"Damn!" muttered Sid. The gate blocking his car was marked ROAD CLOSED FOR THE SEASON. Sid would have to take the long way around to Mercer, and that meant that he would miss his place in the regional bowling finals.
Sid got out his car and looked up at the mountains, considering, and ran his fingers through his close-cropped black hair. It was only at the very peaks that there was a hint of snow. The sky was darkened by a high blanket of sullen grey clouds, but it didn't look to Sid as if it were going to snow any time soon. Sid knew there was some small risk, but dammit, he had been practicing for the whole year for this event, and he wasn't going to let this stupid gate ruin it for him. The road should be clear the whole way through. Was there a way in?
Sid paced by the gate. Yes, there was just enough room to squeeze his little car through on the side. Nobody was around to see him or report him. Sid returned to his car and drove over the hump at the side of the gate. He was in. Cranking the radio, the undergrad zipped along the deserted road, paying no attention to the speed limit since the police would not be patrolling the closed road.
Sid's car was all that the undergrad could afford: the body was rusted, and the interior had seen its better years, but the engine was still good. The land gradually climbed, and soon the road began to weave its way up the side of the mountain. Sid looked out the dirty window on his right down at the grey plain, rural and almost uninhabited except for a few farms dotted here and there. Here in the mountains there was just plain nothing: no houses, no sign of habitation. Small wonder that the county didn't bother keeping this road plowed during the winter.
Sid was nearing the top of the mountain. The clouds were looking a little more threatening, but even if it snowed, Sid should be through the high pass before there could be much accumulation. Sid hurried along, not wanting to get caught.
Rounding a tight bend, Sid suddenly opened his eyes wide and slammed on the brakes. The road in front of him was blocked by an enormous rockslide. Sid was racing much too fast to stop in time, and the screeching of tires against the pavement gave way to a bump and a confused slithering rocky sound as Sid's car plowed into the rockslide and flipped completely over. The car slid upside down along the loose and broken stones. Finally, it came to a precarious rest.
For several moments Sid was too frightened to move, and the radio continued to blare music, ignorant of what had just happened. Fortunately, Sid had his seat belt on, and he was suspended upside down in his car, unharmed. After much panting, Sid calmed himself enough to switch off the radio, unroll the window, and unfasten his seat belt. He fell against the ceiling of the car, which slid a few meters further. Sid felt his heart in his throat again, but the car came to another stop, and after listening to his heart pound for a minute, Sid collected himself and carefully crawled out of the window.
Sid got to his feet and promptly fell down again, since the loose rocks offered no solid foothold. There was no use trying to go forward; the rockslide was too wide. By the time Sid had made his way back to the edge of the rocks, a few white flakes were blowing around him. Sid's teeth chattered; he had no hat and was not dressed for this kind of weather.
Sid climbed up through the trees back to the road. Surveying the land below him, he tried to figure out the best course of action. There was no hope of recovering his car. Whatever he did, he'd have to walk, and there were no houses for many miles. It was a good twenty miles back to the intersection where he had crossed the gate, and no towns near there. Sid decided he'd have to go forward; he was not far from the top of the mountain, and there was a town only ten miles or so down from where he was.
The problem, though, was that the road ahead of him was blocked. He'd have to find another way through. Looking up through the whirling flakes, Sid saw a higher pass, like a saddle-shape between two peaks. He'd have to walk through the woods, but that was better than trying to make his way through the loose scree. Sid left the road and climbed.
The pass was farther away than Sid had thought. The bare deciduous trees gradually gave way to conifers, and Sid had still not reached the pass when the green pines began to be heavily muffled under a blanket of heavy white. Sid's sneakers were wet and full of snow, but he had no choice but to continue to wade through the fluffy whiteness, clenching his face against the howling wind. He began to be confused; he knew that he had to keep walking, but it was hard to keep his mind focused on why he had to do this.
After pushing through the heavy pine branches and getting wetted by the soft clumps of snow he was knocking loose, Sid was dimly glad to see a modest stretch of flat white land ahead of him. Here was a welcome break: to not have to push against branches for a few meters. Sid trudged through the snow. Suddenly there was a crack, and Sid fell waist-deep into icy water. Oh, no! In his daze, Sid had failed to recognize a frozen pond, and was now soaked.
Sid managed to heave himself out of the hole he had made in the ice and stumbled back to the trees. He had to sit down for a minute; he was too cold and tired to go on. The wind lashed against his soaked pants. Sid knew he was freezing, but he was getting so sleepy that he had no stength of will left to rouse himself. Sid sat silently with his back against a pine trunk. Presently the cold didn't seem to bother him so much. He just wanted to sleep. He knew he'd have to move, but not just yet, not just yet.
Sid slowly awoke. The first things he took in were that he was lying in a bed, that he was pleasantly warm, and that there was a strange roof of stone and rough boards above him. His arm was on a rough wool blanket.
Sid blinked, wondering where he was. He turned his head and looked at the room around him. He gradually pieced together that this was some sort of cabin; whoever had built it had taken advantage of a natural hollowing of the rock and had built the outside half of the cabin out of various old boards. The wind screamed outside, but it was snug and warm in the cabin. There were two rifles leaning beside the door and various tools and cooking equipment hanging on the walls, and there was an old-style wood stove that gave heat and some light to the room.
What Sid noticed most, though, was the enormous man sitting in a large comfortable wooden chair beside the bed. His booted feet were propped on the bed, and Sid thought that each of the huge legs was like a tree trunk, almost as big around as Sid's own waist. The man wore pants but no shirt, and his suspenders curved against his hairy, overhanging belly. His hair was grizzled and beginning to bald, and his grey beard poured like a waterfall from his chin to meet the darker curls on his chest. There was an curl of a smile on the man's bearded face, and his dark eyes glittered as he regarded the young man in his bed.
"Where am I?" Sid finally asked.
"You're in my cabin," said the man slowly. His voice was gravelly but warm. "You had just about froze yourself to death when I found you."
Sid remembered falling into the water, but he could not remember arriving at the cabin. "How did I get here? I thought I was sitting by a tree. I don't remember walking."
"I carried you," said the man. "I just slung you over my shoulders. You're no heavier than a deer."
Sid was silent, thinking about that. "I guess you saved my life," said Sid. He sat up in bed and discovered that he was naked; apparently, the man had stripped the soaked clothes off of him. The heat of the wood stove felt good against Sid's smooth chest. "My name's Sid," said Sid, extending his hand.
The bearded man reached out and took Sid's hand in his own. He firmly and slowly shook Sid's hand, but his hand was so much larger than Sid's that it almost completely surrounded it. "I'm James," said the man. "And now, young man, tell me: what brings you to the mountain at this time of year?"
"I was trying to take a short cut to the bowling finals over in Mercer. I went on the closed road; I know I shouldn't have. I hit a rockslide and my car turned over. I tried to walk but the road was blocked, so I climbed. I guess I got lost, and then I fell in the water. I sure am glad you found me."
The man nodded. "Happens a few times a year: a young fellow like yourself does the same thing, and ends up here in my cabin. I like to live alone, but it's nice to have the company now and then." The man ran his fingers down the length of his beard and scratched his big belly. "So tell me about yourself, young man, and tell me the all the news from down in town."
Sid was glad to talk, and he told the man all about his college and his bowling team. He talked about all the happenings he could remember from the newspaper and television. He man just nodded and listened, putting his hand under his beard to scratch his chest from time to time. He occasionally asked some question or made a comment, but mostly, he seemed content to just listen to what the young man had to say.
Sid kept talking, but he could not help staring at the man and wondering about him. How old was he? He had obviously spent many a winter here on the mountain, but his limbs were still large and muscular; he was grey but hale. He almost looked like he were part of the mountain: he belonged here, as much as the trees did. Sid imagined that the man was able to draw the strength of the mountain up into him, with the same patience as a deep-rooted oak which had withstood the winds for many years. The longer Sid talked, the younger he felt next to this man.
Finally the old man spoke. "I thank you for your story and for the news, young man," he said. He uncrossed his legs and slowly pulled off his boots. Then he ponderously stood to his full height; Sid had been able to see that James was unusually tall, but he realized that he had underestimated the man's height. "But now it's time for you to start thanking me for finding you," he said, slipping the suspenders off his hairy shoulders.
"Thanking you?" asked Sid.
"You can start by sucking my cock, boy," said the man, sliding off his pants.
Sid gasped. "But I don't want to suck cock."
"You didn't want to get lost in the mountains, either. These things happen." The mountain man climbed up on the bed and straddled the undergraduate's smooth chest. "Open up, boy," he said. Sid clamped his mouth closed. But the bearded man spoke again. "Open up, boy, or I'll open it for you."
Sid looked up with wide eyes at the hoary man towering over him; the belly hung over him like a hairy cliff. Sid was already practically pinned. He realized he still needed the man's help; his clothes were still soaked, and he could not find his way home on his own. Reluctantly, he opened his mouth, and the man pushed his stiff cock into the warm wetness. "Ah," he sighed, as he made a few tentative thrusts into Sid's mouth.
Sid screwed his eyes shut at first and endured the warm smoothness sliding in and out of his mouth. When he opened his eyes, he could see little but the man's salt-and-pepper curls in front of his nose, the overhang of his deep-navelled belly, and his legs and balls. "Suck me, boy," said James, and Sid began to suck. The mountain man grunted appreciatively and began to fuck the boy's face in earnest. His belly and beard swung forward and back with his vigorous fucking motion.
Sid soon lost all track of time. The man's assault on his mouth seemed to go on forever; there was just the smooth sliding in and out, in and out, and the tickle of the man's coarse curls against Sid's nose. Finally the man's balls tightened up against his body. With a grunt that sounded like a rockslide, the man exploded in Sid's mouth. For the first time, Sid tasted the taste of another man's come. "Swallow it, boy," growled the bearded man through clenched teeth, and Sid swallowed as the man kept thrusting into him.
Finally the man slowed and stopped. He pulled his cock out of Sid's mouth and sat on the boy's chest, putting enough of his weight on his own legs so that the boy would not be crushed beneath him. "Thanks, boy," he murmured. "That was good."
"I'm going to tell the cops," hissed Sid, the taste of come still burning in his mouth. "You raped me. I'm going to tell the cops when I get to town."
The man laughed like the chuckle of a mountain brook. "I don't think so, boy," he said. "Lots of other boys have said the same thing to me over the years, and not a one of them has ever told the cops." He climbed off the boy long enough to toss some more wood in the stove, but Sid remained indignantly sitting up in bed.
"Why not?" asked Sid.
The man returned to his chair and sat naked, looking at Sid with raised eyebrows. "Because I ate them, is why." He patted his belly for emphasis, and an answering grumble seemed to come from inside it. "I've eaten many boys over the years. And I'm going to eat you, too." He looked straight into Sid's face as he said this.
"What do you mean?" demanded Sid, alarmed but not understanding.
"I mean I'm gonna swallow you alive," said the man. "Face it: you almost froze to death. That's an awful way to go. But instead, you get to snuggle up inside my belly where it's nice and warm. It won't even hurt when I swallow you."
"That's impossible," said Sid, but there was uncertainty in his voice. This mountain man was almost impossibly large, and there was something strange about him that told Sid that he might actually be capable of this thing.
The man shrugged his broad shoulders; he wasn't going to argue the point.
"But I want to ask you something," continued Sid. "If you were planning to just rape me and eat me, why'd you wait until I woke up, and then why'd you talk to me for so long?"
The man shook his head. "You wouldn't understand, city boy. You get you food from a supermarket, and you don't know who made it or where it came from. It's got no meaning. When I bag a deer up here, I know the deer. I knew who its doe was and I've watched it grow up. It's part of the mountain, like me. We take our time up here. You understand? If I'm going to make something a part of me, I want to know its story first. I wanted to get to know you first, so that when I swallow you and I look down at the nice bulge you're making in my belly, I'll know who it is in there and who it is that's making me big and strong. That way, it means something. Now, come here, boy."
With that, the mountain man leaned over the bed and clamped his hands around Sid's waist. He hoisted the young man lightly out of bed with his great limbs and returned to his seat, holding the young man in front of him. He leaned forward and licked Sid's forehead, and his long beard tickled Sid's face. "Mm, you're a tasty boy," he said. "I'm glad I found you. I can't wait to feel you inside my belly."
"Don't do it!" cried Sid, and tried to back away, but the man's grip on his waist was as strong as the mountain itself
The mountain man just chucked and opened his bearded mouth very wide. The man leaned forward, and the last thing Sid saw what the enormous mouth opening wider and wider until it covered his face. The man took the boy's frightened face in his mouth and began to slowly gulp him.
Sid began to fight the man's grip, but the undergraduate was no match for the huge mountain man. Soon the man had his mouth wrapped around Sid's entire head, and Sid could hear the low rumble of the man's breathing against his ears. He felt the long beard tickling his chest, and he felt the rough wet tongue against his face, tasting him and enjoying him.
Sid's smaller hands were pressing against the man's hairy chest, trying to push away from him. But the man patiently ate him down further, gradually pinning his arms to his sides. When the big lips reached Sid's elbows, Sid could push no more; his arms were straightened and pinned to his sides. Soon Sid felt the lips around his waist like a belt, and his whole upper body was trapped in a wonderful moist warmth.
Sid felt his feet leave the floor and felt the blood rush to his head at the man tilted his head back and effortlessly hoisted Sid off the floor. Sid's legs wheeled uselessly in the air, but he felt the huge hands, powerful as mountain stone, taking hold of his legs and holding them still. He felt the throat muscles gulping all around him, drawing him in inch by inch. He felt the beard tickling his upper legs, and then before long he felt the lips and tongue around his knees. Soon only his feet were outside the man's mouth, and then with a gulp, even the feet disappeared from view.
The mountain man closed his bearded mouth and smiled, pausing a moment with the delicious boy suspended upside down in his throat. Then, with a great gulp, he just swallowed the boy whole. He felt the squirming boy sliding wonderfully down his throat, and a moment later, his belly was bulging out with his meal.
Inside the dark belly, Sid squirmed around. He could not tell which direction was which, and he could not find the way back out. It was comfortably warm here inside the man's stomach, and Sid would have felt quite safe if he hadn't known that he would soon be digested. The walls of the stomach were strong and secure around him.
The mountain man patted his bulging belly and put his feet back up on the bed. He picked his teeth and mused that this had been one of the nicest young men he'd eaten in a while. Now he wouldn't have to go hunting for deer for several days; he could just kick back and relax and enjoy digesting the boy. The snowstorm continued to scream outside, but the mountain man just burped and scratched the hair on his belly. He was in no hurry and could stay here as long as he liked.
As the hours passed, the man snoozed and digested Sid. Some of Sid's matter became part of the man's belly fat, and some of it went into his balls. The young man's strength passed into James' arms and legs; that was how he remained strong and how had lived on the mountain many more years than was ordinarily given to men. The old man of the mountain had been swallowing young men since before Sid's great-grandfather was young, and time had changed him little. Countless young men had seen the bearded mouth open and had felt themselves being drawn down into his eternal stomach, and old man remembered them all and thanked them all for having kept him strong.
The following spring, Sid's car was found in the scree, but Sid was never found. It was assumed that he had gotten lost and had been frozen to death. Too many young men had turned up missing on that mountain. The county highway department blocked the opening beside the gate, but when the weather turned cold again and the gate was closed, the old man on the mountain ventured down and opened up the space by the gate as he did every year. He knew that his tasty meals of reckless young men would be up to see him before long. They always came. He licked his lips and watched and waited for the next one who would satisfy his endless appetite.
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