choose to, but because the Rizm itself holds itself here. The Rizm will be all around you this evening, Sketn or no. I hope this doesn’t sound like a threat, I am merely trying to warn you.” She nodded surely, “You will be affected by it, whether you are present or not, so I suggest making peace with some of your demons before hand, if you have any.”

The old woman’s statement felt oddly foreboding to the archeologist, and she felt a bit of a chill go down her spine as she nodded, ‘I’ll keep that in mind… thank you again.”

The village was abuzz with activity as people everywhere went about their preparations for the ritual. Penny did her usual light shopping and headed back to her hut.

After spending some time organizing and cleaning her findings, she gathered some laundry and headed to the local well to wash some of her clothes. Afterwards, she brought them back to the hut to dry and tried to concentrate on some reading.

The evening wore on into the night as the sun set. Penny had spent the entire time in her hut. It wasn’t a lavish place to live, but it was comfortable, and she had everything she needed to sleep well. Most of the room was taken up by her equipment and findings, and her own personal items like clothing and supplies took up the rest. Her bed was a mess of furs on the floor, and though primitive, she had been regularly sleeping better on it than the most expensive beds she’d ever laid on.

She guessed the time to be around ten o’clock, and she assumed that most everyone would be congregated at the center of town, so she snuck out and headed toward the well.

She drew several large buckets of water for herself and carried them back to her hut, where she dumped them into a basin. After undressing, she bathed quickly and dragged the water outside to dump it.

The center of town wasn’t far from where her hut was located, and already she could hear the boisterous chattering of the excited villagers. There were too many huts in her line of vision, but she could see the great fire glowing above them, and she figured that it must have been close to midnight.

Penny hadn’t wanted to admit it to herself, but the real reason why she didn’t want to attend the ceremony was because the idea frightened her. She’d never been superstitious, but there was a certain foreboding that she felt every time someone mentioned the Rizm, and she hated the fact that she couldn’t explain why she felt that way. She scurried back inside with the basin in tow and entered her hut with a sigh of relief.

“They don’t need the likes of me there,” she reassured herself as she lit a candle. 

The evening was warm, and she’d taken to sleeping in a long, sheer gown that went down to her knees. The garment was made of some sort of silk, and she’d traded for it several weeks prior because she hadn’t brought any decent sleeping apparel. She gathered the material up around her legs and sat beneath the candle as she cracked open a book.

Penny tried to concentrate on reading, but the outside atmosphere was pervasive and disturbingly  quiet. The sounds of people talking outside of her tent could no longer be heard, and not even the chittering of insects or animals was present. Even though the evening was warm, she brought a blanket around her knees and shivered. She felt as if she were being watched, but she dismissed the idea as she huddled closer to her book. There was no denying that something about the night was different, but she refused to feed into superstitions as she staunchly clutched her book. 

Midnight struck, and with it, a single, solitary drum sounded hollowly in the night. Penny flinched as the deep, bassy tone echoed throughout the village, somehow penetrating through the myriad of huts and into her ears. She frowned as she focused on the sound; it felt lonely and achingly beautiful. She remembered that there were a hundred drummers, and she wondered suddenly why she had been so adamantly against attending the ceremony.

It’s not too late to go, A small voice inside of her told her quietly. She shook her head, however, and took a deep breath.

The second drum began a moment later, playing seamlessly into the first. Penny stared at her book intently, forcing herself to concentrate on the words as the sound permeated her tent.

Several minutes later, she could barely distinguish how many drums were playing as she set her book down and listened intently. The seemingly random sounds were beginning to come together to make a clear, decisive beat. With every minute that passed, it was as if a large puzzle was being pieced together, and though the music had scarcely begun, Penny found herself admiring the composer.

Thirty minutes into the ceremony, Penny set her book down and resigned herself to listening. A beautiful, slow melody was being played, and though there were no words she felt as if the meaning of the music was being conveyed as clearly as a well written novel. The beat was haunting and honest, and it reminded her of feelings that she suppressed every time they surfaced.

She thought of her ex fiancee and how he’d rejected her. It was not a pleasant thought, and though she’d told herself a thousand times that she was better off without such a man she secretly blamed herself. She knew that there was nothing she could have done to stop him from leaving, but she’d also hated herself for letting him without telling her how she felt.

As the drums played on, Penny began to cry. She didn’t know why, exactly, but before she realized what was happening she could feel the hot tears rolling down her cheeks.

“What’s wrong with me?” She pulled off her glasses and chastised herself softly as she wiped the lenses with the hem of her gown. She took a deep breath and shook her head as she drew her index beneath her eye and flipped a tear away.

The music intensified slightly as the melody built up. Not even fifty of the hundred drummers were playing, but Penny was already wondering how she was going to survive the night.

“I should have told him…I shouldn’t have let him trample all over me…” she whispered to herself as she hung her head with regret. “I was ready to give him everything… but all he could see was the one thing I couldn’t give him,” she said bitterly as she clenched her fist. “I should have…”

She stopped suddenly as she heard a shuffling at the entrance of her tent. A chill ran down her spine as she stood, not because she thought that a stranger was entering, but because she already knew who it was.

Trenton poked his head in slowly before he halfheartedly raised his hand at her in the dim candlelight.

She wondered how she knew that he would come to her, but then, who else would enter her tent in the middle of the night? There was more to it than that, but she was unable to face the mysterious force of the drums without losing her cool and she didn’t dwell on it.

“Trenton… What’s wrong?” She mouthed to him with concern as she saw his features. The young man looked haggard and lost, and it was clear by his streaked cheeks that he too had been crying. He was only wearing pants, and had no shirt on, which made her think that he really might have just wandered out.

The music… he signed as if he were in a daze, I can hear it…

Penny’s eyes widened, How?

Trenton shook his head, It’s reverberating inside of me…I can feel it…

An overwhelming wave of compassion washed over her as she took a step closer to him, “And it’s talking to you?”

He looked at her with anguish and relief, I know it’s crazy…

“What is it telling you to do?” She breathed, mouthing the words carefully.

He gave her a long, steady look before stepping closer to her.

She gazed into his eyes as brazenly as she could. In that moment, both of them knew what was going to happen. She couldn’t stop it, didn’t want to, in fact, and as he drew closer to her she met him halfway.

The first kiss they shared was soft and sensual. Penny listened to the drums as she closed her eyes and opened her mouth for him. The music was tremulous and fragile, and she could feel her heart swelling as it brimmed up inside of her.

Trenton wrapped his arms around his survey partner and kissed her harder. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d wanted anything so badly, and the closeness of her was stark compared to the loneliness and isolation he had become accustomed to.

Penny broke the kiss and took a deep breath, “We should…”

Trenton shook his head and traced a finger over her lips. Just his touch was enough to thrill her senses and she shuddered as he moved behind her.

She gasped as he swept aside her short hair and kissed her neck. Then, before she could take another breath, she felt his arms around her. His face was right beside hers, and the feeling of his warmth permeated her as she heard him whisper, “Penny…”

It was the first time she’d ever heard him speak. It was a small sound, barely loud enough for her to hear, but the desperation in his tone conveyed everything she needed to know. She tilted her head back and bared her shoulder for him, and she swallowed hard as she felt his lips on her.

The drums played on as Penny cried anew, but this time, her tears were shed for an entirely different reason. Trenton bit into her skin gently, nibbling at her ears and pressing his face into her. She could feel his tears falling on her gown as he cried alongside her, and her chest began to heave as she leaned back into him.

He tasted her skin languidly, allowing his lips to brush against her softness as he gave in to the power that he’d been fighting since the beginning. It wasn’t lust that drove him, but a pervasive need to fulfill his partner with the kind of love she’d been denied. He wanted to tell her that he’d fallen in love with her almost immediately, but he was afraid of his own voice, of the way he might sound to her. The night had led him to her, oppressive in its purpose and urgency, and now that she was in his arms he could think of nothing else but pouring himself into her.

Penny closed her eyes and trembled as every nerve in her body spiked hotly. It had been too long, not just physically, but emotionally as well, and her reason seemed to melt along with her shyness. She reached up behind her and grabbed his neck, pulling him harder down onto her, willing him to take her completely.

Trenton did. He dipped his tongue over her earlobe before suckling on it, then he ran his hands over her body slowly and deliberately, drinking in her heat through the thin material. His fingers slipped over her hips, running up her sides, then around her breasts. Her nipples peaked through the gown, hard and sensitive, and he played his palms over them slowly as he continued to ravish her.

“Oh…” Penny gasped as her mouth fell open. Her long neglected body protested as she felt herself become wet, and her need for release was suddenly unbearable.

As if Trenton had sensed her need, he turned her gently as kissed her fully on the lips once more. 

Penny jolted as their tongues touched. The drums echoed throughout her tent as she struggled to keep from crying out. Trenton was treating her in a way that no one ever had, and the contrast between his closeness and the loneliness she’d been feeling only moments before was too extreme.

He tore himself away from her suddenly, his eyes full of hunger as he looked down at her. Penny nodded once, meeting his gaze with equal eagerness as he reached out to her and took hold of her glasses. With a fluid motion, he slid them off of her face and tossed them aside before he took hold of her waist and kissed her once more.

She didn’t know how she knew, but as the drums rang in her ears, Penny raised her arms as her new lover kissed her. Just as she did, Trenton grabbed up her gown at her waist and began to lift it over her body as he stepped away from her slightly.

The sheer material seemed to glow in the candlelight as every inch of Penny’s skin was revealed. She turned her head as he undressed her, and within seconds she was completely naked. The warm night air whipped around her heated body as the wind crept in through the tent flap, and Trenton stood back for a long moment and looked at her as she blushed up at him.

The deaf man had told himself so many times that he was fine with the way things had turned out. Before he’d lost his hearing, he thought he was in love, but he realized afterwards that he’d never really known what love was.

It had been different with Penny. Between her willingness to sign and speak to him normally, he’d regained a portion of himself that he’d lost after his accident. She didn’t treat him any differently than she treated anyone else, and she’d brought peace and normalcy to his life that he’d been convinced he would never have again.

For Trenton, the drums were just as different as she was. He couldn’t hear the music, exactly, but he could feel it tolling through him like a well timed bell. The bass washed over him, expelling any doubts he might have about himself.

He sighed sharply as he shook his head and admired her. He wouldn’t be able to hear her cries, but he needed to make her scream. He needed to give her something that she’d never experienced, and in that moment, there was nothing else he could have otherwise done as he moved toward her.

Penny cried out as he swept her into his arms. Before she knew what was happening, he was laying her down on her cot and his mouth was on her, kissing her everywhere. Her confusion turned to gasping as she felt his lips on her breasts and stomach. He bit each of her nipples gently, and her eyes widened as she threw her arms down to her sides, “Yes…” she murmured to him as she laid her head back, “Please…”

Trenton lost himself in the taste of her skin as he slid down her body and kissed her thighs. The smell of her sex made him growl as he forced his face between her legs, and he reached out with his hands and laced his fingers into hers.

“N, no!” Penny howled as she felt his tongue on her. Her mind exploded into a million tiny fragments as the aching finally came to an end. It was replaced by a blinding, terrifying pleasure that plummeted her into the sound of the rizm as it picked up its tempo.

She could no longer hold her screams in as she felt his tongue inside of her. Her face felt hot and wet: she was crying again. Everything she’d been worrying about fled from her consciousness and only pleasure remained.

It wasn’t just pleasure, it was acceptance. She knew that the man who had left her had never really loved her, but Trenton… She could feel Trenton’s finger’s tightening around her own as she arched her back, and she spread her legs open more widely. She gasped loudly as his tongue rolled and lapped over her repeatedly, and she tasted the salt of her own tears as her mouth fell open.

He could remember nothing as he moved his mouth over her. The music buzzed through him, controlling every movement of his tongue as he lashed into her. It was becoming faster, and he matched it’s pace, releasing his hands from hers as he allowed them to wander over her prostrate body.

Penny began to tremble as something vengeful rose up within her. The rizm pounded in her head as Trenton moved his tongue over the same damned, wonderful spot over and over again. His fingers flipped and pinched her hard nipples, and she cried out as she tried to control her writhing body, “T, Trenton!” she  shouted his name as her trembling increased, and her hands shot down to his head where she wove her fingers into his hair.

He held her waist as she writhed over him. He relished the feeling of her hands pulling his hair roughly, and though he couldn’t hear her, he knew that she was climaxing.

The taste of her was burned into his mouth, and he sat up suddenly and clawed at his waistband wildly, unable to keep himself from her for another moment.

Penny trembled as the unforgiving climax continued to assault her. She couldn’t tell if her eyes were closed or not, but all she could see were bright stars dazzling her vision. Before she could even come down from it, she felt Trenton grabbing her ankles and flipping her legs up, “Trento… ah!”

Then there was only heat and pressure as the world stopped for both of them. It had never felt so good, and Penny wondered distantly if she’d ever really had sex as he began to move inside of her.

Trenton pressed the side of his face into Penny’s ankle as he gasped. Her heat and pressure collapsed around his mind as he buried himself deep inside of her, and he rocked into her steadily along with the pulsing bass, unable to hold himself back any longer.

Penny moaned wantonly as she closed her eyes tightly and tossed her head. Trenton was stretching her out all at once, filling and fulfilling her to a point that was almost painful. Even so, the borderline pain was exquisite, and she leaned her legs back even further towards her body as she gasped.

The desperate archeologist didn’t know how many minutes or seconds passed as he took his lover, but he could feel the drums of the rizm beginning to beat faster and louder. He was pushing himself as deeply inside of Penny as he could, all the way to the hilt, and she was becoming even tighter around him. There was nothing he could do as he felt the torrent of heat burning up from inside of him; nothing but to move faster and harder. He groaned as he clutched her legs closer and slammed himself into her, and he glanced down at her as he felt himself reach the place of no return.

In the candlelight, her mouth was open and her eyes were shut tightly, and her face was so beautiful. He remembered how’d they’d talked the morning before; it had seemed like only a few hours since then, but now she was completely exposed and he was inside of her… it was too much to bear.

Penny heard Trenton cry out loudly before she felt the flood of his release. She could feel him hugging her legs to him as he shook, like she was some sort of salvation, and she wanted very much to give him anything he needed from her. She was already so close to another climax, and as she felt his heat filling her up, so too did she hear the crescendo of the drums. Somehow they were growing even louder and faster, and her appetite for him was increasing along with it.

  Trenton was barely recovering from the most dizzying climax of his life when he felt Penny drawing back. Second later, she was on her knees, pressing her hands against his bare chest and looking up at him with an animal tenderness. He made a move to kiss her, but she pushed him back and began to kiss his body, and he sighed heavily as he felt her teeth on his skin.

Penny straddled him as he moved his knees upward, and she reached between his legs as she positioned herself above him. He was slick and warm around her hand, and he hadn’t lost hardness in the least. She lowered herself down into him with a long, drawn out sigh before she leaned forward and began to rock.

Trenton moaned loudly as she moved over him. He reached out to her and caressed her as she moved faster, and soon he was scarcely able to keep his eyes open because the pleasure she was bringing him was so intense.

Penny leaned forward and continued to rock her hips as she kissed Trenton. The drums, or the rizm, whatever it was, was taking her over completely, and she wanted it to.

He felt her tongue on his for the second time and everything around him dissolved. He grabbed her waist roughly and lifted her slightly as he moved his legs in, and soon he was cradling her on top of him in a sitting position, her legs wrapped around his backside. He could feel her hands all over his back as they kissed; he could feel her nails digging into him as she lost her mind even further, and he was lost along with her as he began to move inside of her once more.

The drums played on as the two lovers clashed, and for just a little while, time stopped completely for them.

“So, you’re ready to move on home then?” The old woman regarded the younger with an even tone.

Penny nodded with a sad smile, “Yes. Trenton and I have concluded that we have enough material to build our presentation. Honestly, I can’t thank you enough for letting us stay here; it’s been a real privilege.”

“Bah,” Hanma laughed as she threw out her hand, “It’s fun when outsiders visit, and it reminds me of why I’m glad that I don’t live among the rest of the world,” she added. “Oh, I forgot to ask you: how did the rizm treat you?”

It had been three days since the night the drums played, but Penny was unable to hide her reddening cheeks or her smile, “It was… interesting.”

“Interesting, huh? How did your partner take it?” She asked with a persistent smile.

Penny’s cheeks reddened even more, “He told me that he could feel the music. It was quite, um… an emotional experience.”

“I’m sure it was. You must have had a wonderful time.”

Penny’s eyes widened and she looked away and coughed.

Hanma laughed loudly, “I’m sorry, I am too cruel to you! Take the useless trinkets you found and go get your slice of paper!” She leaned back in her seat and nodded slowly, “And tell that young man I said congratulations; you two make a wonderful couple and I wish you all the best.”

Penny pressed her lips together before she was forced to laugh out of exasperation. There was no point in hiding it: everyone in the village knew that they were officially an item. “Thank you,” Penny bowed a bit to hide her embarrassment before turning away.

“You’re more than welcome to visit anytime,” Hanma called out to Penny as the young woman walked away. “Also, feel free to attend next year’s rizm ceremony!”

“Perhaps we will!” Penny turned and waved before she exited the tent.

Outside, Trenton was waiting for her with a fully loaded cart, and he smiled widely as she stepped up to him.

All set?

She nodded, Hanma invited us to next year’s rizm ceremony.

Trenton chuckled, If all it takes is a special night and us making a little noise, I think we could conduct one on our own.

Penny shoved him playfully as she blushed again, “Behave,” She told him with a grin.

Why? You think someone is going to overhear me? He joked.

She gave him a wry look as she took his hand and squeezed it, “Just for that, you get to push the cart first.”

He nodded slowly in defeat as he laughed lowly. he placed both his hands on the handles of the cart and made a move to push it, then stopped suddenly and faced her. Penny?

She looked up at him and blinked expectantly, “Hm?”

I love you, he signed slowly and deliberately as he exhaled slowly.

Her chest blossomed with warmth as she took his hand once more and smiled, “I love you too, Trenton.”   


Professional Writer & Coffee addict! I write all kinds of fiction, erotica, scripts and comic texts. I especially love poetry, and I love interacting with artists and fellow writers.

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