I’d been told never to go into the woods. My father threatened me with the tale of two other boys who had wandered in and never returned. I didn’t care. To me the woods meant quiet, and peace, and escape from home and arguments. So there I was, wandering in the forbidden woods. The pine trees towered above me, creating pine-needle-covered ground free of underbrush in places, but sometimes I pushed aside branches of younger trees and waded through low shrubs.
It was a beautiful New Hampshire summer day. The sun filtered through the trees, flooding the floor of the woods with soft light. Birds chattered their chorus of joy as they flitted from branch to branch. Small animals scampered through the leaves and pine needles on the ground. At one point, two full-grown deer bounded across my path, disappearing again among the trees.
I never feared getting lost. I knew my way in these woods and could determine my direction from the position of the sun overhead.
I arrived at the little clearing I’d discovered two years earlier. I was hot, so I removed my T-shirt and stuffed it into the back pocket of my shorts before I flopped down on the grass, my back against a tree trunk. It was a beautiful spot, the trees around it providing shade while wildflowers and butterflies added color. Later there would be wild blackberries.
Sitting there, I thought about home and began to cry. I had walked out because, once again, my mother and father were arguing. I wondered why they could never get along. I had never known a time when they weren’t fighting about something. Today it was electricity. My mother wanted it; my father didn’t. She said she was tired of washing clothes by hand and heating water on the stove for bathing. He said what they had was good enough for his mother, so it was good enough for her. He didn’t want any of those modern contraptions in his house. Argue! Argue! Argue! It never stopped.
That morning as they argued I cried out, “Oh, will you two please stop it!” My father slapped my face ─ twice. It hurt but I refused to draw away. It certainly wasn’t the first time he’d hit me. For as long as I could remember, there were occasional open hands or fists hitting me just about anywhere on my body, usually when he’d been drinking. I stared at him with anger in my eyes and deliberately walked out of the cabin and into the woods.
Leaning against the tree, I wiped the tears from my face. I only cried in private. After all, I was fourteen and should be too old to cry. As I gazed across the clearing, I wondered what lay beyond it. The clearing was as far as I’d ever ventured, but there were certainly more woods on the other side. That day I was angry enough to defy my father and explore a little farther. As I said, so long as there was a sun in the sky I wouldn’t get lost.
Standing, I crossed the open area and entered the woods. I walked for perhaps half-an-hour and then stopped dead. Before me was another little clearing. What made me pause was that the woods on the far side were shimmering brightly! A boy about my age was sitting on the ground in the shimmer, crying. He had long, flaming red hair and a face full of freckles. I thought at once that he was cute and perhaps someone I’d like to know. I wondered who he was and where he’d come from. I’d never seen him before. How did he get where he was, and what was the shimmering light he seemed to be sitting in?
I walked forward slowly into the clearing. When I got near the shimmering light, he cautioned, “Do not come any farther!”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because if you enter The Shimmer, you will never be able to go back.”
Weird. What was that about? I decided to sit too so that we were face-to-face about ten yards apart.
“Why are you crying?” I asked.
“Because you are sad,” he replied.
“How did you know I was sad?”
“I know a lot about you. I have been waiting for you to come.”
“Really? How do you know about me?”
“I have special permission to go outside The Shimmer, and I have been watching you.”
Curiouser and curiouser, I thought.
“Can you come out of The Shimmer now?”
“Yes.” He rose, stepped forward, and passed through the sparkling light. He was wearing shorts which were of some homespun material held up by a rope. No shirt covered his chest, and he was barefoot. He extended his hand as he sat beside me.
I took his hand nervously and asked, “How old are you?”
“Fourteen,” he replied. “I have been fourteen for 124 years.”
Sure, I thought, and I’m the Queen of Romania. I decided to humor him. He seemed so sincere in what he said. “How is that possible?” I asked.
“We never age in The Shimmer.” Motioning with his hand he said, “Come, let us walk.”
We rose and together we turned left and walked through the woods. As we walked, he held my hand. At first I was uncomfortable about that and I tensed up. I’d never held a boy’s hand before. Well, to be truthful, I’d never held a girl’s hand either. But his hand was warm and comforting, and holding it simply felt to be right. Continuing on, he began to swing our hands back and forth and I started to relax.
“My name is Noah and you are Riley,” he said matter-of-factly.
I was surprised he knew my name. “You said you’d been waiting for me,” I said. “Why?”
“I knew when you were born that you were the one for me. I watched you as you grew. Now you are fourteen and you have a decision to make.”
“I’ll tell you later.” Smiling, he continued, “We need to spend some time together first.”
As we walked, I noticed that the branches and shrubs seemed to pull back, revealing a path ahead of us.
“Tell me about The Shimmer,” I said. “Did you really mean that if I went in I could never come out?”
“Oh yes,” he replied. “One hundred and twenty-four years ago our town became a target for thieves and murderers who discovered that we did not believe in killing and we could not defend ourselves.
“Our ancestors had lived in Salem, Massachusetts, and fled to New Hampshire during the 1692 witch trials in the town.
“A few of them were truly witches but not the kind you read about in books. They did not wear pointy hats and they were a force for good, not evil.
“Rather than face the trials, they fled here where they settled and began farming. Later, when we were attacked, the witches cast a spell around our new town and farming land to protect us. My mother was one of the witches who cast the spell. By then, my little brother, Jethro, and I had been born. I was fourteen and he was six.
“Since that time, the few people who have ventured into The Shimmer have either stayed or died trying to leave.
“There is something about me that convinced the others to grant me the rare ability to pass through into your world. There are a few others who do so in order to bring us news of what is happening around us.
“Outside, as we call it, I have watched other boys as they grew up and became men, but none of them were what I needed.”
“What did you need?” I asked.
“In time I will tell you, but not today.”
That’s the second time he’s declined to tell me something. Why? I wondered.
Noticing to the position of the sun, I said, “I need to get home or I’ll be in trouble.”
Still holding my hand, Noah turned and led me through the woods towards my home, the new path appearing again before us. Once, I looked back and discovered that the path had vanished behind us.
In a short time, we came to the edge of the woods quite near my home.
He turned to me, took both my hands, and gently kissed me on the mouth.
At first, I was more than uncomfortable. After all, boys shouldn’t kiss boys. My father would kill me if he saw us. But I began to realize how good his kiss felt, and in a moment I was returning it.
After a while we broke the kiss and let go of each other’s hands. As I turned and left the woods, I looked back to wave to him, but he was gone.
Entering our cabin, I said hello to Mother. “Where’s Father,” I asked.
“Out looking for you. He was afraid you’d gone into the woods.”
I wondered whether I should tell her the truth. Even though I trusted her, I decided it was safer not to.
At sundown, Father returned, looked at me, and asked angrily, “Where have you been?”
“Just walking,” I said.
“I looked all over for you.”
“I’m sorry. I guess we just missed each other.”
I didn’t hate Father, but I didn’t love or respect him either. I think the emotion I felt most often when he was around was fear, especially when he’d been drinking, which was nearly always. I did hate the fear. As a young boy, I’d thought about running away, but I was scared and I knew he’d find me.
As for Mother, the best I can say is that she tried to be a good parent, but she was weak and couldn’t stand up to Father. I don’t know whether she loved me or not. If she did, she never said it or showed it. As far as the two of them were concerned, I simply existed, perhaps more like a dog than their son, convenient when they needed some extra hands, but otherwise a bit of a nuisance who had to be fed, clothed, and housed. In bed that night, I couldn’t get Noah out of my mind. As I lay there picturing him, I began fantasizing about him taking his shorts off. Other than his freckles, his complexion was as pale as a full moon. I loved his Cupid’s-bow mouth. I imagined that he had a beautiful, hard thingy. As I pictured him, my thingy grew hard, and I rubbed it until I shot. I lay there panting as I came down off my throbbing high. I cleaned myself off and tried to go to sleep, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Noah and all he had told me. How could he have lived that long? I wondered. I thought about him holding my hand and the warm feeling it gave me. And then there was the kiss. I felt guilty for enjoying it and responding to it. Was there something wrong with me?
I suppose I drifted off, because the next thing I knew was Mother calling me for breakfast. As we ate, Father said, “Riley, I need your help collecting firewood today. Soon the snow will fly, and we’ll need all the wood we can find.”
I nodded and finished my breakfast. I was disappointed. I so wanted to go back and talk some more with Noah.
Instead, I went with Father into the woods. As far as he was concerned, the only time I was allowed in the woods was when I was with him. As we began to search for suitable trees, I looked around, hoping I’d see Noah, but if he was nearby, he was very well hidden.
Father had brought his axe, and soon he was chopping down a dead tree. I admired his skill with an axe. He could make a tree fall within inches of the point he aimed for.
When the tree fell, we cut it into useful lengths using a two-man saw. Then we carried them back to the cabin and stowed them under a little roof on the side of the building.
Time and again we returned to the woods and brought out wood. We worked all day except for taking time out to eat a quick lunch.
By suppertime I was exhausted. I washed myself in cold water and sat at the table.
It was nearly dark when we finished eating, so I went to bed with no sighting of Noah. Again, I pictured him, naked and kissing me. I was almost painfully hard as I rubbed myself and again shot all over my chest and stomach.
Boys at school talked about jerking off, so I knew I wasn’t the only one, but did they fantasize about boys or only girls? I was feeling more and more guilty. I wondered if I should stay away from Noah, but I knew I wouldn’t.
The next morning, I had blisters on my hands and Father told me to take the day off from work, cautioning me as always not to gos into the woods.
Of course, as soon as he was out of sight, I turned into the woods and walked to the second clearing, which I now thought of as Noah’s clearing.
He emerged from The Shimmer and said, “You worked hard yesterday.”
“Were you watching?” I asked.
He nodded and said, “Show me your hands.”
I held my hands open to him, telling him they were the reason I didn’t have to work that day.
He covered them with his hands and held them for a few moments, and slowly, my hands felt better. When he released them, I looked at my palms and there was no sign of blisters. I asked him how he did that, and he said it was something he’d learned from his mother.
We sat in the clearing and talked for a long time, holding hands. When we had run out of things to talk about, we simply looked at each other. Noah reached over and pulled my head to him. Again, he kissed me gently on the lips. I kissed back, and soon we were embracing passionately, mouth to mouth. I knew we shouldn’t be doing it, but I exclaimed, “Wow!” as we broke the kiss.
He smiled and said he had something to tell me. When I nodded, he began, “Riley, I am a homosexual.”
”What’s a homo…whatever?”
“Some males,” he said, “are attracted to other males instead of to females. I am one of them, and I am drawn strongly to you.”
I was stunned. He was talking about being queer.
“My parents know,” he continued, “as do all the people in our village. There are no other homosexuals there. That is why I have permission to go outside The Shimmer. I have been looking for a partner.
“I told you that when you were born, I knew you were the one for me, the boy I had been waiting for. Of course, I did not say anything then. I had to wait for you to reach my age.”
Facing me, he said, “Riley, I want you to be my partner forever.”
No! I thought. I’m not a queer, am I? Even if I am, how would he know?
At last I asked, “What makes you think I’m a queer?”
“A queer. You know, a homo…whatever.”
He thought for a bit before he replied, “I am not sure. I simply know that you are. I knew it when you were born, and I have known it ever since.”
As I thought about it, I realized that I had no idea whether or not I was queer. I knew that sometimes I crushed on boys at school, but I had always thought that would stop when I began liking girls. The trouble was, I was fourteen and I still didn’t like girls.
Looking at him, I said, “You told me you wanted me to be your partner.” He nodded. “You want me to go into The Shimmer and live with you?”
“I’d be leaving everything and everybody I know.” I thought a bit and realized that there really wasn’t anyone I would regret leaving. Could I really do it?
At length I asked, “Do you realize what a huge decision that would be?”
“I know and that is why I do not want to rush you. If you do it, you must enter without any reservations.”
“Can I have time to think about it?”
“You can have as long as you need, but please do not grow any older.”
I laughed. “How do I stop that?”
He giggled in turn and said, “I meant that you need to decide what you are going to do before your next birthday. I want us both to be fourteen forever.”
As the day waned, I again needed to head for home. Realizing that I had eaten nothing since breakfast, I told him I would bring some food with me the next time. Later, I wondered if he even knew foods like white bread or lemonade.
Noah walked with me until we arrived at the edge of the woods near my house. Again, he pulled my head forward and kissed me, long and hard, as I reciprocated. I knew my thingy was growing stiff. I looked down and could make out that his was also.
Reluctantly, I pulled away and turned to my house, leaving Noah in the woods.
I lay awake thinking for a long time that night. I was confused by what Noah had said. I still didn’t know whether I was queer, but I had to admit that I had no interest in girls. I wondered what it would be like to live with him in The Shimmer. What would I lose here if I did that? Nothing much, I decided. I sighed, rolled over, and dropped off to sleep at last.
The following morning, Father again demanded my help with gathering wood. Although Noah had healed my hands, they were still tender. As we sawed trees and Father loaded some wood into my arms, my hands began to hurt. It felt as though they were on fire.
“Father,” I said, “I can’t do this today. Look at my hands.”
He grunted and replied, “You’ll never build up calluses in your hands if you don’t go through this. Keep working.”
By lunch time there were tears in my eyes from the pain. My blisters had broken open and were oozing. I looked at Father and showed him my hands. He sighed, shook his head, and complained that I was too soft. But he did give me the afternoon off.
When my parents weren’t looking, I took some apples from last year’s crop and hastened into the woods, wondering if Noah would be waiting.
I stepped into the clearing and saw Noah once again sitting in The Shimmer. He waved and came to me. Hugging me he said, “Your father works you too hard. Let me see your hands.”
He took them in both of his as he had done before, and soon they began to feel better. This time he held them longer. I felt them grow warm and wondered what was happening. When he freed my hands and I looked at them, there were calluses where the blisters had been.
“This is amazing,” I said. “Can you heal cuts or bruises or bad bleeding?”
“I do not know,” he replied. “I have never tried.”
We sat in the clearing, back-to-back, and were silent for a time eating the apples I had brought. It wasn’t an uncomfortable silence; it was more like we were communing with our minds.
At last Noah asked, “Have you thought about what I said yesterday?”
“Oh, yes,” I said, “I’ve thought of little else. I was awake most of the night.”
He smiled, asking, “And what have you thought?”
I turned so I was facing him before I said, “Living together forever would mean that we’d really have to love each other,”
“But how do you know you’re in love?”
“Well, I know because I can’t wait to be with you. When I see you, I feel like my heart is pounding, and when I hold you and we kiss, I just know.”
I thought for a moment before saying, “In some ways I’m very tempted. If I went with you, I wouldn’t have to deal with my parents anymore. Of course, I have no idea whether yours are any better. After all, I don’t think I’ve ever known a witch before.”
At first he laughed. Then he grew serious and said, “My parents are not like yours. They are kind and gentle and loving, and I have never been afraid of either one of them. I told you that my mother only uses her powers for good.”
“Yes,” I replied, “but sometimes what is good for one person is bad for someone else. How does she decide?”
“That is a very interesting question, and I am not sure I can answer it. She seldom uses her powers. I do know that she thinks long and hard before she does. She appears to go into a trance. Her eyes become glazed, and she sits motionless for a long time. If I try to talk to her, she cannot hear me. When she comes out of her trance, she knows what she will do and she does it.”
I thought about that. If I saw her go into a trance, how would I react? Would I be frightened? Curious? Intrigued? I had no idea.
“How many witches are there in your village?”
“Three. Two women and one man.”
That was the first time I’d heard that a man could be a witch.
I hesitated for a moment before I dared to ask, “Are you a witch?”
Grinning, he shook his head. “No. I was not born with that power.”
With that he stood and said, “Come, let us walk.”
As usual, he took my hand in his and again a path appeared before us. We walked silently for a time, simply enjoying the companionship. When we came to another clearing, he motioned for me to sit. We were in the middle, not near any trees, and the sun shone warmly on our bare skin. There was a pleasant breeze. Birds were flying about and singing. Butterflies were flitting from flower to flower.
Noah reached over and I bent into the kiss I knew was coming. At first, we kissed gently. When I felt his tongue on my lips, I opened to him. His tongue in my mouth was a new, exciting sensation, and soon our tongues were caressing in each other’s mouths.
As we kissed, he began rubbing my chest and my back. By then, my thingy was almost bursting out of my pants.
Still kissing, he leaned forward, and I naturally lay back on the grass. He stood and slowly removed his shorts. I stared at him as he stood naked over me. I had never seen another boy’s thingy before.
He knelt down and soon my pants were also lying on the grass.
“Oh, Noah,” I moaned. “Should we be doing this? I don’t even know if I’m queer.”
He looked puzzled for a moment before remembering how I had used that word before.
“You are,” he said quietly. “Remember I told you that you were born this way. It is what you are, and you have no choice. After all, I’ve known for more than 124 years that I was a homosexual and nothing has changed.”
He lay down beside me, pulling me towards him. He took hold of my thingy which by then was nearly bursting. Slowly, he rubbed up and down it. I felt the wonderful tension rising. I cried out as I tried to hold back, but in no time I erupted, spewing my juice all over his hand and my chest.
“Did you like that?” he asked.
“Oh, yes. It was the best feeling ever.”
“Will you do it for me?”
I nodded and reached for his thingy. Taking it almost reverently in my hand, I repeated the rubbing motion he had used on me and marveled at the hard, warm feeling of the excited organ in my hand. Soon, his hips were twisting and rising. He began to breathe hard and moan. Before long, his thingy started pulsing, sending his juice onto both of us. When he was done, he lay back and murmured, “Thank you.”
We lay on the grass for a long time before, in silence, we stood, used some leaves to clean ourselves, and put our clothes back on.
Once again, Noah took my hand and led me through the woods until we were behind my house.
We kissed for what seemed like several minutes before he broke the kiss and said, “Riley, I love you, and I want you to be with me forever.”
“I’ll keep thinking,” I said. I turned and walked towards my house, where I knew Mother was making supper.
Lying in bed that night and remembering what we had done in the clearing, I wondered whether I loved him. And if I did, would it really last forever.
Noah and I didn’t see each other for three days. The first and second days, it poured rain, causing brooks and rivers to overflow their banks. On the third day, Father again took me to cut wood and carry it back to the cabin. Fortunately, the fourth day was Sunday. Although we seldom went to church, my parents believed that working on Sunday was sinful, so I was again free to wander in the woods.
I went to Noah’s clearing in front of The Shimmer, but Noah was not there. I sat and waited, and it was early afternoon before he appeared.
Sitting down beside me, Noah said, “I am sorry to be late. The stream which runs through our town flooded and we had a great deal of work to do. We do not usually work on Sunday, but this was an emergency.”
“Is everyone okay?” I asked.
“Yes, some of our cabins got flooded for a time but we are all safe.”
“Why didn’t the witches just prevent the flooding?”
“Normally, they don’t tamper with weather, realizing that it is the will of God.”
“Oh,” was all I could say before asking, “So, your town gets the same weather that we get on The Outside?”
“Oh yes. Weather inside The Shimmer is the same as that in The Outside.”
“What’s it like in The Shimmer?” I asked.
Noah was silent for a minute, thinking, before he said, “We live in log cabins which were built before the witches cast their spell. Our cabin is one big room with two sleeping lofts above. Our parents sleep in the big room, while I sleep in one loft and Jethro sleeps in the other. Unlike you, we have no running water or electricity. We carry our water from the stream and heat it when we bathe, but in the summer we usually just bathe in the stream. We have no problems with nudity, and really the only reason I wear these shorts in the summer is because I know that if anybody on The Outside saw me, I would be in trouble.”
“You go naked on The Inside?” I asked, shocked.
“Oh yes in the summer at least. Of course, when it gets too cold, we wear clothes.”
Hmm, I thought, wondering if I could do that.
“Tell me more,” I said.
“Well, we eat mostly vegetables with some fruits, and occasionally some meat when the men manage to trap an animal. You probably eat much more meat than we do. What else do you want to know?”
“Would I be accepted as a member of the village or is there a trial time?”
“You’d be accepted right away. You may be aware that two other boys have wandered into The Shimmer, and when they were told they would die if they tried to leave, the quickly became part of the village. A few men have also wandered in, but they tried to leave and died. We had to bury them so outsiders wouldn’t get suspicious.”
“What do you do for fun?”
“Probably the same things you do. We play games, have races, and tell stories. Often in the evenings we gather together and sing. We have to entertain ourselves.
“What about your friends?” Noah asked. “Would you miss them?”
“Not really,” I answered honestly. “I don’t really have any close friends except you. The others are more acquaintances than friends.”
After a pause, Noah asked, “Do you think you know enough now to make a decision?”
“Come, we’re wasting time talking, let us walk.”
We stood and joined hands as we began to walk.
“Why don’t we ever kiss in the clearing?” I asked.
“Because people in The Shimmer can see out and I think kissing should be private.”
We walked, following the path and listening to the water dripping off the leaves. From the singing of the birds, I decided that they too were happy the rain had stopped. We arrived once again in the clearing where we had been naked, and without saying anything we both removed our clothes. We stood facing each other as our thingies pointed out proudly from our ball sacs. Silently, we lay on the ground, which the warm sun had dried. We faced each other and eagerly began kissing, pressing hard against each other’s lips before tonguing each other. Noah broke the kiss and turned his attention to my ears and neck, kissing and licking as he went.
I groaned, and when Noah looked up, I said, “Oh, God! Don’t stop!”
Smiling wickedly, he began to kiss and lick my chest. When he came to my nipples, he took one in his mouth and squeezed with his lips. A shiver ran down my spine.
Again, I moaned but this time I squirmed and my thingy waved at attention.
He turned and lay on top of me, thingy to thingy. Then he began moving forward and back. I started to move with him as the excitement in my thingy rose.
O wow! I thought, as we both began to throb and release our cum.
When we had shot our large loads, we once again lay side by side, holding hands.
Since we hadn’t met until afternoon, it was soon time for me to head home. As we walked, following the path as always, I asked, “If I decide to join you, what do I have to do?”
“Bring any belongings you want to keep and walk into The Shimmer, but remember that once you go in, you cannot leave. You need to decide soon, because my permission to go to The Outside will end next Sunday.”
“And if I don’t decide by then?”
“We will still be able to talk, but we will not be able to touch.”
I nodded, knowing that I had to come to a decision quickly.
We parted as usual at the edge of the forest after lingering kisses and tonguing.
Awake again in bed that night, I pondered what I should do. Did I love him? I certainly loved being with him and missed him dreadfully when we weren’t together. Was that love? I had no qualms about leaving my parents, but if I decided to enter The Shimmer, I still had little idea of what life there would be like. I just knew we would be together forever.
Fortunately for me, Father had to drive into town the next day to pick up some tools and groceries. As he left the house, I silently rejoiced and headed for the woods.
I met Noah outside The Shimmer, and we walked to our private clearing and satisfied our eager urges.
When we finished, I said, “Noah, I think I truly love you and I want to be with you.”
He rose, raised his arms in the air, and shouted, “Hallelujah!”
I stood facing him, and we kissed long and hard. Our thingies were again impatiently standing before us. I knelt and took him in my mouth. Fondling his balls with one hand, I licked the sensitive tip and moved my mouth up and down, my lips and tongue massaging his thingy until he shot in my mouth.
“Oh, my,” he said. “That was excellent, but it seems to have drained everything out of me. I need to sit.”
We sat and I asked him if he was okay.
“Yes, I was just dizzy for a moment, but it felt amazing. Stand up and let me do you.”
I stood and he knelt. Soon I shot, also feeling drained and dizzy.
As we sat again, I said, “God, I love you, Noah.”
He kissed me and we embraced for a long time before we rose, dressed, and walked to my cabin.
Early the next morning, I got the gunny sack I’d found and filled it with my clothes, including my winter jacket and boots. I left a note for my parents saying that I was leaving and telling them not to try to find me. Then I crept silently out of the house.
Entering the woods, I walked quickly to the clearing, where I saw Noah already waiting in The Shimmer. Standing with him were a man, a woman, and a young boy. They were all smiling.
I grinned and asked, “Don’t you ever sleep?”
“Oh yes,” he laughed, “but I thought you might try to come before your parents woke up.”
He stepped out of The Shimmer and came to me, smiling. We hugged and kissed each other for a long time before he said, “Come.” He took my hand and we walked towards the brilliant light.
Pausing in front of it, Noah asked, “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” I said, “I’m sure.”
We held hands and walked into the light together.
Many thanks to my editors, who carefully help me correct many of my errors, and to Mike for maintaining this great site.