Our playtime on the beach was so stimulating that we began our journey to the red woods no less aroused than when we first arrived; and indeed, we stayed aroused during our entire sojourn on the small island. Before a few hours had passed our endowments were so painfully stiff that as soon as our path opened into a clearing I arranged a race to the top of the grassy kill that arose within in it; and privately I resolved that Loren should not lose this time, even if it fell to me to lose in his stead.
Dig likes to win, and with his slightly longer legs usually can; and this time he soon broke ahead of us as we sped up the slope. Then, suddenly, something amazing happened. He was a few yards ahead up the hill when suddenly he seemed to trip. He fell, but seemed to keep falling into the ground, and was gone as if the earth had swallowed him up!
We hurried up, frantically calling his name. There was a stone square outline a few feet across, hidden in the grass; and though the center was grass like all around, I knew instinctively that Dig had fallen through the center of the stone square. We could hear muffled voices, but Dig did not respond to our calls.
It was only a few minutes before he reemerged. His head broke through the earth as if it were water in a well, and he rose, and rose, as if being pushed straight up, until his bare feet were flat on the grass. We stared up at him as he stepped out of the square.
Only moments before Dig had been a mere head taller than us; now, I found myself staring at his abdomen, then craning up to see his beaming face. I smiled back at him, truly pleased for him; I knew of nothing that would make him happier.
You might guess what happened next. Joseph had no sooner cast a wistful eye on Dig’s new form than he stepped into the square himself, hoping, I do not doubt, to receive height in kind. I already suspected, however, that whatever lay beneath the square dispensed height only to Dig, because he was Dig.
My suspicions were conformed a few moments later. When Joseph rose out of the ground he was no taller, but his physique—it defies words. His shoulders were broader, thicker, his pectoral muscles now heavy and spherical, his limbs, his buttocks—all of his musculature was expanded and thickened and made dense. He touched his new pectorals with his hands and grinned.
It seemed inevitable now that we would all go in, and Loren went next. When he emerged I was astonished to see that his stiff endowment had doubled in size, both in length and in girth; the luscious head, looking small atop such a wide shaft, bobbed not far from his mouth, as if requesting his celebrated oral ministrations; and as he stepped aside he gave the tip a furtive lick, without having to bend in the slightest; and I could see that he too was most pleased.
Aaron stepped in next, and seemed nervous; I think we all wondered what would happen, since he did not have such a distinct physical attribute in which he had excelled the others; but we were wrong. The Aaron that emerged was so magnetically beautiful, so perfectly proportioned and gorgeous of face, that we all instinctively moved toward him, drawn to him; and I realized we all kissed Aaron because even before this he was the most beautiful of us. And as he stepped out of the square I was first to kiss him, and it was sublime and satiating and timeless; and as our kiss came to a natural end I yielded to my brothers, who kissed him long and deep in turn (Dig had to stand on his knees), ejaculating as I discovered I had.
When each had had their turn, the brothers all turned and looked at me. Curious but prepared for disappointment (for I feared my only excellent attribute was superior age!), I stepped into the square and fell—into nothing.
Around me all was blackness. I was floating, the weight of my body gone. I could still see my own form, despite the blackness, lit from some invisible source, or perhaps glowing from within.
“Welcome, Earl David Edgerton,” said a baritone voice.
I jumped, and the voice itself and at how it had addressed me—and at the sudden knowledge that he had spoken true, that Grandfather was truly dead and the title had passed. “Who are you, that know me and my rank?” I said.
“I am Ko,” said the voice, “a spirit entombed here by evil sorcerers of my own kind long dead. I seek my freedom, and I can give you gifts in reward.”
I frowned. Was this temptation? “How do I know you are not the evil sorcerer, punished for your crimes?” Yet even as I spoke I knew, somehow, it was not so.
“So your brothers asked of me, and I can say only that I promise to parole myself to you; and you shall have the power to return me here if you find I have lied.”
I thought only a moment. “Agreed.”
Ko’s voice sounded thoughtful when he spoke again. “You may wonder what gift of control I will give you, having seen those of your remarkable brothers. Perhaps you wonder what physical gift is your particular due?”
I said nothing.
Ko seemed to laugh softly. “But your greatest gifts are your heart and mind,” he said. “You have led your family and nurtured their joy, which in turn has developed their physical gifts through the magic of the island which you instinctively channeled. Only to you, who understands and feels more than any of the others can I give this gift.”
And in that moment, that chasm between instants, I gained Understanding—an awareness and a grasp of the magic I’d touched for so long without knowing it. I was connected to the island through an innate capacity which now I understood—and controlled!
“Farewell, Earl David. I must sleep now, long and deep. In twelve months’ time I will come to you in dreams, and you will know how to release me if you desire to keep our bargain.”
I then found myself emerging from the earth, my brothers’ eyes watching me expectantly. They seemed confused when I emerged all the way, apparently unchanged; so to give them a spectacle I made myself winged with just a thought, and flapping my graceful white wings gently I kept rising from the ground, until they were gazing up at me in awe.
I returned, explaining all, and they were suitably impressed. Loren, on realizing I was now a warlock, asked for my help in relieving himself of the temptation of an endowment hovering below his lips; but I remembered the words Ko had spoken about “gifts of control” and hinted to him that he did not need my help. And indeed, as we walked down the hill and back into the woods, making still for the redwood grove, I walked beside Loren and noticed he was concentrating intently; and by the time we’d reached the grove Loren was pleased to have reduced his erection in height (though not in width), so that it now toyed with the crevice between his pecs.
Dig was impressed by this and, looking up at the great trees, decided to try something. Concentrating fiercely, he began to grow, and soon my youngest brother was a hundred feet tall; mostly what we could see of his lanky, stretched body was a hairless foot. The trees mostly came up to his collarbone. From this vantage point he had the strength and leverage to pull the trees from the ground, and he could toss them over the intervening forest onto the beach we’d arrived on. Dig uprooted several trees in this way, and the others, especially the newly muscle-bound Joseph, were openly envious.
A thought struck me and I flapped my wings (for I’d kept them for now) up to stand on Dig’s broad shoulder. I passed my suggestion to him and he grinned brilliantly, turning his gaze down to Joseph below. As Dig stared I watched Joseph rise toward us, his immense shoulders pushing aside the trees so that they snapped like kindling. Joseph was thrilled at his new height, and was touched to see that Dig had made them both the same height—no more height envy!—and he returned the favor by growing Dig’s muscles as big as his own. The rest of us soon followed, both Dig and Joseph growing us, and we had a blast pulling up a few more trees. Loren pulled up the fewest, of course, and had to perform the forfeit of taking care of our stiff equipment again; and this session was the best ever, for not only were we all a hundred feet tall, towering over the trees, and built like bulls, but Loren elected to grow our endowments while he was gratifying us, pushing our manhoods deeper and deeper into his own throat, so that when he finished we were all, including Loren, in much the same predicament he’d been in all afternoon, one of constant, bobbing temptation.
We spent the rest of the day kissing, and Aaron of course passed his gift of magnetic beauty on to all of us so that we now were powerfully drawn to each other and kissed each other in a seething cluster of five irresistible men—though I suspect Aaron passed an extra dose to me, for my brothers were soon clustered around me and trying to kiss me two, three, four at a time. We burst our seed from this kissing as powerfully as we had under Loren’s deft lovemaking, and we did not want to stop, and so kept on, pressed tight together like a ten-handed, five-mouthed animal, kissing insatiably into the night.
As night deepened I noticed Dig concentrating as we kissed, and our height gradually seemed to dwindle, until we were something like a quarter of our previous height. (I confirmed later from the size of the Castle that we were now three times our old heights.) The others dialed their gifts back too, and finally we were able to finish our play and, laughing, descend to the beach. For the task of lashing the trunks together I gave everyone four arms, which was a great help as well as a delight to see and feel; we kept them for the swim back, towing the raft, and for a few days thereafter; and whenever after we were performing some complex exertion, and especially while working on the Castle, they asked me for four arms again. We decided we liked our new height and chose to keep it; though Dig was prone to practical jokes and every so often the four of us would wake up so tall our feet were in the ocean, or so small that we would fit in a matchbox. Usually we left it to Loren to retaliate; so after one of these jokes Dig often ended up with an endowment as thick as his leg and as long as he was tall, which he enjoyed at first but soon tired of. Joseph worked his magic in his sleep, so sometimes we had to wake him to keep him from growing our muscles so big we couldn’t move.
One day I decided to try to visit England, just once. I went aside in solitude and after an hour’s meditation I found the path to sending my mind across the vast ocean.
My handsome cousin, Rolland, had assumed the title, my brothers and me being assumed dead. I found him alone and naked in his bedchamber. A naked Earl after all, I grinned to myself.
He blanched at the sight of me, yet his member thickened as he stared. I smiled at him and told him I was alive. “Then why can I see through you, like a ghost? And why do you have wings?”
I’d nearly forgotten the wings—I’d kept them for fun and soon they felt a part of me. I smiled at him and realized Rolland, too, had been due to go on the Atlantic voyage, but had been kept back by a fever. I made a quick decision.
As I stepped forward, I gave him all the gifts my four brothers had received, even as I said, “Can a ghost do this?” and kissed him in the way we kissed at home—our home, Dig’s Island. Rolland quickly shot his seed from an erection twice as big as before, onto a chest twice as big and onto a face twice as beautiful. Our heads were brushing the ceiling. We made love for hours, Rolland barely realizing he was controlling his own body, before I returned home, content.