Isolated Incidents Ch. 01

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tagIncest/TabooIsolated Incidents Ch. 01

Emily West was lucky her parents lived close enough to the Hartland University campus, not so much that Robert and Rachael West didn't get along. At the peak of their arguing, there was an agreement that Emily could stay with her aunt, uncle and cousins.
Then March 2020 rolled around, and with it a nationwide lock down. In communication with the Wests, Emily felt the situation between her parents was cooling. Only now, with terrible headlines rolling in by the minute, Robert and Rachel preferred Emily stay indoors as much as possible. The Lanes agreed to take in Emily longer.
Today, every effort to maintain Emily's GPA seemed destined to failure. All three of her online classes froze up. Whether that was the Lanes' Internet connection, or Zoom, or a curse of fate didn't matter. Then the website for submitting her paper vomited error messages.
After that, it was business as normal in the guest room she'd moved into. She hung her head and tried not to cry. Her mouse cursor hovered to the well of despair that was the news. It was either that, or watch YouTube, or keep fighting tears.
"You shouldn't do that," Farrah said, startling Emily. She appeared in the doorway as if from nowhere. "Read the news, I mean. It's not going to change."
As usual, Farrah was astute in her observation. Emily hoped a headline would deliver a shred of optimism. Fruitless searches for it brought on misery. Now it was just a matter of when, and not if, the tears would break. They were already struggling to get out.
"Let's go outside," Farrah said.
"Outside?" Emily sniffed. "But—"
"It's not gonna get us on the porch. Come on."
They went downstairs and stepped into the waning sunshine. Farrah's brother Ben was already outside. As Emily and Farrah sat in rockers beside one another, he got up and drifted toward a rusted basketball hoop by the driveway.
The girls watched him miss shots, dribble the ball, circle, and go for another failed shot. He wasn't in it to win anything. Ben had never showed any indication of caring about basketball his whole life.
"Is it the end of the world?" Emily asked, over the sound of the ball bouncing and clanging.
Farrah shook her head. "I don't think so."
"You really believe that?"
"Sure I do. Was it over when Rome burned down? Pompeii? Spanish Flu?"
"For them? Probably," Emily said.
"For them, right. But was it? We're still here, aren't we?" Farrah said.
"For how long?" Emily said.
"Stop reading the news," Farrah said. "That's your first problem. I'm not. I stopped reading it. Until things get worse, things are fine now."
"A lot of people are getting sick." Emily paused. The ball jangled rusty chains. Evening birds chirped their songs. "People are dying."
"Yeah, they are," Farrah said with trepidation.
Ben kept aiming and missing. From where Emily sat, she couldn't see the constant failure affecting him much. He repeated himself until he tossed the ball aside and returned to the porch.
The three of them were silent as the light depleted. The temperature dropped, bringing a cold front to the porch. Ben fished out his phone and tapped the screen. A moment later, Farrah checked her screen, smiled a little, and tapped too.
At least the people they're talking to are alive, Emily thought.
"Probably gonna eat soon," Ben said.
"Yeah, probably," Farrah said.
They went inside, just in time for Uncle Nathan to drift in from his home office in the study. The four took seats around the dining room table.
"Brooke's picking up chicken on the way home," he said. He sounded like he hadn't slept in three days. His voice suspended between reality and dream.
He looked tired as well, tired and sad. Exhaustion had aged him. As he peered at the table, any good feelings in the room depleted. Even Farrah, who always added something bright to any subject, wasn't showing much positivity.
Thirty minutes later, Aunt Brooke came through the door with two Hot-n-Readys in one hand, a face mask in the other. "The grocery store was. There was a line. Is everybody okay with pizza?"
Lately, during long bouts of quiet despair, Emily read body language and nonverbal cues. Everyone told a silent story. The look on Uncle Nathan's face was either relief that his wife made it home safe, or frustration because she was late and he was hungry.
"You didn't call," he said.
"I thought it would be quick, but traffic was backed up at the Coral Road intersection," Aunt Brooke said.
The pizza boxes landed on the table. Everyone helped themselves without a word as Aunt Brooke sat down. There were bags under her eyes—strange, as her face normally shined with a healthy youth for 45.
The pizza made Emily sad as well as happy. It was good, she reasoned, that the situation wasn't so mortally dreadful that she couldn't enjoy a pizza. Humans were alive enough to bake them. Pizza, however, was a relic from a sane world. Now, in what they were calling this 'New Normal…'
"Couple more months, they'll have this thing whipped," Uncle Nathan said, wiping his mouth with a napkin.
"Where did you read that?" Aunt Brooke said.
Uncle Nathan sipped his water glass. "Was in the news."
"Which news?" Farrah asked.
Uncle Nathan's lip curled. "I don't know 'which news,' Farrah. What else is there? The news." After that he picked at his pizza, lifting a crust every now and again but mostly testing the food's weight.
Aunt Brooke took another slice from the box. "You know, there's this new song on the radio. I heard it on the way home. I really liked it. It got me up and dancing."
She mimicked a little jive and snapped her fingers. When no one asked her what the song was, she went back to eating in silence.
Uncle Nathan seemed to choke. Everyone's attention went to him. The struggle degraded into small coughs.
He wiped his mouth. "If you'll, uh, excuse me." He took his plate to the kitchen sink. Then he was gone, back to the darkness of his isolated work area.
His departure brought down the others' appetites. Soon they, too, left the table. Aunt Brooke turned on the living room TV, bringing a somber evening news report into the house. Farrah joined her a moment and then went her own way. Ben went outside.
"Ben, don't drive anywhere," Aunt Brooke said.
Emily sat alone at the table awhile. The noise, news droning on with bad headlines and Ben trying to make those hoops again, contributed to an otherwise fearful quiet in the Lane house.
Unable to take anymore for the day, Emily returned to the guest room. She shut the wood door and leaned against it to catch her breath.
Escaping to Emily's away-from-home corner shut out most of the misery. The rest seeped under the door like a silent killer.
Her laptop hummed in sleep mode on the bed. It reminded her of the ordeal earlier in the day. Emily didn't want to deal with disappointment, but she made herself sit down and return to the website. To her relief, she was able to attach and send her paper. The fact that tomorrow was Saturday, a welcome break from the academic garbage pile, brightened her spirits.
Still, she wasn't leaving the room tonight if she could help it. There was too much tension in the house.
Emily woke up half-naked and twisted in her bed sheets.
Upon opening her eyes, she needed a moment to remember how she got in that predicament, or even where she was. The haphazardly discarded clothes were one clue, the dried spot on the bed another. Finally came a torrent of erotic memories lingering in her mind, of sexual encounters before the world went mad. From there, the evidence was clear: she'd had an intense reunion with masturbation that threw her into dark sleep.
Now her mission was to reassemble herself. That was a challenge from the start, since her jeans and pants were locked around her ankles. She almost tripped getting out of bed.
Coffee usually preceded a shower for her, but she smelled not only of her sex but of lying in it all night. After making sure she was able to walk and not exposed, she grabbed fresh clothes and stumbled to the bathroom.
The hot water washed the sin from Emily's body, but with it came a reemergence of actuality. She wasn't fucking Mollie's ex or blowing Bobby Durden under the bench in a crowded locker room. She was back in 2020, where a dangerous virus was destroying the world. She might never make new memories like those again.
A shiver came over her when she turned the water off. Emily tried to ward off anxiety by putting a smile on her face and a step forward, the way Farrah was able to do.
Before reaching for her clean clothes, Emily caught sight of herself in the cabinet mirror. She was a reluctant member of the Ittie Bittie Committee, with light red tips sitting atop small mounds. There was a time when she hoped they would catch up in college, and she hated taking her shirt off during sex. Not that it was important anymore. All those days of worrying were over. There was nothing to do but live with her small boobs while everything burned out.
Out in the hall, dressed and freshly scared, Emily heard frying and smelled bacon. Ben was talking to someone as Emily descended the stairs.
"Uh huh. Yeah, it sucks, I know. That's true. Yeah, I would have been pissed. At least somebody's got it right. Right. Take care. Be careful."
At the table, Ben put his phone down.
"I'm sorry Ben," Farrah said.
"Well, could be worse, right?"
"What's going on?" Emily said, sitting down.
"Graduation trip," Ben said. "Me and a bunch of guys rented a cabin in Gatlinburg. We just canceled."
"I've never been to Gatlinburg," Farrah said.
"It's supposed to be nice," Ben said.
Aunt Brooke stuck her head in the doorway. "Emily's awake? Oh, good."
She brought in plates loaded with eggs, bacon, and pancakes, and distributed them to the three.
"I scrambled everybody's eggs," Aunt Brooke said. "Hope that's okay, Emily."
"Breakfast? Wow, no, it's totally fine. Thanks, Aunt Brooke."
Aunt Brooke winked.
"Where's Uncle Nathan?"
"He's at work," Aunt Brooke said.
Everybody stared at her. "In the study," she clarified.
"Now, eat up, everybody. I just got a call with a tip. They've got toilet paper down at the Feedbag. Gotta get there fast."
Aunt Brooke disappeared. They heard her say, "Keys, keys!" before she was out the door and gone.
"Toilet paper," Ben said. "Of all damned things."
"And it's a respiratory disease, right?" Farrah said.
"Yeah, it's just. Wow. I hate people sometimes," Ben said.
"Is there any toilet paper left here?" Emily asked.
"A pack, or half a pack," Farrah replied.
"Is it locked up?" Emily asked.
"It probably should be," Ben said. "Honestly, did you ever think there'd be a day where we were worried about somebody robbing our TP?"
"Nope," Emily said.
"No way," Farrah said.
"It's all bullshit," Ben said.
The conversation halted as they ate their breakfast. Farrah's phone broke the silence.
She picked it up. Emily saw her eyes widen and mouth drop.
"What is it?" Emily asked.
Farrah got up. "Excuse me a sec."
Emily and Ben watched her leave. "Wonder what that deal was?" Emily said. Ben shrugged and kept eating.
"Are you okay?" Emily asked.
"No." Ben chuckled and shook his head. "Nah, not really. I had plans, you know. I shouldn't. I mean, people are losing a lot worse. But I'm not happy with it."
"I think it's okay to be upset," Emily said.
"Is it?"
"Well, sure it is," Emily said. "I'm pretty upset and mad about a lot of stuff not as big as a trip to the mountains."
Ben's phone buzzed. He picked it up and studied the hidden screen. He punched in a response.
"Well, I'm done," Ben said. "Want me to take your plate too?"
"Sure, if you're offering. Thank you."
"Not a problem," Ben said. He picked up the plates—Farrah's too, Emily noticed—and took them to the kitchen.
Emily was alone again, lost in thoughts, anxiety, and everything else.
Among those thoughts, she remembered how she woke up this morning, and what she'd done the night before. That led her to wondering about Farrah, off in a hurry so fast, not back yet.
Had Farrah received a sext? From who?
No, Emily countered, it was silly to assume that was a sext or dick pic. Why was she jumping to conclusions? Was she that frustrated? A text could have a million different contexts.
But what if it was?
Was Farrah masturbating somewhere?
Did Farrah masturbate?
That was silly. Of course she did. Everyone did. Even Uncle Nathan, in his Bat Cave of a study among his pie graphs and conference calls, probably sneaked one off.
Emily, blushing, stifled a giggle. She couldn't get the gross image of Uncle Nathan jerking off out of her head.
Returning to the subject of Farrah, Emily wondered: yes, in all likelihood Farrah masturbated, but how? Did she have a toy, perhaps? An old dirty magazine? A DVD?
Emily got an idea. It was, as the old cartoon used to say every Christmas, an awful idea. Emily got a wonderful, awful idea.
Normally Emily would have perished the thought of this idea, but what was the harm? Breaking trust was the harm, her conscience argued. No one here plundered through her stuff.
Nevertheless, Emily sneaked up the stairs, careful not to make a noise in the empty house.
What if you get caught?
Emily kept going.
By the way, she's your cousin. Do you want to picture her using whatever you find?
"Oh, what the hell else is there to do?" Emily said aloud. Her speech halted her, and she looked around in a paranoid panic.
No one stood behind her on the stairs. She kept moving, up to the top floor.
Farrah's room radiated the feeling of walking into a cleaned hotel room after a day on the beach. Farrah kept the floor vacuumed and dust free. A large bedroom window poured morning sunlight into the room, accenting the cleanliness. The collages and photographic memories adorning the walls were the only clutter.
Emily closed the door behind her. She would have to make her search quick. Farrah was still somewhere in the house.
The other obstacle was making sure there was no evidence of her crime. That, and where to look. There were too many places to check.
Emily analyzed the photos on the walls. There were so many groups of friends from celebrations past. Worse, they were close together. One would call it too close now.
It hurt Emily's heart to see that. Would it ever get back to that place again, where you stood together in a crowd without worrying? Emily looked away.
She considered abandoning the expedition. Curiosity recaptured her, leading her to Farrah's bed.
She found a plastic storage container under the bed. Snickering, Emily pulled it out and popped the plastic lid. What are you hiding, you dirty girl?
Red bandanna. Boots. Brown vest. Dark wig. Plastic…sword?
Emily was puzzled at the Jack Sparrow costume from who knew how long ago. Who kept something like this under a bed? There were worse places to store it, she supposed.
Emily also discovered foundation in the box (for those Jack Sparrow eyes, she figured) and an otherwise nondescript book called Delta of Venus. What, of what? Emily replaced the boring looking book and reassembled the container as best she could.
So far Farrah was disappointing her, but there were plenty of other places to keep a naughty treasure stash. Farrah's nightstand was a prospect. Back home, Emily kept a red vibrator named Mr. Redman within reach. She didn't have that luxury in her college dorm, nor did Mr. Redman travel with her to the Lane house.
Emily opened the nightstand drawer and fished through it. Playing cards. A commemorative watch. Coins. Pens. Dammit, Farrah!
A thump froze Emily's body into goose flesh. It kicked her with a swift reminder that she was doing something dumb with the possibility of getting caught. After that there was no mistaking it: someone was ascending the staircase, and they were closing in on Farrah's room.
Emily withdrew her hand from the drawer. Though she was free of getting caught in the cookie jar, whoever approached was a few paces away, and now there was the simple, bare-assed fact she stood in a room she had no business in except to plunder. She couldn't make the excuse she'd gotten lost.
She heard Farrah's voice. Was she talking to herself? Maybe she was on her phone? Emily searched for salvation.
In the heat of desperation she spotted a closet to her right. She dashed and dove for it with the swiftness of an athlete. The door closed just as Farrah entered the room.
Aside from light pouring through a grill in the door, Emily sat in darkness, beneath a rack of clothes and forgotten junk. She hugged her knees to her breasts. Closed spaces always irritated Emily, and she hoped Farrah hurried with her task and left quick.
Except it wasn't just Farrah Emily saw through the vents, but also Ben. They chatted and chuckled as they walked in.
"You'd better not be," Farrah said.
"What if I told you I did?" Ben said.
Ben closed the door behind him. Emily's conscience thumped her head. She was about to bear witness to a private conversation. If it was about her, that would be her just desserts, wouldn't it?
Ben pushed the door's thumb lock.
Emily gulped.
"Where is everybody?" Farrah asked.
"I think Mom and Dad are in their rooms," Ben replied.
"What about Emily?"
Ben shrugged. "She was at the table last I saw her. Didn't see where she went."
Emily felt relief and guilt both. Neither of them seemed to have a clue anything was amiss; all the same, she was in Farrah's closet, having gone from curious plunderer to voyeur.
Emily experienced fresh goosebumps when her cousin shut the drawer. She braced herself for discovery. Any second now, Farrah's gaze would turn toward the closet. They would walk over and there would be a lot of explaining to get through.
Farrah's arms fell to her sides. "Well then."
She smiled.
Ben broke out in a devilish grin.
The first thing Emily processed was movement, a flash of speed too fast to keep up with. When one side of her brain caught up with the other she interpreted Ben, shoved against the bedroom wall. His impact vibrated objects around the room.
Farrah was pressed against him. Her lips were locked with his, so hungry it was a wonder he could take in air.
His mouth engulfed Farrah's neck. She exposed her throat, giving him more flesh to bathe in slobber.
The visual impact forced Emily backwards. Lightheaded, she struck the closet wall behind her. Pain she wasn't aware of broke out.
She shook her head. Racing thoughts roused up in an endless chant: what the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck?
The brother and sister—yes, brother and sister—stopped making out. Emily, teetering somewhere between rationality and insanity, pinched her arm.
Farrah had her arms around Ben's neck, her hands plastered to the wall behind his head.
Emily pinched herself harder.
Farrah let one hand down. Down further. She went past Ben's chest, his torso. Emily squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head again. She opened them. The siblings remained fixed in the same pose.
What. The fuck?
Farrah squeezed the crotch of Ben's jeans. He flinched and inhaled.
She dropped to her knees like a sinking rock. Ben's jeans went unbuttoned and pulled down with dramatic swiftness.
Emily covered her mouth.
In her mind, she was able to hear: Oh my God, it's huge. It's fucking huge.
What sprang from Ben's trousers was the biggest cock she'd ever seen in real life. Sure, there were lonely nights with elbow-like dicks in porn videos. She had that personal collection of assorted pictures saved on her flash drive, with folders sorted by size, shape, and color. There was her own experience, where guys presented her with intimidating cocks.

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