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the Daughters of Judith

She came to a little river and saw a field on the other side with some odd-looking round tents. She sat down in the tall grass and observed for a few hours. There was a fire place, and a teepee further down. And she counted three women, maybe in their mid-thirties, walking around, tending the fire, cooking over it, talking in words that she could not quite make out. The women were dressed in old beat-up clothes and old boots. Tami saw them go into one of the tents and she got up and went back home to her tree. She came back in the evening. This time there were about ten women, some a bit older, gathering around the fire. There was chatting, again just far enough away so that she could not make out the words, then what looked like boiled vegetables was ladled out into dishes and they ate. After some more talking everyone got quiet and Tami realized they were praying, or meditating. Tami could tell, from the piles of wood next to the tents, the carefully constructed fireplace, and the great quantity of drab clothing hung on branches to dry, that this was not a temporary settlement. These women -- there didn’t seem to be any men -- had decided to live here. There was no sign of cars, or electricity, or anything mechanical. Had they learned to live in the wild, like she did? It seemed obvious that they were some kind of religious community. That was how Tami knew what her next step would be. The next morning, she would walk across this river and right into their camp, and say that she had been living in the wild this summer, as part of a spiritual retreat, and did they mind if she stayed for a while? They seemed like nice people, though maybe a little solemn for her taste. Surely they would let her hang out with them for a couple of days. And then she would, carefully and deliberately as if the idea had just occurred to her, tell them that she was ending her retreat and could they give her a couple of things to put on so she could start making her way back to school? It seemed like a sure plan. No cringing, no begging, and above all, no danger that they would call the police. It was the next morning. The naked teenage girl squatted in the tall grass and watched as two women, barefoot and skirts hitched up to their knees, waded into the river to wash some clothes. They talked quietly as they squeezed some blank T-shirts in the water and rubbed them against a flat rock. When she was sure they weren’t looking the naked girl inserted herself into the water and began a slow underwater swim across. The two women watched in surprise as a naked girl swam up to them and then stood up in the knee-high water, streaming and dripping from her hair and her nipples and her pubic hair below, arms at her sides, like Venus emerging from the sea. The young girl stood there facing them until the water was done coursing off her, totally unconcerned with her nudity. Then she smiled and said, “Good morning. Praise be to God. My name is Tami.” For a moment the three women were motionless in the steamy still morning air, calf-deep in water, the two women in kerchiefs and T-shirts and skirts looking at the naked wet teenager who stood before them, arms her sides, shoulders back, as if presenting herself for their approval. The women looked at each other and then one said, “Welcome. Shalom. My name is Ruth.” Tami, with a polite smile, extended her hand. This seemed to surprise Ruth, who took a moment to stretch her hand out and clasp the naked girl’s hand gingerly. “And this is Debor - ah,” Ruth said, putting the accent on the second syllable. Deborah was younger, maybe in her late 20’s, and Tami could see some blond hairs poking out from under her kerchief. She had a pretty face like a model, though of course with no makeup. Tami could tell that the women were trying not to look down at her nakedness. She resisted, for the thousandth time, the urge to cover herself with her hands, and stuck to her script, trying to make the words sound natural, even though they were so strange for her to say. “I have been living in the woods this summer and it’s time to come out. I noticed your community.” Ruth, finally allowing herself to look down frankly at Tami’s body, said, “Why are you naked?” “I’ve always been naked.” “Where are your clothes?” “I don’t own any clothes.” “Ever?” Tami had this planned. “I gave them up for the summer, for living alone in the woods.” Again the two women looked at each other. Then Ruth said, “You should not be naked. Let us get you some clothes.” Tami almost choked on the words but she was looking a few days into the future and had to stay firm to her plan. “No, no.” She cleared her throat and tried again. “No clothes now. It’s not yet -- it’s not yet time.” At that point Tami became aware of the approach of an older woman, dressed in similar drab clothes. Ruth and Deborah stepped out of the stream to meet up with her. Tami followed, careful not to slouch or show any sign of wanting to cover herself. This woman was a little more stern, it seemed. Ruth said to her, “This woman is Tami. She lives in the woods without clothing.” To Tami: “This is Zipporah.” Zipporah looked the naked girl up and down, Tami forcing herself to stay perfectly still. Then everyone followed Zipporah into one of the big round tents. In the tent was another woman, named Hagar, who fixed some tea for Tami and gave her some big crackers. Tami sat on a cushion in the middle of the room and was the center of attention as the others sat around and ate. “You’ve been in the woods all summer?” Ruth said. Tami nodded while munching. These crackers were pretty good, though like nothing she’d tasted before. She gulped down and said, “I finished my freshman year and took a course in wild plants and decided to live out in the wilderness.” “How do you eat?” Ruth said. “There’s lots of things to eat around here,” Tami said. “This is very lush country, and a good time of year. These crackers are good.” This broke the tension a bit. Deborah said, “It’s not crackers, it’s matzoh.” Tami noticed Deborah had a gentle Southern accent, unlike the others. “What?” Ruth and Deborah smiled at each other. “Well we know she’s not Jewish.” “Of course not, she’s gone months without doing her nails,” Ruth said. Hagar and Deborah giggled, as if this was an old joke. Zipporah just kept looking at Tami. Then she said, “Tami, we have a problem with bugs. These black flies, and mosquitos. We’re almost out of citronella. Do you know any plants around here than can repel them?” Tami, seeing her chance to get in good with this obvious authority figure, hopped up and started out of the tent. The women followed. “Pennyroyal,” she said, bending over to pick the leaves off some little purple flowers she had noticed next to the stream, trying not to think of the fact that she was sticking her bare butt right in their faces, giving them a clear view of her butthole. She turned and presented the leaves to Zipporah like a gift. “Just make a tea of this and rub it on the skin.” Zipporah looked at the leaves in her hand, apparently impressed. “Do you use it?” Tami said, “No, I don’t have to. If you don’t eat table sugar, the bugs won’t get you.” At this Deborah looked at Ruth and mumbled, “Told you!” Zipporah looked at Deborah and then at the naked teenager and smiled. “We could use some knowledge like that around here. Come on back in.” Back in the tent, Tami and Zipporah started talking casually over the tea and matzoh. Tami said, “This is a nice tent.” “It’s called a yurt,” Zipporah said. “Easy to put up.” Tami learned that there were more yurts over the rise, that there were eighteen women in this camp, that they had pooled their resources to live together according to traditional Hebrew and kosher customs, or something like that, and that they had been in this particular site since June, having moved out of a big house in Chattanooga, where they had all originally been teachers or students at the university there. The plan was to stay until the fall semester and then make a decision about trying to stick it out here all the way to the spring. As for Zipporah, she found out that Tami was a math major who had always liked nature and had always wanted to live alone for an extended time to meditate. Her parents knew she was doing it, though they didn’t know she was naked; she had their number in her head and had plans to call them for money if the nature thing didn’t work out. In fact, though, she had found it easy to live out in the wild, with the knowledge of wild plants she had acquired both from that course and from experience. At least that was what Tami told them, a curious mixture of fact and fiction, though to the women who had been living out in the wild also, it apparently seemed plausible. It became time for some chores to be done, and Tami volunteered to help. She followed the women over the rise and saw some more yurts, then beyond, a flat clearing in which they had put a huge garden with corn, tomatoes, carrots . . . Tami helped them pick what was ready for picking, the naked girl laboring alongside the clothed women. In the process she saw that they had not entirely left civilization behind. For one thing, there was the chicken wire surrounding the garden to keep animals out. Then there was the radio (turned off) in an opened suitcase under a plastic canopy set up outside a yurt. And inside the yurt, what she was most surprised to see: a high bench laid out in the middle of the tent, next to which stood a stocky woman with no kerchief, a sunburnt face, and a wide, friendly, smile. This was Tovah, who showed no sign of the other women’s hesitation about physical contact and gave Tami a big firm hug. “We’re glad y’all staying with us, let’s give you a right welcoming present.” She gestured to the table. There was no word spoken. Tami laid on her stomach and her head rested on an extension that was designed to keep her neck straight. This, she realized, was a special massage table. After her surprise at feeling the first glop of oil on her back, she surrendered herself to the exquisite touch of Tovah’s firm but supple hands, rubbing the oil all over her from neck down to between her toes, massaging her neck, her shoulders, down to the small of her back, and then her arms, right down to a detailed and satisfying massage of each hand. The naked girl found her muscles stretched, rubbed, kneaded, like never before. And then Tovah rubbed her strong thumbs deep into her butt muscles, down her legs, so that the naked girl could only moan. “Aaaaah . . .” was all she said, except when in her body relaxed to the point that she let out a little fart. “Sorry, oh . . .” “That’s O.K.,” Tovah said. Tovah rubbed her oiled hands over Tami’s feet, spending a lot of time on an exquisite massage of the soles, spreading the toes, and then set each foot down. Tami was in another world by then and could not react when Tovah suddenly pushed into the middle of her back with a doubled fist. Pop - pop - pop . . . Tami had never had her back cracked before but this was not scary, it was great! She limply followed the lead of Tovah’s hands to turn over, then found her head twisted this way and that, as if Tovah was unscrewing the lid on a jar, with more popping in the neck, then she lay on one side and then the other, as Tovah hoisted herself on Tami’s thighs to cause great crunches on each side. “Ohhh. . . ahhh. . . thhhhank you . . .” Tami said, eyes closed, feeling like a limp puddle of bone and muscle, knowing this was the most wonderful massage of her life, and then she was asleep, still smiling, the naked girl on her tummy on the massage table in the middle of the round tent. . . . . “This is a Torah,” Ruth said to Tami as the naked girl made room for herself, awkwardly, in the circle in the yurt. It was past dark, after a light but delicious supper of salad and potatoes, and there were oil lamps that gave enough light for everyone to see. Zipporah led the reading and it was all in Hebrew, apparently, as was this big book Ruth was showing her, neat lines of strange characters in the middle, then lines of smaller characters around it, then even smaller writing at the edges, all in boxes. Ruth whispered, “This is the text, then these are the commentaries, then around here are the supercommentaries.” “Supercommentaries?” “Commentaries on the commentaries.” “Oh.” It seemed ridiculous in a way, but Tami told herself she should have respect for it. She thought of her Jewish friend, Mandy, the only one back at the college who knew the whole truth about her situation -- did Mandy grow up with this? Tami had always thought of religion as a bit of a turn-off. Mass usually bored her. But this circle of women talking in a weird language about these texts, there was something intriguing about it. She wondered what they were saying. Zipporah stopped the back and forth of Hebrew around the circle to say to Tami, “The Torah has something to say about every aspect of life. Today’s reading is about being true to one’s goals. I decided to make the switch from our scheduled reading because of you, our most unusual visitor.” Tami, sitting cross-legged in the circle, looked around at her clothed companions and burned with shame. Her nakedness was so out of place and she felt insolent and disrespectful being naked here in this group. Rebecca had tried to get her to go to her prayer group at the college, and Tami could never bring herself to go. And now here she was. And being pointed out. Trying to deflect attention, Tami said, “What was your regular reading going to be about?” “Hair care.” It was the way Zipporah said it, deadpan. Tami burst out laughing. Then quickly stifled herself and apologized. Ruth smiled. “Don’t apologize, I know it sounds funny.” Tami held her hand to her mouth. “What does it -- say -- about hair?” She hardly finished the last word when she burst out laughing again, her breasts jiggling, shaking her head as if to apologize anew. “Sorry --” Zipporah smiled and waited for Tami to calm down. Others were smiling too. Then Zipporah said, “It says, don’t go nuts over it.” After that, Zipporah said, “Let’s do this in English,” and they started talking about Commitment to One’s Goals. “You see Tami here, has been very committed to living out in nature with no clothing or artifacts of any kind. She’s been successful, because she’s been very committed to her goal. We would do well to emulate her.” As she so often felt when Rebecca gushed over her, the naked teenager felt pangs of guilt. These were worthy people, as was Rebecca, and they drew inspiration from her, when all the time she was a fraud. Tami wondered once again how she was going to be all right with Rebecca and Jen and Rod and all the rest of her worshipful friends after she put on clothes again. And then, at the end of the session, everyone hugged Tami as they went out, thanking her for providing inspiration. That night Tami slept in Hagar’s yurt. Hagar offered her massage table to sleep on -- and a blanket. It was hardly cool enough to need one but Tami grabbed the chance, and after the lights were out, luxuriated in the feel of covering over her body, being denied so long, even though the blanket was rough wool and scraped over her nipples and thighs. But after a few minutes she felt suffocated and took the blanket off. Only then did she get to sleep -- for the first time in days, with a roof over her head, in the humid Alabama night, to the sound of crickets and birds and owls.

. . . .

“You seem to have conquered modesty,” Ruth observed as the three walked along down the forest path. She and Deborah were following the naked teenager as she continued the educational tour Zipporah had asked her to conduct. Ruth had a clutch of stems and flowers in her hand, having been given them by Tami as they went from tree to tree, almost from plant to plant, Tami identifying what she was seeing and telling them the uses. Deborah was writing things on a notepad. “I don’t believe in modesty,” Tami said, aware of how odd it sounded coming from her mouth, yet feeling O.K. about it. She wondered if it hadn’t been a mistake to refuse Ruth’s offer of clothes when she emerged from the stream yesterday. She was just so surprised, after all her ordeals, to have someone just right up front offer her clothes. But it was just as well. It was only one more day -- and then, she would ask for clothes. She would tell these women that she had to get going for home, and though she was a nudist, as a practical matter she had to have clothes to put on to go on her journey. It was a sure thing, and Tami kept telling herself: one more day to clothes . . . one more day to clothes . . . In the meantime, though she didn’t like being naked and was jealous of these women and their abundant clothing, she could steel herself to play the part. It was like being around her friends in the dorm -- she felt comfortable around them and the shame she felt was not all that bad. Certainly not as bad as with the mean and abusive people she had been subjected to. Then there was that exquisite backrub from Tovah yesterday. It made her so relaxed and feel so comfortable with her body, she was only now getting out of the zoned-out feeling it caused. She had gotten up at dawn, as always, to make her daily prayer for clothes, next to the stream, and was still so woozy that she had almost fallen in. Then, finishing her prayer, she said what the heck, and plunged in for a refreshing swim, and the awakening women had been greeted with the sight of a dripping teenage nude walking through their camp. “Those cones, you can eat the insides,” Tami said, standing next to a tree trunk and pointing up. She wanted to help Ruth and her friends out, they seemed so eager to learn. And Tami wanted to make herself useful. She didn’t want to freeload, getting shelter and food and backrubs (and clothes) from them, she wanted to give something in return. She decided to let Ruth and Deborah see for themselves how good these cones tasted. She jumped up with both hands to grab the first branch, a nice strong level branch maybe eight feet up, and found herself facing her two companions with a full frontal view of her suspended nudity. Trying not to notice their gaze, she hoisted one leg up, giving them a quick view of her spread pussy, then the other, until she was standing on the branch, well above them, leaning one hand against the trunk. Then climbing a few other branches and sidling out to where the cones were. She gathered a few against her breasts, feeling the scraping against her skin, then hopped down to the first branch. Leaning her bare back against the trunk, she pulled the hard petals off one until she got to the fibrous stem and then said, “Catch,” and threw it down to Ruth. In a moment all three females were chewing on tree cone stems, the clothed women on the ground, the naked teenager idly reclining on the branch above. “These are good,” Ruth said. She looked up right at Tami’s crotch, then at her face, and smiled. “I can’t get over how comfortable you are with being naked.” Tami, still chewing, shrugged, sort of wishing Ruth would talk about something else, then deciding she wouldn’t mind talking about the flip side, namely clothes. “You and your friends wear a lot of clothes, even though it’s hot.” “Yes,” Ruth said. “It’s partly our studies. The Torah has a lot of stuff about always staying covered. It sort of sinks in on you. Of course, it has a lot of other stuff we don’t like, such as subjugation of women. We’re still deciding what to go with and what to chuck.” “For me, I think this staying all covered up business can be chucked,” Deborah said in her gentle accent. “I’m not saying be like you, but at least wear shorts or short sleeves. It’s a holy bother in a Southern summer. Or during that rain we had.” “That rain was nice,” Tami mused, forgetting who she was talking to. “I just walked and walked through it like it was a warm shower.” Then she realized it must be torture for these women to hear her talk like that. Being all hot and sweaty and drenched in those clothes -- despite her longing for covering Tami could only imagine how unpleasant that must have been. Pausing in her munching, unconsciously folding up one leg so that her bare foot drew up to cover her pussy, she said an awkward and impulsive, “Sorry.” “No, that’s O.K.,” Ruth said. “We’ve been thinking about clothing a lot, and other things. Having you around this past day has gotten us to thinking, some things we’ve been having in the backs of our minds, but your presence got them to the front burner. That’s why we’re the only two on this tour you’re good enough to give. The others are meeting right now talking about how to get more . . .” “More sensual,” Deborah broke in. “Yes,” Ruth said. “Tovah has been talking about this all along, but she’s been more like a doctor to us, tending to us when we’re sore or injured. I think she’s right. I don’t think we’re meant to be all wrapped up and pinched. We’re not celibate, we’re all lovers. We don’t want to be just a bunch of prunes.” Tami stopped chewing. Lovers? This was interesting. She wondered why there were no men around, but had figured it might be offensive to ask. “You’re all lovers?” “Yes, we’re all paired up. Deborah and me,” Ruth said. The teenager’s mind was whirling. Who was paired up with who? A bunch of lesbians out in the woods! Jen would probably be in heaven here. Well, no, Jen also liked trendy clothes and going dancing. Then Tami thought of something else Ruth said. “‘Prunes’?” “Stuck-up feminists,” Ruth said. “Women who start out hating pornography, then they get onto other things and before you know it, you’re anti-pleasure everything. I’ve been there.” She rolled her eyes. “UTC is full of them, the metro area too.” Tami said, “Metro area?” “Chattanooga’s a big city, I was born and raised there,” Deborah said proudly. Then, “Ruth’s exaggerating. Only if you scoot around with feminists does it seem like pruneland.” Tami thought about Campbell - Frank. No, there weren’t a lot of “prunes” there, in fact not many “Feminists”, except for Professor Congi and Jen and some others, and most of them were pretty cool. She noticed Ruth and Deborah looking at each other. Ruth bit her lip. Then she said, “Tami, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but we just want to say you have the most beautiful, in shape body we’ve ever seen.” She cleared her throat. This compliment rebounded in the naked girl’s memory. It was almost exactly what Jen had said to her, the first time they had met, when Jen and Terri showed up as Tami’s roommates. Once again the shy naked girl blushed and basked in the compliment in spite of her embarrassment. Once again, despite all that had happened, she felt the urge to twirl herself around and say, “I do enjoy it myself,” or whatever she had said on that occasion. This time, she said, “Thanks. I was on the gymnastics team. It’s a good way to stay in shape.” And now she realized that in looking at her nakedness Ruth and Deborah were trying to control their lesbian lust. She didn’t know how to react. She was about to jump down and continue her educational tour when Ruth cleared her throat again and said, “Can you -- can you do some gymnastic thing? Twirl on that bar or something? Please?” Both women blushed deep red at having made this request. Tami felt their discomfort and didn’t want to let them down. They were so nice. And she was getting the feeling that her being around was good for these women, therapeutic. So she said, “O.K.,” and decided to do some twirls on this branch, which made a good overhead bar, then dismount so she could continue her tour. Throwing the rest of the cone aside, the naked teenager dropped down so that she was hanging from the branch like before. She spread her legs and brought them up, toes above the branch, then began swinging back and forth. When she had enough momentum she twirled over the top of branch, then did it again, then a third time. She switched her hands and turned around, and when she was about to do the dismount twirl, legs wide apart, pointed feet over her head, her pussy and butthole in clear view at everyone’s eye level, she saw that she was now performing not only for Ruth and Deborah but for Zipporah, Hagar, Tovah and maybe a dozen others. With a quick blush she looked back up to her hands and then dismounted, her bare feet landing silently on the soft dirt, then she thrust her breasts and arms out and smiled in the classic gymnastics finish. They clapped. Some whistled. She felt the strong urge to cover herself with her hands but she wanted to keep up this persona they had apparently fallen in love with. So she stood there, arms at her sides, and said, “Hi.” Then, “I wasn’t showing off, they asked me.” She wondered if she had just gotten Ruth and Deborah in trouble but then everyone started laughing. . . . . The next reading circle was that afternoon, around the fireplace, though there was no fire set. Tami sat cross-legged and leaned over as Deborah shared her Torah with her. The naked teenager looked around. The sun was blazing hot and she was sweating, but not as much as the others. She pitied them in their kerchiefs, their heavy skirts and pullovers, the socks and black work shoes they all wore. She imagined the Torah was written in northern Europe somewhere, Russia maybe, in a cold climate, by people in heavy outfits which were so out of place for an Alabama summer. In a way she respected these women for going around like this -- much as, she remembered, Rebecca and Jen and Rod and many others respected her for walking around naked through a Vermont winter. Again, the readings were in Hebrew, with Zipporah occasionally summarizing in English for Tami’s benefit. Today’s topic was The Uses and Abuses of Self-Denial. Later, Ruth and Deborah asked Tami to show them her “home”. Tami took them to the big tree with the wide crotch and the open trunk below. She thought of it as a short trip, but it took a long time for the two women to fight through the pathless brush which kept getting caught on their clothing. Finally Deborah took off her boots and her socks, which actually made her going even slower as she stepped on vines and rocks with tender bare feet with one hand carrying the boots. As they continued on, Tami pointed out to her the patches of poison sumac here and there. They came to the tree and Tami showed them the inside where she had slept on the bed of leaves, and pointed out the wide crotch above, which was so big that Tami judged it could hold all three of them. With some difficulty she pulled them up and soon the two clothed women and the naked teenager were sitting there in the only way really possible, leaning back with their backs to the fat branches. “It’s amazing how you’ve lived here all summer, in this tree,” Deborah said, rubbing her sore feet. “There’s no sign that it’s been used by a human.” “Actually this was only the past few days,” Tami said, trying to be truthful yet not wanting to reveal too much. “Before that it was other places.” They were all facing each other, and Tami was all to conscious of her pussy hair being almost right in their faces. Ruth was looking right at it. Then she said, “Even your vagina is beautiful.” Tami blushed and again suppressed the urge to cover it with her hands. The only sign of uneasiness was the squirming of her toes, down to the side and out of sight. “Thanks.” “How often do you . . . sexual release?” The stilted language was as awkward to say as it was to hear. Tami had a picture of these women having very little sex, and knew her answer would make Ruth more jealous and depressed. But she felt she owed her the truth. “Several times a day.” Deborah said, “You . . . do yourself several times a day?” Tami nodded, looking out to the woods. “That too. Every time I do, I . . . come . . . a few times.” Ruth shook her head and smiled. “That sounds exhausting!” “No, not at all. I’ve -- I’ve gotten used to it.” Maybe that was saying too much, Tami mused. She certainly didn’t want to talk about the Chalfont experiments and how they had greatly increased her capacity for orgasms. And now the sexual desire was thick in the air, Tami realized. And it included her! Her flat tummy squirmed a bit. She looked down at her pussy hair and detected the slightest scent of female musk. She hoped there was no visible wetness. “Tami,” Ruth cleared her throat. “We were wondering . . . We want to feel your energy. When a woman has an orgasm, energy flows from her body, life giving energy. Could you . . . tonight at the circle . . . If you could do yourself, while we pray . . .” Tami almost fell off the tree. This was a thunderbolt, so very unlike the impression she had formed. The new age-y talk about “energy”. And she was being asked to diddle herself in the middle of their circle! Yet as she thought about it more, maybe it didn’t sound so weird. These women, after all, were spiritual types. Tami had never been into “spiritual” stuff, preferring concrete things like auto repair and math, but had gained respect for people like that, mainly Rebecca, who were smart and honest and not using spirituality as an excuse for lazy thinking. These women were searchers, and trying to loosen up, for them a brave thing to do. She thought of her compact with God -- he would protect her so long as she was strong and smart and brave. Well, so were these women. Then there was the earnest look in Ruth’s eyes. It was not begging but Tami had something they wanted and needed. The naked teenager, shy by nature, found herself saying, “Yes.” The three sat there in the tree, looking at each other for a long moment. It was like the moment when new lovers look into each other’s eyes and realize it is time for the first kiss. Deborah wordlessly took off her pullover, then the white T-shirt underneath, and then unclasped her white bra, and tossed the garments aside to where they fluttered to the ground. A few minutes later, with some struggle, the other two women had achieved full nudity and lay back on their wide tree limbs, ill at east in their pale skin and unaccustomed nakedness, facing the tanned and toned body of the beautiful naked teenager. The tension was electric. All three stared at each other and at each other’s pussies and breasts. Tami noticed that Ruth, who appeared to be around 30, had a body that was a little scrawny and soft but not ugly. As for Deborah, closer to Tami’s age, her body was thin and tall and graceful, like a model’s, though pale also from lack of sun. Nobody was sure what would happen next. Then Ruth nervously extended her hand into the space between them. Deborah followed, then Tami. The three hands clasped together tightly, rubbing each other as if foreshadowing the tactile orgy to come. Tami had never considered herself even bisexual, let alone lesbian. Her preference was for Rod’s dick. And though she had submitted to Jen’s and Mandy’s tongues often, she had taken the lead with them only a few times, and more as returning the favor than out of any desire on her part. Yet she conceded that with her depressingly perfect body, walking naked into this group of lesbians, she was bound to cause something to happen. And yes, she did feel some attraction for the naked quivering companions in front of her. It was to relieve their obvious distress and painful shyness that she acted first. She pushed herself up and her hands found branches to support her weight as she leaned her body full length over Ruth’s and heard her lustful sigh, as of long-denied relief, as both felt the exquisite sweetness of full length bare skin one against the other. Then Ruth kissed her full on the lips. Tami was prepared to squat down and tenderly kiss Ruth’s pussy, but Ruth suddenly got assertive and pushed Tami upright. As Tami stretched herself out into an “X”, her hands and feet extended to clasp branches to the side, Ruth sat down in the crotch of the tree and cradled Tami’s butt cheks in her hands as she slowly licked Tami’s lower lips. All Tami could do was stand there, stretched out, and be pleasured, as Deborah sat back and enjoyed the show, idly playing with herself. Tami looked out into the woods, up at the sky. This was strange pleasure, but she enjoyed it. She said, thank you God, and realized that for these women this might be a kind of worship too. She found herself reaching down to softly stroke Ruth’s hair as Ruth continued her earnest and fairly skillful licking, drawing Tami’s clit out and sucking on it gently, then pressing her face into Tami’s pussy as if smothering it with a big kiss. Tami’s immense sex drive was just below the surface anyway in these natural surroundings, having denied herself release since she met her new friends a day and a half ago, and it took only a couple of minutes for her to quiver and then crest, knowing Deborah was looking at her and taking in every nuance of her shaking and wide-open eyes as she cried loudly into the woods, then the hammerlike spasms that jolted Ruth’s face and nearly knocked her out of the tree. “Oh, God . . .” Tami exuded a wave of sweat in the aftermath and caught her breath, her concave tummy heaving in and out in the center of the thin strong X of her body. She was about to sit down and give Ruth her turn when Deborah took Ruth’s place and started it all over again. How odd, Tami mused in a lucid moment as Deborah caressed her butt cheeks and gave a soft welcoming kiss to her pussy hair. I’m always naked and it gets people horny -- yet their first impulse is not to pleasure themselves, but to give pleasure to me! Tami’s role in life was to be always naked and to have orgasms. Or so it often seemed. With a jolt Tami’s mind dissolved into pure feeling. Deborah’s technique was more aggressive than Ruth’s. She stuck her fingers deep into Tami’s pussy, spread the lips wide, then jabbed the pinkness inside with the tip of her thrusting tongue, then withdrew to start chewing on Tami’s clit. Orgasm was inevitably quick. Once more the naked teenager’s body bucked and her cries, more like shouts this time, spun uninhibited into the woods. Tami collapsed into a cross-legged sit, her head bowed, breathing deeply to recover from the two orgasms. When her head rose her purpose was clear. As Deborah lay back, Tami squatted forward to kiss her pubic hair and used her tongue to gently tease out her clit. Ruth leaned over to suck one of Deborah’s small pink nipples. Deborah’s orgasm was short and quick, with something Tami had never seen before: a full body flush, her skin turning red from head to toe, then returning to white as the spasms spent themselves. Crawling up on all fours, Tami leaned forward to where Ruth had lain back, legs spread onto adjacent tree limbs. All Tami had to do was put her head right into Ruth’s pussy. And then a surprised grunt as she felt Deborah nuzzle into her from behind. Deborah had somehow spun around and was facing upward into Tami’s pussy. “Oh, God . . .” Ruth said squeamish and crying and thankful all at once as Tami burrowed in with her tongue, with the technique she had learned from feeling Jen do it many times. Ruth bent her leg up to wrap around Tami’s back. Deborah meanwhile bored upward into Tami’s open pink cave. As Tami went to work Ruth emitted rough low grunts very unlike her usual timid voice. Tami’s body quivered in synch with Ruth’s as they went up to orgasm together, as if walking up a hill hand in hand to meet with God. . . . . The naked sentinel kept guard, squatting on the big fallen tree, chewing on a mint leaf, watching the woods in their peaceful stillness, feeling the soft breezes of late afternoon on her bare butt. She looked up at the canopy of tree tops. This forest was like a cathedral of nature. She looked back at her tree home, at her friends sleeping inside the trunk. Tami had come four times, but after one orgasm each, Ruth and Deborah were wiped out. They had dropped to the ground and languidly pulled their clothes on, but were too sleepy to face the walk back to camp. So Tami spread out the leafy mattress for them and within seconds they were asleep -- in each other’s arms. It was touching. Though they had had their fling with Tami, Ruth and Deborah really seemed to be true lovers. It was cute that they were even snoring together. Tami looked back out into the forest as if looking into the future. She was glad to give pleasure and be so highly regarded by this group, who she at first thought was a cult of religious oddballs but who she had come to respect as intelligent, complicated, earnest individuals. Kind of like Rebecca. It was good for her life of nudity to end in such happy company. Because tomorrow would be it. Tomorrow morning she would approach Zipporah and the rest and say that it was time for her to start making her way back to school. And that she would need to put on clothes again for the trip. And then they would give her some things from their abundant supply and she would keep walking through this forest into the next town she saw. As a clothed person she wouldn’t have to be picky about who she approached. All she needed was a phone and after that make the arrangements. Once she had clothes on, the rest would be easy. She looked down at her bare toes, her pussy hair, past her hard brown suntanned nipples, and indulged in a longing prayer one more time. Oh God, clothes . . . please God, one more day, clothes . . . How good it would feel . . . . . . . Dinner around the fire was a muted affair, everyone thinking of the ritual to come, of Tami bringing herself to orgasm while everyone watched and prayed. The teenager was even more conscious of her nudity, now that everyone’s anticipations were so clearly centered on her. When coffee was passed around Tovah got up and broke the tension a bit by turning on the radio. This was a daily event, something Tami had missed the day before. Fifteen minutes of “all news” radio just to keen everyone current on events. An AM station out of Chattanooga, apparently. Then Hagar disappeared and a few minutes later Tami heard an engine being gunned, echoing through the woods. Seeing her puzzled expression, Ruth said, “That’s our van, down in the lower clearing. She runs it a few minutes every day to keep the battery charged. Just in case of emergencies, or if we want to go back to town next month. Though right now we’re leaning toward staying.” And then a saucy wink, out of character for Ruth, and Tami thought of three naked females having sex in the tree, a wild moment in Ruth’s life, and smiled. Tami sat and sipped coffee, listening to the faraway engine drone on, feeling like she was about to perform at a big meet. The sun set and Tami found herself sitting on Tovah’s massage table, set up over the doused ashes of the fire. Eighteen women sat in a circle around her, holding hands, heads bowed down. The naked girl on the table was waiting for a sign to proceed but then figured she was to start the proceedings herself. She looked up at the darkening sky and swallowed. In all her ordeals, she had never had a public orgasm by her own hand. Yet this was a friendly surrounding. She closed her eyes and felt the nature around her, the sounds of birds and the occasional scurrying squirrel and the soft wind rustling through the trees, and felt the desire rising. Slowly she spread her legs and rubbed her pussy with her open hands. She felt a pressure to perform, and hoped she wouldn’t let these women down. It was slow at first. Tami, whose experiences had resulted in such unusual responsiveness and capacity, found it hard to excite herself in front of a crowd. She actually wished she had some of the Chalfont devices to help her. But as she closed her eyes and began thinking of Rod, of his silky, hard dick deep in her pussy, and then deep in her rectum, her breathing became quicker and soon the meditating women could hear the sighs, then the grunts, girlish and yet womanly, louder and louder as her legs straightened and bent and straightened again and her firm breasts jiggled on her chest like two little hills of jello. “Ohhhh. . .” Night was falling quickly and it was hard to see the naked centerpiece of their thoughts, but the women slowly crept up to her and placed their hands gently on whatever part of her was closest. The naked, feverish girl seemed to hardly notice. Eighteen left hands were stroking her hair, her face, holding onto her shoulders, her sides, her hips, her thighs, right down to clutching her toes. “Ohh -- GOD -- yes -- ohh -” The loud cries were the only sound as the naked teenager’s dimly seen body bounced up and down on the cushioned table, the slap of bare buttocks hitting on the way down. The great moment faded away and so did the hands. Tami sighed and relaxed and let her soul blend in with the quiet forest night. And then she felt someone climbing on, and felt the gentle push of knees and hands on each side, and then the scent of something recently familiar and a dark invisible pussy descended on her mouth. It was Ruth’s. She knew the scent, and when a soft wet tongue rested on her pussy lips, she felt she knew that tongue too. “Mmmmm . . .” She welcomed the surprise, like a chocolate desert after a nice meal. Gently, slowly, they pleasured each other. The lapping of tongues only partly hid the sound of clothing being untied and slid off. Ruth and Tami listened to each other’s bodies in the blackness of the unlit night and came at the same time. Neither heard the soft whispered prayers of “Amen,” or “Thank you,” but neither would have been surprised. Tami lay there, sad to feel Ruth’s nakedness leaving her, and then she felt a much more sturdy presence, almost tilting the table, and jerked with the feel of a strong, rough tongue on her clit. This, she knew, had to be Tovah. Tami’s hands reached up to separate the lips of the wide pussy and she noodled the clit with her tongue, then swept up and down the length of the pussy with wide, flat strokes. Tovah came first, but did not allow herself to relax until she had brought the always naked teenager to her third orgasm of the night.

The next presence was again familiar. Deborah. After Deborah was finished a more experienced, more grown up woman was over her. This had to be Zipporah. Again the naked teenager gave and received pleasure with the woman on top of her and again both came. It went on this way, far into the night, until all eighteen women had had their turn and their orgasm. Each time Tami came, sometimes twice. After the last one had spent herself Tami’s lips were kissed gently eighteen times and she curled onto her side and quickly went into a deep sleep. The Daughters of Judith, celebrating female love on the living altar of Tami Smithers, a goddess of sensuality who had emerged naked from the water into their camp, were from then on forever changed, both as individuals and as a community. . . . . “Mmmmm . . .” Tami was lazily aware of the sun on her body. She was lying on the beach, all alone, stretching in languid horniness, waiting for Rod to appear, as naked as she was, dick smooth and silky and hard and huge, to kneel down and lift up her hips, her legs splaying apart with the motion, as he gently opened her pussy lips and took her. “Mmmmm . . .” The bright red of the sun through her eyelids. Now the faint smell of woodsmoke. Now the happy giggling of kids playing and splashing in the pool . . . “Mmmm --” Tami opened her eyes and was caught in sleepy surprise. She was still on the table, in the middle of the fire circle, over the dead ashes. In broad daylight in the middle of the women’s camp. Worse, her legs were spread wide apart. Her open pussy was on full display and had been for hours. Still a little sluggish from sleepiness, she sat up and drew her legs together, knees under her chin. She blinked and could not believe what she was seeing. Frisbees being thrown. Women laughing. Everyone stripped down to T-shirts and shorts. In the stream, Hagar and Zipporah, submerged up to their necks, splashing each other. Was this just another dream? Ruth and Deborah walked up the naked teenager on the table, holding hands. Ruth was in a halter top and skirt, Deborah in very sexy hot pants and a cut-off T-shirt. Ruth reached over to hug Tami. Deborah decided to kiss her full on the lips. “Good afternoon, our sleepyhead goddess.” “Goddess?” Tami rubbed her eyes. “What’s going on?” “You brought us all alive last night,” Deborah drawled softly. “We met this morning and decided to strip.” “Not naked,” Ruth laughed. “We had an idea about that but Zipporah put the kibosh on it. She’s right, anyway. One step at a time. We are going to devote ourselves to sensuousness. It’s not forbidden by the Torah, at least once you chuck the male patriarchal stuff. This morning’s reading was wild!” “Instead of just repeating what’s in there, we came up with new ideas, original insights,” Deborah said. “Best reading we ever had.” Tami looked around. Zipporah and Hagar were emerging from the stream to get at their clothes, blushing and covering their breasts and crotches, but giggling while doing so. “A lot of modesty to overcome,” Ruth said, looking at them. “Most of us can’t really be naked, not yet. But we went most of the way. We gave up all our clothes except each woman kept one thing to wear on top and one thing to wear on bottom. We gave up our kerchiefs, our underwear, our shoes.” Tami looked down with her to see Ruth’s toes wiggling in the grass. She looked up at Tami and couldn’t resist hugging her again. “This was a real breakthrough, and it’s because of you. I love you Tami!!” “I love you Tami!” another woman yelled. As everyone realized Tami had awakened, there was a chorus of “I love you Tami’s”. Tami could only hide her head and blush, both out of modesty and thinking of what she had been doing in public last night. Yet she felt so good, having made these women feel so good. Plus, having discarded all these clothes meant there would be more for Tami to choose from. She pictured a big pile that she could rummage through -- maybe get three or four changes to take with her. “What did you do with all those clothes?” she asked affably. “Oh, we had Tovah drive them back to the university to give to charity,” Deborah said, adjusting the back of Ruth’s halter. “All we have here is what’s on our backs.” Tami felt the blood drain from her face. Suddenly she was wide awake. How was she going to ask for clothes now? Surely none of these women could give up their only coverings for her! She didn’t see anyone naked except for Zipporah and Hagar in their mad dash for their skimpy things, coverings which they still very much needed. Today was the day she was going to take her leave and ask for things to wear. Now what?? The naked teenager, still a little stiff from the last night’s activities, let herself be taken down from the table and she walked holding Ruth’s hand, into one of the yurts for a lunch of tomatoes and lettuce and hummus in pita bread. Quite good, though strange. She tried to put her predicament out of her mind for now as a huge appetite made itself felt. She needed a lot to replenish all she had expended the night before. She wolfed down a second sandwich and then a third. Sipping coffee with Hagar, sitting in a little clearing right off the main circle, she tried to get more information. “How are you going to survive when it gets cold?” “We’ll see. It doesn’t get chilly around here for another month or so. Maybe we’ll get a single pair of overalls for each woman.” “What about mosquitos?” “Pennyroyal. The tea really works. We haven’t been bitten all day. And there’s enough of it to last as long as the mosquitos do. You know this, Goddess Tami, you told us!” “I’m . . . I just want to make sure you’re o.k.,” Tami said, cross-legged on the grass, looking down at her bare gritty tanned toes next to the coffee cup, such a contrast to Hagar’s pale, tender feet. Tami hoped the others would attribute her muted expression to concern with the women’s health and not to being crestfallen, for example because her carefully constructed plans for the past few days had just been exploded. She wondered what would happen when Tovah came back. That would probably be some time from now. Maybe there were some clothes left in the van. Maybe Tovah could take her somewhere to get clothes. She wondered how to play this, and once again felt like a fraud, these women calling her a goddess and leading them to so much openness, yet while living a lie. She was glad everyone was finally showing so much skin, it made her feel less naked. Yet she was still a being apart, the only one showing breasts and pussy, and she had been so anticipating this day, this day, when she would finally get to put on clothes. To find herself still naked was almost too much to take. She hated being naked, desperately wanted clothes!! Just the tiniest thing to cover herself with!! Please God!!! She took a deep breath and relaxed as Hagar took away their empty coffee cups. No point in getting hyper. She wanted to just tell these women, look, I have to get back to school, I have to get clothes again. But this seemed like it might break their hearts. Even if not, maybe she should wait for Tovah to get back with the van. It would be at least that long until she could get clothes, anyway. Tami decided to bide her time. And play “Goddess Tami” for a few more hours. These women were definitely more fun to hang out with since their “breakthrough”. Tami took them on another educational tour of the woods. They soaked up the information like sponges -- and a couple, Deborah and Hagar especially, made giggly jokes about flowers looking like vaginas that got the others snickering. Then the naked girl got into the stream with the others and started splash contests. It turned out they had a volleyball, until now seldom used, and Tami strung a vine in between two trees as a “net”. As the only one naked, she knew herself intensely stared at as she flew to the net and spiked the ball, breasts bouncing, legs splayed. Yet it was a good time. It reminded her a little of that time on campus, during the first warm day, when she played frisbee with those guys on the big lawn. The day turned to late afternoon and, napping on a futon in Ruth and Deborah’s yurt, Tami was awakened by the distant sound of an engine gunned one more time before it sputtered to a stop. Tami quickly bounced out of the yurt and waited. And was depressed at Tovah’s first declaration as she climbed up from below. “Yep, every scrap of extra clothes is at the Women’s Center waiting to be taken out, I even cleaned out those old sweatshirts in the van.” “They were stinky anyway,” someone said as women gathered around Tovah, who had a bookbag with her and was striding to the fire circle. By now Tami knew that the circle was where one went when she wanted to announce something. “And we have a real pioneer here,” Tovah said, with a broad smile. She took out a book.

. . . . In the middle of the women’s camp, the girl who never wore any clothes stood in front of the yurt, mouth slightly open, hands at her sides, her shoulders slightly slumped, and watched the devastating scene unfold. The women were clustered around Tovah, who held the book in her hand, above her head. “Our naked Goddess is very modest indeed. She’s in this book that came into the Women’s Center last month! ‘Techno Orgasm’!” “‘Techno Orgasm’? Who ordered that??” Zipporah said. “Darcy. She was at the desk, reading it,” Tovah said. “That figures,” someone said. “All she thinks about is sex, sex, sex.” “Like we don’t,” Ruth chipped in. “Tell me you recognize this bod,” Tovah said, holding the book open. First Zipporah, then the others looked closely. Then eyes went to the naked teenager next to the yurt. Tami blushed as deeply as she had ever done in her life. For some ridiculous reason her embarrassment made her smile as she looked down, folded her arms over her breasts and twisted the ball of her foot into the grass. “She’s blushing!” someone said. “We know that body very well,” more than one person said. Tovah read. “It says here this is Tami Smithers, and she’s a ‘radical nudist’, and strapped into this machine, she came 136 times in a space of a little over four hours!” “Super woman!” Deborah said. Then there was a little lull. Tovah came over to the naked teenager. “Goddess, I know you’re not one to boast. Sorry if I’m embarrassing you. I just saw this and I just had to tell everyone!” “This makes you more a Goddess than before! We counted 26 times last night. And now, 136 times!” Ruth came over to her and hugged her. The naked girl could not but respond to such overwhelming affection, and her arms returned the favor. Then Tami found herself doing something she would have considered unbelievable. Her mouth found Ruth’s and she gave her a deep French kiss, of the kind she had until now only given to Rod. In the middle of it she had two thoughts. One, by hiding in the intimacy of Ruth’s embrace she was partly taking her mind off the attention of the crowd and the memory of her Chalfont ordeals. Two, the surprising feeling that this kiss was really nice, a turn-on in fact. Tami might have awakened things in the Daughters of Judith, but they had awakened something in her as well. Tami finished taking out Ruth’s tonsils and rested her head on Ruth’s shoulder with a sigh, feeling the rough fabric of Ruth’s skirt play against her nakedness. Then she looked up. No point in denying it, might as well acknowledge it. Then plan her escape. She walked up to Tovah and acted nonchalant and amused as she looked at the picture, hiding her shame. The sweating, lurching body, dildos going into her front and rear, McMasters and Mr. Zipkin and Brendo standing around in their lab coats. She could only stand to look at it for a second. “Nevada McMasters,” Tovah said, looking at the name in the text. “I did an internet search on him. He has a link at Campbell - Frank College in Vermont, but the link’s dead.” “Campbell - Frank!” Zipporah said. “Tami, is that where you go? Do you know Vanessa Congi?” Things were moving too fast for Tami to concoct a story. She quickly figured somehow Professor Congi find out that she was here, and soon. Asking for clothes would get back to the Dean for sure. Walking naked into this camp, she would have to leave naked too. She wrinkled her brow. “I’ve heard of her, I think.” “An old friend of mine! We were grad students together! That was twenty years ago, of course.” One could see Zipporah going back in her mind. “I also did an internet search on Tami Smithers,” Tovah said. “I’m sorry, Goddess, I was just so curious.” Tami held her breath. She thought of Jackson Dyle and all those pictures on her own web page. “No hits,” Tovah said, shrugging. “I suppose it’s just as well, Goddess, maybe you like to work quietly.” “Yes,” Ruth said, still holding Tami’s hand after their embrace. “Goddess doesn’t like to draw attention to herself. She’s modest and shy.” Ruth looked into Tami’s eyes. “One reason why we love her.” Tami couldn’t help but feel affection for these women who loved her so. As well as feeling relief washing over her that those poses weren’t on the internet after all. Theories were running through her mind. Did Dyle fake those web pages as part of his game? Or had he really put those pictures up, and then taken them down when he saw her take that suicidal dive and realized she was for real? She would never know . . . The naked teenager, facing the eighteen women, saw that they were looking at her and either admiring her or waiting for her to say something. The words came to Tami out of her deep reservoir of love, with an obliging Southern flavor. “Those 136 orgasms I had . . . It didn’t nearly feel as nice as being with y’all last night!” Then the women came forward and took turns hugging “Goddess”. . . . . “Pope John said, ‘See everything, overlook a lot, change a little’.” It was Rebecca, talking to people who had gathered near the Student Union one fine Vermont winter’s day. Braving the cold, the naked Tami was hiding around the corner, not wanting to be noticed by Rebecca -- who would doubtless present her to the crowd as her “inspiration” -- but who couldn’t help but be arrested by the magnetism of her friend’s earnest, intelligent voice. “Don’t try to change the world. You go through life only once. See what you can change and change it. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Just do it.” The words came to Tami as she prayed in the moonlight, not being able to sleep, having gone out to the woods in the wee hours. Her bare feet draped over the big fallen mossy log, her arms down to her sides, palms out, eyes closed as her face lifted placidly to the bright full moon. In the ghostly light her nipples and breasts threw dark shadows against her concave tummy. Though the air was not cold, the humidity of this Southern summer night caused her exhalations to come out in little clouds. She had come out here to pray for guidance. What do I do now, God? I can’t tell these women now that I want clothes. It would get back to Congi and then to the Dean. And upon hearing Rebecca’s voice there was another reason. To ask for clothes would break these women’s hearts. Their Goddess, supposedly a “radical nudist”, exposed -- what a word -- as a fake. She had made a change here, real and wonderful, and she had done it by being naked. Having made this change, it was time to move on. She would find clothes elsewhere. “I must go now,” she announced at the next Torah circle. The women were sad but not really surprised. Goddesses don’t stay long -- they work their magic and then leave. Of course there was nothing to pack; Tami just had to start walking. The women followed her up to the far forest ridge and then took turns hugging her good-bye. In the process of hugging, her bare shoulders wiped away tears from Ruth and a couple of others. Zipporah spoke after her hug. “Goddess, when you get back to school, say hi to Vanessa. And stay in touch. I can be reached at UTC. Marge Richardson.” “Marge Richardson?” “That’s my real name. All of us have taken on Biblical names, except Ruth, that’s her real name.” Tovah extended a hand. “Lucy.” Hagar extended a hand. “Georgina.” Debor - ah: “Bobby Jo.” Ruth, smiling through her tears: “Ruth.” “Well, Goddess, any last words of advice?” Tami thought for a moment. With a smile matched by other smiles she said, “Travel light.” And then the naked girl turned and walked, bare feet crunching over sticks and vines. The women watched as she got farther and farther away and the cracking sounds got fainter and the trees began to obscure the view. About a hundred yards out Tami turned and waved and blew a kiss. Then she went over another ridge and was gone.

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