Autumn Pt. 01 Ch. 04

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Author’s Note

This continues a re-telling of my Homelands series. I’m proud of the original versions but don’t feel that they lived up to their full potential. This time around, you can expect a slower pace, stronger characterization, and a less grandiose plot. This is no longer an epic fantasy, with a huge battle between good and evil waiting at the end. If you read the original versions, you should feel as though you’re revisiting old friends, but you shouldn’t assume that you know how their story ends. If you haven’t, there is no need to do so. This re-telling is meant to stand on its own and is my preferred version of the tale.


Against all odds, Frank’s curiosity edged out his apprehension and even his lust. Part of him was aware that he shared a confined space with a very, very attractive woman, but he somehow managed not to let that become too much of a distraction.

It wasn’t easy, though.

His mother occupied the first three spots on his top five list, but his grandmother was fighting hard to claim one of the other two. That she wasn’t doing anything but sitting there with her drink in hand, regarding him out of the corner of her eye, was of little consequence; she didn’t have to do anything but be herself. That body would have insisted upon itself even if Frank hadn’t been sure that considerable intellect lurked behind her sly grin.

For most of his life, Frank had thought his grandmother a sweet little old lady whose ready smile and unending supply of caramel candies compensated for her lack of intellectual firepower. She’d never waded into the debates her husband provoked, leaving Frank to wonder whether she shared his small-mindedness or merely tolerated it; whether Grandpa Dick had convinced her that politics was a man’s domain and thus she oughtn’t worry her pretty little head over matters beyond her comprehension. He’d never met the real Noreen, though; the woman he’d thought of as his grandmother was little more than a stage performance. In some ways, she was worse than a stranger to him—at least when he met someone new, Frank had no priors in need of updating. All the cells in his mental spreadsheet were blank. How much of what he thought he knew was incorrect? Not all of it, surely. His estimate of her IQ, though, had to be.

The possibilities both fascinated and enticed Frank, though other mysteries had his attention for the time being. Where were they were headed, and how? Was the palace where day met night in any way connected? What did his grandmother know about that?

On the outside, their improbable mode of transportation looked like something out of the nineteenth century. Frank thought the train wasn’t a relic from that time, though, but had instead been plucked out of history and dropped into the modern era. Or conjured out of thin air by someone with old-fashioned sensibilities. There was no sign of rust or oxidation, even around the wheels, and it didn’t look like a fresh coat of paint had been slapped on old passenger cars. He’d dragged the tips of his fingers along the green exterior, finding no bumps or irregularities. It had hardly come as a surprise, then, when he’d followed his grandmother inside and found a luxury apartment with ultra-modern decor. Black carpeting lined the floor, the walls and ceiling were gunmetal gray, and an L-shaped bar with a polished granite top, shiny wooden paneling, and matching stools occupied one corner. Behind it hung a flat screen TV and a pair of powerful speakers. The lighting came not form oil lamps but LED bulbs. A light gray couch, with black throw pillows, extended from the nearest wall.

A not-uncomfortable silence had hung over them since they’d departed a few minutes ago, but his grandmother finally said, “So are you gonna ask any of the questions that are making your head hurt?” She held up a hand to forestall any insistence that he was just taking everything in. “You certainly don’t have to. It’s just that I’m starting to get a headache of my own watching your wheels spin.” She paused to raise the cocktail glass to her lips. “I gave you the green stub because I figured you’d be the most inquisitive.”

“Not because you find me more attractive than your other grandsons?” Frank asked. His mother was practically his already, even though he’d ignored Dom’s advice, so perhaps he was feeling a bit bold. The need to know was indeed causing distress, however; his grandmother was right about that. The pumpkin beer she’d poured for him was helping with that, but only so much. “That palace we kept getting blown to,” he added before she could even react to the first part. “Is it in Autumn?”

His choice of words drew an amused snort. “I’ve no idea where it is.”

“Meaning that you either can’t or won’t answer the question?”

“No,” his grandmother said. Her response was calm, if pointed. Any offense she took was small enough to be washed away by a sip of her apple martini. “Okay, it’s not in Autumn; I can tell you that much. That’s about Giresun Escort all I can tell you, though.”

“Did you…create Autumn?”

His grandmother nearly spilled her drink, and those huge breasts of hers came even closer to spilling out of her cami. Loose as the plaid blouse was, the undergarment couldn’t have squeezed her girls any tighter. It pretty much had to, though, since she was forcing it to do the work of a bra as well. “How powerful do you think I am?”

The only answer Frank could give was a shrug. There was something about the way she’d answered his previous question, like she knew everything there was to know about Autumn, that had given him that impression. Confused as he was, though, about every-fucking-thing, he didn’t even know what questions to ask. He was shooting in the dark.

“So is this some sort of initiation ceremony? One we all go through?”

“Not all of us,” Noreen replied. “Autumn didn’t even exist when I was your age.”

Frank raised an eyebrow. When she’d scoffed at the notion that she could have created it, he’d figured that it was really old. Fantasy worlds always were. “But my mom did?”

His grandmother nodded. “Not long after Bobby came of age.”

“How did it begin for you?”

“You’re not gonna believe me,” she said with a frown, “but I don’t remember.”

She was right; Frank didn’t believe her. Not completely.

“I grew up in the mortal world,” his grandmother informed him. “The real one.”

“Where did I grow up?”

A wan smile answered. “The world we just left is a poor facsimile. In broad strokes, it’s the same, but the details lack richness. The colors are dull and the smells faint.”

“Seemed pretty colorful to me.”

His grandmother shrugged. “I suppose it would, to someone who doesn’t know the difference.” She sighed and stared off into the distance. “Believe me, Frank, if you ever set foot in the real world, you’d be amazed. There’s just more, of everything.”

One of the first assignments he’d been given in grad school was to propose a test of the hypothesis that the world had been created a few moments ago by an all-powerful but mischievous entity who sought to trick everyone into thinking that there’d actually been a past. The goal had been to get them thinking about non-falsifiability, the scientific method, and all that shit, but Frank suddenly wondered if his professor had been on to something without realizing it. If his grandmother was to believed, that wasn’t too far off.

“There are gaps in my memory, rather large ones, but what I do recall is quite vivid,” she continued. “I’d give anything to go back there, even just for a day.”

“Are you not allowed to?”

“Afraid not,” Noreen replied. “We’re free to come and go as we please between Autumn and its echo of the mortal world, but our travel is otherwise restricted.” Seeing his reaction. “That’s not as bad as it sounds, though. Certainly not worth risking war over.”

Frank raised an eyebrow. “Has someone proposed that we do that?”

“Not in so many words. The path they’ve put us on, however, is tantamount to such.”

Scratching at his beard, Frank said, “I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty fucking lost.”

“There are many Courts in the Homelands,” his grandmother said. “And many levels of reality, according to legend. On the only one you and I will ever reach, there are six courts: the four seasonals, the Eternal Garden of the Sun, and the Shadowed Glade of the Moon. Those two are as old as time, and exist on every plane. Some say they’re the inspiration for myths about heaven and hell, respectively, though I’m not so sure about that.”

That was a lot to take in. Frank sipped his beer to buy some time to mull it all over, then asked an easy question. “The seasonals would be Autumn, Winter, Summer, and Spring?”

“Good guess, kiddo.”

“It’s not them you’re worried about, though, is it?”

“Indeed not,” Noreen said with a proud smile. She drew a deep breath, which made her chest do some very interesting things. “Our president—”

“By which you don’t mean the occupant of the White House,” he interrupted.

His grandmother snorted. “I suppose it does sound silly, a court ruled by a president. The Garden and the Glade are traditional monarchies, and we get a lot of terminology from them. At least, they used to have kings; no one’s seen them for ages, so it’s anyone’s guess who’s in charge nowadays. That’s besides the point, though. Autumn’s democratic. Less so than when I was in power, but we’ll see what we can do about that.”

“You were president?” There was just so much to process.

She sat up straighter, puffing out her chest. That was just cruel. Those things thrust out pretty fucking far all on their own. “Bet you thought I never did anything interesting.”

Frank held his hands up in protest. “I didn’t say that.”

“Just thought it.”

“Well, I certainly didn’t think you ruled over a fantasy world named for a time Giresun Escort Bayan of year.”

After plucking the apple slice that garnished her drink off the rim of her glass, Noreen bit it in half and threw the remainder at him. Frank might have blocked the projectile but was too busy being aroused by the sight of her taking the fruit into her mouth. Of her pearly whites sinking gently into the pale flesh, producing a soft yet crisp sound. He wasn’t sure he’d want her to do the same to his cock, but he’d probably have let her. Anything to get between those pumpkin-colored lips. Not that he’d change is mind if they went back to red.

“So your successor has pursued a more hawkish foreign policy?” Frank asked as though nothing had happened and he wasn’t having trouble keeping his mind out of the gutter. “That all sounds…awfully mundane. I was promised a magical paradise.”

“Who said that?” his grandmother asked, raising an eyebrow.

Well, he supposed his mother hadn’t quite said that, but she’d come close.

“I hope you’re not expecting a tropical island, because it’s more like upstate New York in mid-October,” Noreen said. “And it’s like that all year round.”

“We have years, then?”

She took another sip of her martini. “Time works the way you’re used to, though it doesn’t move at the same rate there as in our echo of the mortal world. I think that’s only because someone did us a favor, though, realizing that there’s comfort in familiarity. Autumn’s not a planet nor does it orbit the sun. It doesn’t even orbit the Eternal Garden of the Sun, as you might be thinking. It’s just sorta there, like all the Courts, surrounded by a void emptier than outer space.” A pensive look spread across her face. “I’m not even sure it’s physical distance that separates us from the other worlds, strictly speaking.”

“I see,” Frank said. The pumpkin ale was delicious; that much he knew. At the moment, it felt like the only thing he knew, but at least it was something.

“There’s not much to complain about otherwise,” his grandmother said, as though fall in upstate New York was anything other than idyllic. “We don’t have to work or pay bills, or deal with any of life’s little stresses. If we could just convince everyone to be content with what we’ve got, letting go of what we can’t get back, it would be pretty close to perfect.”

“No matter where you go, people are people,” Frank said. “And people suck.”

“Whether they’re immortal or not,” his grandmother agreed, raising her glass in salute.

As bonding experiences went, that one was pretty depressing. “For the record,” Frank said, “fall’s my favorite time of year. I can’t think of anywhere better to spend it than a place you’d describe as what I thought of as upstate New York, only better.”

Noreen smiled. “I’m glad you feel that way.” Their eyes met and time seemed to slow. The faintest glimmer appeared in her brown eyes and her orange lips stretched in a grin he found tantalizing. “Of course, you don’t have much to compare it to. You probably never realized it, but nothing beyond North America made it into our simulation.”

“It’s a simulation now?”

With a shrug, his grandmother said, “I’ve never settled on a single description.”

“Hasn’t got anything to do with computers, though?” Frank knew that there were many different kinds of simulations, but in recent years, it had come to have a certain connotation.

“Indeed not,” his grandmother said. “It’s a place of magic, and not just because it’s inhabited by immortals. I don’t know if I’d quite say it has an energy all its own, but things that would have been impossible in the world we just left happen there all the time without any of us causing them to.” She sighed wistfully. “I wish I could tell you how it all worked.”

Funny, Frank wished she could too.

Noreen set her glass on the bar. “I think that’s enough Q & A for now, don’t you?”

His pint glass vanished. Frank couldn’t have said whether his grandmother had done that or he had. “Am I going to get another chance later?” he asked.

“Maybe,” Noreen said as she began to unbutton her blouse.

Would he have liked a more definitive response? Sure. Frank wasn’t doing a very good job of giving a shit about that, though. Or anything other than his grandmother’s ginormous tits. He simply could not believe how big they were, especially since the rest of her body was so lean and hard. Those legs belonged on an Olympic athlete. Frank preferred softer thighs, and some cushion for the pushin’, but was eager to explore every part of her.

“You’re trying to distract me,” he said as he adjusted his obvious erection. “Keep me from asking why you’re no longer president. Some big scandal, huh?” His grandmother went to her knees in front of him without a word and raked her nails over his thighs while eye-fucking the shit out of him. He didn’t believe a word coming out of his mouth, or at least wasn’t saying any of it for that reason, Escort Giresun though. Frank just liked the way his grandmother was reacting to his supposed disinterest in getting more physical.

The buttons on his overalls unfastened themselves. “You’ll figure things out once we’re there. I hear you’re pretty smart.” She licked her pumpkin lips as she fished his cock out. “I won’t say I didn’t have fun with Todd before we left, but when you guessed that I find you more attractive than your brothers, you weren’t wrong.”

Glancing out the window behind him, Frank saw nothing. Literally nothing. Had the train rolled down tracks stretched across outer space, there’d at least have been stars. All he found was infinite emptiness, blacker than black as far as the eye could see.

“How long til we get there?” his grandmother guessed.


“Long enough,” she said. Amber light bathed his crotch. “He really is thick.”

“He?” Frank asked.

“Don’t tell me you haven’t got a name for him,” Noreen replied.

“Did someone tell you all guys do that?” he asked, trying not to gasp as she wrapped one hand around his shaft. It was just the palm of her hand, which was no softer than any other, but that still gave him a thrill. “What’s Grandpa call his? Little Dick?”

Noreen tittered. “I’ll have to suggest that to him.” She gave him a few lazy pumps. “You might be bigger,” she added. They both knew he wasn’t, though; not even in terms of girth, which thankfully seemed to be all that mattered to his grandmother. “Yeah,” his grandmother purred, producing the most beautiful rumble in her throat. “Definitely bigger.”

“That’s definitely bullshit,” Frank said. “But I’m glad you like it.”

She stared up at him, eyes blazing. “Okay, real talk?” Her grip tightened, causing Frank to tense up. A little more pressure and he’d feel discomfort; as it was, though, gritting his teeth and holding his breath only heightened a pleasurable sensation. “You’re not as handsome as your grandfather or your uncle,” she said, telling nothing he didn’t already know. “From the neck down, though, you’re every bit as impressive.” Her tongue made her matte lips glisten. “I did not expect you to be built like this.”

“Stop,” Frank said.

The jerking came to an abrupt halt.

“Not that.”

His grandmother smiled knowingly as she resumed. Her palm started radiating warm euphoria and his pleasure receptors grew more sensitive. With a simple handjob, she was delivering as much pleasure as he usually experienced during vaginal intercourse.

“Did someone tell you women don’t talk like that?” she asked with a grin.

Close as he was to cumming already, Frank almost didn’t recognize the callback.

“It’s not that,” he said, struggling to stay in the conversation. Living with Nat had disabused him of the notion that men were “visual creatures” whereas women were not. He just couldn’t take the combination of his grandmother’s expert ministrations and her measured praise. The very fact that it was less effusive now than it had been initially made it all the more flattering, because that meant he could actually believe what she was saying.

“Ellie says you’re as good as Dickie.” It took Frank a moment to realize that she was talking about his mother, who surely despised that nickname. That soft palm of hers, and the various forms of magic emanating from it, didn’t help anything. “I have to admit I’m skeptical, but she’s not known to exaggerate. Nor to compare men to her father favorably.”

“She really said that?” he managed.

“Apparently, you’re a bit too timid,” Noreen replied. “Your mother hates having to initiate things, but has apparently learned that she’s not going to get all that she needs if she doesn’t. It wouldn’t kill you to take charge the way Dom does, either.”

With praise like that, he’d hate to hear criticism.

“Once the action’s under way, though, you’re apparently without equal,” his grandmother added, allowing some of the tension to go out of his chest and jaw. “It seems the things you do with your hands, and tongues, cannot be described with mere words.” She quirked an eyebrow at him. “And you don’t limit yourself to the equipment you were born with, in either those departments or this one?” She gave his cock a more emphatic tug, in case he’d missed the reference. “I don’t know if that appeals to me as much as it does her, but the full-body seduction thing she doesn’t always have the patience for sounds glorious. If it’s as good as she says, you can use that on me any time you like, for as long as you like.”

Had his mother really talked that up? At times, Frank wasn’t sure she even enjoyed it. He knew she did, deep down, but wasn’t surprised to hear that she’d told her mother she wasn’t always in the mood for it. When his mom wanted to a good dicking, no amount of foreplay would do, and she seemed to want that most of the time she spent awake.

“Do you want to hear what else she said?” Noreen asked with a coy grin.

There was a correct answer to that question. It was not the one that came to mind.

“Or I could suck your dick,” his grandmother finished, as the look in her eyes had promised that she would. She couldn’t stop staring at it. “Your choice, really.”

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