John loved the bush of an afternoon, especially late afternoon, just
before dusk. He sat atop his horse and watched as the cattle settled down
for the day. One by one they found their special spot and ungracefully lay
down with a thud. He whistled the dogs, sending them back and forth,
gently rounding those cattle who had settled further away from his selected
boundary than he wanted. The dogs roused them back up on their feet, not
with noisy barking, but with gentle threatening runs at their hind quarters
or soft nips on their heels. John smiled as he watched the professional
cattle dogs work their last for the day, noticing even they seemed a bit
tired as they herded their strays back in closer to the camp boundaries.
He glanced over his right and left shoulders at the others. Steven and
Jack were loading the land-rover for the trip back into town where they
intended to spend the night. Neither of them had the thing for sleeping
under the stars like John had. It was always a motel or hotel with hot
running water, soft sheets and a beer or two before calling the day quits.
John planned to send Susan, the young work experience girl with them. This
was her first night on a driving muster. He figured, from experience with
city boys and girls, that sleeping on the same level as snakes and other
ground animals wouldn’t exactly place her mind in a preparatory state for
sleep without waking him up all night with her screams at every strange
noise she would definitely be hearing throughout the night.
A familiar whistle brought his attention casually round to his left. It
was Susan. The twenty-two-year-old girl from the city who had arrived at
their cattle station looking for work experience. She was studying to be a
vet and had wanted to gain actual hands-on experience on a real property,
working closely with real cattle and their day to day problems, and in that
way, take with her some first-hand experience when she began the last year
of her four-year course of studies. John had admired her for her attitude
towards her future career.
He climbed wearily down from his horse and removed the heavy stock
saddle, placing it carefully down beside the three others. Susan was over
with Jack and Steven. As John glanced in their direction, he noticed Jack
shaking his head from side to side in the negative manner, grinning at
Susan as he did so. Steven then said something he couldn’t quite hear and
then Jack and Steven both laughed loudly. He watched as Susan turned and
walked away from them, heading off into the bushes, probably to take care
of her bodily functions, he thought, which immediately reminded him of how
long he had been sitting in the saddle without relieving his bladder that
He stood up wearily and headed off into the bush also, but in the
opposite direction to where he had seen Susan walking towardly. When he
returned, he saw Jack and Steven making his fire for the night. The sun
was just saying its final goodbyes to any who happened to notice it leaving
for the day.
He walked over to them, curiously wondering why Susan wasn’t back. She
should’ve been, he figured, as he squatted down on his haunches and shifted
a few of the small sticks so that when the fire was lit it would burn more
evenly towards the larger ones he liked to see burn well into the night.
Steven and Jack stood on the other side, packing up the last of their
things and then throwing them into the back of the rover. Then they both
walked over to him and squatted down as he was, resting comfortably on
their haunches as the men from the Australian bush had a way of doing when
they wanted to take a quick break without laying flat on their backs under
a tall, leafy gum tree.
“She wants to stay with you.” Steven said with a dry laugh. “I told her
no, and told her about all the bitey things that might get her through the
night. I think she’s a bit miffed right now.”
Jack and John both joined Steven in their quiet laughter at city people
and their huffy ways when they didn’t get what they wanted.
“I told her you were a loner, too.” Jack said with a wry grin. “And
really liked your privacy out here of a night.”
The men quieted their mirth then as Susan strode out through the bushes
and stepped out her pace towards them. John glanced casually, but quickly
towards her face and knew instantly she hadn’t given up on the idea of
staying for the night. Her jaw was set firm and her eyes focussed –
directly on his. He looked casually back down at the pile of twigs in the
would-be fire site and smiled. A fiery one at that, he thought amused.
“I’m not afraid of snakes.” Susan said quietly, but firmly as she tried
her best to hunker down onto her haunches as the men had done, finding it a
bit difficult in the tight jeans she had worn for the day. Nevertheless,
she managed it, but only to a certain degree.
John smiled without looking up at her when she spoke, amused at the way
he could see her squatting out of the corner of his eye. He half-expected
any good evening breeze to blow her sideways, should it decide to come up,
so precarious did her state of balance seem to him. He said nothing, just
waited until she said what she had been in the bushes for so long planning
to say when she returned.
“Why is it,” Susan began again. “That all you guys think you’ve got the
only claim to being the Man from Snow River?”
Steven and Jack burst out laughing at her childish way of getting back
at them for refusing to let her spend the night in the bush. John just
smiled quietly, secretly admiring her for having a go at them in her own
“If any snake comes within one foot of me, I’ll be wearing a new belt
come breakfast time.” Susan added for good measure.
All three of the men then burst out laughing at her proposed toughness,
knowing full well how she, and they as well would react to a ten-foot brown
snake curling up inside her sleeping bag with her for the night. When the
laughter died down John looked squarely into her defiant eyes. They dared
him to say something belittling, as the others had done to her.
“All right.” John said quietly, then dropped his gaze back to the unlit
campfire, his hands once again fiddling with the small twigs. “Get your
Steven and Jack looked quickly at him, surprised for only a few seconds.
Then they accepted his decision with a smile and a grin and both stood up
and stretched. He was the boss. If he wanted to put up with her squarking
all night that was his problem. At least they wouldn’t have to baby-sit
her throughout the evening.
John kept his gaze steadily on the twigs in his hands, waiting, knowing
Susan had proven herself so far in all the work they had given her to do
and hadn’t failed too badly in any of it. She had driven her herd of
twenty or so stray cattle slowly in amongst the others without disturbing
the main herd, which wasn’t an easy task at the best of times. He raised
his gaze to hers. She was looking straight at him, smiling.
Yes, he thought, as he held her green, emerald eyes for a few seconds
longer than he should have. John thought she hadn’t been doing too badly,
so far, for a city girl, that is. He didn’t have a lot of faith in city
girls, or boys either for that matter. Those he had seen working on cattle
properties in the past didn’t seem to have any stamina for hard work
without a rest break every hour or so.
But, this one hadn’t done too badly so far, he decided, and he couldn’t
judge her by the other’s standards. She seemed a little different. She
had willingly asked for jobs that others from the city would’ve shied away
from, including getting up at dawn to milk by hand the ten cows the
property used for fresh milk every morning. Once John had taught her how
to milk she seemed fine and preferred to be left alone without him
supervising her at all. She’d only had a few accidents where a grumpy cow
or a mistake by her had seen the cow’s hoof stamp angrily down into the
bucket of fresh milk, which then had to be thrown out.
John watched as Susan shifted her gaze from his and stood up, and not
without some difficulty. He smiled quietly as she headed off to get her
gear from the rover. He thought earlier of how he had watched her climb
down from her small chestnut horse and loosen the girth of the saddle.
Then she had dragged it off its back and placed it carefully down on the
ground. He had then nudged his own horse towards the direction where the
saddles were sitting, knowing he would be doing the same thing within
minutes. He had stopped a little away from Susan and the others and had
done it, then, looking forward to the cup of billy tea he planned to make
when Susan and the others left for their comfortable motel rooms for the
night – only now, it was tea for two, John thought with a grin as he lit
the twigs to get the fire roaring for the night. Tea for two.
After Steven and Jack had left for town John and Susan had individually
gone to the river and bathed, washing off the dirt and dust from the day’s
droving. John had changed into a pair of loose-fitting shorts and a light
T-shirt. It was midsummer and the nights were still warm – too hot in the
sleeping back with jeans on.
Susan had also changed into a pair of baggy shorts and a loose top, he
noticed, as he saw her coming back from the river’s edge. Not that it did
much to hide the fullness of her breasts which jiggled as she walked along,
high-stepping every now and then over a clump of grass. No bra, obviously,
John figured as he dropped his gaze when she approached the fire and sat on
“Thanks.” She said quietly.
“No problems.” John answered, stoking the fire, upon which sat the
frying pan with their bacon and eggs he was cooking them both for dinner.
“Bacon and eggs for dinner shouldn’t throw out your body clock too
much.” He told her with a grin and without looking up at her.
“That’s fine.” Susan answered with a smile in her voice.
They ate in comfortable silence. John was the type of man who said
something only when he had something to say. He figured if others couldn’t
handle his silence or lack of contributing silence, then that was their
problem – not his. Whenever his gaze met Susan’s, she just smiled, and
didn’t seem to him, too put off by his lack of a running commentary on
their hastily, but efficiently prepared dinner.
After they’d finished eating John put the billy on for their evening cup
of tea. Then he stood up and stretched.
“The dishes are yours.” He smiled down at her as she finished the last
of her bacon and eggs. “Fair enough?”
Susan looked up at him and smiled. “No problems.” She grinned.
He laughed at her saying his own favourite phrase back to him. Then he
walked to his bedroll and sleeping bag and rolled it out, brushing away the
ground around where he intended to sleep for the night with a leafy branch
he picked up along the way. Then he walked back to the fire and checked
the billy tea water. It was bubbling at the right temperature. He made
them both a cup of black, steaming hot tea and sat back down by the fire.
“I’ll do the dishes now, I think.” Susan said, getting to her feet and
gathering the dishes. “I don’t like scalding hot tea. It’ll be cool
enough for me when I’ve finished.”
John smiled, but said nothing as he watched her take her armload of
dishes and utensils down towards the river to wash them, wondering if that
would be his first rescue mission for the night if she fell into the river,
or was frightened by some bush animal coming out in front of her to feed
for the night. But, she was back in ten minutes. John noticed she looked
a bit white around the gills, but other than that she looked none the worse
for her walk through the darkened bush track down and back to the river.
He smiled at her as she sat back down on her sleeping blanket. She had
bunched it up beneath her to sit on, then reached for her tea off the coals
at the edge of the warm fire which was now losing some of its tall, flaming
fiery-ness and settling down more to a more even all-round burn. He
watched quietly, alone with his thoughts as Susan sipped the still-hot mug
of black tea.
“Mmmm.” She said, looking over the fire glow at him drinking his own.
“You make a nice cup of tea.”
John smiled, raising his mug to her in a mock toast of congratulating
himself. But he said nothing, content to just sit and let the warmth of
the fire penetrate to the depths of his
tired and aching muscles. His gaze rested somewhere in the depths of
the steady, golden flames as his body relaxed from the welcome invasive
heat as his thoughts soared on the wings of their birth.
Every now and then John would glance casually over at her and notice
that she too had seemed to let her mind and thoughts rest in the warm
depths of the fire’s heart. Her eyes seemed glazed, half-open and languid
as they stared unseeingly into the golden flames licking every which way
but loose into the air above the burning logs.
Susan was resting on the side of her thighs, half-sitting and
half-lying. He could make out the shape of her breasts and the fact that
they had swung down to lie to one side against each other as she leaned on
her elbow and gazed steadily into the warmth of the fire. Her chest seemed
to rise and fall gently with her even breathing and John suddenly noticed
she hadn’t blinked for several minutes. Her eyes seemed frozen in place
along with the rest of her as the flames held her attention
uninterruptedly. He watched her for several more minutes, yet still she
didn’t blink. Her face seemed very relaxed and calm, and if it wasn’t for
the fact that her eyes were still half-open she would look like she had
gone to sleep.
“Still among the living?” John said quietly to her. If she had gone to
sleep, he didn’t want to awaken her with a start. There was no answer.
She just half-lay, half-sat there, staring into the fire. John could see
her cheeks had flushed from the heat of being so close to the fire.
“Earth calling Susan?” he said softly, with a smile in his voice at the
fire-entranced girl. Yet still no answer came.
John just sat there and gazed at her for several long minutes, trying to
decide what to do, and taking in the form of her while he was at it. He
hadn’t really noticed her in that way before, but he was now. He could
clearly see the full, nestling shape of her breasts beneath the loose top
she was wearing. And the wide expanse of smooth thighs extending downwards
from each leg of her loose and baggy shorts was enough to create a stirring
in his loins he had not previously felt whenever he had been around her.
He stared hard at her calm, relaxed face again, realising she had not
gone to sleep, simply because her eyes were still open. Half-mast they
were, but they were still open and staring unblinking into the flickering
flames of the campfire. John then wondered if she was hypnotised.
He looked closely at the flickering, shimmering golden flames leaping
and bending, turning and twisting from the fiery logs of their birth and
decided that they were so relaxing to look at that she probably had
hypnotised herself by looking at them for something to do since he had not
engaged her in a running conversation after their dinner.
John also realised that she was probably very tired as well after her
first all-day stint in the saddle on top of a rocking and rolling horse.
He rose slowly from where he had been sitting and walked carefully around
to her, sitting on his haunches only two feet away from where she lay
propped up on her elbow and staring vacantly into the shimmering golden
yellow flames. He noticed that although he had made some small noises in
moving around to her side of the fire Susan had not given any sign that she
was now aware he was sitting close to her.
John simply stared at the entranced young woman as his mind recalled
every story he’d ever heard about hypnosis. By the time he had recollected
several he felt his body shift uncomfortably deep within his loins. He
decided to see what happened if he were to speak to her. After all, she
could only wake up, he thought.
“You can close your eyes now, Susan.” He said softly, soothingly, and
was surprised to see her eyes flutter a few times, then gently close, all
the way down as she sighed. John’s heart skipped a beat as he realised
that she had indeed, fully hypnotised herself by gazing uninterrupted at
the flames. Her breathing was still even and gentle and hadn’t changed a
bit for him having spoken to her. He decided to try it again.
“You can open your eyes now, Susan.” He said soothingly, stretching it
out to sound sleepy-like. To his increasing surprise Susan’s eyes slowly
opened back to their former halfmast position whereupon she focussed right
back into the centre of the curling and bending yellow flames.
“You may close your eyes now, Susan.” He said again, watching her carry
out his suggestion with another sigh. Then, for an instant he wondered if
she was putting him on. After all, he wasn’t all that experienced with
city girls and the tricks they could play on a man if they really wanted
to. He’d heard all the stories, of course. At that point in time John
decided to put her self-imposed hypnotic state to the test. If she was
trying to fool him, he would soon enough find out. If she wasn’t? Well,
maybe he would learn about hypnosis for himself, and just what it could and
couldn’t do – first hand, hands-on style.
* * *
John remained perched solidly and comfortably on his haunches while
thinking up some sure-fire tests for the entranced woman who lay before
him, half lying, half-sitting and propped up on her elbow.
“You would be more comfortable, Susan,” he told her soothingly, “if you
were to lay your head down … on your sleeping bag … and just relax.”
To John’s complete amazement, Susan, eyes still closed, sat up slowly
and shifted her sleeping bag so that it was further along from where it had
been. Then she lay down and rolled over onto her back, resting her head
down into its softness with a deep, long sigh. Her arms flopped on the
ground by her side. The toes of her shoes fell slightly apart as she
relaxed back into the hard ground. Her baggy shorts hung stretched, open
and loose around her upper thighs, allowing him a first-hand view of the
soft inside flesh of her creamy thigh, coloured golden from the yellow
flames of the campfire. John smiled, finding his excitement mounting, in
more ways then one.
“It’s very warm tonight,” he told her in his now-deliberately soothing,
slow voice. “By the warm fire … with its hot flames that make … you
feel so warm and relaxed.”
He watched as Susan shifted a little, appearing to make herself more
comfortable. Then her right hand slowly came up and rested on the material
of her loose cotton top, holding it away from her body. She began to
gently pull it out and back in a sort of fanning action, as if she were
trying to cool herself. Then he felt himself stir deeply with his next
thought, but, should he dare? He thought to himself as he considered the
possible consequences of his intended suggestion. Then, for some strange
reason John threw all his normal caution to the winds of the night, totally
enthralled by what was happening, and what could happen.
“It’s way too hot … and way too uncomfortable … to be wearing any
clothes.” He told her in his especially acquired voice and intonations.
“You would be … much more relaxed … and comfortable … beside the
night-fire … if you were free of them … once and for all … on this
hot, warm night.”
He watched Susan’s other hand come slowly up and join the other as she
unbuttoned her loose, cotton top.He held his breath as she slowly then sat
up and drew the top off each shoulder and then lay it on the ground beside
her. John’s mouth fell open at the sight of her exposed breasts. They
hung full and free, her flesh shimmering patterns of golden yellow in the
glow from the twisting and curling flames. Her nipples were long and dark,
succulent, and, John thought, very erect, too.
John’s heart began to pound steadily against his rib cage with the
quickening of his pulse as he stared at them for several seconds before
Susan then reached down to the belt of her shorts and released it. Then
she slid the zipper down to the bottom of its travel. Her hands thumbed
the sides of them at her waist and dragged them slowly downwards to her
knees, lifting her buttocks from side to side as they passed over them.
Once having got them to her knees, Susan then slipped them slowly down to
her ankles and off her feet, one at a time.
His own breathing deepened as he watched the unbelievable show unfolding
before his very eyes. Susan’s hands reached back to her waist. Her thumbs
once again slipped beneath the waistband of her white, brief underwear and
dragged them down over her hips and buttocks, just as she had done with the
baggy shorts, exposing her junction’s triangle of lush and thick, soft,
black, curly pubic hair to his eager gaze as she turned and stretched out
fully her sleeping bag on the ground behind her.
But, Susan did not hop inside it. Instead, she lay full length on top
of it, crossing her ankles and resting her hands lightly beneath her
breasts across the top of her gently rising and falling stomach as she
breathed. Then she sighed, deep and long, and seemed to relax fully back
down into the ground. The glow of the golden flames danced like fireflies
over her entire form from head to toe, giving her figure and completely
nude shape an almost surreal image to John’s hungry and very excited eyes
as they simply stared agape at the first sight of a nude woman’s body he
had seen in a very long time. He had to get to the city more often, he
thought – too long between drinks.