View Full Version : From the Land of Snow

08-06-2006, 02:29 AM
From the Land of Snow

By Richard Rivers

There came a time when I found myself wandering in the mountains, passing
between two towns so remote their names have never appeared on any map. Winter
was approaching, a foolish time to be traveling, but in those days I was
accustomed to pushing myself. I took risks and had little regard for personal
safety or comfort.

As I neared the mountain pass, snow began to fall, blanketing the road ahead and
swirling about me. The day, already cruelly short at that time of year, seemed
to sputter and die suddenly. Night had caught me alone and without shelter. A
stranger to the region, I knew not how far I had to go before reaching my
destination or where I might turn aside to rest for the night.

The snowfall grew heavier until I could barely make out the path in front of me.
For fear of stumbling off a precipice, I considered crouching down where I
stood, taking shelter beneath my cloak and waiting out the storm. But at that
moment I spotted a twinkle of light up ahead.

At first I thought I imagined it - the kind of thing that happens to lost and
desperate men who see what they wish to see. But it came again from just beside
the path. Using the light as my guide, I moved forward cautiously. There were
legends of sorcerers and demons in the area, stories well known to all wandering
men. Not a superstitious person by nature, I feared mortal men more than their
supernatural creations. Up ahead a hooded figure bearing a lantern stood by the
side of the road.

"Who waits there?" I called out with as much peril as I could put into my voice,
but the figure did not answer or move in any way.

When I was no more than a few paces from him, with terror rising in my throat,
the hood was thrown back revealing not a demon or sorcerer, but the face of a
weary-eyed old man, looking more tired than dangerous.

"Who walks alone by night," he said, peering into my eyes.

I told him my name and my business and asked if he might shelter me from the

"Come then." He turned and led me into the thick forest bordering the road.

The old man's house lay far into the woods, well off the road. When I lay eyes
on it, my heart leaped. With the lamps lit and fragrant smoke pouring from the
chimney, there was never a more welcome sight to greet a traveler.

Inside the warmth and light of his house the old man spoke to me and told me his
name was Junichiro. Then he clapped his hands twice and two women appeared and
silently bowed before me. He introduced them simply as his wife and daughter.
Both beautiful, they appeared almost as the virginal and mature manifestations
of the same woman so alike did they look to me. But neither of them bore any
resemblance to Junichiro. I glanced at him again. He was much older than his
wife and had the coarse features of the mountain people. The women radiated
grace and beauty such as I had only seen in sophisticated city women.

Without a word they set about preparing food for me while Junichiro found dry
clothes of his own for me to wear. When I had eaten I found it difficult to
rise. My legs had grown stiff and I realized how tired I had become climbing
the steep mountain road. The three of them helped me up and led me to a tiny
room where a bed had been made ready. Too tired to properly thank my hosts, I
immediately fell asleep.

During the night I woke to hear the storm still blowing outside. Windows shook
and I could hear the heavy timbers creak as the roof was piled high with snow.
There were other noises as well, but I attributed them to delirium or fatigue.
I imagined I heard a soft wailing that seemed to rise up out of the floor.
There were other noises, guttural throaty cries, the kind lovers make to one
another when they lie together.

When I awoke the next morning snow was still falling. It continued for three
days while the four of us remained inside and watched the drifts pile up higher
than the eaves of the house. We spent the time in conversation. My hosts said
very little about themselves other than their names. I learned that the wife's
name was Sawako, her daughter, Yuki. I was more than a little curious to know
how a man like Junichiro could find himself living alone in the mountains with
such a beautiful woman for a wife. There had to be an interesting story behind
the marriage but none of them volunteered to tell me. As their guest, I felt it
would have been rude to press them. However, they were very curious to hear
stories from the outside world. Having spent most of my life as a wanderer, I
had many things to tell them. While the snow fell, I entertained them by
recounting many of the wonders I had seen.

One curious thing did happen during that time. In the course of my
storytelling, I happened to mention my age, twenty-seven years, which carried no
significance to me other than the fact that it is three, multiplied by itself
thrice. But Sawako clapped her hands and seemed delighted when I mention this.

"This a good sign," she said, glancing towards her daughter. "You see, I am
thirty-six years of age, my daughter eighteen."

When I expressed bafflement, she went on to explain. "I am twice the age of my
daughter, and you, good guest, are exactly halfway between us. Nine years
separates you in age from each of us. Surely there is something magical in all

The coincidence itself meant nothing to me. I am not a superstitious person.
But Sawako ascribed a great deal of importance to it. She went on to ask the
exact day of my birth and what I could tell her of my parents. Unfortunately, I
recalled nothing of them other than that they had been killed by one of the
epidemics sweeping the cities at the time. My earliest memories were of the
orphanage I ran away from to take up wandering.

After three days the snow finally stopped and I helped Junichiro clear a path to
the woodpile and bathhouse. Although the distance was small our labors took us
an entire day and left us exhausted. Junichiro said he had never seen such a
snowfall in all his years. The drifts were as high as the house. When I asked
him how long he thought it might be before the mountain road became passable
again, he shook his head. Even the usual amounts of snow could close the pass
for weeks at a time. With this much accumulation, he had no idea when I might
be able to continue my journey.

Junichiro's words made my spirits drop. I never stayed long in one place before
the bottoms of my feet began to itch for the road again. But returning to the
house we found the women in a joyful mood. They were looking forward to taking
baths again for the first time in three days. Over a festive supper, Junichiro
broke out some of his precious store of sake and we toasted each other's health.

After we ate, Junichiro showed me how to light the fire beneath the bathhouse.
Since the well had been buried we filled the tub with snow and let it melt. We
stood outside and tended the fire, drinking more warm sake while the women
bathed. The night was clear and the mountain air crisp. Sparks ascended into
the moonless sky, and the flames crackled loudly enough to echo off the
surrounding snow-laden trees. I breathed deeply the aroma of the burning cedar
logs and the steaming sake. From inside the bathhouse I heard the musical
sounds of laughter, and I realized that on the other side of the thin wall, two
naked women were entering warm water.

That night I slept more soundly than I could remember. The hard day's labor
followed by sake and a hot bath made me profoundly weary and contented. I awoke
once in the night and heard Junichiro and Sawako making love through the thin
ricepaper walls. In the bittersweet moment, I realized my own isolation. How
many years had I wandered? How many places had I stopped without ever coming to
rest? There had been women, but always furtive and quick affairs of the flesh.
What joy to return to a warm bed at night, to a willing wife? The sounds of
Junichiro and Sawako blended into my dreams. There was the girl, Yuki,
unfastening the belt to her Kimono. Dressed all in white, she approached, the
edge of her mouth trembling. When I looked into her eyes they changed and I
found myself facing the cool smile of Sawako.

After the storm, the weather turned fine and clear. The winter sun shined
brightly, giving harsh light reflected off the snow but little warmth. During
the daytime I helped Junichiro clear more snow from around the house and then we
began making a path to the nearby lake. He explained a rather ingenious way he
had devised for catching fish that lived beneath the ice. During the cold
months, when there was no other source of food, the family subsisted mainly on
what he caught. The lake was not far from the house, a distance that in normal
times could have been traversed in ten minutes, but it took us days to clear a

During that time I felt my long dormant desire for a woman come to life again.
Sawako's observations about our ages proved to be prophetic. I found myself
drawn equally towards mother and daughter. Each was equally distant from me.
Yuki had delicate, fragile beauty. Tiny about the waist and hips, with breasts
small like new spring buds, her body had not yet completely flowered into a
woman's fullness. She was shy as a mountain doe. Noticing my eyes on her, she
would lower her head or turn her face away. Sawako had the same beauty as her
daughter, but with the rounder maturity of a woman evident in her hips and
breasts. Quick to laugh, she had a studied grace when dealing with me that I
took as a sign she also knew many of the feminine wiles and ways of love. Each
night I fell asleep dreaming of one and then the other, or the two of them at

When they were not cooking cleaning or mending, Yuki and Sawako spent much of
their idle time reading. I was embarrassed to admit I never learned to read or
write and I hid the fact from them for as long as I could. Discovering my
secret, Sawako insisted they could teach me. From then on, for an hour each
afternoon they pointed out characters in their books and made me recite them.
But I proved a poor student. When they knelt on either side of me their bodies
would press up against mine - the warm softness of Sawako on one side and the
cool and firm body of her daughter on the other. I could not keep my mind on
the characters I was supposed to have memorized. Junichiro, who did not read,
would grunt his disapproval and go out to check his fishing lines.

One day he did not return. When the hour of study ended the three of us waited
for him but he did not come back. Sawako and Yuki stood closed-mouthed by the
door as I slipped into my boots and coat to go look for him.

Near the lake I found him, nearly frozen to death.

"Junichiro!" I cried out when I saw him. "What has happened?"

Although barely able to speak, he explained that one of his lines had become
snagged, and pulling on it, he had fallen, breaking through the ice.

"You will freeze to death," I said. "We have to get you into a warm bath." But
I was astonished to see him shake his head.

"No, it is too late." He placed a hand to his heart. "Death has me already in
her grasp."

"Impossible," I said. "Here, I will carry you." But he pushed me away.

"There isn't time," he said. "Listen to me." His voice had almost disappeared
completely. "There is something I must tell you. Something I could not say
before for fear of an untimely death. But now that it has found me anyway, I
must speak it."

I drew my face close to his, so soft was his voice.

"Listen to me, my young friend. Listen well. My wife and daughter, they are not
mortal. They are demons, both of them!" He lapsed into a fit of coughing
before he could continue. "I will be gone soon. When you are alone, you must
not lie with them; not Yuki or Sawako! Touch either one and you will be lost,
devoured by them." The wracking cough overcame him once again.

"But how can that be?" I asked, incredulous. "Why have you survived? If they
really are demons as you say, then why have they spared you?"

Junichiro barely had the strength left to speak. "There isn't time," he moaned
and closed his eyes. I thought he had expired but he was only resting. He
opened them again a moment later. "You must do as I say. Resist them. Do not
give in, and when the snow clears, be gone from here as quickly as you can. You
must believe me. I hasten my own death by telling you this."

I heard the crunch of running feet in the snow and turned to see Yuki and Sawako
approaching from the house. When I looked back at Junichiro's face, it was
frozen in death.

We buried him in grave near the house, painfully dug through snow and frozen
ground. For days after, both wife and daughter were distraught over the death
of their master. As if in answer, the weather turned for the worse again and we
were housebound by several more days of snow. When I lay awake at night
listening to the storm I heard again the strange wailing I had heard before,
only now I knew it came from the rooms of Junichiro's wife and daughter.

I wondered about his warning to me. Both the women seemed genuinely grieved by
his death, hardly the reaction I would have expected from demons. Each morning
I woke to find them puffy-eyed from crying all night. Their tears and grief
seemed all too mortal. Junichiro could not have been telling the truth. And
then I wondered if his motive had been to simply to deprive me of his wife and
daughter. He did not wish for me to take his place when he had gone. He meant
to guard what was his from beyond the grave by making me afraid of them. When I
settled upon that notion, all seemed to fall into place. I could not even fault
him for it.

When the snow stopped I undertook again the task of clearing a path to the
woodpile and bathhouse. Now that I worked alone the job took several days of
backbreaking labor. After that I began clearing the way to the lake. If we
were going to survive the winter, I would have to quickly match Junichiro's
skill catching fish. All the while I worked, I hardly saw Yuki and Sawako.
When I arrived back at the house in the evening they had already gone to their
rooms having left a simple meal waiting for me.

And then life began to return to the way it had been before. I easily fell into
the roles and responsibilities that had been Junichiro's. The women ended their
period of mourning.

One evening while I was lighting the fire beneath the bathhouse I saw the sky
filled with shooting stars. There were more than I could count, coming from all
parts of the sky. I summoned Yuki and Sawako and the three of us stood out in
the clear and bitter cold night to watch. Sawako returned to the house for the
sake and we drank to ward off the cold.

When the women entered the bath I remained outside listening to the muted sounds
of their voices, imagining their smooth bodies entering the steaming water. My
desire for them, suppressed since Junichiro's death, resurfaced again. As
before, I was absolutely torn between the daughter and her mother.

After finishing my bath I returned to find the house dark. I sat by the dying
embers of the fire drinking more sake and thinking about the two women lying in
their beds, separated from me only by thin ricepaper walls. A feeling of
supreme satisfaction came over me. I was alone with them, far from any rivals.
I could have whichever I wanted. All I needed to do was choose. But whichever
I chose would forever exclude me from having the other. It wasn't something to
be rushed into. Suddenly I felt weary. No need to choose tonight, I thought.

In the deepest part of the night I dreamed of icy mountain peaks. Wind rushed
over them with a hissing sound. I came half-awake, aware that the sound was
actually the door to my room softly sliding open. For an instant I made out a
woman's silhouette in the moonlit hallway before the door closed behind her. I
heard the rustle of a kimono and then a warm body slipped under the covers
beside me.

"Sawako." I whispered.

She spread her body over mine. Her breasts dragged across my chest, soft and
warm, each with a blunt-tipped nipple at its center. When we kissed, her lips
burned like hot steam. Full firm thighs pressed me down. I could feel the heat
from her sex against my leg. When she slid herself onto me, I felt muffled,
completely engulfed by her. Her legs, her thighs, her loins, her breasts and
hair were all draped over me. Sawako made love slowly, drawing out the
sweetness of the moment. After she shuddered and grasped me tightly I reversed
our positions and sought my own more vigorous release inside of her. When my
seed sprang from me Sawako let out a deep sigh and entwined her limbs more
tightly about me. She slept beside me until just before dawn when I heard the
door slide open again and she slipped away.

In the morning Sawako made no sign at all to acknowledge what had happened
between us. I tried to catch her eye over the head of her daughter but she
would not look at me. That day I spent by the lake fishing in the manner her
former husband had taught me. After supper I was surprised to see her retire to
her room for the night earlier than usual. I had hoped she would linger after
her daughter had gone to bed so that we might repeat what we had done the night
before. Instead, she instructed Yuki to take up my lessons where we had left
off and then quietly slipped away to her room.

Without her mother present, Yuki became even shier than before. Now that my
choice had been made, I wondered if she could sense what had happened, using
some secret female sense, a connection between mother and daughter I was unaware
of. She knelt beside me, but only close enough so that the edge of her kimono
brushed softly against my arm when she reached across to point out the
characters. I did my best to put her at ease, telling little stories to make
her laugh, but I noticed her hand trembling when she turned the pages of the

That night I lay awake for a long time, perplexed by Sawako's reaction. I
reasoned that she must have felt remorse for what she had done out of loyalty to
the memory of her husband. Perhaps she felt shame in the presence of her
daughter. I promised myself to find a moment alone with her the next day to
ascertain her feelings.

Again in the deepest part of the night I dreamed of icy mountain peaks. Now an
avalanche roared towards my, hissing like a giant snake as white snow enveloped
me, blotting out everything as it overwhelmed me. I came awake again to hear
the soft hiss of my door sliding open. There was the same rustle of a kimono
sliding over a female body and then a cool lithe figure slipped in beside me.

"Yuki," I whispered.

My surprise was so great I did not move towards her at first. I could feel her
trembling beside me, drawing rapid shallow breaths. My mind raced but could
gain no foothold on any thoughts that made sense. What if Sawako came upon us?
The walls of the house were so thin she need not even leave her room to know
what was happening.

Yuki sensed my indecision, or perhaps her virginal eagerness overcame her fear.
Her cool hand slipped over my chest and stomach, searching for the thing she
wanted most from me. Finding it, she gingerly explored the contours and
textures novel to her. I reached for her in turn and touched her soft breasts
and the smooth skin on her thighs. When I took her she was eager and shaking.
Her delicate virginal flesh yielded to me gently, parting before the blunt force
of my desire. She clung to me with all her limbs, as if now that she had me,
she would never let me go.

I moved in her with an easy rhythm, intending to prolong the moment as long as I
could. Finally, I was unable to stand my own delicacy and I gave her a taste of
my strength. She answered back with her own feminine ardor and we were carried
away. I felt her shudder beneath me as my seed burst thickly within her. Her
sex seemed to recoil then grasp about me more tightly, drawing out more of the
precious nectar.

Like Sawako, Yuki remained beside me until almost dawn. Hungrier than her
mother, she woke me with caresses and we repeated the act of love once more
before she slipped quietly out of my room.

The next day I was extremely wary around the two of them. I was afraid of what
would happen if either one discovered I had lain with the other, but nothing
came of it. The two women acted as they always did. The routine began that way
and continued for so many days that I lost track of time. One night Sawako
visited me, and the next, her daughter Yuki.

During the days I lived in constant fear of discovery. Each night brought a new
level of bliss. Finally, with Sawako sleeping soundly beside me, I heard the
unmistakable hiss of the door sliding open. When Yuki slipped into bed beside
me without a word from her mother I came to the shocking realization that they
both had known all along. Their alternating visits were too well ordered to
have been accidental. I was too blinded by my own self-satisfaction to have
seen it.

Ling between mother and daughter I waited for the realization of my fondest wish
with a strange mixture of dread and desire. Having just spent myself in Sawako,
I feared I might not have the strength to manage the girl. But the two of them
worked together. With hands and mouths, they coaxed my potency back. And then
I lay upon the daughter, feeling the hands of her mother caressing me all the
while. When the seed burst from me, it was into Sawako's glittering eyes that I

Somehow, the women provoked me into a third performance and I alternated between
them as mother showed daughter the various methods and positions for coupling.
Sawako took me in her mouth to bring about my last painful discharge, and she
pushed her daughter's head down so that the girl might taste what I offered

I would lie if I did not say the next months were bliss. We moved from the tiny
room in which I slept as a guest to the large bedroom Sawako had shared with
Junichiro. While winter winds and storms buffeted the house we paid little
attention, enthralled by our nightly trysts.

One day while gathering fish from the lines I had put out the previous day I
checked the ice to see if it had grown any thinner, a sign winter was coming to
an end. And I began to count the days, secretly notching the trunk of a great
evergreen tree as I passed each day. When three months passed, I was mildly
surprised to find the ice on the lake as thick as before. Winter had not begun
to release the strength of her grip. But I gave it little thought. We were
high in the mountains where winter lingers, and I had the nightly bliss of two
women to look forward to. I was not in any great rush to see spring arrive
along with prying eyes from the villages below.

When six months had gone by I trudged through freshly fallen snow. I calculated
that it had to be midsummer by now, and still winter showed no sign of ending.
In horror, I realized then that for me winter would never end. I remembered
Junichiro's warning. In madness, I ran from that place, heading in the
direction of the mountain road. But soon I lost my way in the white,
featureless landscape. I ran until my strength gave out, and then I walked.
Night fell, and I continued walking until I a light twinkled through the trees
ahead. I surged forward with elation only to discover I had doubled back on
myself somehow. The light came from the very house I left that morning.

I decided to say nothing to the women, telling them instead that I fallen in the
snow and become dazed. The next day I set out again, only to find myself back
at the house again by nightfall. The third time I vowed not to come back, and I
stayed out all night in the bitter cold, watching smoke rise from the chimney
and the lamps go out one by one.


Years have gone by and I live in a way that seems outwardly contented. I lost
count of the times I tried to run away only to find myself back home again. No
matter how hard I tried, crouching in the snow, eating raw fish or the bark from
the trees, promising myself never to return to that house, I could never stay
away for long. Inside, there was food and warmth, the warmth of my bed, and
inside of that the warmth of Yuki and Sawako, and within them an even greater
warmth I could not live without.

They never age. The mother is always twice the age of her young daughter
although I have grown to be an old man, older now than the long-dead Junichiro
was when I first arrived. You might wonder how such a man keeps a beautiful
young wife and daughter alone in the mountains. When you see me you must find
the courage to ask, no matter how impolite the question may seem. For when it
snows, the women send me out to the road with my lantern to wait for a passing

Richard Rivers

08-06-2006, 06:00 AM
Cool story

10-10-2006, 02:24 PM
Thanks...I thought Id give it a bump

12-11-2006, 08:00 PM
For the supernatural lover in you.....:)