*This original has been rewritten and is published and updated now on Patreon, Smashwords and Amazon.
There he was, at the last station the cargo train could possible reach in the snow ring. Petrash had been the only passenger in the single carriage for people for the better part of the day, no-one else in their right mind headed this way. With a deep sigh he grabbed his two black sports bags containing what he’d needed most and stepped out into the freezing cold. The train had entered a long warehouse so cargo could be loaded and offloaded under cover and not in the middle of the constant snow and wind, and for that he was grateful. It was still as cold as outside but at least the wind was blocked for the most part. He asked one of the men unloading crates where he could find the office and followed the path he was told between the containers, stacks of crates and barrels. The office looked like a rundown shack made of composite plating, not very comfortable, which suggestion was enforced by the creaking of the door as he entered it. He asked for the chief and one of the men pointed to a large figure in the corner writing at his cluttered desk with a heater close by.
‘Excuse me, I was told you could get me to outpost Zero.’
The figure turned around and Petrash saw he must be part of the polar bear clan. White fur, heavy body underneath the dark blue snow jacket and grey trousers. His ears showed scars of frostbite so Petrash figured he must have been working here for quite some time.
‘Ah, you must be the guy they sent to Zero this time.’ he said and held out his hand. ‘Call me Chief.’
They shook hands and Chief continued. ‘HQ told me you’d come and asked to get you to the outpost.’
He grabbed his battered beige cap from a stack of papers and led him out the door to the garage at the back. ‘Unfortunately I can’t spare anyone to guide you because I’ve got extra cargo deliveries to a nearby lab, but if you’re not willing to wait you can use a bubble to get there by yourself. Navigation will show you the way so it’s not really difficult.’
‘I’m here so I might as well get there as soon as possible. The sooner I go crazy the sooner I’ll be back.’
Chief laughed and slapped him on his back. ‘I guess you heard about the stories of all those who were sent here.’ He looked at Petrash and smiled. ‘Then again, they just might take a liking to you.’
Petrash shuddered at the thought of being liked by a group of hard-ass snow ring drivers nicknamed the Huskies from Hell as Chief opened the door to the garage.
Most of the garage was empty except for a dark green tracked vehicle looking larger than a house and two yellow tracked trucks the size of regular street trucks. Chief led him to the other side of the huge truck and there were a couple of bubble shaped tracked vehicles. Most of the top half of the bubble was transparent plastic, the rest a dirty yellow metal.
‘Here you go.’ Chief said and opened the door at the side of the first one. ‘Navigation has the coordinates for Zero in the preconfigured list.’
It was large enough to hold four people and baggage.
‘Thanks.’ Petrash said as he dropped his bags on the floor in front of the fake leather backseat. ‘How long will it take to get there?’
‘About eight hours.’
‘If you like, there’s rations and even a couple of bottles of the strong stuff in the back so you won’t have to feel cold during the trip. As long as you don’t overdo it.’
‘Heh, no worries. I intend to get there in one warm piece.’
‘Well said.’ Chief snickered. ‘Well, have a good trip, and good luck. I’ll open the door for you.’
‘Thanks, I’ll need it.’ Petrash said, put his bags on the backseat and settled into the driver seat. The controls were pretty close to a car’s. He started the engine and put the automatic gearbox in drive mode. Carefully feeling how quick the steering reacted he drove forward and turned to the open door where Chief waited for him. He gave him a quick wave as he entered the outside world of the snow ring for the first time in his life. The shacks that formed the town for the people here to live in layed to the right but the navigation showed his route to the left. Not having to worry about streets he turned until the arrow pointed straight ahead and turned on the cruise control.
It didn’t take long for him to feel lonely out in the white void. With the navigation the only thing guiding him and the only sounds the wind and rattling of the tracks he wondered if he’d start to go crazy even before he would reach the outpost.
“How the hell did I get into this mess?” he thought, then remembered. “Oh yeah.”
He sighed, crawled into the back and checked the rations. He chose a pack of cookies and took one of the unlabelled bottles with clear fluid.
‘To a new career.’ he said to himself, unscrewed the top and took a swig from the bottle.
“Holy fuck!” he thought when the liquid burned down his throat and coughed. “I just drank the cleaning fluid or the fuel reserve.” He rummaged in his bag and took out his player, plugged it into the sound system of the bubble and cranked up the music to sing along to it.
He kept himself busy like this while it turned dark. The navigation showed it would be another hour until he arrived and he couldn’t wait to see something else besides nothing. While eating another cookie he noticed something was off. He turned down the music and tried to listen. He heard the engine and tracks of the bubble and howling of the wind but couldn’t lay his finger on it. Something in the back of his mind said he had to take notice. He looked around but saw nothing out here. Thinking it had to be all this time out here playing tricks on him he sat back down in the driver’s seat. But moments later he sensed a rumbling noise getting louder. Figuring something was wrong he stopped the bubble completely. Looking around again he saw nothing in the dark until behind him suddenly several headlights lit up and a large tracked vehicle ran right over him, burying him under snow.
‘Goddammitmutherfuckingpieceofshitsonofabitchasylumretardasshole!’ he shouted.
He drove the bubble back and forth until he got clear and continued his way feeling pissed off.
Eventually he saw blue lights in the distance. Getting closer he saw they were poles marking the way to the outpost. He followed the way and ended up at the outpost, a collection of smaller and larger concrete boxes connected through corridors. He found the vehicle that ran him over in a vehicle bay next to another one. He parked the bubble just outside the entrance in the bay, took a deep breath, grabbed his bags and entered. The entrance led into a corridor littered with an assortment of boxes leading to a large room where he noticed the guys were slumping on couches watching an action movie on TV.
‘Alright, very funny.’ he said as he put down his bags. ‘Who do I have to thank for-.’ was as far as he got when he noticed the guys were not guys at all. They had small muzzles, full, long hair and tails.
‘Ah, so you came.’ a black and white female husky said, then continued to watch the TV with another blue-grey and red-brown one on the couches, all dressed in large t-shirts.
‘Yeah.’ a white-grey female husky in a large heavy metal shirt said as she walked in munching on crisps. ‘I guess you also thought we were guys.’
‘Gomen, but everyone made it sound like you were a bunch of mean, bullying guys.’
‘And who says we’re not a bunch of mean, bullying girls?’ the red-brown one asked.
‘Ehmm, well, I never really believed girls could be that bad.’
They all kept silent for a moment, then the white-grey one leaned closer. ‘You’re a virgin, aren’t you?’ she asked with a devious grin.
He stepped back blushing. ‘Wait, what? What has that got to do with anything?’
The black and white husky snickered. ‘Well, so far he has made the best introduction of them all.’
‘Who all?’ he asked.
‘This is a punishment game from the company. All who piss off the boss end up here in this freezing hell with us.’ the black and white husky said, grinning at him. ‘And leave with a few less marbles.’
The white-grey husky gestured at the black and white one, ‘That’s Dice.’ the red-brown one, ‘Rusty.’ the blue-grey one, ‘Dusk. And I’m Ghost. You can use the room at the end of the corridor.’
‘Ah, thanks. I’m Petrash by the way.’
Ghost sat down on the couch. ‘Okay.’
He sighed and brought his bags to the room at the end which was full of dusty boxes and a bunk bed.
‘Great.’ he said and dropped down on the squeaking bed. ‘I’d be better off if I had gotten lost forever.’
Tired from the journey he fell fast asleep until the morning. He took off his coat and dragged himself to the kitchen looking for something to eat. What he found was something beyond the gates of hell. Dishes piled up in a sink covered by strange goo, empty boxes and plastic bags in one corner surrounding a trashcan so full the lid wouldn’t close. Half-eaten bits of food seemed to be hunting other bits of food. This place had to be a biological hazard. He walked out into the common room where Rusty was preparing to make her delivery.
‘Wha..?’ was all he could say while pointing to the kitchen.
‘Ah, yeah. That’s part of your job, housekeeping. Good luck.’ she said and left.
He looked back frightened at the kitchen and contemplated using the standard equipped anti-alien flamethrower for isolated stations in the snow ring. He sighed deep, then reluctantly walked back in search of something to chip away at the dirt and a bandanna in exchange for his plaid cap.
At the end of the morning he managed to wipe out the new lifeforms growing in the sink and the fridge and sat down.
“I could have made scientific discoveries here. Must not forget to mark the trash container with a medical warning.” he thought, then fell back and slept.
When he woke up it was time to make dinner. Something real instead of the instant stuff he found all over the place. Luckily there was real food in storage so he was able to make something simple but decent. He looked satisfied at the table he set up.
“All that’s left is warming up the rest.” he thought, looked at the time and decided he could take a rest before they’d be back.
He made himself comfortable on a couch and fell asleep again soon after.
Some time later the girls walked in and halted at the scent in the air.
‘What’s this?’ Dusk asked. ‘It smells of food.’
Dice pointed at the kitchen. ‘Something happened here.’
The girls looked at a clean kitchen.
‘I guess he did.’ Ghost said and looked at the food ready to be heated and served. ‘And by the smell of it, he did a good job.’
‘Let’s eat.’ Dusk said. ‘I’d hate to waste this opportunity.’
‘Wait,’ Dice said as she looked at Petrash. ‘It’s only fair to have him eat with us.’
Ghost scratched behind her ear. ‘I guess you’re right. Something this good we haven’t had before.’
Rusty poked him. ‘Oy, time to wake up and serve us.’
He woke up startled and looked around. ‘Oh, you’re back. We can eat.’
Half asleep he got up and walked into the kitchen to heat up the rest of the food while the girls sat down.
‘Just look at this. Baked potatoes! I haven’t had those in ages.’ Dusk said.
Ghost nodded. ‘Looks like he might be useful after all.’
‘We’ll see if he can stay sane here. We’re still dealing with a guy the company sent.’
The rest nodded in agreement when he came back with the rest of dinner.
‘I hope you like it. I had to make do with what was here. Tomorrow I’ll order some better stuff.’
‘It’s okay.’ Dice said. ‘We’ll eat it for now.’
‘It fills the stomach.’ Rusty said.
He returned to the kitchen losing hope he could have made a good impression and snacked on some beef and potatoes thinking they must hate him when in fact they were whispering how good it was to have real food after a long time.
‘Just don’t forget, he’s from the office so he’ll soon try to run the show. Better to get him to leave before he becomes trouble.’ Ghost whispered.
‘Just let him stay long enough to cook us some more food like this.’ Dice said. ‘I’d miss this.’
‘I don’t mind eating instant as long as there’s no pesky men around.’ Rusty whispered poking a potato.
‘We’ll see.’ Dusk said. ‘Any bets on how long he’ll endure our usual routine?’
The girls laughed as they wagered their cookie rations.
After dinner they all went into the hot-tub while Petrash cleaned up.
“They did finish it all, so it wasn’t all bad probably.” he thought.
After he was done he heard the girls come back and settle down in the common room. He checked to make sure the bathroom was empty and took a long shower before settling back in the large tub.
“This is better.. But I need to set aside a day to clean up here as well.” he thought looking at the rings of dried soap on the tub, tufts of fur and empty flasks in the corner and sighed.
He let himself float deep enough to keep his nose out of the water which is why he didn’t notice Rusty coming in to take a shower again after laughing so hard at the movie that she spilled her drink all over herself. She hadn’t noticed his clothing on the bench nor his body under water and lathered herself firmly with soap. She rinsed herself and feeling fresh and clean again she stretched herself just as Petrash came up out of the water.
‘What are you doing here!?’ she asked hurriedly covering her private parts with her arms.
‘That’s my line!’ he said turning around quickly. ‘Didn’t you see I was here!?’
‘How would I know when you hide under water!?’
‘My clothes are right there on the bench next to your shirt!’
She wanted to respond but didn’t have an answer to that.
‘I’ll get out.’ he said. ‘It’s not polite to stay while beauty needs to use it.’
‘Yeah.’ she said, then blushed. ‘What? Wait what? What do you mean beauty?’
He wrapped a towel around him and stood up. ‘Ehm, well, that I should leave as a girl needs to use the bathroom.’
He walked past her turning his head the other way when she noticed his ears. She blinked in surprise, then saw something sticking out underneath the towel. She stepped closer to him, pulled down his towel and looked at the grey tail at his back.
He turned away quickly covering himself. ‘What are you doing!?’
She grabbed one of his ears. ‘What are you?’
He tried to step back but tripped just as she came closer and both ended up on the floor with her on top of him.
‘Ouch!’ he said as he rubbed the back of his head.
She saw his grey ears again and pulled them to see if they were real.
‘Hey! Stop that!’
‘Why do you have these ears? You can’t have these, you’re not Kanine.’
‘I’m half Kanine. My mother is Kanine Wolf and my father human and I’m one of the few to end up as half instead of almost full Kanine or human.’
She stroked his ears and he twitched.
‘Stop that! They’re sensitive!’ he said closing his eyes.
She grinned. ‘How cute. How embarrassed can you get?’
‘Very! Especially with a beautiful naked girl on top of me!’
She stopped stroking his ears, remembered the situation they were in and quickly got up, grabbed a towel, dried off quick and walked out pulling her long shirt over her head.
He sighed and stayed on the floor for a while. “Okay, that did feel very nice.” He contemplated the situation for a moment more. “I’m so going to die here.”
Rusty went back to the living room and the others saw the surprised look on her face.
‘What’s up?’ Dusk asked.
She sat down and took a shot from a bottle of liquor. ‘He’s half Wolf…’
Dice raised her eyebrow. ‘What do you mean?’
‘He has the ears and a tail. His mother’s Wolf.’
‘Wait, how did you find out?’
‘He was in the bath when I took a shower.’
The girls looked at each other. ‘You were in the bath together?’
She waved her hands in denial. ‘I hadn’t noticed him as he was under water while I showered! He was just as surprised as I was!’
‘And he had nothing to say?’
She nodded. ‘He said he’d leave as it wasn’t polite to stay with a..’ She turned away feeling embarrassed.
‘With, what?’ Ghost asked.
She took another shot from the bottle. ‘Nothing. I saw his ears and tail and he explained and left.’
‘Right. We’ll ask him tomorrow. It’s late enough.’
The rest agreed and they all took a quick glance at his room before walking into their bedroom.
He woke up early and because the scene from yesterday kept going through his mind he eventually got up and started making breakfast. He had barely finished setting up the table when the girls walked in.
‘Morning. I hope you slept well.’ he said, then saw Rusty and blushed.
She turned away quickly and sat down trying not to look at him. Ghost noticed and leaned closer as she sat down.
‘Did something else happen yesterday in the bath as well?’ she whispered smiling deviously.
Rusty grabbed a couple of eggs and hastily peeled them. ‘No, nothing!’
‘So,’ Dice said pulling off his bandanna. ‘we heard something interesting about you..’
He flattened his ears. ‘Say all you want. I’ve heard enough bad jokes about these all my life.’
She stroked one ear. ‘Oh, we’ll find new ways to tease you.’
‘So you might as well let your tail out. No use hiding it from us anymore.’ Dusk said with a devious smile and smacked his ass.
‘Go eat breakfast!’ he said and walked into the kitchen.
The girls ate and afterwards got ready for their deliveries. Their job was delivering cargo to various scientific stations deeper into the snow ring where no air transport could go. For that they drove large tracked vehicles capable of driving large distances thanks to hydrogen generators fuelled by the snow itself.
He watched them leave and walked into the office where he found a mess of papers and binders on the wooden desk and metal shelves.
‘How the hell..?’
Again he sighed, turned on the desk light and PC and sat down on the worn out chair to make sense of it all. He ordered supplies and food first, checked the mail and tried to first sort all paperwork by date. By the time he managed to make some sense of it it became time to make dinner. Just before leaving the office he received a mail telling him to deliver all due reports in a couple of days or face budget cuts.
“I can make it if I work late.” he thought. “No need to really get worried.”
One by one the girls came back and ate dinner. When he finished cleaning up he went back into the office and started on the reports. After a while Ghost walked in.
He nodded. “I have to file these reports soon. Lots of papers to go through.’
‘Ah, work hard then.’ she said and left.
‘I’ve got the next thing.’ Ghost said as she undressed and crawled into bed. ‘He needs to file the reports soon. Which will be difficult if they disappear.’
The other girls snickered. ‘We won’t have to deal with him for long.’ Dusk said.
The next day he started filling in the reports as soon as the girls left and he managed to get most ready before they came back.
‘How’s it going?’ Ghost asked.
He smiled a little. ‘I can finish tonight, then double-check and send them tomorrow. Just in time.’
‘Good job then.’ She said smiling. ‘They’ll be happy with those.’
He nodded and carried on serving dinner.
Late that night he stretched after writing the last report and slumped on his chair. ‘Finished.’ he said to himself, made a backup copy to the external disk attached to the PC, then locked it and dragged himself to bed.
A few minutes after he left Ghost walked in, unlocked the PC, deleted his reports and backup along with other random files, then pulled the power plug.
‘Oopsie.’ she whispered while plugging the power back in. ‘Power failures happen.’
The next day they heard him cursing.
‘What’s wrong?’ Ghost asked innocently walking into the office.
‘The damned PC must have lost power last night. And it took all my reports with it, even the backup I made! Shit!’
She looked worried at the screen. ‘Really nothing left?’
‘All gone. All my work for nothing!’
‘Well, I’m sure if you explained to HQ they’ll understand.’ she said and patted him on his shoulder.
‘Yeah.’ he said but knew there was no excuse they’d accept.
He couldn’t start again until the end of the day after checking the supplies and equipment stored for shipping so he had to work all night.
The girls noticed he hurried with dinner and snickered at his worry.
‘Worried about his reports, eh?’ Dice said.
‘Must be tough as a desk jockey, not delivering reports in time.’ Dusk said.
‘Getting chewed out by the boss is no fun, hehe.’ Rusty said.
Ghost nodded. ‘He’ll be gone soon.’
He was busy at the office when the girls went to bed and they snickered. Later that night Ghost woke up and had to go to the bathroom. When she returned she noticed the light was still on in the office. Curious she looked in and saw him still going through binders and filling out forms.
‘Hey, it’s late. Shouldn’t you get some sleep?’
He shook his head, barely able to keep his eyes open. ‘Have to finish these.’
‘Aw, that can wait until later.’
‘Actually, not.’ he said flipping through pages quickly.
‘Why not? So you get chewed out, big deal.’
‘If only that…’
She tilted her head. ‘Worse?’
‘Nothing to worry your pretty head over.’
She slapped his shoulder. ‘Tell me.’
He sighed and put down the binder. ‘Okay, I didn’t want to worry you because I knew I could have finished in time yesterday. If I don’t hand in the reports before two hundred tomorrow they’ll cut our budget. And that includes your pay.’
‘No funds until they are convinced we’re doing good here.’
‘They can’t do that!’
‘I’m afraid they can, and they will after all this time of no management here.’
‘But then, is there enough time?’
He sagged his shoulders. ‘Probably not, but I’m going to try anyway.’ He grinned. ‘At least I got everything sorted at date now.’
“Shit, this wasn’t supposed to happen.” she thought and looked around at the chaos. ‘Can I help?’
‘Well, if you can gather the paperwork for each month I need it would help.’
She nodded and they continued where he left off.
When he clicked on the upload button at one hundred seventy seven on the clock they let out a deep sigh of relief.
‘We did it!’ she said and hugged him tightly.
‘Yeah.’ he replied blushing. ‘We did it.’
She yawned. ‘This has been the most boring and tiresome job I ever did.’
He nodded and rubbed his face. ‘Let’s hope we won’t have to do that ever again.’
He stared at the monitor for a few moments, then noticed she had fallen asleep and smiled softly. Careful not to wake her up he lifted her up in his arms and carried her silently to bed where the other girls were still fast asleep.
‘Thanks for your hard work. Sleep tight.’ he whispered and sneaked back out.
He figured he could get some sleep before having to start breakfast and crashed down on his bed.
By the time he woke up from his alarm clock he noticed he was late. Quickly he headed out but found the table all set with the girls eating.
‘Ah?’ he said. ‘Who..?’
‘I did.’ Ghost said. ‘I figured I’d give you a break for your hard work last night.’
‘Ah so. Thanks.’ he said smiling.
Dice stretched. ‘Did you carry her to bed this morning?’
He looked up surprised. ‘Who? Me? How?’
‘Might have dreamed it though.’ she yawned. ‘It was rather weird.’
‘Yeah.’ he said and got himself a cup of tea while seeing Ghost glancing shyly at him.
‘So, what happened to the plan?’ Dice whispered.
Ghost shook her head. ‘No way, it would have meant our pay got cut. He didn’t tell because he didn’t want to worry us.’
‘Tssk.’ Dice said and they all ate silently.
‘Dusk, you’re going to lab 54, right?’
She looked up from preparing her bag. ‘Yeah, what of it?’
‘Mind if I tag along? I have to have some papers looked over and I’d like to have a word with the administrator there. It’s not far so if it’s not a bother..?’
He looked like a lost puppy to her with his flattened ears and carefully wagging tail and couldn’t refuse him.
‘Alright then. Just don’t make a fuss and distract me from driving.’
He smiled. ‘Thanks, I’ll get ready.’
Soon after he had settled in the passenger seat of her truck with a book. Occasionally he looked at Dusk who was concentrating on driving.
‘What?’ she asked.
‘You keep looking at me, you want something?’
‘Oh! Ah, no. Just admiring how you can drive this thing every day. I think I’d end up buried in the snow after ten meters.’ he said with a grin.
She blushed. ‘Just read your book.’
Eventually they ended up at the lab, a series of red coloured low metal buildings. Petrash met with the people in charge there and Dusk helped with unloading the cargo. After going through the numbers and schedules he got taken on a small tour of the facility. He found it interesting to see what they did here so Frant, the administrator, was keen on showing. When they walked out the back at the kennels they met with shouting and Petrash recognised Dusk’s voice.
‘You can’t do that!’ she shouted.
They turned the corner to see her and Kull, the caretaker, shouting against each other.
‘I can and I will because I have to!’
‘Whow, what’s going on!?’ Frant asked.
‘He wants to kill her!’ Dusk shouted.
‘Wait, what? Kill who?’
‘You know the young husky-wolf who’s mother died last week?’ Kull, the burly feline explained. ‘She’s going wild and attacks all coming close to her. I have no choice but to put her down.’
‘She’s hurting! You can’t put her down for that!’
‘I can’t keep her here if she doesn’t calm down! This is no charity!’
Dusk turned to Petrash. ‘You say something too!’
He saw the frustration and tears in her eye. ‘Hang on.’
He watched the blue-grey husky huddled all the way back in the corner and thought of what he could do, then leaned over to Frant.
‘Mind if I give it a try?’
‘Sure. I don’t like to have to put down an animal so if there’s a chance..’
‘Okay.’ he said, opened the kennel carefully, walked in slowly despite the growling from the husky, pulled out his book and sat down on a potato bag used by the dog to sleep on.
‘What are you doing?’ Dusk asked.
‘Don’t worry. Why don’t you get some rest before we’re taking the trip back. I can see you’re very tired.’
‘Just do it. Nothing you can do here now.’
She sulked as she left for the transporter.
‘Are you going to be okay?’ Kull asked.
‘I will. I just have to try anything I can because I don’t like to see Dusk this sad.’
The men nodded. ‘If you need anything, just call.’
Petrash pulled out the carton of cookies from his coat, pulled one out and laid the carton next to him. Then he started to read his book and nibble on the cookie, ignoring the growling from the corner.
After a while the growling became softer and stopped. Petrash occasionally pulled out a cookie and this time he tossed it over to the husky. It looked wary at it at first, then watched him eat another cookie and started sniffing it. Slowly she crawled closer and licked it once. It must have tasted good because she carefully ate it and he smiled softly.
When she looked at him as if asking for one more he tossed another one, only a little closer to him so she had to crawl closer to get it.
After she finished that one he laid a cookie next to him, then ate another one and continued reading his book. She crawled a little closer but stayed put for some time before she dared to crawl closer again. It took quite a while before she got close enough to snatch away the cookie making him smile once more.
This time he took another cookie and held it out to her on his flat hand. She let out a growl at first, looked sideways a few times, sniffed carefully, then carefully took the cookie from his hand and ate it.
‘So, feeling better now?’ he asked.
She sniffed his hand once more and gave it a lick.
He patted on his lap. ‘How about coming here so I can pet you?’
Carefully she came closer and laid down on his lap and he gently ran his fingers through her fur. It was really thick and soft and he scratched her head a little. He could sense her warming up to him as her tail started to wag more little by little. After bribing her with a few more cookies he knew she trusted him.
‘So, what are we going to do with you?’
At that time Kull returned to check up on him and smiled. ‘Looks like you managed to get through to her.’
‘Yeah. And now I don’t know what to do. I’m thinking of taking her off your hands if that’s okay with you.’
Kull nodded. ‘She’s attached to you now so it would be bad to break her bond again. I have no problem with it, if you can let her stay at your place.’
‘We’ll manage.’ Petrash said to the husky.
In the meantime Dusk had woken from the nap she managed to get and by the time she got out of the transport he stood outside with the husky next to him.
‘How?’ she asked, not really believing what she saw.
‘I hope you don’t mind if we take her with us.’
Her eyes grew bigger. ‘Can we?’
He nodded. ‘Yeah, she can live with us if you girls don’t mind having her around.’
She held out her hand to the husky. ‘Are you okay with it?’
The husky stepped forward, sniffed her hand and gave it a lick.
‘Well, guess that’s settled then. Let’s go home.’
After Dusk and Kull exchanged apologies they drove off to home.
‘What’s her name actually?’ Dusk asked.
‘So how did you do it?’
‘Well, to be honest I thought she looked a little like you with the same colour fur. And then I thought of how you love cookies and how I had taken a carton to bribe you with if I needed to. So I took the chance of bribing her with it.’
She looked at his embarrassed grin. ‘Right..’
‘She does have the same colour though. But she has grey eyes, just like you.’
He nodded. ‘Looks like she got those from her wolf father.’
He snickered suddenly and she raised an eyebrow. ‘What’s so funny?’
‘I was just thinking, with her name, her fur and her eyes it almost like she could be our daughter.’
‘True.’ Dusk snickered, then blushed hard. ‘What are you thinking of!?’
The next moment he found himself kicked out in the snow and heard her shout. ‘You can walk home!’
Luckily the sad face from Dawn made her turn back and pick him back up but she felt embarrassed all the way home.
Ghost saw them acting strangely when they walked into the living room, ‘What’s up with you guys?’ then noticed Dawn. ‘And how did you get this?’
Dusk blushed harder and stepped quickly to her room. ‘Go ask that pervert!’
He explained how he got close to Dawn, and turned red when he explained what happened to make her mad at him.
The girls laughed.
‘Pervert is right.’ Rusty said. ‘You’re not going to make up for that for a long time.’
‘Crap.’ he said and looked at Dawn. ‘I hope you can do something about it.’
Later that evening Ghost nudged Dusk. ‘So, he got to you?’
‘What do you mean?’ she asked quickly.
‘I see you looking often at him, then turn away quickly.’
‘It’s just that Dawn is so close to him and I’d like to pet and hug her too.’ she pouted.
‘Okay, if you say so, hehe.’
Things returned a bit back to normal several days later. There were no deliveries for a few days so Dice was busy with maintaining the transporters. Petrash almost bumped into her as she made her way into the spare part storage.
‘I’m sending out an order this afternoon, do you need anything?’
‘Nah, I’ve got the parts I need, they’re just all the way in the back in the dark.’ she said and held up the lamp she had with her.
‘Okay. Good luck.’
The storage was a mess as well with parts and materials stashed wherever there was room on the shelves and in corners. She made her way to the back and tried to pull the part from between other boxes.
‘Damn!’ she said, put down the lamp on a free bit of shelf so she could use both hands, then pulled again.
This time it came loose suddenly and she bumped back against the shelves, the lamp toppled over and crashed down right in a puddle of highly flammable liquid that had spilled out of a can that had fallen from the bottom shelf. A hot fire erupted at once and Dice stumbled back into the corner in shock. She looked around but there was no way out of there and she froze in panic.
Petrash was just talking to Ghost and Rusty when the alarm went off.
‘Fire alarm!’ Ghost said and sniffed the air.
‘Sounds like it’s coming from the garage!’ Rusty said and they ran off.
They found the fire in the storage room and Petrash saw Dice huddled into the corner. ‘Where are the extinguishers!?’
‘Here!’ Ghost said and handed him one.
They tried to fight the fire that had spread forward but it wasn’t enough to kill it.
‘We need more!’ Ghost said. ‘Come with me Rusty!’
‘Dice!’ Petrash shouted at her, but she didn’t react.
He saw her eyes filled with fear and the fire sneaking up on her and racked his brain on what to do.
Then he saw a blanket draped over some boxes, sprayed the last of the extinguisher over it and wrapped it around him.
‘I’m coming over!’ he shouted at Dice and rushed through the flames.
‘Dice, Dice!’ he shouted and shook her. ‘Get a hold of yourself!’
When she still didn’t react to him he figured he had no choice. He wrapped her up in the still partially cool and wet blanket, took a deep breath and spurted back through the fire again.
Just as he came out the girls got back and sprayed the both of them. He coughed and carried Dice to the living room while the fire was put down.
When Ghost hurried into the room Dice was starting to get back to reality and Petrash laid down on the cool floor.
She checked on Dice first, then on Petrash who waved her off.
‘I’ll be fine. Take care of Dice first.’
Rusty returned saying it was safe and got out the medical kit to treat his burns and cut away the charred parts of hair and fur.
‘Dice has a trauma from a fire during the time she was little, so that’s why she froze.’ she explained.
Dice came to and shook her head. ‘What happened?’
‘You got trapped by a fire.’
She checked her body for wounds. ‘I’m not hurt?’
‘Nope.’ Ghost said. ‘Thanks to him.’
Dice looked at Petrash covered in a pile of bandages by an eager Rusty showing off her skill. ‘Oh shit!’
Ghost laughed. ‘It’s not as bad as it seems, but he did save your ass from getting grilled.’
‘Thank you.’ Dice said softly.
‘Nevermind.’ he said, ‘It’s just a scratch.’ then yelled out in pain as Rusty slapped his back.
‘Scratch this. It’ll heal but these are real burns so don’t try to act like a tough macho in front of girls.’
‘Hai..’ he said with tears in his eyes.
After a good night sleep his back felt somewhat better and he decided to take a cool shower first. Making sure there was no-one there he went into the bathroom and let the stream of water cool down his back. After some time of relief the door slid open and Dice walked in.
He turned around embarrassed. ‘I turned the sign to occupied!’
She took off her shirt and walked up to him touching his back. ‘I’m only here because your back needs tending, and it’s my way of paying you back for what you did for me.’
He looked back at her stern expression. ‘It’s okay, you know?’
‘It’s not!’ she said as she checked the state of his skin, seeing if there were complications. ‘You saved my life.’
Her gentle touch felt good so he let her get on with it. ‘More importantly, how are you doing?’
‘Fine. It’s not important.’
He turned around and took her hands in his. ‘It is! My wounds will heal anyway, but a trauma is something different! I don’t want to see you suffer from it!’
She didn’t know what to say to his worried expression and looked away.
He let go of her hands. ‘Gomen, maybe I shouldn’t talk about it, but I just prefer to see you happy.’
He turned around. ‘Thank you for your care but you don’t need to repay me.’
To his surprise she silently hugged him from behind. Her cold, wet fur felt good and he held her arms for a while until she let go reluctantly.
‘I’ll dry your back and rub the ointment on it.’ she whispered.
He nodded and turned off the shower, then sat down on a bench where she patted his back with a soft towel. The coolness of her touch seeped deep into his back and he closed his eyes enjoying the feeling.
‘Thank you.’ he said after she was done and washed her hands.
She turned back to him for a moment with a shy expression, then took her shirt and walked out of the bathroom.
When he walked into the common room the girls had already set up breakfast.
‘For your heroic deed you deserve a break. So for today we’ll take care of things.’ Ghost said as she poured him a cup of tea while Rusty pushed him on his chair.
‘Mind you though, it’s only for today.’ she added quickly.
‘Thanks, I’ll cherish the time.’ he said, feeling special.
‘You’re just lucky only two of us have freight today.’
After breakfast he was ushered onto the couch with orders to do nothing while Ghost and Dusk got ready for their jobs and Dice and Rusty cleaned up the table. Dawn jumped on his lap and grabbed all of his attention.
‘So, you want your dose of petting now?’ he snickered as he hugged and petted her.
He looked around while Dawn made herself comfortable on his lap and he found a stack of magazines on the low table next to him. Looking at the covers they seemed to feature items like custom trucks, cars and bikes, the rougher side of music, cooking which involved grilling meat mostly and more for the tougher kind of people. He picked one up and leafed through it looking at the photos mostly when he came upon an article about the booth babes and their work at events and the training they received. One photo showed several examples of sexy outfits made to arouse the mostly male population while revealing nothing. He agreed that these did grab his attention and understood how it worked.
A metallic crashing sound coming from the kitchen startled him and Dawn.
‘Oh dear.’ he said to himself as they got off the couch and hurried into the kitchen.
He found the girls looking at several bowls and plates scattered on the floor. ‘Are you okay?’
‘Yeah,’ Dice said. ‘they got knocked off the top shelf when I wanted to move them.’
He wanted to help pick up when Rusty held him off. ‘We would do the chores today, you just sit back and watch.’
He watched as Rusty picked up the plates and bowls, checked them and handed them to Dice while she put them back on the shelf.
“Heh, another kind of metal and babes.” he thought, then began to notice them more. As Rusty bend over occasionally the wide opening of her shirt revealed some of the curves of her chest, just like when she held up one of the bowls for Dice to grab. And each time Dice stood up on her toes to push one of those things to the back of the shelf her shirt lifts up enough to show the lower line of her rear. He already knew that they were good looking, but now he really noticed just how naturally sexy these girls could be. He felt himself getting more curious about them and his heart beat faster.
‘It’s safe now.’ Dice said.
The girls leaned against the counter and noticed the look from Petrash. ‘Something wrong?’
‘No, you’re really fine.’ he answered, then his brain noticed what his mouth did. He shook his head embarrassed and turned around. ‘I mean, I’m fine, just a little tired from all that happened, I think I’ll go lie down for a bit again.’ he said and left for his room.
‘Could he have gotten sick from the wound?’ Rusty asked. ‘He looked very red just now.’
‘Maybe.’ Dice said as she went into the room and sat down on the couch. ‘We’ll check up on him later.’
Rusty nodded and sat down on the other couch where Petrash sat and pulled the magazine from under a pillow.
‘What’s that?’ Dice asked.
‘Ehm, maybe there’s another reason.’ Rusty said as she looked at the article in front of her.
‘What do you mean?’
Rusty tossed her the magazine and saw Dice understood what she meant.
‘You think he only just now noticed we’re girls?’
Rusty pulled up her legs in a lotus seat. ‘More like he just noticed we’re girls that have an effect on him.’
Dice turned her head towards the hallway. ‘Would that really? Us?’
Rusty nodded. ‘Let’s find out today.’
A couple of hours later Petrash had cooled down enough after the nap to feel he could face the girls again. But to make sure he had something to distract him with he took one of his books with him to the common room.
‘Feeling better?’ Dice asked.
‘Yeah.’ he said looking at her and saw her lying on the couch with one leg up on the back so her shirt barely covered her down there. Quickly he looked away and sat down on the other couch, opening his book. ‘Thanks for asking.’
‘Rusty’s heating up some soup in the kitchen if you want some too.’
That explained the sounds he heard and he tried to start reading the book when a shout from the kitchen grabbed his attention.
‘Rusty!’ Dice said worried.
He jumped up quickly from the couch and moved into the kitchen worried she might have hurt herself.
‘I’m okay.’ Rusty said as he found her looking back while standing over a couple of fallen tomatoes. ‘I just wanted to put away the bad ones and they slipped out of my hands.’
Feeling relieved Petrash took a deep breath, then nearly choked as he saw Rusty bending over to pick up the tomatoes. The sight as her tail flipped up for a moment was enough to make him remember it for a long time. Turning red he went to the sink, grabbed a wet cloth and wiped the floor.
‘You don’t have to..’ Rusty started.
‘It’s fine! It’s fine! You just put those tomatoes in the recycling, I’ll take care of this.’
She grinned to Dice as she walked past her out of the kitchen. ‘Bingo.’
During the rest of the day the girls noticed how he kept avoiding looking at them. When Ghost and Dusk arrived he took their papers and left for the office to process them and the girls told what happened.
‘Seriously?’ Dusk asked.
Dice nodded. ‘Yes. We’re making him nervous.’
‘I guess we found his weakness.’ Ghost said.
‘Want to make a lasting impression on him?’ Rusty asked with a devious smile.
A minute later Ghost poked her head around the office door. ‘Got a minute?’
He looked up. ‘Sure, I just finished. What’s up?’
‘We need your opinion on something.’
‘Okay? About what?’
To his surprise she walked in naked. ‘We want to know who has the best looking fur.’
He fell from his chair and hit the wall behind him. ‘Wait, what!?’
‘I’m telling you mine’s better.’ Dusk said as she walked in naked.
‘Mine’s way softer than yours.’ Rusty said.
‘I’m the only one with a cool pattern.’ Dice followed.
‘So,’ Rusty said as the girls showed off their bodies. ‘we need to put an end to this discussion and decided to ask your opinion.’
Dusk leaned closer to him. ‘So you need to take a good look and then tell us what you think of our fur. And no lame or dishonest answers or I’m going to bite you!’
‘Ehm..’ he started trying to keep cool and managed to stand up.
Ghost walked up to him. ‘So what do you think of this?’
Her body was mostly a light grey with her front and inside of her legs turning white, her tail and hair just a light grey with strands of white accenting the way her hair fell over her shoulders. The tuft between her breasts was bright white.
He had no choice but to look and tell them what he thought.
‘With the bright desk light your fur looks really shiny and reminds me of the sparkling light of fresh snow early in the morning.’ he said to Ghost.
The girls fell silent for a moment, then Dusk moved in front. ‘So what do you have to say about me?’
He cleared his throat and looked at her blue-grey fur, her lighter coloured front, white tuft and white tipped tail and ears. ‘You remind me of the sea at the town I stayed over before the last trip by train. The soothing sound of the waves coming up on the pebble beach together with the wind brought calmness to me.’
‘Wow.’ she said softly and moved away.
Curious to know what he thought of her Dice turned around in front of Petrash this time. She was more like the inverted version of the usual black and white pattern, her body white, but her front, hands, feet, tuft, tail, hair and a stripe down her back were pure black.
‘Your pattern follows your beautiful curves perfectly making it seem like you dance gracefully with every movement you make.’
Feeling rather happy she looked at the others. ‘Okay, now you, Rusty.’ she said turning to her but Rusty looked away. ‘Ah, it’s okay now.’
Dice nudged her and whispered. ‘Hey, it was your idea.’
Rusty sighed and plucked at her tuft. ‘I know, but after what he said about you there’s no way anything good can be said about me.’
‘Then it’s all the more reason to get him into trouble. now go.’ Dice said and pushed Rusty who stumbled into his arms.
‘Ehm.’ he said as he held her and they looked each other in the eyes.
She looked away as he saw a sadness in her eyes.
‘So, out with it.’ Dusk said.
‘I., I’m not sure..’ he whispered.
‘Can’t say anything anymore? Can’t make anything up anymore?’ Dice said.
‘No, I told the truth.’ He sighed. ‘It’s just, embarrassing.’
‘Now you really have to come out with it.’ Dusk said. ‘Or we will sharpen our fangs on you.’
‘Okay!’ He said giving in to the threat. ‘She’s like the plushie I loved when I was a kid! I couldn’t sleep without her and I never let her go if I didn’t have to.’ And then the girls saw the sadness in his eyes. ‘Even as I grew older I always kept her close. And then one day when I returned home she was gone. Fire had broken out in the apartment next to mine and it drifted over into mine.’
Rusty looked at his down turned face and held his hands gently. ‘I’m sorry.’ she whispered.
‘It’s okay.’ he said softly. ‘Nobody knew about this silly childish secret of mine. It’s time I outgrew stuff like that.’ he added trying to grin. ‘Besides, I know you’re only trying to tease me but now I got myself some good memories of some very sexy girls.’
The girls looked at each other, then started hitting him. ‘You bastard! Perverted fiend! Smooth talking Casanova! Cheat!’
He snickered as they left the office. Straightening his chair he found a pluck of Rusty’s tuft on his chest and caressed it between his fingers feeling melancholic again. Movement caught in the corner of his eye made him notice Rusty in the doorway. She stepped up to him looking seriously.
‘If you came back to hit me more, please, the left arm, my right can’t take more.’ he joked.
She shook her head, then hugged him gently, whispering. ‘Don’t act tough when you’re not good at it.’
He embraced her, caressing her back slowly until the melancholy died down and the reality of holding a sexy fur took its place.
‘Thank you.’ he whispered and let her go grinning a little. ‘Better go before they suspect something.’
She hit his left arm once. ‘There, now we’re even.’
She walked into the common room and sagged into the couch.
‘Well, if we were really competing it would be obvious who won.’ Dice said. ‘He must’ve really loved her.’
‘One thing’s for sure, he was honest in what he said, so maybe we all won something.’ Ghost said as she poured another drink. ‘Not one of us has ever been complimented in this way.’
Dusk nodded. ‘He deserves those memories of us.’
‘But he’d better not abuse those or I’ll kill him.’ Dice grumbled.
‘If he did, I’m sure he’ll be very gentle with us.’ Rusty said. ‘I sensed the change in his touch when he felt better, and he ended it like a perfect gentleman. He’s the type who wouldn’t do anything unless he really loved the girl.’
‘Which makes me wonder, why the hell did he got sent here anyway?’ Dusk remarked. ‘The previous victims were all assholes or slimebuckets.’
‘No idea.’ Ghost said. ‘All I heard was that one day he worked at HQ administration, the next he sat on the train to Freezerville.’
‘I’m curious, let’s ask.’ Dusk said, stood up and walked to the office which was empty now. Next she tried his room and indeed found him there although he was already asleep. The others had come as well and looked at the sleeping figure on the bed.
‘Look, it’s like he’s holding something.’ Dice whispered.
Sneaking closer the girls saw the pluck of Rusty’s tuft in his hand.
‘I guess it must have really exhausted him.’ Dice whispered. ‘And now we know his favourite.’
‘Are you sure?’ Rusty whispered and pointed at a book about traumas and notes on how to improve fire security in the building. ‘And even this.’ There was also a book about taking care of huskies.
Ghost gently stroked his hair. ‘If he is a fraud, he’s a damned good one.’
‘We’ll hear it sooner or later anyway.’ Dusk said and they left after tucking him in.
A couple of days later Petrash called out to Ghost who just passed by the office. She saw him scribbling on the list of deliveries and the calendar on the pin-board.
‘What’s up?’ she asked.
‘Well, we got a priority delivery to make, a new truck and supplies for Tarrok station, but no two people to take it there.’
She walked up behind him, wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned her head on his left shoulder. ‘Tarrok, hmm?’
He felt his heart beating faster with the warmth of her embrace but tried to remain cool. ‘Yeah, Dusk is assisting Gambi station with their trip to their temporary station up north and Rusty and Dice are on a big delivery to T494. So, there’s only you left and I can’t let you go alone on a 3 day drive there.’
She hummed in agreement.
‘The only way we can do it is if I go with you.’
Her silence made him a little nervous.
‘Okay then.’ she said eventually
‘Really? No protesting about it being me?’
‘Nope. Not much choice really.’
He felt relieved.
‘I didn’t know that would make you so happy.’
‘Huh? What makes you think that?’
She let him go while whispering in his ear ‘Your tail is wagging like crazy.’.
He looked back at his wagging tail as she giggled on her way out the door.
The new truck came the same day with their cargo. The driver reported no problems so all they had to do was fill it up again, and soon after Ghost and Petrash were under way after notifying Tarrok station.
‘Good thing Dusk took Dawn with her.’ he said. ‘I’d hate to leave her alone.’
Depending on the weather it would take two to three days to reach the station, there they would unload the truck and be driven back to Zero by the local people who would pick up more supplies and tools.
Petrash felt a little nervous about the first long trip he’d be on out here. To take his mind off things he took out one of the books from the bag behind him and started reading, occasionally checking the clock and the view outside.
When it became lunchtime he took out the food and drinks. ‘Shall I drive for a while so you can eat?’
‘You think you can?’
‘I’ve been getting lessons from Dice.’
She stopped the truck. ‘Alright then, take the wheel.’
She moved into the back of the cabin so he could get behind the wheel. Looking at the dashboard to find all the right dials he quickly became familiar with it.
‘Here we go.’ he said and drove off.
‘But your ass is mine if you make me spill my lunch.’
She almost snorted out her drink. ‘You would like that, you pervert?’ she said wiping her nose.
He snickered. ‘Gomen, I couldn’t resist.’
‘You just keep driving until I’ve thought of how to make that ass suffer for the rest of the trip.’
‘Now don’t go making me nervous, or I might make a mistake driving,’
‘I’m sure you’ll do fine. It’s flat country all the way so I can safely take a short nap.’ she said as she made herself comfortable in the back of the cabin.
‘Sweet dreams then.’
The trip had been uneventful all the time until she woke up again. Stretching and turning she asked ‘What time is it?’
‘It’s almost evening.’
‘You’ve been driving the whole afternoon? Why didn’t you wake me?’
He smiled softly. ‘Ah, you were sleeping so peacefully, I just couldn’t.’
‘Hmpf. You had better kept your eyes on the compass all the time and not on me, pervert.’
He snickered. ‘No worries. I don’t perve and drive.’
She hit him playfully on the shoulder. ‘Well, don’t you dare do it while I drive either. We’re switching.’
He brought the truck to a halt and moved to the passenger seat. She sat back down behind the wheel and started on the last bit before night break.
Not soon after they were up to speed the lights in the cabin began to flicker and dim.
‘What’s that?’ Petrash asked.
‘No idea.’ Ghost said as she felt the truck stall for a second.
He looked out the window for a clue and saw smoke coming out of the battery box through the mirror. ‘Stop! The batteries!’
The truck started to stutter and Ghost quickly stopped it. They went outside and Petrash opened the cover to the batteries. Wiring was damaged by a loose screwdriver accidentally left behind on top of the batteries. It had caused a short-circuit between the plus and minus poles.
‘Shit!’ Ghost said.
The stuttering engine ceased completely now.
‘Dammit!’ Petrash cursed.
Ghost kicked the truck. ‘Great. We’re stuck.’
‘Wait, I saw truck batteries on the supplies list.’ he remembered. ‘Let me check.’ he said as he crawled back into the cabin.
Ghost joined him as he went through the list.
‘Shit!. They’re packed for the second trip, not this one.’
Disappointed he tossed the list on the dashboard before him. Both sighed and slumped back in their seats.
‘So now what?’ he asked.
‘Can’t radio for help so we’ll have to wait for the station to notice we haven’t arrived in time and send help.’
‘Say two days for them to miss us, two days before they find us.’
‘Looks like I’m stuck with you for the next couple of days.’
Ghost sighed again.
‘At least there’s food and drinks with the supplies, so we won’t starve to death.’ he said as he checked the list a second time.
Ghost nodded. ‘Yeah.’
They sat for a while when Petrash gave a shudder. ‘Damn, getting cold already.’
‘Of course.’ Ghost said as she sat up. ‘The heater’s out and you don’t have your own fur coat.’
‘At least not that much. I don’t expect you would have a spare one on you?’ he said grinning a little.
‘You’d like that, wouldn’t you?’
‘I saw there were storm lamps on the list. I’ll just grab one or two.’ he said and went out to grab the lamps from the supplies.
He returned a while later with two lamps and extra food and drinks.
‘That should last us enough time for them to come. Now we don’t have to go out into the cold again.’
‘Didn’t you forget something?’
He looked at the stuff he brought. ‘Like what?’
‘Where does all the food go?’
He thought for a few moments, then it became clear. ‘Ah shit.’
She snickered. ‘Looks like you’ll still have to go out there a couple of times a day.’
He sighed. ‘Let’s eat, I’m hungry and cold.’
He turned on one lamp to provide light and some warmth and they ate the cold meat and pie he had prepared for dinner. After several rounds of liquor they stared at the snow coming down slowly and covering the windows.
‘Even though we’re stuck, I still think it’s pretty.’ he said softly.
‘Heh, falling snow, night, and man and woman together under the cosy light. It’s just not the romantic scene I always thought of.’
‘Excuse me for not being the right woman.’ Ghost muttered.
Petrash smiled. ‘Ghost, I think you’re a real fine young woman and I’m just unlucky that I’m not some stud you could fall for.’
She blushed. ‘You’re drunk.’
He nodded. ‘Yeah, think I’d dare to tell the truth otherwise?’
‘You..’ she started as she turned to look at him, then saw him shivering. ‘You’re cold.’
‘It’s okay, the booze will keep me warm.’
She crawled over to him. ‘Idiot. That won’t help. Come here.’
She pulled him out of his seat and into the back, took off her clothes and his and wrapped themselves up in several thick blankets. Petrash was too cold and drunk to really notice what happened but soon he warmed up and sleepily snuggled up tight to Ghost.
‘Be glad you’re not some stupid stud, otherwise I’d never done this.’ she whispered and tried to fall asleep as well.
Petrash had never felt so comfortable when he woke up before, so he kept his eyes closed in case he was still dreaming. The warmth was perfect, the feeling against his skin so soft it was like he was wrapped up in expensive fur coats. And that thought started him thinking. He tried to piece together what happened from the bits he could remember but was almost afraid of the conclusion.
Carefully he opened one eye, then the next and found himself in an intimate embrace with Ghost.
‘Good morning sleeping beauty.’ she whispered.
‘Got nothing to say for yourself?’
‘I’m sorry for making you save me from the cold, but thank you.’ he said softly.
After a minute of silence Ghost asked if he was asleep again.
‘No. I’m too nervous to sleep now.’ he said meekly.
‘Being this close to you I’m afraid to move and end this happiness.’
Ghost blushed and snickered. ‘You really are a virgin.’
He turned red from embarrassment. ‘Don’t make fun of me. Not everyone has been close to someone at this age. I just never met the right girl.’
She smiled softly and sighed. ‘I know. Truth is none of us have ever met the right guy either.’
‘But you’re all really pretty girls. Any guy would be interested.’
‘We each got fed up early in life seeing girls being shown off by their macho boyfriends. We happen to get together one day and our friendship started. Later on Rusty found a job opening driving supplies in this area and we found it perfect to get away from it all.’ She snickered. ‘We’ve been acting so butch to all the men that the boss eventually started sending the people he wanted to get rid off here. That’s how the tradition for the company started. And they didn’t mind because we’re also good at what we do here.’
‘So,’ he started after a moment of silence. ‘when will you get rid of me?’
Now she stayed silent for a while.
‘We figured you were just like the others, so we treated you the same. But even though we were horrible you gave your best to us. None before did what you did, let alone risked their life to save one of us.’ She stroked his back gently. ‘I guess we’ll let you stay for now.’
He smiled softly. ‘Thanks.’
The wind picked up speed and blew just right to clear most of the snow from the windows and daylight started to fill the cabin.
‘Heh, we’re the ones who should say thank you.’
‘You don’t have to. This great feeling is more than I could ever repay you for.’
‘Again with the sweet words. You just don’t stop, do you? We might even fall for you if you keep this up.’ she said poking his nose.
He grinned. ‘Maybe I’m just a genius pervert pulling you beautiful girls into my trap so I can kiss you all the time.’
‘Oh, you’d think we wouldn’t find out what you’re up to?’ she grinned back.
‘I’ll be so smooth you’ll never find out until it’s too late and your touch is imprinted in my memory.’ he whispered.
‘You wouldn’t know where to start.’ she whispered back.
He stroked gently down the tip of her nose with his fingertip, ‘Right here.’ then caressed her lips. ‘Then here.’
She smiled a little deviously. ‘And then what?’
‘Then,’ he continued caressing the side and top of her muzzle. ‘I’d kiss your muzzle all over.’
She closed her eyes and moved her muzzle along with his fingertip. ‘That all?’ she whispered.
‘Well, I couldn’t stop at that of course so I’d kiss your cheek,’ he whispered as he caressed her exactly where he wanted to kiss her. ‘your brow, back down your cheek and in your neck, along your throat,’ she pulled up her head so he could stroke her there ‘and to your other side.’
She opened her eyes and looked deep into his, then she kissed him just when he knew he couldn’t hold back either. He wouldn’t kiss her the way he described because she interlocked her tongue with his from the start and they didn’t let go until both ran out of breath.
Petrash wanted to say something but couldn’t find the words. Ghost smiled softly and nuzzled his neck, holding him tight and this is how they soon fell asleep again.
This time Ghost woke up to a smiling Petrash.
‘You’re happy.’ she whispered.
‘Thanks to you.’ he whispered back.
‘You just got lucky this time.’ she said as she poked his nose.
‘Yeah, I know. But it’ll keep me happy for a long time.’
‘Then make me happy by providing food. Or do you want me to start eating you?’
He snickered and carefully rolled out of the blankets. ‘Your wish is my command, even if it means leaving your warmth.’
She hit his back playfully. ‘If you do good I just might let you back in.’
He looked back at her. ‘For that I’d even walk all the way to civilisation and a steak restaurant if you wanted me to.’
She squeezed his hand. ‘Just some decent food will do for now.’
‘Coming up after the break though.’ he said and quickly dressed into his suit to go outside. ‘Brrr, damned cold.’ he muttered as he opened the door.
Ghost crawled deeper under the blankets as he closed the door and sniffed his scent. “Can’t believe we just did that.” she thought but felt happy. “And what will the others say when they find out?” She sighed and looked out the window. “And what will happen in the next days alone here?”
She didn’t dare to think about it and buried her head in the blankets just as he came back in.
‘Bloody hell.’ he said as he quickly closed the door behind him. ‘That is no way to take a bath.’
She looked up to see what he meant and saw his red hands and face. ‘What did you do?’
‘I read how to wash yourself with snow, but I never realised just how cold that would feel.’ he said as he warmed his hands at the lamp.
‘Then why did you?’
‘I can’t dirty your beautiful fur now can I?’
‘Eh?’ she looked surprised. ‘Is that?’
He nodded and looked through the cans to see what he’d make for early lunch.
She smiled. ‘You really are a gentleman, aren’t you?’
He looked at her. ‘Huh? Why?’
She crawled closer to him and kissed him quickly before getting out of the cabin herself. ‘When we’re stranded it’s okay to dirty my fur a little if it keeps you warmer.’
He hummed happily as he warmed up soup and thick bread. When she returned her fur was covered with snow and he pulled out a towel to wipe her body while she dried her hair. Without thinking he wiped down her front but stopped the moment he saw her nipples poking out between her fur.
‘Ah.’ he said and looked into Ghost’s embarrassed face.
Quickly he covered her and looked away. ‘Gomen! I did it without thinking!’
She leaned closer to him and growled in his ear. ‘Ah, don’t bite my head off, I didn’t mean to!’
She laughed and he looked surprised at her.
‘You didn’t forget that you’ve already seen my body, did you?’
He scratched the back of his head. ‘No, but then I didn’t touch your breasts or nipples.’
She continued to wipe the snow from her legs and turned around. ‘Do my tail.’
He took the towel and dried her tail.
‘I know it was an accident. And as long as you live with us I expect the occasional accident.’ She turned around and put her nose against his. ‘Just make sure it’s accidents.’
‘I promise.’ he said holding up his hands. ‘I don’t want to make a stupid mistake and make you hate me.’
‘Good boy, now let’s eat.’
They ate their fill, checked the time and wrote it in the driver’s log.
‘What books did you take with you?’ Ghost asked.
Petrash pulled four books out of his bag. ‘Fantasy and science fiction, a spy novel and a mystery. Always have some choice of genre I like to read at the time.’
She pointed at the mystery novel. ‘Can I have that one?’
‘You like to read?’
She shrugged. ‘On occasion. Nothing much to do for the next days anyway.’
She crawled into the back with the book and held open the blankets. ‘Well? What are you waiting for?’
He looked at her invitation. ‘Can I really?’
‘Unless you don’t want to..’
‘No, I want to.’ he said and unzipped his suit halfway. ‘Ehm, like before?’ he asked blushing hard.
She smiled. ‘Only if you behave yourself.’
‘I promise.’ he said, undressed and took the fantasy novel with him, crawling against her under the blankets and both lied on their backs reading until hunger struck again or they snuggled up to sleep.
The books were thick enough to keep them busy until three days later the distant sounds of an engine and tracks caught Ghost’s attention.
‘It must be them.’ she said.
Quickly they dressed and opened the doors to look as the windows had been covered by snow again.
‘There they are!’ Petrash pointed to a truck heading their way.
Soon two men from the station helped in repairing the damaged wires and replaced the batteries with a spare one, enough to start the truck and enable it to get underway again.
Ghost followed their truck and they drove nonstop all the way to the station, switching drivers ever so often. The supplies were taken care of and the trip back to Zero proceeded without trouble.
The other girls were back by the time Ghost and Petrash reached Zero.
Together they loaded the station’s truck and after it had left they all sank down into the couches.
‘So what happened?’ Dusk asked.
‘The truck broke down halfway so we had to stay put for a few days. Plenty of food and drinks so not a major problem.’ Ghost explained.
‘I take it nothing else happened?’ Dice asked.
Both Ghost and Petrash glanced at each other, then looked away trying not to smile.
‘Not really.’ he said.
‘Then why do I smell her scent on you?’ Dice asked while sniffing him.
‘And his smell on you?’ Dusk asked as she sniffed at Ghost.
‘We just kept close to preserve heat.’ he said.
‘I’d say very close to still smell that strong.’
Ghost sighed. ‘Okay, I kept him warm by staying under a stack of blankets together. That’s all.’
‘Okay, now we know the reason. Just wanted to make sure.’ Dusk said.
Rusty yawned. ‘Can we go to bed now? It has been a tiresome week.’
The others agreed and the girls left while Petrash brought the paperwork to the office. He looked at the schedule with Ghost’s and his name circled next to their last job. He sighed, then looked back as he felt a hand on his shoulder.
‘Ghost.’ he said.
‘I’ve noticed you looking down occasionally in the last days. You okay?’
He shook his head. ‘Honestly, I don’t know. I miss the time I got to be close to you. Now I don’t know if it’ll ever happen again.’
She turned him towards her and kissed him for a few moments.
‘I don’t know either, but somehow I got a good feeling about the future.
He watched her leave the office and stroked his lips. ‘I think I do too.’
Ghost entered the bedroom and the other girls sat on the bed waiting for her.
‘What?’ she asked seeing them.
‘How was it?’ Rusty asked.
‘How was what?’
‘Come on, we saw you looking at each other. Something more happened than just keeping warm together. We can smell it, you know.’
Ghost sighed and crawled onto bed. ‘Okay, we kissed.’
Dice raised her eyebrows. ‘Really?’
Ghost nodded. ‘After the first night. I pulled him under the blankets with me because he was freezing. The next morning I teased him when he was being shy and taunted him about not knowing where to start with me, but then he used his finger to show me where he’d kiss and then one thing led to another and then I kissed him.’
‘Wow.’ Dice said. ‘I didn’t think he had it in him.’
Ghost hid her face in her hands. ‘Neither did I when I teased him.’
‘Must be good if you just did it again.’
‘I can see it on your lips. You kissed him again just now, right?’
Rusty sighed and lied down on her back. ‘How the mighty have fallen.. Are we all going to fall for him?’
‘What? You too?’ Dusk asked.
‘Ever since our little competition, whenever I see him looking tired or sad I want to be his beloved plushie for him.’
‘Heh, I’ve seen the look on your face when he’s grooming Dawn. I think you’d like to be groomed by your personal hero as well Dusk.’
‘I..’ she started saying, then plucked on Dawn’s tail silently.
‘And even you, Dice. You keep perking up as he checks up on you.’
‘He saved my life, how much more caring can you get from a guy?’
‘So what are we to do?’
After a while Rusty spoke up. ‘I don’t like the idea of letting go of this good guy. I want to keep him.’
The others agreed.
‘Let nature take its course and just go with the flow. We’ll all get to kiss him when the time is right and whatever comes next, comes next.’ Dice said.
With that said they crawled together to sleep.
‘Why are you all clinging really close to me now?’ Ghost asked.
‘Simple,’ Dusk explained. ‘you still carry his scent.’
Ghost looked up at the dark ceiling. ‘Right. Tomorrow I’m going to steal his pillows for you to cling to.’
‘How so?’ Petrash asked when Rusty sat down on the corner of his desk.
‘You look kinda tired.’
He smiled softly. ‘I guess I kinda am. Haven’t really slept well lately.’
‘You’re not feeling sick, are you?’
‘Nah, it’s just that I can’t find the right, posture, to sleep. Nothing feels comfortable now.’ He stood up and filed the day’s paperwork into the cabinet. ‘It’ll pass, I’m sure.’ He took his cup. ‘I feel like having a snack. Want some?’
Two minutes later they sat on the couch nibbling on dried meat sticks, watching a new show about racing in the snow ring. Although they lived the life there, seeing the extreme circumstances in which the teams competed made them crawl together for extra warmth. Shattered car parts, shredded tires, ice covering an entire car, Rusty wondered how they managed to keep up the hard work and have fun at it at the same time. She turned her head to say something to Petrash but found him leaning asleep against her. She stroked a pluck of hair from his forehead and felt he had a high temperature.
‘Idiot. You should have said you were sick.’ she said as she laid him down on the couch and pulled a blanket on top of him.
Sleepily he opened his eyes. ‘It’s nothing bad, it’ll go away after a good night sleep.’
‘Not if you can’t sleep properly.’
‘Don’t worry your pretty little head about me.’ he smiled sleepily.
She blushed. ‘There’s nothing planned for the rest of the day and since I’m the only one here I guess I’ll take care of you.’
‘Thanks, but I couldn’t ask that of you.’
‘Just tell me what you’d like and I’ll get it.’
‘Ehm,’ he hesitated. ‘could I hold you until I fall asleep?’
She looked away for a second, then nodded and crawled under the blanket with him.
‘Thank you.’ he whispered as he rested his head against hers. ‘I’ve been dying to hold you cuties ever since I’ve been with Ghost.’
Rusty wanted to say something but he had already fallen deep asleep. ‘So maybe that’s it?’ she whispered.
When he woke up he found Rusty still in his embrace. ‘Thank you for staying.’ he whispered.
‘I only did it to make sure you’d get plenty of sleep.’
He snickered softly. ‘And now I’ll have to repay you plenty for acting as my old plushie again.’
‘Just tell me next time. I’ll be your plushie if you really need it.’
‘I’d rather snuggle up with you, not pretend you to be my plushie.’ he said softly.
She felt her face turn hot. ‘But that’s the only good part about me.’
‘You still think you’re not pretty?’ He ran his fingers through her red-brown hair and caressed her ear. ‘You’re really cute and you have a warm heart. I’m happy to be close to you.’
She looked at his grey eyes and knew he’d gotten to her too, then let herself go and kissed him. His surprise soon made way for his desire and he caressed her fur all over.
Eventually they felt satisfied and Rusty turned to snuggle with her back up to him and turned the TV back on.
‘Think you can be satisfied with this for the time being?’
He nuzzled the back of her hair gently. ‘I don’t know. Feels like I want to experience this even more now.’
She smiled. ‘Well, you’ll have to find another way then as you know I’ll be gone again for a few days tomorrow.’
He sighed. ‘I know. I’ll just have to live on my memories, hehe.’
Still feeling tired he fell asleep again until Rusty woke him up just in time for dinner.
‘I’m not good in the kitchen so I need your help.’ she said feeling embarrassed.
‘No worries,’ he said as he sat up and ruffled his hair to clear up his mind. ‘Sleeping next to you has done wonders.’
‘Glad to help.’ she said and pulled him up into the kitchen. ‘Now you do wonders.’
Later that evening after Petrash had gone to bed early Ghost sat down next to Rusty.
‘You too, eh?’
Rusty flipped mindlessly through the box with movie disks. ‘What?’
‘This time I can smell his scent on you.’
She stopped going through the selection. ‘Yeah. I can see why you gave into him.’
Ghost sighed and leaned her head back on the couch, looking at the ceiling. ‘Looks like things are going to be a whole lot different from now on here.’
Since Dawn usually joins Dusk on her trips she demands extra attention from Petrash when they’re back at Zero. One of the things she enjoys most is being groomed by him and today is no exception.
She occupied as much of his lap as she could while he carefully brushed her fur. Dusk sat opposite on the other couch eating cookies.
‘Something on your mind?’ he asked.
‘Well, you’ve been silent the whole time, just eating cookies and watching Dawn.’
He grinned. ‘Are you jealous of the treatment she gets?’
‘What!? No way!’
He laughed a little. ‘I’ve been wondering if I’d ever get to groom both Dawn and you at the same time.’ He started brushing Dawn’s tail. ‘Your fur matches so well it would be like taking care of the family.’
That reminded her once more of his remark about Dawn being their daughter and she felt hot. She saw how gentle he ran his fingers after the brush along Dawn’s back she started imagining how it would feel on hers.
After a while her curiosity got the best of her and she let out a resigned sigh. ‘Alright, I’ll let you groom me too.’
‘Just in time as I’m finished with Dawn.’
Dawn wagged her tail happily and licked his face as he laughed. ‘That tickles! Stop it, I know you love it.’
He managed to move her aside and looked at Dusk. ‘Just don’t be like that if I do a good job.’
She huffed and hit his head with her fists while he laughed. ‘Just kidding! Just kidding!’
She turned around with her arms folded.
‘Gomen. I’ll behave.’ he sat back up and spread his legs patting the couch in between. ‘If you sit here I can start brushing your back.’
‘Promise? I’ll bite you if you don’t.’
She took off her shirt and he felt a strong heartbeat pound his chest. She sat down carefully and he moved her hair to the front over her shoulder. ‘Starting on the back first.’ he said and stroked the brush slowly and carefully from her neck down her spine.
She felt a tingle going down it and shivered once.
‘You okay? Did something hurt?’ he asked worried.
She shook her head. ‘Just getting used to this.’
He continued his gentle strokes down her back and saw her tail twitch each time he reached her lower back.
‘Your fur’s really pretty and soft.’
He followed her curves with the brush and his fingers and felt her leaning into it a little. Then he pulled back her long hair and started brushing from the end up. When he reached the back of her head he started on the sides of her head and she leaned her head back so he could easily reach the front. With each stroke down the back of her head she moved back more until she leaned back completely against him.
He didn’t want her to move so he continued brushing her hair for a while before gently brushing her cheeks and neck. She moved her head so he could freely brush her everywhere. When he started on her tuft she puffed up her chest and he had trouble ignoring the smooth shape of her small breasts.
‘How do you like my grooming so far?’
She turned her head to him and smiled. ‘You may stay.’
He snickered. ‘Want me to continue with your front?’
She stood up, turned around, closed his legs and straddled him. ‘Please do.’
He moved the brush slowly from her tuft down her belly and with each stroke it tensed. She held onto his shoulders leaning back so he had enough room to see where to brush.
‘So, make this a regular appointment after Dawn’s grooming?’
She looked at him. ‘You’d be willing to do it that often?’
‘I love to be close and brush you, so it’s more like my pleasure.’
He stroked her cheek with his fingertips and she leaned into them closing her eyes.
‘If you keep doing such a good job, yes,’
‘Thanks,’ He said and smiled. ‘Just no eating cookies after it, otherwise I’ll have to start brushing out the crumbs again.’
‘Why you,’ she said and poked him playfully.
He laughed and tickled her in defence which made her squirm and grab his hands to fend him off. She panted looking into his eyes for a moment before they both moved and kissed. They were so engulfed in their passionate kiss they didn’t hear the other girls coming in.
‘Oh my.’ Ghost said.
Startled Dusk moved next to Petrash.
‘Ah.’ was all he could say now.
Rusty sat down on the other couch. ‘Looks like it’s three out of four now.’
‘What’s three out of four?’ asked Dice who just walked in.
‘If we don’t count Dawn, you’re the only one who hasn’t exchanged intimacies with Petrash.’ Ghost said.
Dice looked at Dusk. ‘You too?’
Dusk nodded and shrugged. ‘Yeah.’
Petrash saw Dice looking at him in thought, then she firmly stepped over to him. Expecting the worst he braced himself but then she straddled him and grabbed his head, kissing him forcefully at first but then gentler and he returned her deep kiss.
A few moments later she pulled back. ‘I don’t want to be the only one left behind.’ she said meekly.
He smiled softly at her and stroked her cheek. ‘I’m happy to hear you say that.’
‘Well,’ Rusty started. ‘seems it’s pretty clear now we’ve found our alpha.’
‘Alpha?’ he asked.
‘Alpha male.’ Dice explained. ‘As in the male leader of a pack. The one who contributes to the continuation of the species.’
‘Ah.’ he said, then the meaning dawned on him. ‘What!? Wait, what!? Are you serious!?’
Dusk leaned closer. ‘Did you think we were just fooling around? Or are you?’
‘No! I mean, I am serious about how I feel, I just never thought it would be real and I never thought further about it.’ He sighed. ‘Just being this close to you all wasn’t in my expectations.’
Ghost grinned as she sat down next to him. ‘Spoken like a true virgin.’
‘Hey! No fair!’ he said but was silenced by her kiss.
‘We all don’t know what to expect now, so don’t worry. We’ll learn as we go.’ she said and stood up. ‘The only thing I expect is a good dinner after we get out of the bath.’
He saw her grin back at him and felt better. ‘That, I can do at least.’
‘At least the alpha’s got one thing going for him.’ Dice said deviously and kissed him before joining Ghost.
Dusk kissed him, then stood up as well. ‘I’ll admit your grooming isn’t that bad either.’
He watched them leave with a satisfied smile on his face.
He looked up at Rusty who walked up next to him. ‘How could I not?’
She leaned close. ‘Ever thought you’d have four life size plushies in your life?’
‘Beyond my wildest dreams.’
‘Good, remember that if you ever feel bad.’ she said and kissed him as well before heading to the bath.
Ghost’s snickering made him look back when he was in the kitchen getting the food ready for serving.
‘What’s so funny?’
She stepped into the kitchen. ‘I bet your tail hasn’t stopped wagging the whole time.’
He looked at his tail and felt embarrassed.
She took the bowl with vegetables from his hands and kissed his forehead. ‘Don’t ever stop being cute.’
‘Eh, but, hmpf.’ he muttered in protest as she walked to the common room.
Soon they all sat down to eat but things were a little different this time. He sat at the head of the table and two of the girls at each side as before, only now they sat close enough to him as to almost sit on his lap.
‘Heh,’ he let out.
‘Hmm?’ said Dusk.
‘First time I made dinner you kept so much distance from me I felt really alone. And now I feel like we’re family.’
‘That’s because now we are.’ Dice said. ‘And if you play your cards right, it’ll only grow bigger.’
Petrash almost snorted out the food through his nose and Dusk slapped his back as he coughed.
‘I guess he still hasn’t gotten used to the situation.’
After dinner Petrash took care of the dishes together with Rusty. They didn’t say much but Ghost saw how their tails were locked standing next to each other. She sat down on the couch and smiled to herself.
‘You’re in a good mood.’ Dice remarked.
‘Yeah. Just a little anxious as well.’
‘There’s no helping that. Our lives have been turned upside down after all.’ said Dusk.
‘Oh well, let’s just enjoy tonight and forget about the future for now.’ Ghost said and opened the first bottle of vodka.
When Petrash and Rusty left the kitchen the action movie had just started and they settled together on one couch. Dusk sat down on the other side of Petrash and handed them their glasses. Huddled together like this they drank and watched the movie. When it was finished the girls kissed him goodnight and he cleared the table bringing the glasses to the kitchen. He came back and sat down on the edge of the couch again, staring at the blank screen by the soft light shining through the windows. He sat there for quite some time when he heard footsteps.
‘What are you still doing up?’ Dusk asked.
‘A little, but also feeling excited. I just can’t settle down enough to let sleep take over.’
She went to him, rested his head against her belly and stroked his hair. He put his arm around the back of her legs and scritched her with his fingers.
‘How about this then?’ she said and pulled together all the cushions and blankets and made a makeshift bed from the couch, asked him to lay down and then settled next to him under one arm. ‘As long as you can’t sleep I’ll stay with you.’
He smiled and planted a kiss on top of her head. ‘Deal.’
She couldn’t stay awake long though but he had expected that. Her presence made him feel more comfortable though and it helped him feel drowsy until he heard footsteps again.
This time it was Ghost. ‘I noticed Dusk was gone for a while, and your bed was cold.’ she whispered.
‘I couldn’t sleep and she offered to stay with me until I could.’
‘And so she fell asleep..’
‘Yeah.’ snickered Petrash softly.
Ghost crawled up against his other side. ‘I like her suggestion.’
‘If you don’t mind.’
‘I like it more and more.’
Just before he finally caught his sleep Dice and Rusty walked in.
‘I noticed they were gone and went looking for them.’ Rusty whispered.
‘I only happened to need the bathroom when she bumped into me, hehe.’
‘Well,’ Petrash whispered. ‘as long as you’re here, want to join this slumber party?’
The girls nodded and snuggled up between the others and him, resting their heads on his stomach.
This time he fell asleep quickly, being warmed by their four bodies.
The next morning a message came through about a visitor. Ghost took it to breakfast reading it.
‘It says here a miss Yacoba will be coming here.’
The sound of a cup breaking on the floor made the girls look at Petrash.
‘Yacoba? Anashia Yacoba?’ he asked.
Ghost read the rest of the message. ‘Could be. You know her looking at your reaction.’
He sighed and gathered the shards of his cup, muttering ‘And I even started to like this cup.’.
‘Well, gonna tell us?’ Dice asked.
He shook his head. ‘Too long a story for now. You need to get going soon.’
After the girls left he sat down on the couch stroking Dawn’s head. ‘Why would she come here? It can only be to fire me permanently. She must be here to find the tiniest thing to get to me. I’ll have to make sure the books are perfect.’
At the end of the day he had triple-checked every number and receipt. The girls found him just shutting the books when they got back from their deliveries.
‘Is it that time already?’ he asked looking at the clock. ‘No, you’re early?’
‘It seems we’re all very curious about your story so we got around a little quicker than usual.’ Rusty said.
He sighed. ‘Right. Guess I’ll have to fess up then.’
They went to the common room where Petrash started talking.
‘Yacoba should sound familiar to you, it’s the name of the owner of this company.’
Ghost nodded. ‘Now that you mention it. We don’t read much company news here.’
‘Anyway she started working at the same department as I did. Her being the boss’s daughter had quite the effect on the department. Some people disliked her, others went out of their way to suck up on her. I didn’t care anyway so I treated her like any other coworker. And that must have caught her attention. Now, she was quite pretty, blond hair down to her shoulders, blue-grey eyes, not too slim figure but there was something odd about her I couldn’t put my finger on. I noticed she joined me for lunch more often but I thought that was more coincidence. Then the manager asked me to guide her with more of her work.’
‘”No problem.” I said, not suspecting anything at that point.’
‘I helped her out with the things she didn’t know about the system and she seemed eager to learn. Soon we were going to the different departments together to check inventory and shipping. Then one day she suggested to spend an evening clearing out old files from the archive to make room and our manager agreed. Of course it meant I had to do the overtime too.’
‘I had a quick bite to eat for dinner so I had already started by the time she came in.’
‘”Sorry for making you wait.” she said. “We only just now finished dinner.”‘
‘”That’s okay.” I said. “I only came in a short while ago.”‘
‘She leaned against me while I was going through a drawer, I could feel her breasts against one side of my back and she rubbed with her hand the other. I also smelled she had been drinking.’
‘”You know you’re quite cute?” she whispered in my ear.’
‘I was quite surprised by her remark but I knew it wasn’t right. “Thank you, but maybe this isn’t the right place or time.” I said.’
‘”Oh, come on.” she said. “You think I suggested this job just to throw out old stuff?”‘
‘She started unbuttoning her blouse. “You’re not like any of the other guys around here. You don’t treat me like some princess or suck up to me to get into my panties or get favourable treatment by my father. You treat me like a normal girl and that’s why I want you.”‘
‘I backed off. “What are you talking about? You don’t know me that well.”‘
‘”Well enough to want to make you my plaything. I never wanted a toy like you so much before.” she said and moved to me.’
‘Unfortunately she slipped on some papers I had left on the floor and she crashed into me, taking me down with her.’
‘I ended up on the floor with her on top of me and our clothes were in kind of a shamble. Now, that wouldn’t have been the end of it, if it wasn’t for her father wanting to surprise her by visiting as she worked overtime. He had heard she worked late just as he finished his business and felt so proud of her he wanted to see her. And that he did, ripped blouse, pulled up skirt and all over a young man with his shirt pulled out and his hands all over her.’
‘Well,’ Dusk said. ‘I think I can guess the rest.’
Petrash nodded. ‘Trying to explain was no use, he didn’t want to hear anything and Anashia kept silent. I don’t even want to repeat what he said at that moment. Early the next morning I received my transfer to this place.’
‘So what does she want by coming here?’ Rusty asked.
‘I don’t know. Maybe getting me out of the company for good by the smallest mistake in the books? I can’t think of a better way to keep a lid on the scandal other than keeping me here.’
He sighed and poured himself a drink. ‘For once I really feel like getting wasted.’ he said and gulped it down.
‘Wow. For him to do that it must be bad.’ Dice said.
‘I’m not one to refuse to help in that regard,’ Rusty said and poured him another one and one for herself. ‘To the poor schmucks who end up here in frozen hell.’
He clinked her glass, ‘Hear hear!’ and emptied his again in one gulp.
‘Oh well, might as well join in.’ said Ghost and poured for all. ‘We’ll worry about it when the time comes.’
Several rounds later they were singing along to rock music.
‘I didn’t know you were into this kind of music.’ Rusty said to Petrash.
‘I love all sorts of music, have a huge collection. That way I always have something to fit my mood.’
‘So you play loud all the time too?’
He shook his head. ‘Can’t do that in an apartment. I could only use headphones, but it’s just not the same.’
‘Feel free to go crazy here then.’
‘Thanks. I will if I’m still here after tomorrow.’
‘Only if you’re unlucky..’ Rusty grinned.
He slumped back. ‘I will miss this place, as strange as it sounds.’
‘No, really. I feel like I accomplished something here. And I’ll miss you girls.’
She looked at him and saw he really meant it. He pulled himself up and staggered to the door. ‘I give up. Going to sleep. You girls definitely win with drinking.’
Dusk turned to Rusty. ‘He’s really worried.’
She nodded. ‘He doesn’t want to leave.’
‘Hell, I don’t want him to leave, and neither do any of you.’ said Dice.
‘So what do we do?’
‘We can’t do anything without knowing what she’s up to.’ Ghost said. ‘We can only wait for her to make a move.’
The girls saw he was deep in thought while fixing breakfast. Rusty stroked his ear and it startled him.
‘Gomen, didn’t mean to surprise you.’
He smiled softly at her, stroking her arm. ‘It’s okay, I just can’t calm down right now.’
She kissed him gently. ‘Don’t worry, we won’t let you go because you have to take responsibility.’
‘Yeah, for making four girls fall for you in a place where there’s no good guy to be found for many miles.’ she grinned deviously at him and he blushed a little.
‘You must have really lowered your standards to stick with me then.’ he joked.
She slapped his ass. ‘You have no idea. Now serve us you lowly man creature.’
He snickered and was glad she was able to lift his spirit.
Before they went on their deliveries the girls all reassured him that he won’t be able to leave anymore, even if he wanted to.
He went back to cleaning up, then started his normal workday. There was enough to do and he had forgotten all about her arrival during the day until he heard the door from the entrance at the vehicle bay. Thinking one of the girls had arrived he finished his work and walked to the common room. Then at the corridor he bumped into Yacoba.
‘Whoa!’ he said suddenly remembering she would come here.
‘Petrash!’ she said and hugged him.
Overwhelmed he didn’t know how to react. ‘Why are you here?’
‘I’m really sorry what had happened to you. I tried to tell my father but he refuses to listen and won’t let you come back.’
‘I got the feeling it was an interesting story how you got here.’ Chief said.
‘Chief!’ Petrash said as he suddenly noticed him carrying a couple of suitcases. ‘Why are you here as well?’
‘The lady refused to wait for an available driver to take the trip here. You can’t really argue with the boss’s daughter.’ Chief said, putting down the suitcases with a playful grin. ‘And I was curious enough to see how you’re doing since you’ve been here longer than any of your predecessors managed.’
Petrash pried himself loose from her embrace. ‘But why come here?’ he asked her.
‘Either he lets you come back, or I’m not going back.’ she said with a little devious grin.
‘Wait, you planned on staying here?’
She nodded like a little girl going on her first sleepover. He sighed and walked to the common room shaking his head.
She followed him. ‘I’m sure we won’t have to stay much longer here, daddy will give in soon enough.’
He turned around. ‘Look, I had to give up my home to be sent here, now I’ve managed to make this place my home and you expect me to go back and start all over once again!?’
She looked meekly at him. ‘Don’t you want to go back?’
‘I can’t just drop everything and leave this place and the girls here!’
‘Girls?’ she asked.
‘Oho.’ Chief said while pouring himself a drink from the bar. ‘I had a feeling you’d have the right stuff to charm them.’
She looked at Chief. ‘What girls?’
‘Shall I tell her?’ he asked Petrash.
Petrash threw his hands in the air. ‘Whatever..’
Chief coughed. ‘Now, everyone who has been sent here comes back with the horror stories about how they had suffered under the hands of four mean, bullying huskies. Yet, none have explicitly stated that these huskies were in fact female. No-one has actually looked at them as women, just as Kanine creatures so everyone who heard about them presumed they were men. After all, who would imagine women doing this kind of work out here?’ He finished his drink and poured another. ‘So, in reality he has been living here with four girls and he hasn’t come back without his marbles, which says to me one thing, they must have taken a liking to him.’
She looked at Petrash. ‘Is that true?’
‘You don’t want to come back?’
‘I, don’t think I want to anymore.’
She looked at the floor for a moment. ‘Because of them?’
He nodded. ‘Yeah, I’d have to say so.’
Another moment of silence.
‘You like them that much?’
She looked straight at him. ‘Then do you love them?’
He took a deep breath. ‘I haven’t told them, but yes, I love them.’
Silence hung in the air for a few moments, then Chief tapped his glass. ‘Guess they know now..’
Petrash looked at Chief, then followed his gaze at the corridor where the girls were standing and his heart throbbed anxiously.
Ghost stepped forward and hugged Petrash. Not soon after the other girls all joined in.
Chief put a hand on Yacoba’s shoulder. ‘Things haven’t turned out the way you expected, eh?’
She shook her head rubbing her eyes and cried softly in her fists. Rusty saw it, let go of Petrash and held her gently in her arms, stroking her head.
‘You like him that much too, eh?’ she whispered.
Yacoba nodded slightly.
‘I think we need some girl time.’ Ghost said.
Petrash agreed. ‘That would seem best.’
‘Come,’ Ghost said to the other girls. ‘Let’s take her to our room.’
Petrash squeezed Ghost’s hand lightly and she nodded in understanding. ‘She’ll be alright.’
After they had left Petrash went behind the bar and poured himself a stiff one, finishing it in one go.
‘Difficult subject, women.’ Chief said sitting down at the bar.
Petrash held out the bottle, Chief shoved his glass to him and he filled it up with his own. ‘You have one?’
Chief nodded. ‘Married for some time now, one son 12 years, one daughter 10 years old. Happy in our simple life.’
Petrash held up his glass to toast. ‘Simple, happy life.’
Chief clinked. ‘And not so simple, but surely happy life.’
They finished their drinks and Petrash filled the glasses again.
‘Need to go back soon? Otherwise the couch is available.’
‘Thanks, if you don’t mind me.’
‘Not at all. I’d feel better if you were rested before taking the trip back. And having someone help finishing off this bottle.’
While the men were emptying the bottle the girls were comforting Yacoba.
‘So, how did it start?’ Dusk asked.
‘I’m not sure when. One day I just realised he treated me like a normal person instead of the boss’s daughter and it felt so comfortable I wanted to be around him more.’ she answered hugging a pillow. ‘Then one day I thought of a way to tell him how I felt but it seemed he didn’t feel the same.’ She squeezed the pillow harder. ‘And then I got him into trouble and I wanted to get him out but now he fell in love with you guys and I’m too late.’
Dusk stroked her hair. ‘Gomen. For us this whole outcome has been unexpected as well. Guess we all fell for his natural charm, heh.’
‘Well, all men are wolves and he is both, so maybe he just deceived us all.’ Dice joked.
‘With his cute ears.’ Ghost said.
‘And happily wagging tail.’ Rusty snickered.
‘His cooking.’ Dice said licking her lips.
‘His way with the accounting books.’ Yacoba said smiling softly.
The girls snickered and went on picking on his little points until they fell asleep.
‘Morning.’ Petrash said to Yacoba as she walked into the common room. ‘Did you sleep well?’
She blushed a little. ‘Yeah. I must admit it feels good to lie against them.’
He nodded. ‘Yeah.’
‘Ah!’ she realised what she said at the same time he realised his remark. ‘Gomen, I must have disturbed your night!’
He waved his hand. ‘No, no. We have only spend nights together by accident. We haven’t gone that far yet.’
Once again he realised his choice of words. ‘I mean, I don’t even know what will happen in the future.’
‘Anyways,’ he continued. ‘how about breakfast? The girls will come soon.’
She nodded again. ‘Can I help?’
He smiled. ‘Don’t mind if you do.’ He nodded at Chief still asleep on the couch. ‘I doubt he can do much in the kitchen.’
She snickered and they set up breakfast. They were remembering the funny parts during their time at the office and it made her laugh so much she accidentally cut her finger while cutting cheese.
‘Ah dammit!’ he said and took her hand to hold it under the faucet. ‘I’ll get a band aid.’
He grabbed the first aid kit from a shelf and dried her fingers before applying the bandage.
She smiled softly at him. ‘It’s nothing serious.’
‘Doesn’t matter.’ he said holding her hand. ‘I just don’t want you to get hurt.’
She just looked in his eyes for a little while, then pulled him close and kissed him. Just as he realised what happened Rusty walked in.
Yacoba let him go and looked guilty at Rusty. ‘Gomen.’ she said, then rushed past her out of the kitchen.
‘Rusty..’ he said.
‘I know. I saw her cry.’
He sighed. ‘Why did she have to fall for me?’
Rusty put her arms around his waist and hugged him. ‘You’ve got a lot more animal magnetism than you realise.’
‘Heh, if only it wouldn’t make her feel bad.’
‘You care for her?’
‘Of course. I don’t want her to be sad.’
‘You try to make everyone happy?’
‘If I can, why wouldn’t I?’
Rusty nodded. ‘I’ll go to her, you just finish setting the table.’
‘Thanks.’ he said and kissed her cheek.
A little later Rusty came back with Yacoba when the others had already sat down at the table.
‘Gomen.’ Yacoba said.
‘It’s okay.’ Dice said. ‘Maybe we should discuss having Petrash take responsibility for this as well.’
‘Huh?’ Petrash said.
Ghost leaned closer to him. ‘You make girls fall for you, you have to make them happy too.’
Dusk pushed a slice of bread into his mouth. ‘No excuses. You’ll only avoid this if she says you don’t have to.’
‘So?’ Rusty asked Yacoba. ‘What do you think? Could you live as a member of his pack with us?’