IN THE SIGHT OF THIS CHARMING NOWHERE
Content Warnings: Sex work, masturbation, voyeurism.
There was some comfort to be found in the deep recesses of a notoriously disreputable forest, Nathan assumed, particularly if somebody had bothered to build a small, comfortable cabin in the middle of it for their own peace of mind.
Leaves covering the tough pathway, vines climbing the external walls. Practically eaten by the surrounding vegetation. Seeing it for the first time, Nathan fell a little bit in love with the quiet place.
Given his past experiences, the young man expected an apathetic tenant to greet him by its rustic porch upon his arrival. He preferred to settle payments and final arrangements in person beforehand instead of procrastinating until the last minute, yet silence and utter desolation engulfed the pleasant clearing. The hut unreservedly beckoned him inside to find shelter.
After ensuring his presence was unattended to, and unlikely to be anything else anytime soon, Nathan took the initiative to see himself in. He found a rusted key and an unmarked letter stuck under the undusted mat and didn’t waste time opening it.
A single line in plain, unremarkable handwriting interspersed the creamy white paper.
May your unblinking eyes find nourishment
in the sight of this charming nowhere.
Undated, cryptically unsigned.
‘Auspicious,’ Nathan whispered to himself. His idle comment, soon to be lost in the sound of dancing branches and rustling foliage, went unanswered.
He’d never really fancied poetry, found it slightly empty to the ears.
Nathan was fundamentally pragmatic. He saw a rusted lock and assumed the only key in sight, which currently resided in the palm of his hand, would match. In the case that it didn’t, he’d bother formulating strategies.
But it did, in fact, fit.
The squeaking door opened to an unlit foyer, windows barred and unmoving, and stale air assaulted his lungs as Nathan headed inside. Long time since the last occupant ventilated, he guessed. It was possible those quarters hadn’t taken a deep breath in years.
The worn-out rucksack on his shoulders found a seat right beside the threshold, and the lights were switched on without further delay.
The domestic indoor nicely complemented the exterior of his temporary residence. A ruined wreck in dire need of a thorough polishing, which basically fulfilled Nathan’s ideal of a beautiful location, not considering the lack of comfort amenities and food sources within a mile radius. He could do without social boundaries, but the absence of running water and limited wi-fi significantly narrowed his time of autonomy.
He proceeded unpacking. Rooms were unlocked and aired, the fireplace was checked and supplied with a lively flame, the table set for one. Nathan arranged his belongings and fixed a light lunch while his attentive eyes considered suitable spots for his technical equipment. There were adjustments to be done, he reasoned, but that didn’t deter him.
Rolling up his sleeves and throwing outside the crumbs he’d produced for local birds and ever-persistent ants to feast upon, Nathan told himself it was finally time to set the stage.
When Nathan was young and foolishly ambitious, his more naïve self had undertaken academic studies to become a professional photographer. Back then, he had aspired to frame breath-taking portraits and landscapes, pictures that would inspire admiration and wonder, filled with meaning and magical atmospheres.
He had seen art capable of that with his own eyes. Despite his arid soul, a gorgeous lady with piercing eyes had managed to resonate with his unfeeling heart.
However, despite such ambitions, Nathan couldn’t boast a strong artistic sensibility. On the contrary, as previously stated, his poetic vein ran quite dry, although certain pieces were indeed capable of getting underneath his rough skin. He still seized the opportunity to capture the rippled surface of a quiet lake or the warm tones of a sporadic crepuscule, champagne pink and Princeton orange, but his main subject of late had been none other than himself.
After an untoward mishap with his previous boyfriend, who admittedly sported a rather obsessional interest in webcams and, occasionally, recording devices, Nathan had been surprised to learn that his body had obtained a certain success among a very specific public. That was surprising, considering that his body was not particularly muscular, not particularly fetching, not particularly flexible, not particularly anything from his perspective.
The aforementioned boyfriend hadn’t appreciated his almost immediate choice to pursue a career in the production of amateurish pornography. But Mark never got to reap the benefits of a fairly devoted audience, eager to provide for a higher-resolution camera with tripod, annual subscriptions to the most advanced graphic programs, sophisticated instruments to record, conserve and easily promote his material, and even for expensive changes of scenery to further aestheticize his solo performances.
Nathan didn’t trust easily. Seeking a partner to aid him with lights and locations had never interested him, so he spent a significant amount of time and energy thereon. His spectators seemed to understand and respect that.
In return for their support, Nathan had devised a brief transfer out of his stark apartment, relieved that the setting he had selected and proposed met with his audience’s approval.
True to his plan, Nathan had tinkered with cosmetics and angulations for most of the afternoon, including a modest portion of the gorgeous view from the window, bare trees and low clouds to contrast with the warmer inside. He had then spread himself on a scratchy carpet, gently reclining on soft cushions and surrounded with warm blankets in front of the crackling fire as his digital camera filmed his slow, indulgent performance.
He had prepared the set to livestream his sensorial experience in pixels and low decibels, settled with his unshaven face out of focus and his hands in the spotlight, undivided attention on his own teasing and fondling. Nathan sighed at the strokes of his unhurried hands and tickles on his pert nipples, which betrayed the cold still lingering in the small room. He played with his groomed pubic hair, followed with his lithe pelvis every shift and every caress his erotic imagination conjured.
He had deliberately removed the vocal component, uttering close to no words during his shows. He had learned to favour a detached, mysterious attitude towards his numerous viewers, substantially limiting the interface to prevent it becoming the most daunting, time-consuming part of his job.
Nathan would seldom address the audience, carefully selecting the singular individuals with whom he deemed safe to engage, whose comments actually received an answer. His approach sometimes caused frustration but allowed him to concentrate on, well, the main task at hand.
Over the years, Nathan had finalised a technique to condition his mind into an induced state of relaxation while recording. It quietened his mind of external impressions, so tactile stimuli were his sole requirement to achieve and maintain an erection. He could revel in memories of his past liaisons if required, but the knowledge that his pleasure and his technical skills had been enough to feed him actually sufficed most days and nights.
Like anyone else, Nathan endeavoured to profit not only financially from his occupation. He certainly enjoyed climaxing repeatedly for a living, making good use of abundant lubricant, his own wrist and various toys, even if distraction left him vulnerable, but there was also professional pride to be gained. He concentrated on his work, thank you very much, which was why it took him a while to realise the sudden movement reflected in the window was an anomaly rather than fruit of his fervid fantasy.
Conflicting feelings stirred in him, but Nathan concentrated on finishing off what his patrons would be paying for, coming onto his contracted belly and panting with deliberate leisure, before turning off his filming equipment, cleaning himself and putting on some clothes.
He felt light-headed, but Nathan paced toward the kitchen in search of an adequate weapon to brandish.
Business before pleasure, of course, but safety was paramount.
‘You superstitious, son?’ Nathan had been asked right after he disclosed his intended destination, a little cabin on top of a desolate hill.
He had made his mandatory stop at the local grocery store to replenish his stocks of perishables before delving into the remote forest, and the ominous, grim owner had been in the mood to chatter. ‘No one ever wanders near the ol’ shack up there,’ she had said. ‘Unless they’re looking for a creepy story to tell.’
Nathan had shrugged at that. ‘Not particularly, ma’am,’ he had answered. ‘Just wanted someplace cheap to stay for a couple days.’
His response had elicited an arched eyebrow, which quickly reverted into an apprehensive look. Nathan had managed to fend off her kind-hearted offer to take an actual crucifix with him without laughing in her face, civilly refraining from observing that he might have been, in fact, the most blasphemous creature in the neighbourhood for all he knew before he’d been able to leave with his purchase in tow.
Small towns had their own appeal, Nathan conceded. He could find the altruistic burst endearing, even if the gesture had likely been dictated by an underlying urge to assuage her conscience in case something did happen to the young stranger.
He hadn’t needed the metal cross, certainly wasn’t regretting its absence when he opened the creaking door of his accommodation wielding a veritable meat cleaver. Whether his manual dexterity would prove sufficient to put it to good use or not, Nathan firmly believed it would achieve better results than any religious token.
Waiting for him outside, the afternoon’s chill breeze had turned into a cold, strong wind, and darkness coated the landscape like a thick blanket. Dark clouds loomed over the creaking roof of his minute mansion, announcing an incoming storm would soon trouble his wireless connection.
He contemplated the striking view, yearned to capture its details on something more durable than his own retinas, then his attention was drawn by the wooden floor, still adorned with scattered scraps of his previous meal.
Unexpected, Nathan thought. Natural elements should have cleansed the spoils already.
Eventually, his eyes tired of aimlessly scrutinising the shadows behind low shrubs and large trunks, and his arm grew weary of holding the heavy knife, not to mention his skin was beginning to crawl because of his state of partial undress.
Returning inside, Nathan decided to dismiss his doubts altogether. He might have been wrong, might have mistaken a waving branch for an intent gaze taking in his naked form. Then his look lowered to the spot reserved for his ragged bag.
Which was empty, disturbingly so.
His disapproving frown didn’t begin to cover his unease at that.
According to Nathan’s estimations, two days should have been a reasonable period of time to produce a fair share of exploitable material. Before the theft, Nathan had planned to dismantle the set and prepare for departure in the late afternoon of the second day, perhaps the third if the weather persisted in its hindering.
The disappearance of his rucksack changed things.
His second-hand bag had been great company to him, perhaps even to the point that Nathan might claim an emotional attachment had been established over the years. It wasn’t valuable in itself, not as its content had been, but Nathan was outright upset about the loss.
Curiously enough, his technological devices had been left untouched.
A saner person would have considered searching for a temporary replacement for his admittedly unremarkable bag, if not leaving the creepy place in a hurry. Instead, Nathan thought about the restricted group amidst his viewers that got particularly annoyed over his silent treatment, disregarding his strategic passivity and enigmatic responses.
They were the most generous when Nathan offered to perform private performances but also the most temperamental if not handled with care. Some could become petty.
It occurred to Nathan that, if his timid voyeur and alleged thief had been drawn to his pliant form in the warm light of a roaring fire and wanted to prolong his stay, an agreement could be reached.
Worth the hassle, Nathan decided.
The following morning, he was poised to deliver a memorable show.
Blindfolded, he positioned himself on hands and knees, legs parted before the wide window, ass inviting, tilted upwards. Lube within reach.
He started even slower than he normally would, just running his fingers on his bare flanks with the softest touch he was capable of, then pressed his palm to his thigh with intent, goosebumps already covering his skin. He arched his back and exposed his shoulders in a wanton display.
His chest received some attention as well, a real treat in which he seldom indulged. His paying spectators favoured the nether regions of his body, but in that moment, he felt whimsical and uninhibited, ready to resort to his entire repertoire to seduce a bystander of unknown tastes.
When a pleasant flush spread across his nape, Nathan wet his middle and index fingers with his tongue and proceeded to give himself a gentle, deliberate fingering. He circled around the pucker before inserting just the very tip of the first rough digit, then courted his own entrance to loosen it for the second. He resorted to lubricant when his saliva dried, then played with himself some more, as he would for a patient, appreciative lover.
He didn’t resist long before enjoying a more thorough approach. Long-awaited anal stimulation felt like a little blessing after all the teasing. He felt different, less awkward. His hands were given complete freedom of motion, no restraints due to the location of his webcam.
When he deemed himself satisfied with his deed, he paid attention to his penis as well, took his time to fondle and stroke. He let the copious pre-come coating its length dribble on the carpet, replicating the mess his audience so often complimented, not worrying about angles and technicalities for a moment.
He was enjoying himself. The thought of a lone observer drinking in the sight of his pleasure with covetous eyes, behind his blindfold, kept Nathan going for a long while.
By the third day of indigo sky and rumbling thunder in the distance, a beautiful, bright sun greeted Nathan at dawn.
He was rested and sated, invigorated by business and pleasure, entirely spent in his languor. The quiet sounds of birds and rustling branches eased his lethargic awakening as he stirred in wrinkled sheets and thick comforters. Inspired, Nathan even picked up his camera and took a picture of the wooden ceiling above his head. He would have lingered further, even tried to fall back asleep, but his caffeine craving prevailed.
As Nathan walked down the corridor barefoot, he noticed with satisfaction a familiar bag was loosely leaning on the wall right beside the threshold. He smiled at the sight.
The rest of the day elapsed rather uneventfully. Nathan entertained his audience with his impressions on the whole experience, lamenting the unpleasant weather but altogether satisfied with his isolated cabin in the middle of a dangerous, disreputable forest. Then he expressed his gratitude towards the funders of his journey with one last performance, including the brand-new vibrating dildo to further lift their spirits.
Business matters settled, Nathan moved to packing and cleansing, methodically wrapping every lens with steady hands and rearranging the furniture to its initial disposition. By the evening, the cabin looked like Nathan had never crossed through the front door, just cleaner.
He almost regretted not having more time to spend in the secluded hut; the love-at-first-sight had yet to wane. Before leaving, he sought the letter that had welcomed him at his arrival and decided to add some lines to the cryptic sentence in the middle of it.
Given his limited time, his addition was rather simple.
May yours be sated until my return.
He put it back where he’d found it, under the mat with the key, and hoped that his performance had been payment enough for his short stay.
Cinnamaldeide doesn’t bite, more like she politely chews with her mouth closed. An amateur photographer and calligrapher in her spare time, she writes for fun and for despair.