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Old January 29th, 2008, 01:47 PM
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Boys from the Sun Coast

I found the 2 chapters of this old story on my hard drive and don't remember where I got it. It was obviously written by a person whose native language wasn't English and he wasn't always able to translate his thoughts clearly, but the story did show a nice descriptive writing style. I probably saved it thinking maybe one day I could find time to clean up the syntax and word usage problems and make it more readable. I tried doing this a few days ago and although it took much longer than I thought it would, and a few times I was scratching my head trying to figure out exactly what he meant to say at certain points, in the end I thought it was quite a touching and original story. So here is my re-working of it, and Russian Pretender, whoever you are, thanks.

By Russian Pretender
Chapter 1. The Album

New LeedsCity, one of those cold, glum autumn evenings. A poor flat among many other flats in a slum area. Some boy wearing glasses sits near the window and turns the pages of a big photo-album. His pale unhealthy face is in tears... and blooded; caused by two long lacerated bleeding scratches on his forehead and right cheek. The boy is afraid, tense; he watched something terrible... or bitter.

That?s me - Ronny Clarke.

Today they caught me on the school yard; The Bully-Pig was cackling as he forced me on my knees, and Angelo took his knuckleduster and slowly gave me two hits to my face. ?Next week ya?ll bring twenty bucks, ya peg-legged wimp,? he said, ?If we don?t see that money, then... I don?t envy ya!? The Bully-Pig and Sonny Leech (alias The Jamaican Leech) roared with laughter, but I... I was on my knees and swallowed tears. Oh, God, if I only could run away - but I walk on crutches!

My parents died in a car accident three years ago, when I was nine, and since that time I can?t walk like other boys (and girls, and adults... o-ohh...). I was forced to leave my old home and move to my Aunty Sarah?s and to go in the Sam Glendler school... a very, very bad place! Sam Glendler school was a school for the slum poor, and its laws were jungle laws...

There was a little gang of teenage scum: Sonny Leech, The Bully-Pig and Angelo ruled the whole school, and every boy on our block was afraid of them more than the plague...

?I hate you, Angelo!? I shouted in a rage, powerless and frustrated.

?Shut up, you little brat! You irritate me!? Aunty Sarah is in a bad mood again. She?s always in a bad mood - and very often in a terrible bad mood... a kind of embittered hag. She lived on her benefits and somehow that was blamed for her awful life. She hated her poor dirty home, her life, she hated me... and very, very much liked to say her prayers for a quiet life and for the punishment of ungrateful children!... Curses, it would better for me to be in an orphanage than in aunty Sarah?s foul home! Mom, Dad, if you only knew!... she usually speaks to me in a clipped language, not full sentences? she doesn?t consider me a man...

If I don?t get twenty bucks by next week, they kill me. From each boy they levied a weekly payment - ten dollars; they called it ?the tax for life?. I paid like the others; I sold my old items, I humiliated myself before Aunty Sarah and paid... Today I can?t pay; if I don?t pay ?the tax for life? double next week, they?ll kill me, Angelo said...

?I hate you, Angelo!...? I whispered through tears.

Angelo DelRoy, a real 16-year-old stallion, the boss of Sam Glendler school... I can picture him in my mind: his threadbare bike shorts, his sleeveless military-fashioned shirt with label ?Be Dutiful, Baby? that he wears opened, his bodybuilding-pumped dark-complexioned veiny arms, his handsome face with impudent evil hazel eyes... One day he caught me, grabbed me by the neck and right shoulder and slammed my nose into his armpit. ?Lick this, Ronny-boy,? he ordered and began to strangle me, ?I forgot to wash my armpits today... Lick!? What I could do? Even if I was healthy I couldn?t have put up any resistance against those rude strong arms - I always was a weak and skinny kid... Yeah, I screwed my eyes up and began to lick Angelo?s hairy stinking armpits - first the right, then the left. What could I do?!...

I have no love anymore, no luck anymore. All my past life is crushed - only our family photo album remains as I browse it now... what the hell!?

I searched the album feverishly. It wasn?t completely filled before: ten or eleven blank pages were at the end. Now... now, new photos were there; I never saw them before, I didn?t understand!

I was scanning the album again and again - and a strange feeling sprang up inside. It was as if low music played somewhere... like waves of warmth passed through my chest and up, up, up... It was an unusual but good feeling!...

One big photo caught my eye at first. Two unbelievably bright colors stood out: blue for sunny sky, and yellow for beach sand. Two bursting flows of nature: the sea tide from the right and a coast tropical forest from the left. I have no words to tell you about it; I can say only that I thought at that time, ?I wanna be there!?

A couple of other pics I noticed next... pics of boys. But what boys they were!

Pics of an Indian boy were on the first page. Here he rides the light-chestnut horse; here he draws a long bow; here he runs after leaping deer - a wild laughing, free kid. He was about the same age as me, 12, maybe 13 years old - but how he differed from me! His red-skinned cute face was so proud, so daring, and his body, undoubtedly, was so strong and muscular! He wore classical Indian close leather clothing - but even under it I saw that his torso was V-shaped, and on his opened middle chest one saw a nice deep gap between his two pecs - how mighty, how well-developed they were... I never imagined that a boy of my age could have such pecs! And I also saw his arms that bulged as he pulled on the bridle or bowstring, and I could count each separated muscle on his bare forearms! ?Oh... how wonderful it would be if you could be my friend!? I thought.

A new landscape was on the next page - mountains and snow; a roomy stern stony house was there, and two men who lived here were shown, father and son. Father - a huge bearded Nordic-type man, a real viking (although in present-day clothing...) with a stern, strong-willed face but good blue eyes. The son - a kid-copy of his father - was a calm, smiling boy also about my age; long blond hair, white forehead and red cheeks - blood-on-snow - with blue vigorous springs of eyes. The name of the boy is ?Sven-Eric? or something of the kind, I was sure... It was cold, and the boy wore heavy clothing from top to toe; I couldn?t see any part of his body - but I saw his strength in action! Father and son felled trees, and one pic showed ?Sven-Eric? walking on the snow-covered ground and carrying a big log... I couldn?t even get such a weight off the ground - but the Nordic boy carried it easily on his left shoulder, smiled dreamily and looked at the falling snow. I recalled Arnold in ?Commando?... it was cool!

The third (and last) boy in my album was a Hawaiian-type boy, beautiful as a girl and nearly nude (wearing only a white loin-cloth). At first sight I felt a disappointment: he didn?t look as strong and muscular as I expected, didn?t look so at all! Under his nice dark-complexioned skin I didn?t see large muscles - only smooth flesh without any defined bulges. I guessed that he was an ordinary kid with still some baby-fat, but then... then I turned the page and saw the boy on his surf board; ah, how mistaken I was! He was fully engaged with his wave: his eyes sparkled proudly and joyfully, his fine thick lips were half-open showing white teeth - and his straining body, especially his legs, demonstrated his REAL powerful beauty - no fat, only muscles, muscles everywhere! They were exploding from under his skin into razor-sharp relief skillfully captured by the camera, and I could only imagine how strong and hard they were - like the Indian kid has, like, I?m sure, ?Sven-Eric? has...

My poor heart was pounding like a hammer, when I looked through my album in admiration and awe. I was dumbstruck! These fantastic kids cannot exist in our real world, these are young Martians, probably! I was so wrapped-up in my admiration that I even forgot to question - HOW were these pics showing up on blank album pages?

I turned the page again - but here I saw something that forced me to forget about beautiful muscular boys! On the last old photo, we - Mom, Dad and myself at nine years old - were standing with my old home in the background, but big changes had occurred! My own image had diminished!!

I was totally shocked. ?How can this be?? I was mumbling, ?How can this be?..? I looked at the photo closely. Hullo, the pic in its entirety - my parents, my home, the bushes and trees around, even the sky - looked somehow different! I understood nothing...

?Go to bed!!? screamed Aunty Sarah, having appeared at the door. ?You little idler, you?ll not wake up on time tomorrow again! Don?t forget to pray to the Lord about tomorrow, that it must be more happy than today!?

I obediently closed my album, washed myself and climbed in my bed. I had a foreboding of something strange and amazing... Then I fell asleep.

- - - - -

...I woke up because I heard a strange sound. Wait a minute... yeah, it?s a bird song! It?s impossible - in the New Leeds slums there aren?t any birds!... I held my breath and slid out of bed carefully... yeah, it?s a real bird... no, many singing birds! Then I looked at my half-opened door - and saw a beam of light.

It was the beam of a vigorous fine summer day, I knew it. It was fully impossible - a day in night, summer in autumn - but I believed it instantly and without question. I only knew that I must dress and go... When I crept down the corridor past Aunty Sarah?s door and downwards by stairs, the mysterious light became brighter and brighter; it streamed through all the cracks of the entry door. I took its handle by trembling hand and opened it...

From night to day, from autumn to summer, from gloom to light - one incredible step from Aunty Sarah?s home into a joyful nature world; and I took it. It was the world from the big pic in my album - I recognized it... Fresh breezes splashed against my face, fantastic green grass lay before me - and strange beautiful low music played around me as if it was mixing with the birds? songs... I felt tears in my eyes - they were my first tears of happiness!

A winding path among trees called me ahead, and I hurried on to it as fast as permitted by my crutches. I guessed WHAT I?d see at the end of this way and hurried, hurried with all my might!

At the last bend of the path - my heart nearly burst from my chest! Here is my home, the same as it was three years ago but at the same time hundredfold more beautiful than the real one; here is my Mom and Dad who had never died!!!... One long, long moment ? and then I found myself in their arms...

?Where we are?? I asked after all the tears, kisses and exclamations, ?It?s a paradise!?

?This land where we live after our ?death? is called The Sun Coast,? my Dad answered, ?maybe it isn?t a perfect paradise, maybe there are some problems... but they are much less than on our old Earth!... You found the way to us, sonny, Mom tried her hardest for it!?

?The new mysterious photos in our album! They were yours!? I guessed: my Mom is an expert in photography. ?You sent it to me somehow in order that my senses and my feelings would bring me here??

?Yes,? Mom said - and her look was so happy and yet so tired! ?It was the only way for us, and for you,? here her look became sad... I didn?t understand why.

?Why did you send me so many pics of boys? (?They lived here also!? I was thinking) I asked with some distress. ?What do they mean to me? They?re fantastic healthy, strong, vigorous kids with muscles, but I... I?m only the little bespectacled cripple!...?

?Don?t say so!? Dad argued, ?You?re our son, cripple or not, you are the best boy in all this world!... Besides, your Mom and me, we have a gift for you... my science and her living magic did some joint work and, I hope, yielded a result...?

?Drink it,? here my Mom gave me a glass of dark-ruby transparent juice, ?But you must do it in private and... and near a mirror. You?ll need a mirror...?

I was very intrigued. I always liked juices; I guessed also that Dad, a famous food chemist before his ?death?, didn?t forget his skills in this new world (I already noticed that he created a little home laboratory in the backyard). But Mom?s magic?... and moreover - why a mirror?...

I slowly went to my room on the first floor, stood before the big mirror, tasted the juice, then drank it. The juice was very tasty and had a fine strange odour. I swallowed the last gulp - nothing was happening...

I shrugged my shoulders, ?Magic or not, it hasn?t worked...? and did only one step into the sunrays that were spurting through the open window...

Thousands of warm needles ran through all my body! All things around me were blurring and I began to giggle; strong waves of warmth passed through my gut... My head began to swim, and I closed my eyes. After one minute I opened them.

Somewhat changed...

Walls, furniture, old planks on the floor had fuzzy outlines. I adjusted my glasses... then took them off... all around me suddenly became clear!..

I didn?t need glasses anymore! I have good eyesight now!!

I jumped for joy... hell, how I could jump on crutches? I shortly tested myself - my body felt light like inflated by air! I did another jump... once more... some quick steps across my room... and my two old heavy crutches flew off to a corner!

I didn?t need crutches anymore!!

I slowly, step by step, walked to the mirror. My heart was pounding like hammer... ?You?ll need a mirror...? Go, Ronny, go... and look... I walked to the mirror and looked there.

My lips whispered ?Wow? to myself.

I looked at the reflection of my face - and couldn?t recognise it! It was rounded, tanned, flushed, it had become the face of absolute healthy kid! I felt like I wanted to smile - and when I did it I was proud of my smile for the first time in my life. It was so beautiful, such a cheerful, white-toothed boyish smile!..

But... but what happened to my body?! I couldn?t believe it, I was afraid to believe it!

When I escaped from NewLeedsCity I wore the old misshapen long-sleeve green shirt that Aunty Sarah forced me to wear. That disgustful clothing always hung on my skinny figure like on a scarecrow, but now... now it looked like it was bursting open from within and even cracked at several seams! I feverishly stripped off the shirt and then stared at my mirror reflection in silent delight. ?It?s MY BODY?, I whispered, ?thank you, God, thank you, Mom, thank you, Dad... oh, holy shit!...?

Yeah, it was the body of all my dreams! Under bronze-tanned skin I saw a real living anatomical map: two-inch-thick slabs of square pecs, and on either side two V-shaped ledges with ripped indented rib muscles; thin waist belted by thick lean muscles and adorned by a living washboard rippling with four pairs of perfectly defined abs; broad shoulders capped by cannonball-rounded delts - and, of course, two incredible arms...

I stared at myself with pounding heart and rapid breathing. ?I?m still relaxed!? I said with trembling voice. I slowly bent my right arm without any tension; then unbent it; then did it again admiring the muscle play... when bent, my new bicep smoothly bulged and rounded from thick cable to perfect muscleball, when straight, the tricep stuck out in clearly visible mounds. I put my fingers on my arm and was feeling with enjoyment the rolling of tough flesh and it?s hidden hardness... it was GREAT!

I couldn?t restrain myself anymore. I let out a cheerful cry, ?WOW-WOW-WOW!!!?, threw up both my arms and flexed them with all my new might! Oh, it was so cool, boys - to see how two best-shaped muscle peaks explode on your arms and set in their awesome beauty and hardness! I tried to squeeze my right bicep, then the left one - steel! I relaxed my right arm, then flexed it again and admired how my bicep hid in a slightly bulged mound but then suddenly jumped into a perfect peak with separated heads! ?Oh, GRE-EAT!...? I lowered my arms and began to tense both lats slowly; they were spreading in width more, more, more... it was a staggering show! When I strained my lats to their limit, my upper body had a nearly triangular super-athletic shape!

?Yeah!? I shouted was overcome by joy and laughed so loudly that it rattled all the window-panes in my room! Then I suddenly clapped my forehead, ?Oh, dummy, you forgot about legs!? I was in my grey school pants; I put my fingers on my thighs and, of course, felt warm muscular steel again! I didn?t take off my pants now, I simply did some one-legged squats and saw how my quads - the right, then the left one - bulged, clearly visible even under the thick fabric! I can?t describe to you how it is for a boy - to have REAL muscles and play with them!

I stood in front of the mirror again, with smiling enthusiastic face, with radiant eyes, and inspected my reflection... and it was as if I heard a whisper of many happy voices, ?Hi, Ronny! It?s us - your muscles! We were asleep but now we woke up! We wanna move, we wanna win contests and perform feats! Let?s play, hurry!!?

I went like a shot downstairs to my parents and exclaimed, ?Mom, Dad - look! What?s this?? and proudly flexed my tanned arms.

?These are the muscles of my wonderful son,? said Mom with happy tears on his eyes, ?strong, healthy, beautiful muscles for a joyful life...?

?...For games, for contests, for fights sometimes - you boys like to fight, right?? Dad continued. ?I might be mistaken, but I bet you wanna saddle your bike and go explore The Sun Coast, right??

?Do you have to ask, Daddy?!!? I shouted, embracing him around the waist and easily lifting him off the floor. ?I can ride my bike again, after three years - it?s so-o co-o-ol!!?

?You?ll return for dinner, Ronny, or by evening?? Mom asked and her look became sad again (why, why?) ?We?ll wait for you...?

I listened to her with half an ear - I was in such a hurry! I changed my clothes ? wore jeans, orange T-shirt and sandals - ran out the door, leaped on my bike and sped off ? for games and adventures!

(to be continued...)
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Old January 29th, 2008, 02:00 PM
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Okay, "Where we are?" should probably be "Where are we?" - but I guess it's still okay. I tried not to change his "voice" too much. I'm almost finished with chapter 2, where he meets the boys in his photo album, and I'll post it soon.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 06:37 PM
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Penguin is on a distinguished road

By Russian Pretender
Chapter 2. World of Muscular Youth

Blue sky over your head, green wild forest around, a country road under your wheels; vigorous fresh wind caresses your face, and the marvelous music of the joyous world plays all around you! You laugh, you?re free and powerful, all your muscles are bursting with strength and fun, you?re in full delight!... These are my feelings, the feelings of a REAL kid!

I see ahead a low smooth mound in the road; I order my legs, ?Faster! Faster!? and they obey cheerfully ? I speed to the mound top and the wheels of my bike leap off the ground!! ?I CA-A-AN FLY-Y-Y!!!? I shout and laugh again, and my heart pounds like a bell and I laugh too ? it?s the greatest joy in all the Universe!

On my right side is an expanse of trees and bushes; I see in a gap a wide grass plain of prairie and another road winding among it. I drew nearer to the prairie; trees overlapped it, then opened, then overlapped again ? and here I heard a sound ?Klink-klink-klank!? Someone rides a horse!

I stopped on the cross-road and began to wait. I guessed who it was!

?Klank-klank-klok-klo-kok!? A big light-chestnut horse revealed itself from behind trees and stopped before me ? and it?s rider, a genuine red-skin boy with feather plume in his hair, smiled at me with restraint and respect.

?Greetings to you, paleface friend!? he said to me ceremoniously, ?I?m The Mighty Fawn, son of Sianouks. Where are you from? I have never seen you before!?

?Hi, Fawn!? I burst out laughing, ?I?m Ronny Clarke, new kid on the block, and I?m very glad to see you not only in the pic! You?re exactly the same as I guessed, but I didn?t know that you so like ceremonies!?

The Mighty Fawn slightly blushed (but, maybe, that wasn?t ?slightly? ? his skin was red, I remember!) and laughed too, ?I must greet you correctly, Ronny Clarke! I?m glad to meet you also. I ride now to the SandRiver ? let us take a swim together??

?You needn?t ask!!? I shouted, ?Let?s race one another!?

We both started: The Fawn ? at a gallop, me ? with all my speed on my two-wheeled ?horse?. What?s faster: four legs or two ones plus two wheels? We were equal during first stretch, but a horse has such an advantage over a bike for cross-country! The Fawn?s horse wound between trees, jumped over a quite deep gully and stopped on a high river precipice. The Indian boy leaped off, stripped off his leather clothes and moccasins and threw himself from the precipice like a living arrow with cheerful cry ?O-o-oyo!? I was slightly late; when I arrived at the precipice top and leaped off my bike, The Mighty Fawn was already splashing in the river, crying to me, ?Come on, hurry!?

?I can?t swim!? I remembered suddenly ? but at the next moment I felt, I BELIEVED that, in fact, I can swim, and dive, and jump from a rock! It was a crazy feeling, but I felt that it was right!

?One minute, Fawn!? I said, then slowly undressed, walked close to the precipice edge, did a perfect handstand and then pushed myself into the super-complex athletic dive with three somersaults! The world spun around me like a top, and then I knifed into the warm water of the SandRiver.

We swam like two young mermen, dived, splashed one another and laughed at the top of our voices, then began to chase one another, ran onto the sandy river beach and stood face to face.

I looked at the nearly bare Indian kid in amazement: his physique was excellent! The Mighty Fawn was a lean boy of my age, and you couldn?t see under his red skin any trace of fat or undeveloped flesh ? only the best-exercised, defined, beautiful young muscles everywhere! I inspected him from top to toe, I admired every inch of his body and saw that The Fawn did the same, amazed in the same degree at my own muscles! We?re worthy of one another, yeah!

The Mighty Fawn slightly smiled at me with a twinkle in his eyes, ?You?re strong, probably??

?Probably?? I laughed. ?Look at what arm muscles I have!? I smiled proudly, rose up and bent my right fully relaxed arm and began to tense it ? slowly, slowly! I tasted that awesome feeling again ? to tighten my smoothly bulging bicep more, more and more, to enjoy the delightful pulse of my heartbeat and feel the living warmth that filled my arm nearly to explosion! I took my fist right against my shoulder for full bicep contraction, looked at the perfect muscle peak and smiled again, ?Touch it!? The Mighty Fawn gave me a good squeeze and clicked his tongue respectfully. ?You haven?t got such guns!? I teased him.

The Fawn expanded his dark eyes as if he heard the most foolish thing in the world. ?Re-e-eally?? he drawled, turned sideways to me, bent his unflexed right arm and twisted his forearm with his fist facing down. Then he suddenly flexed; his muscles jumped from within and his tensed arm expanded in thickness nearly double! The heads of his deltoid bulged clearly and beautifully, a blue vein popped on the top of his arm? Then The Fawn twisted his wrist back up ? and his bicep contracted into an awesome ball of muscle! I think it was the same size as my own bicep ? but it was clearly more compact than mine and, hence, looked rounder ? a perfect muscle sphere, really!

?Wow,? I said and touched The Fawn?s muscle ? a block of warm red Indian granite, ?that?s real strength!? I wanted to give it a strong squeeze for a real test of hardness? but suddenly that mischievous kid who looked at me over his shoulder gave me a fast, crushing punch into my belly! I stepped back and lost a good portion of air from my lungs ? it was a real hit! If I was an ordinary boy I, evidently, would be contorted in pain not less than a hour ? but I had my shield of hard eight-pack abs, and it, even half-relaxed, protected me and absorbed the main strength of that punch!

I began to straighten; The Mighty Fawn danced slightly and looked at me with radiant eyes and a naughty smile. It was a challenge ? a challenge to battle!

Ah, what a feeling filled me at that moment! It was a kind of fury ? but it wasn?t a dark, malicious aggressiveness for dirty showdowns on night slum streets ? it was a JOYOUS fury, a sun-light burst of adrenaline! ?Well, Fawn,? I said smiling, nearly laughing in furious glee, ?say goodbye to your sweet life!? I flexed my arm and pec muscles, doing a short warm-up ? and jumped at The Fawn.

To an outsider it would look like a brutal fight between two furious boys who hate one another ? but, in fact, it was a game, a cool game for cool muscular cheerful kids (it was a FRIENDLY FIGHT, if you want)! We tested one another on strength, flexibility, and stamina at every move ? and laughed when we could catch our breaths, laughed in joy and fun!... Oh, I nearly have no words to describe it!

Then we squeeze one another in a bone-breaking bear-hug: our bodies are set in a limit-testing strain, our arms are interlaced, and every piece of my skin feels the double hardness of our bodies ? from within and from the outside! I WANNA WIN!!.. I clench my teeth, I order my muscles, ?Burn! Burn, shred if it need be ? and WIN!? ? and I begin inch by inch to overcome this red-skin boy of steel, to feel how his hard magnificent muscles begin to throb slightly in losing resistance! Yeah! Yeah, I?m stronger ? a bit stronger than him! Now I pin him and win him!... But The Mighty Fawn is a real young savage, he isn?t only incredibly strong, but also fast and unbelievably flexible ? and when I nearly celebrate a victory, he unwraps, unhugs himself from my deadly grip ? and I must begin wrestling him all over again! ??It?s time to give up, isn?t it?? ? ?No! Sianouk warriors never give up!?

Next, The Fawn attacks me himself: he gives me three crushing, lightning-fast punches, takes my two reply punches with a mocking grin (no face hits ? it?s an unfair play! Faces haven?t muscles!), suddenly jumps back, jumps forward and knocks me down on the sand with his bodyweight ? oh damn, I fall into his scissors! O-oouch, what a scissors it is! I must not only resist that terrible pressure with all the might of my torso muscles, but also I admire his straining thighs covered with anatomically defined veiny quads, his perfect hamstrings, his chiseled eight-pack!... I wanna touch it all? oh no, he?s suffocating me now, I must get free! One!.. two!.. three powerful jerks ? I try to twist out of The Fawn?s scissors, but his leg-grip is unbelievably strong, it?s useless!.. With all my skills of flexibility and stretching I pull in my right leg? OK, I?m nearly on one knee? and then with a violent heave I jerk up, I, in fact, do one-leg jump from a deep squat with The Fawn?s bodyweight! Are your leg muscles strong enough for such a feat?.. no, I would guess! The Mighty Fawn hasn?t released me even now ? but I?m already standing; I throw him ? one-two-three! ? he breaks away from me, falls in the water, immediately leaps up ? and we stand face-to-face again, we want to wrestle again! ?Well, paleface friend, have you had enough of this?? ? ? C?mon, Fawn, c?mon, you need a good lesson!?

I don?t know how long we wrestled ? maybe a hour, maybe more? I can only repeat that it was a hour of total fun and unbelievable pleasure! What can touch the feeling of living muscles ? the hard, strong, hot, playful, joyous muscles of free youth!

Finally, we were both fully exhausted and fell apart on the sand without any strength left. It?s a draw.

We lay side by side and looked at the blue sky; soft breeze cooled our sweaty skin, the Sand River made a caressing noise. It was happiness.

?If my Father, The High Oak, chief of Sianouks, could see us he would be proud of me and would be amazed by you, Ronny Clarke,? The Mighty Fawn said, ?I?m the strongest boy of my tribe, as it ought to be for the chief?s son, I always won in each contest ? but I couldn?t defeat you! You?re strong like bull, fast like panther and noble like any warrior of Sianouks, my paleface brother! I?m happy that I had the honour to fight you!?

What could I say? I hadn?t the appropriate words, I felt tears in my eyes! ?You? you?re the coolest boy, Fawn!... It all was forgotten? we?re friends forever, I love you!? What music played around us at that moment ? and only we heard it!

Several minutes passed ? and then I mount my bike again, I say goodbye to The Mighty Fawn and the Sand River, and I rush ahead ? the world of Sun Coast awaits me!

- - - - -

The sun rose high in the sky when I left the prairie and turned toward the far sea that sparkled at the horizon; high mountains were seen at the right hand. I went a bit down to a small green valley and saw a wooden house among trees. It looked spare, but at the same time friendly and hospitable. I braked and stopped before the nice blue gate; I guessed, I knew who lived here!

Yeah, the blonde Nordic kid there was, exactly the same as in the pic from my album. He wore a checkered shirt with sleeves rolled up to his elbows and he chopped wood ? one fast, mighty move per each thick log!

?Hello, Ronny,? the boy smiled at me, ?Come in, I?m glad to see you!? he went to the gate and opened the latch.

?You know me?? I was astonished.

?Oh yeah, your father told mine about you several weeks ago. He said, ?My son must walk over the bridge between two universes?? I understood these wise things badly, I simply thought, ?How good it would be if Ronny Clarke came here, and we?d become friends!??

?I appeared on the Sun Coast this morning? bah, if you can see me on my crutches, Sven-Eric? your name is Sven-Eric, really??

?How did you guess it?? Sven-Eric was amazed then quietly laughed, ?Come in, I show you our home! This is our summer house, we have another one near the mountains??

We walked in together; I looked at Sven-Eric, at his red-cheeked cute face, at his bulging chest, at his broad shoulders with cannonball-rounded delts clearly visible under the shirt fabric, at his veiny forearms filled with brawny power? what a picture of boyish health, strength and physical attractiveness! I held out my hand and delicately touched Eric?s left arm ? it was so tight, so firm even relaxed, such hidden hardness was disguised within!

Sven-Eric stopped and looked at me with a calm smile and twinkles of pleasure in his blue eyes.

?Do you enjoy muscles, Ron?? he asked, ?you like it? Me too. I see ? you look very good! We can compare them, if you want. Come on!?

My heart pounded in anticipation again: now, now I fulfill the second part of my dream! Sven-Eric brought me into a shed near the house and turned the light on. I was amazed: here was, of course, the boy?s home gym, and this gym was equipped by charming old-fashioned dumbbells and barbells with spherical weights! While I looked at this, Eric called to me, ?I?m ready! Come on, undress!?

What a show it was ? the beautiful blond kid took off his clothes for our athletic contest! He represented, as compared to The Mighty Fawn, another type of muscular beauty. He was nearly three inches shorter then me, but weighed a little more, probably; his relaxed muscles under white untanned skin had no such sharp relief as The Fawn and me had ? but they were massive, thick muscles displaying the calm confident strength of a giant?s son, muscles of young wrestler and weightlifter!.. I felt the pit of my stomach churning as I was undressing ? what a boy he was! Finally, I was undressed too, and we stood together in front of the big mirror.

I?ll not tell you about this in a narrative ? I?ll repeat our words during our muscle match (any kind of hypocrite who tells you that ?talking about your body? is the same as ?talking about sex?? let them drool!) It was the coolest conversation in my life!

?Mine is bigger! Look? look at what muscle I have!... How it flexes under my tan!... touch it!...?

?Oh, it?s so hard, Ron, so veiny? but it?s not better than mine? look!?

?No, mine is better, let?s measure! One moment? wow, your arm is 15-inches, great! Mine? let me tense it hard? g-rrr!!?

?Yours also is 15, like mine! Of course, Ron, your bicep looks slightly rounder? but mine is a bit harder, agree??

?No way, Eric? OK, it?s a draw? Nobody can measure muscle hardness accurately, such instruments don?t exist!... Now? now spread your lats!?

?OK, Ronny, watch!?

?Hah? it?s all that you can show? What weak little slabs of flesh, kid! Look at mine ? these are REAL lats? see what a V-shape I have, look!?

?Wait? I was only half-tensed? are THESE weak little slabs of flesh??

?Wow, Eric, it?s fantastic? hard as concrete, I can?t budge it! How many pull-ups can you do with those lats??

?I did 112 at last week? tomorrow I can do 115, maybe 117!... Look at my delts? it?s one of my favorite muscles!?

?Great? real solid little melons! Do you wanna pump them to the size of watermelons, Eric??

?No, that?s too big for me!... I like middle-sized muscles? middle-sized and rock-hard? it?s rock-hard, yeah??

?Do you need to ask, Eric? All your muscles are rock-hard? but mine are more defined? look at my pecs ? you can count each fiber, can?t you??

?Oh yeah, Ron, I can, it?s awesome! But my pecs are bigger!?

?No way! Let?s compare!?

?Let?s go! Look!.. Touch it!..?

Ah, how the beautiful blonde kid changed going through our competition! In the beginning he was very calm, cool, deliberate, but step-by-step Sven-Eric grew warm, his eyes sparkled brighter and brighter, his smile became wider and wider, his laugh ? louder and louder! All you boys know ? Nordic men grow warm slowly, but when they do it? you can experience something wonderful!

?Come on, Ronny!?, Eric suddenly ran out from the shed, ?I want you to see this!?

I followed him and saw Sven-Eric standing near a decorative stone? no, it was a real boulder, big indented hunk of granite rock. Eric said to me, ?It weighs 200? no, even more, nearly 250? Dad brought it down last spring from the mountains,? his look became very fixed, when he continued, ?I wanna lift it.?

I was shocked. He was joking, probably! Yeah, Sven-Eric is a very strong, athletic kid ? but do you know many 12-year-old kids who can lift 250 pounds? Or many ADULT athletes who can lift twice their own bodyweight over their heads?

But Sven-Eric wasn?t joking ? he had the heart of a viking, he said his word and was ready to attempt the feat! ?I wanna do it ? and I have to do it.?

He slowly walked close to the boulder looking at it coldly and firmly, grabbed it by its edges, slightly bent his knees, adjusted his grip carefully ? he had been ready.

In the next moment a real explosion happened ? the explosion of young Eric?s strength! His arms, his back, his legs combined in one concerted effort that befit a young giant, and nearly catapulted the boulder from the ground to the level of the boy?s chest! He let out a cry, and I cried out also ? I couldn?t believe it!

But this colossal inert mass of crude stone didn?t give up; it met a challenge of human flesh and gave a terrible reply! Sven-Eric couldn?t balance weight of the boulder properly ? and now he was bent aback alarmingly! Several seconds passed ? and there seemed to be only two possible outcomes: either Sven-Eric will break his spine or he will tumble backwards and be smashed by the falling boulder... His only hope was the strength and hardness of his arms and shoulders!

In wrestling with the huge stone Eric nearly turned around; all his body from calves to upper back bulged with rolling, throbbing muscle mountains! What an awesome show it was! I wanted to touch it? no, I mustn?t distract my friend, I must look on and encourage him! ?Go, kid, go!? I shouted, ?You kill it!? He heard me ? and then his delts, triceps, and traps began a new move?

It was something totally impossible, magnificent, staggering! If Sven-Eric tried to thrust the 250-pound stone quickly with all the might of his whole body then it was more or less understandable ? but he intended to slowly PRESS it up by only his pure strength!!... I had no words to describe to you how my heart pounded in that moment, what awesome delight overcame me!...

Slowly, very slowly the boulder began to move up, up and up, overpowered by the might of a young super-boy; Eric?s delts and triceps contracted showing unreal size and anatomical relief, as the ripped muscles of his legs sought a balance. Sven-Eric turned again ? and I saw his face, the once beautiful, furious, happy face of a young noble gone berserk! His teeth were bared and clenched in angry effort, his eyes became bloodshot ? the young Nordic boy put all his will, all his soul into the fight against the inert crushing weight! A furious growl began to swell when Sven-Eric neared the finish; he growled louder and louder and his throbbing arms became more and more straight! Now they are nearly straight!... now they straighten fully, and Sven-Eric?s furious grimace changed into a delightful smile, his growl ? into a triumphant yell, ?I WIN! I CAN DO IT! HE-E-E-EY!!!? He stood before me in all his powerful muscular glory and beauty, and the tremendous stone weight was humbled, set over his head ? and then he, enjoying the feeling of victory, threw it down! What a thud it was!

I walked over to Sven-Eric, I squeezed his arm and felt its hardness that was the same as the hardness of the boulder. ?You?re a hero, Eric,? I said, ?You?re a man!?

?Now it?s your turn!? Sven-Eric smiled, ?Do you wanna try it?? then he winked and teased me, ?Or, maybe, you?re afraid of it??

?No!!! It isn?t for you!!? the former Ronny Clarke, a weakling and cripple, suddenly yelled inside me, ?Don?t be crazy, boy, it?ll kill you in an instant!!!? But I forbid him to say this, I felt that I MUST meet that challenge, I WANT to lift the boulder, I?m a MUSCLE-KID, a thousand curses! Is Sven-Eric really stronger than me?.. No way!!.. I looked at him, and he looked at me ? and his look was friendly and hopeful, as if to say, ?I believe in you.?

And then the boulder was in my arms, the monster of boulders, and my strength was, boyish, joyous and free ? and I felt the colossal heaviness that had fallen onto my chest and overtensed arms!... No!... No!!.. I can?t do it!... I haven?t enough power for this!... The mass of the boulder eclipsed sunlight for me, smashed against my face, and darkness came? the darkness of feebleness? No!.. No!!..

?Fight, Ron!? Eric?s voice came from far away, ?Show it real muscle!?

I imagined as in a picture how my muscles looked now, how they bulged and rolled under my tanned skin, how hard they were? how much amazement sparkled in Eric?s eyes!.. Was it a hallucination or not, that I heard great Wagner?s music playing at that moment?! An adrenaline rush filled my body, everything around me became scarlet in fury and incredible delight, and that fuckin? boulder lost nearly half of his weight? now!!!.. I can?t remember it in good detail ? I can only say that when the scarlet mist cleared, I could see the sun again, and my trembling arms were straight, and the stone lay firmly in my hands?


?You?re singing!? exclaimed Sven-Eric looking at me with radiant eyes, ?You?re lifting it ? and singing!! I never could imagine that anyone could lift such weight and sing at the same time! It?s fantastic!!?

?It was only a little hunk of stone, Eric!? I laughed as I threw the boulder down with a huge thud and hit a double-biceps pose for him, ?I?ve got MUSCLES!?

?You?re having a contest, boys?? someone?s voice asked. That was Eric?s father returned; he stood now near the corner of the house, a mighty bearded man, and looked at us with a merry grin and feigned knitted brows, ?What?s this I see?... One, two? no, three holes in the grass! This little stone was lifted twice and dropped twice. Since it?s too hard for one 12-year-old kid to lift a stone twice, therefore, you both did it! I only hope that my son and young Ronny Clarke did it properly??

He looked at us again and laughed like thunder. He was proud and happy!

- - - - -

After morning bike trips and contests with The Mighty Fawn and Sven-Eric I was very hungry and with great thanks had a good dinner together with Nordic father and son ? what raw steaks they had, what tomato juice it was! If you can only imagine, boys, how it?s cool ? to have a rest after a full meal lying in Sven-Eric?s hammock and listening to his tales about his life in the mountains? how he felled trees and went skiing on mountain slopes, how he exercised with logs and stones and rubbed his body with snow every morning? It was a nice hour!

And here I go riding off again, and Sven-Eric and his father wave to me at parting? What shall I do? Do I return home ? or ride on to the sea coast? Let me think... OK, I go to the coast, I have enough time before evening!

I came to a beach quite soon; big ocean waves swelled, rolled and crashed with mighty thunderous noise. ?Waves sometimes look like muscles? and they like to flex like muscles? cool water muscles of the ocean?s body!? I thought admiring the tide? and suddenly saw someone?s silhouette on top of the biggest wave? the silhouette of a surfer! He glided on the water?s surface with the speed of an arrow ? several seconds passed, and he was near the coast already, showing me a real master-class of surfing! I yelled in fun and rushed toward him; of course, he was the third boy from my album ? the Hawaiian kid!

When I reached him, he stood facing the ocean and the sun that had begun to set; his look was dreamy and sad. He leaned his left arm on his standing surfboard and slowly turned to me.

?Aloha, boy,? he said; his voice was soft and melodious. ?My name is Kanoa. I live in the fisherman?s village here?? he cast down his beautiful eyes and added quietly, ?My Grandmother is the priestess of the Sea Spirits, they told her about you??

?Hi, Kanny!? I exclaimed, ?You?re a good surfer! Let me try too!?

Kanoa smiled slightly and said, ?I have only one board? Maybe you can wait a few minutes, I?ll do two or three more waves and then give you a chance to try it.?

I laughed. Kanoa was, evidently, kind of a shy delicate boy. All right, I?ll spur you into action now ? I remember your body on the album pic, I wanna see it again!

?I don?t wanna wait, I don?t like that idea!? I said with an ?aggressive? look. ?Let?s compete, kid! You look muscular, you must like to compete! If I win a contest ? I?ll surf immediately before you, if you win ? you?ll do it before me!?

Kanoa looked at me again (oh, what shy eyes!) ?I don?t know, friend? what contests you like??

I thought a moment, then proposed, ?How about pull-ups?? and added with daring grin, ?I mean, of course, ONE-ARM pull-ups, Kanny! Can you do one-arm pull-ups??

Ah, how deep this incredible Hawaiian kid breathed! How he smiled! ?Oh, Ronny, I don?t know? I must try it before we begin such a hard contest!?

Then Kanoa slowly walked to an old dry tree with long low crouching branches; he looked up; looked at me ? and suddenly transformed in one second! His head turned proudly, his eyes became radiant, his thick beautiful lips smiled in joyous challenge ? and then Kanoa raised his right arm and in one staggering perfect move flexed it to the max! What a bicep muscle exploded from his smooth flesh, exploded and rounded into nearly an ideal sphere under his dark tan! What a stretched but impressively mounded tricep supported that awesome charming peak, what forearm muscles ? ripped and bulged ? completed the picture of Kanoa?s flexed arm! I haven?t the words, boys ? the Polynesian muscleboy turned in one second from the lazy shy smooth kid to the proud young super-athlete, filled with sheer strength and incredible beauty!

One quick jump ? and Kanoa hung on the branch by one hand; he smiled at me again and slowly, absolutely effortlessly did a right-arm pull-up? one, two, three! I stood in delightful silence and admired the view of Kanoa?s flexing lat and arm muscles that he demonstrated for me ? from the smooth mass of ?flesh without muscles? to defined anatomical beautiful perfection!... I even forgot to touch him!

Kanoa leaped off, ?Yeah, Ronny, I can do one-arm pull-ups, I knew it! Whoa, let?s compete now!?

We jumped up and hung on different branches, face to face ? we decided to compete rep-to-rep. ?Are you ready to fight, Kanny? Go!? Ah, what a feeling it is ? to strain your arm and back muscles to the limit in hard exercise (do you think you can do even one one-arm pull-up? It?s not easy!), to watch the straining muscles of another boy and enjoy the great, incomparable feeling of friendly athletic competition!... One!... Two!... Three!... I smiled at Kanoa, and Kanoa smiled at me, and we matched our muscles flexing in the light of the falling sun ? mine are lean, anatomically shaped, veiny, his are slightly thicker, unbelievably bulging from smooth mass to perfect shapes of healthy boyish power ? and we had, probably the greatest fun in all the Universe! Nine!... Ten!... E-elev-ven!... Tw-wel-ve!... oh, damn, it's SO-O painful!... I must push myself, I must win!...

Kanoa's face turned red, his overstrained arm began to shake, and he tried to perform the thirteenth pull-up? he nearly did it, only one inch remained between the branch and his chin? but then he groaned and gave up, he couldn't do any more reps! I was slightly behind his rhythm of pull-ups and now it was all in my hands! I felt a kind of delightful fury ? fury of last hardest effort, I roared ?AR-RRGH!!!,? surged every ounce of my remaining strength and slowly completed the last pull-up.

?You're the winner, Ronny Clarke,? said the Hawaiian kid ? his eyes were sad, very sad (why, why? It isn't possible that a cheerful muscleboy can be bitter after losing one contest!). ?Now you can take my board??

I forgot his sad look in seconds ? I grabbed his surfboard, rushed into the warm sea tide and prepared to catch a big wave? I see it? Now! I jumped on Kanoa's surfboard and was caught by the boundless power of live wild rumbling water! O-oooagh, so co-ol!.. I love it!..

It was the big wave ? VERY big wave. It lifted me higher? and higher? and higher?

Why is everything around me shrouded in deep grey mist?...

Why did the wave stop rumbling? and began to ring like an alarm clock?!...

- - - - -

They knew it!!...

Oh, curses, they knew that it was only a dream!.. Mom knew it, Kanoa and his grandmother, the priestess of the Sea Spirit, knew it!.. they looked at me sadly because they knew ? when morning comes in dirty foul New Leeds City, I wake up and disappear from the dream world of Sun Coast?

Yeah, I became the former Ronny Clarke ? a little cripple wearing glasses and walking on crutches! I haven't any muscles anymore, I'm a weakling of weaklings, I have only my memories ? memories about my parents, about The Mighty Fawn, Sven-Eric and Kanoa, about beauty, strength and joyous contests, about the bronze-tanned, smiling muscular kid who was me some time?

It was only a dream, my beloved dream!!...

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