The Long Hunt Ch. 01

My name is Will Messer, and this is the true story of how I unraveled the secret at the heart of my mother's sprawling family in the foothills of Carolina and took my vengeance. It's a story that began years before my birth in 1963, a story that didn't end until my 50th birthday. So there's all sorts of places where I could start.

But in my mind, the story of my long hunt always begins on the day my Aunt Clair took my virginity on a summer afternoon when I was 18. It always begins with that mixture of quivering fear and aerial excitement that separates the young from the experienced, with those vivid memories of my balls contracting as Clair swallowed every spurt of my cum – once, twice, three times. Never once gagged on it.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Here's how I got there.

Unlike my cousins from Trotter's Mill, North Carolina, I wasn't raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge. My mother, Lisa McRae, left for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro way back in 1958 and never quite came back. Through a series of improbable events – the kind of luck that tends to follow doe-eyed beauties who drift like faery mist through this weary world – my mother made her way to New York City. There she married at 20, divorced at 21, and met my father while she waited on a bench in Union Station to catch a train home.

Instead, she wound up being carried away in the whirlwind that was Long John Messer of Haywood County, N.C., a Smoky Mountain original if there ever was one. He was a few years older than she was, a 6-foot-6-inch banjo-playing mountaineer with an uncanny hook shot that took him all the way to the doorstep of the New York Knicks. They drafted him out of N.C. State, and when he broke his leg during training camp, they gave the man enough cash to hang around the city while he recovered.

Not that he ever played ball again. By the time his leg had healed he was bored with basketball and already on to the next thing – rambling around recording Appalachian folk songs that he'd bring back to archive in some New York collection down in the Village. Mostly he'd just come and go.

Anyway, Lisa met Long John in February 1962, and my sister Amy was born in Brooklyn in November of that year. Do the math.

I followed in 1963, with my sister Diane completing the set a year later. We look like quite the happy little family in photos, but apparently the old man got restless around this time, and when his brother wrote in 1965 to say he was joining the Army to go fight the Communists in Vietnam, John went right down to the recruiting office there in Brooklyn and off he went. My mother was none too happy about it, either. But that's the way they were.

John was tall and lean with bronze skin and close-cropped dark hair. Had an easy mountaineer manner and that laconic Cherokee sense of humor. Came from a family of Germans who arrived early in the Smokies, settling in a place called Jonathan Valley, where quite a few of them took Cherokee wives. They eventually took to farming, but back in the early 19th century they were apparently famous around their community as "long hunters," men who would pick up their rifles, kiss their wives and head west out of Haywood into the valleys of Tennessee and walk right on up to Kentucky, taking deer and bear and beaver as they went. Stayed gone for months at a time.

Though Long John and Lisa never divorced, they were seldom together, and when he'd visit us – at base housing in Kentucky, or later on in Washington, D.C. – my sisters and I never knew how to act. Our parents clearly loved each other with some dark and animating passion, but settling down like normal people just wasn't in the cards.

I have a few memories of him, all from after the war – which he never spoke about. But the most indelible came in 1973, when Long John took me camping for a week in Pennsylvania. In just one week he taught me how to catch trout, shoot a Springfield rifle from the standing and prone positions, and start a fire with just flint and steel.

"Son," he told me one night before he took me home, "we come from a family of long hunters. And there's not a damn thing either one of us can do about it."

The night we got home from that trip, I woke up before midnight with growing pains in my legs – a common ache that I'd learned to treat with asprin. I was on my way to the bathroom down the hall when I heard the sounds of movement in the living room and noticed the dimly shifting pattern of candlelit shadows on the walls.

At the corner where the hall met the dining area, I stuck my head around and saw two things.

The first and most obvious was my mother on her knees in the middle of the living room, her naked body lit by five white candles arranged in a circle on the floor around her, wildly sucking my father's enormous penis as he towered over her.

The second was my sister Amy. And I wouldn't have noticed her if I hadn't instinctively knelt there at the corner of the dining room. I felt subtle movement under the dining table just a few feet to my left, and as my eyes adjusted I recognized Amy's shape in the darkness. She was tucked into a perfect hide position with an unobstructed view of our parents in the living room, leaning forward on the seat of a ladderback chair, on her knees in her flowered nightgown and socks, with her left hand between her thighs.

Watching. Mesmerized. Just like I was.

And well, it all pretty much freaked me out.

So I snuck back down the hall and into my room, where I lay in bed with my legs aching and my rock-hard dick aching and the image of my mother's worshipful envelopement of my father's frighteningly huge cock running on an endless loop. Somehow I fell asleep, but that night I experienced my first wet dream – a confusing mixture of erotic images that involved Amy in her nightgown, a shy girl from my school naked except for an elaborate leather harness, and my mother – only she was my age and dressed in a gingham dress that she was slowly unbuttoning.

That first orgasm was shockingly painful, and I woke in the darkness to find my cock still throbbing and my underwear filled with what seemed like a half cup of hot white goo. Didn't have a clue what was going on. Not one. So I cleaned up as best I could, lay there in the dark, and pushed all that sexual confusion as far away as I could, remembering instead the cool, mottled darkness of the forest, the feel of the wooden rifle stock, the flashing silver, green and red of the rainbow trout.

Four years later we got the news that John Messer had been shot and killed just a few miles away from our apartment in Alexandria. A mugging gone wrong. My mother hadn't even known he was in town.

It was 1977. I remember because Fleetwood Mac was all over the radio.

I spent most of my teenage years not doing the things my peers in Alexandria considered fun. I camped and fished in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, sometimes in groups, sometimes alone. I joined a rifle club with the proceeds of my job working for a landscaping crew, and became quite good with Long John's Springfield 1903.

Coaches pestered me to take up sports – not because I was particularly athletic, but just because I was so damned tall. Six-foot-three at 15. Six-foot-six at 17. But while my peers dreamed of glory on the court, I just wanted to get back in the woods and walk right out of civiliazation. And though I was an indifferent student with pedestrian grades, I read a lot of books.

I never had a girlfriend, and not because I didn't want one. I was freakishly tall for my age and suffered through growth spurts that robbed me of basic coordination. This also meant that my pants were perpetually too short, while my father's hand-me-down flannel shirts draped billously over my skeletal adolescent frame. I had acne and an uncorrected gap between my front teeth. And though the boys my age generally avoided messing with me too overtly – unless they were hunting in packs – to the girls I adored from afar, I looked like the younger, less-attractive cousin of Frankenstein's monster.

And, to be blunt about it, our family was not only poor, but weird. Weird in ways none of us could ever quite explain. It wasn't just my come-and-go father, or my fey but uncomfortably attractive mother. It was the whole lot of us. Just never quite fit in, no matter where we moved, no matter what school we tried. Though it's not as if we were particularly unhappy. Not as I remember it.

Still, as I entered my senior year of high school, we were clearly showing signs of strain. My mother was working too hard at a VA medical center. My older sister Amy dropped out of college after the first semester of her freshman year and struggled to find work. My younger sister Diane tried to join the Georgetown punk scene at 17.

And me, I'd joined a Boy Scout troop just to go camping – not that I ever gave a fuck about the merit badges and uniforms and all the other militaristic religious crap that came with it. Between scout trips and the local Sierra Club hiking group, I was running off to the woods on a regular basis. I generally spent the rest of my time doing temp labor, fixing my 1967 VW with my father's tools and a Chilton's manual, reading library books and keeping up an impressive masturbation routine.

But when Diane came up pregnant before she was old enough to vote, and Amy started drinking until she'd pass out at parties all around the District, mom decided it was time for a change.

A week later, Aunt Clair arrived with her grown son and we packed all of our things into a U-Haul and quit the District of Columbia for Trotter's Mill. It was eight hours and entire worlds away from anything I'd ever known.

I was a freshly minted, well-read,18-year-old high school dropout, a virgin without a close friend in the world beyond my two fucked-up sisters and my perpetually drifting mother, heading off into family territory where everything held a meaning that was unknown to me.

Aunt Clair's little farm cottage dated to the 1880s and sat just a few feet from a spring house the McRae ancestors had built to keep perishables cool in summer. Consequently, everyone in the McRae clan still called her place the Milk House, so as to distinguish it from the other homes on the patchwork property. Like Willa's Place (my grandmother Alice's house), The Hedges (where Uncle Jim and his family lived), the Stockade (a modest wooden home built in the 1940s besides the ruins of a stone structure that dated to the early 19th century), the Old Inn (which is exactly what it sounds like, and housed Tom and Jenny Stevens and their four offspring) and the Apple House, which is where my family finally settled down in 1976.

And even though Trotter's Mill wasn't quite part of the high-country world that Long John had described in his campfire stories, I fell in love with it immediately. The McRaes lived just south of the Virginia line on more than 200 acres of family land that stradled the invisible boundary between the rising Appalachian foothills and the rolling countryside of the Carolina Piedmont. They'd farmed, fussed, fought and generally driven themselves and their neighbors half-crazy on this land for more than 150 years. Every crease in the landscape of woodlines and fields called out to my DNA.

But in the early days of that first summer, it was also a lonely place for me. My mom had taken a job 10 miles away at the county hospital, and we had yet to make any friends outside the family. We had cousins everywhere, but the boys weren't exactly the inclusive type, and I thought the girls looked at me funny. So while my sisters spent their days watching television with Tom and Jenny's daughters at the Old Inn down by what everyone called "the hard road," I took to wandering.

Then one August afternoon, while returning home from a slow bushwhack up a nearby peak called Snakey Top, I passed the back yard of the Milk House in the woods. I heard something and looked up to see my Aunt Clair having sex.

She was pushed up against the back porch rail with her dress up over her butt, her panties down around her left ankle, and a rough-looking man with his jeans clinging to his knees fucking her like he was holding a grudge. She was blonde and curvy, a pretty little mom who sang in the choir at the Bethel Baptist Church. He was a brutish-looking man with a thick dark beard and work clothes.

The scene horrified me. And, of course, excited me, too. I was instantly hard – which wasn't too much of a trick in those days – and knelt down, hoping that neither of them had heard me walking through the pathless woods. It was only after I'd stared at the scene for about five seconds – the image of Aunt Clair's mature rump rippling with the impact of every thrust has never left my mind's eye – that it occurred to me that I might be witnessing a rape.

After all, I'd never seen this man before. And Clair was being fucked forcefully while the man held his hand over her mouth and pressed her face against a wooden post on her back porch. Maybe he'd snuck up on her while she was working in her garden. Maybe he'd attacked her.

As the assault continued – and now I could hear her moaning, hear the man telling her to "Take every inch, bitch" – I remembered that I was carrying Long John's old Springfield 1903 rifle. It was the one thing of his I really wanted as a possession, and with permission from Granny Alice to shoot on certain parts of the property, I'd made the gun part of my summer uniform, along with jeans, tan work boots and white t-shirts.

So as silently as I could, I unslung the rifle and raised it to my cheek, heart pounding so violently I thought it might smash through my ribs and give me away. Wishing for a telescopic site to give me a better view. Wishing I knew what to do. Wishing it was my cock in Aunt Clair's pussy. Wishing it was me pounding her ass with such power and strength. In her slightly bent-over position, Clair's heavy breasts swung freely within the thin fabric of her dress, obviously unconstrained by any bra, and I imagined reaching around, grasping them while I pummmelled her rump.

From my vantage point I had them at a three-quarter profile – enough to see that he was holding her mouth with one hand and grabbing one of her wrists with the other, but not clear to see her expression, or estimate the length of his cock. Like my father, I was a natural and confidence marksman, but the thought of having to put one shot through that man while making sure I didn't injure my aunt was enough to shake me. I could wait until he finished and got off of her, I figured, and then shoot him.

But then very adolescent line of logic chattered through my already sizzling brain. If the rapist orgasmed inside of her, Aunt Clair would get pregnant. And maybe contract a disease. As an 18-year-old virgin in 1981, that's roughly what I thought I knew about sex at the time.

And so I resolved to shoot him.

Which is a strange thing to explain, but that's just the way it unfolded. I re-established my aim, set the sights just above the base of his skull, tried to calm my breathing and hold steady on center mass. It was just a simple transit of less than half a basketball court, bursting through the leafy canopy at the edge of the woodline, crossing the little stream below the spring house, then zooming across Aunt Clara's garden and directly into his brains. So close I didn't even need to elevate for distance. I let my index finger begin to take up the pull in the trigger, just like Long John had instructed me.

At which point the bearded, burly man shouted "Clair! I'm …" and released my aunt from his grasp. The curvy mother-of-three instantly spun around, dropped to her knees and fumbled with his twitching penis in a race to get her lips around it before it started spurting.

She was only partially successful. The first shot splashed across her left eye before she got the dick in her mouth, but after that she sucked greedily, taking his thick, roughly six-inch shaft all the way down her throat, until her nose pressed against his belly. I watched her throat contract twice before I realized she was swallowing his cum as it pulsed into her mouth.

When the man's partially erect, still-glistening penis popped out of her mouth and he staggered backward, I thought I noticed Aunt Clair staring straight at me.

"Alright Ray," she said, rising from her knees and wiping semen from her lips with the back of her hand. "Now you got yours."

But rather than dress herself, Aunt Clair sat down, leaned her elbows back on the porch, and spread her legs, revealing a swollen and lush pussy framed by pale, strong thighs and a softly curved lower belly. The man she called Ray hiked up his jeans and then fell to his knees at the bottom of the three wooden porch steps, burying his face in her naturally blonde delta.

Apparently Clair was plenty close by that point, because after only a minute or so she convulsed mightily, wrapping her legs around his neck and bucking forward. I could see she was biting her lip at first, but after about three seconds she couldn't hold back, descending into sounds I'd never heard before.

And then she was done, and Ray rolled over with his butt on the ground and leaned back against the porch, catching his breath. Clair sat up with her bare feet on the steps, her knees still spread, her dripping wet pussy still visible. And once again I felt her eyes probing the edge of the forest as if searching for me.

When her gaze came to rest in what appeared to be a direct tunnel into my eyes contact, I simply stopped breathing.

The two shared a cigarette there on the back porch and then Aunt Clair cleaned the man up, kissed him chastely on the lips and smacked him on the butt.

"Best pussy in Trotter's Mill," Ray said.

"Take care of yourself, Ray."

"See you soon?"

"If you're lucky," she said, grinding out the last of their cigarette on the edge of her porch. Her eyes followed him as he walked around the outside of her house, and a few moments later I heard an engine fire up, followed by the sight of Ray tooling down her driveway in an old pickup with the words "Ray Ross Repairs" painted on the door.

Before she walked back up into the cool of the porch and into the house, Clair looked back toward the woods one last time, then up into the bright blue sky. "Beautiful day, isn't it?" she said, her wry expression lingering generally in my direction. And then she was gone.

I could have masturbated then and there. Just a touch would have likely tripped my hair trigger. But for some odd reason the woods no longer felt private, and so I waited until I'd treked back to the Apple House, went straight into the bathroom, and splashed an astonishing amount of sperm into the sink after about 10 seconds of work. I was fortunate to notice a massive glob of cum on the medicine cabinet mirror just before I walked out, and removed the evidence.

Not that I was done for the day. If memory serves, I had to cum at least three more times just to get through the day and fall asleep that night.

I had a new sexual fixation, my first erotic obsession: My Aunt Clair – a 5-foot-3 inch, 150-pound, D-Cup goddess of the wild places in my heart. Yes, I'd had crushes before, and fantasies that rushed me to climax. But I'd always been a young man disconnected from my own time, my own peers, my own youth culture, a boy who barely spoke to girls at school. I didn't talk well with silly flitting girls or pretentious punk poseurs.

I didn't know it at the time, but Clair had just turned 50 that summer. Even if I had known it, I wouldn't have given a tinker's damn. I wanted to fuck my country aunt, and I had a strange intuitive sense that the feeling was mutual.

I don't exactly remember what chores my mother had set for us the following day, and it hardly matters. What matters is that I still remember that I was eating my breakfast with my sisters and my mother when the phone rang, and somehow I just knew it was Aunt Clair.

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