Recovery Efforts

This story started out life as an attempt to shake myself out of a Writer’s Block™ while writing another story. The faltering tale — which has since been titled Through Fire and is back in progress — was fantasy-themed and I needed something entirely different.

It seemed like a good idea to move as far as could be from the type of writing I was escaping. Anthropomorphic animal characters seemed like a unique challenge to write; so, that was one box ticked. I decided to try my hand at an erotic short story and could not have failed at that task more stunningly, short of just failing to write altogether. It is not short and its erotic scenes are such a small proportion of the text that I am inclined to categorize it instead as “erotic romance”.

Why isn’t it short? I got too invested with the characters and kept wanting to see more of them. As I was doing the writing, the only answer was to keep the story going. Why isn’t it full erotica? In the end, I just couldn’t have the characters wantonly smashing pink bits without knowing why they’d even bother.

In the end, it turned out ridiculously self-indulgent. Since it was meant as an escape from “serious writing”, I tore off chunks of myself and inserted them into practically all of the characters. For every pebble of write-what-you-know in the story, however, there is a mountain of write-what-you-wish-you-knew. I read up as much as I could on the material that was outside of my experience, but I’ve no doubt that much of it was handled poorly.

Apologies in advance if any of the content strikes you as offensive. I set out to have fun writing nonsense, not to piss in someone’s cereal. You’re welcome to bring up concerns in the comments or by e-mail at op@oldpines.wtf. I will listen to your input, but I cannot promise that I will make changes based upon your feedback. I will consider your remarks in good faith, but that does not mean that I can drop other projects to rework a paragraph because someone takes umbrage.

Note: no character in this story is based on any real person, living or dead. Any resemblance is purely coincidental and all in your head.

So, what’s the story?

Alder is an anthropomorphic puma (you’ll end up noticing that pumas are a recurring theme in my furry tales) who is in Australia on holiday. On hearing of a devastating earthquake in a city up the coast, he decides to volunteer for the search and rescue efforts. The story opens at the close of a long day. Alder perches on the summit of a pile of rubble and quietly meditates on the toll that the experience has taken on him. A voice calls to him in the gathering darkness.

The anthropomorphic rabbit who faces him is Cataría. She’s been wandering the globe in search of herself, in the aftermath of a disastrous relationship and a brush with death. She joined the rescue teams for much the same reason as Alder: it felt like the thing to do. While encouraging him to return to the volunteer encampment, she takes an interest in him and decides to invite him for a drink (and perhaps more).

In the course of talking over drinks, she finds in him a broken vulnerability that mirrors what she’s been running from within herself. They spend the night in her tent without having sex, but Alder wakes to find her in his arms anyway. The morning finds them cut loose from search efforts and they decide to spend the rest of Alder’s vacation time in Australia together. They grow closer and find themselves trying to recover through one another.

Feedback encouraged, critique appreciated!