The mountains stood like sentinels, watching the little car as it climbed the curvy road.
Ashley glanced upwards. She didn't much like the look of the sky. Dark purple storm clouds, pregnant with rain, covered the horizon, blotting out whatever light was left in the fading day. This was not the ideal weather to be navigating a mountain pass.
Not that she had a choice. Her vacation had been fun, but now she had to get back home within the next two days so she could go be back in time for work. She pressed down on the pedal, flicked on her brights, and prepared herself for careful navigation of the mountain roads.
The female mouse hadn't gone far when she saw something on the right side of the road. Had there been an accident? No, it was too small for a vehicle. As she got closer, her lights fell upon two figures. Hitchhikers? This far into the mountains? They had to be insane!
Or maybe they were just in the same boat as Ashley: stuck out here, with no other options except to press on.
Perhaps, in other circumstances, she would have kept driving. Had the weather not been so bad, had it not been so late in the evening, or had the hitchhikers been large male predators, there was a good chance Ashley would have continued driving. But it looked like the two figures were both female, and with the impending storm threatening to start a downpour at any minute, they could be in quite a bit of trouble if no one stopped for them. Ashley hadn't seen another car on the road in hours.
Ashley moved her foot off the gas and onto the brake. She rolled down the passenger-side window as she came to a stop, just as the first drops of rain started to fall.
The taller of the two hitchhikers, a lizard of some kind, came to the window. She leaned her head inside, resting her elbows on the frame of the window. "Hey. Think you can give us a lift?"
Ashley coughed. Was the lizard aware of what that particular position was doing to her chest? Combined with her low-cut top, she was giving Ashley quite the view. Perhaps it was intentional; she might have assumed a male driver, and was hoping that putting on a little show would increase her chances of getting a ride. Put in a desperate situation, Ashley might do the same thing, though she was not nearly as well-equipped in the curves department as this reptile.
The rain began coming down harder.
"Um, sure," Ashley said, finally finding her voice. "Where are you headed?"
"As far as you're willing to take us. Hopefully at least as far as the next town so we can get a motel."
"I had a similar idea. I'm planning on stopping for the night at the next town."
"Perfect! Here, can you open your trunk?"
Ashley pressed the button that popped the trunk, and she felt the car shift as the lizard hefted a large backpack inside. Once the trunk was closed, the two travelers opened the rear passenger-side door and slid inside. Ashley turned back to get her first good look at her passengers.
The lizard slid in first, her every movement graceful; Ashley wondered if she was a dancer or gymnast. She had beautiful scales that glistened in the light, creating a shimmer every time she moved. She was a lot taller than Ashley - who wasn't? - and she had to duck her head slightly to keep it from hitting the ceiling.
Her companion climbed in after here, and Ashley had to suppress a small gasp; she wasn't sure she had ever seen something so adorable. The female squirrel was tiny - even more petite than Ashley, though not by much - and she had the biggest, bushiest tail that the mouse had ever seen. She had to struggle to make sure it was all inside before she shut the car door.
Outside, the deluge started to really get underway, as though some giant in the clouds had upended an enourmous pitcher.
"Thank you so much," the squirrel said. "I was sure we were going to get stuck out here in that storm."
Ashley gave them both a friendly smile. "I'm Ashley."
"Lisa," the lizard said. She leaned over and put an arm around the squirrel's shoulder. "And this is my girlfriend Perri."
"Nice to meet you both," Ashley said, turning back to the road. Okay, maybe that show earlier hadn't necessarily be assuming she was a male.
Ashley turned on the wipers, put the car in gear, and pressed down on the gas. She wanted to get through these mountains before the storm got any worse.
As they got underway, she heard Lisa's voice from the back seat. "You okay, baby?"
"I'm fine," Perri responded. "Just a little wet from the rain. I'll be fine."
"What? That won't do! I don't want you to catch your death of cold."
Ashley heard shuffling coming from the dark back seat, and the click of a seatbelt coming open. "H-hey!" Perri squeaked. "That's not necessary... hey, stop that!" The squirrel giggled as the shuffling continued, and then something wet arced up and landed in the passenger side seat next to Ashley. She glanced at it.
It was the squirrel's shirt.
Ashley felt a deep blush rise up her neck and into her cheeks. They weren't... they wouldn't really...?
Ashley heard the click of another seat belt. She glanced into the rear-view mirror, moving its position slightly. In the darkness, she couldn't get a clear look at the situation, but it looked like the lizard was on her knees on the backseat, straddling her girlfriend. There was quite a bit of movement.
She forced her eyes back to the road.
"Stop it!" Perri said. "We've got c-company!"
"No excuses!" Lisa replied. "We've got to get you out of these wet clothes!"
More shuffling. A pair of jeans joined the shirt on front passenger seat.
Ashley should say something. She really should. This behavior was scandalous and uncivilized. How far were these two planning on going?
The blush in her cheeks deepened.
"There we go," Lisa said, amid more giggles. "Now that we've got those wet clothes out of the way, let's put you someplace warm, shall we?"
The tone in the car abruptly changed. The giggles stopped, and Perri's voice changed from a tone of playful resistance to one with a hint of fear. "W-what?"
"I said, let's put you somewhere warmer. I know just the place."
Perri laughed, but it sounded forced. "Y-you're joking."
"I think you'd know me well enough to know that I'm not."
"But... here? Now?"
"That's right. Come now, you knew this was coming eventually."
What were these two talking about? The tension in the car was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Ashley's heart was pounding against the inside of her chest.
"I... I just thought... can't we talk about this?"
"Sorry," Lisa responded. "Food doesn't get to talk."
A wet, organic noise came from the back seat.
"Lisa, pl... mmph!" Perri's protest was suddenly muffled, as though a blanket had been pushed over her mouth.
Heart still pounding, Ashley glanced into the rear view mirror again. Her eyes went wide.
It could have been a trick of the light. It was difficult to see what was going on in the dark back seat. But Ashley could have sworn that Lisa had Perri's entire head shoved into her mouth.
The car started to shudder. Ashley had started to list off to the right, hitting the small bumps designed to awaken drivers who had fallen asleep at the wheel. She snapped her eyes back to the road, forcing herself to focus on the winding mountain pass.
That didn't stop her from hearing the noises coming from the backseat. The noises continued, which Ashley now recognized as loud, wet swallowing sounds. She could still make out muffled protests and the sounds of a very one-sided struggle.
And... was that a moan? And not from Lisa, either. Was Perri... enjoying this?
Ashley swallowed hard. A strange heat was building in the pit of her stomach, and she shifted her legs uncomfortably.
She should stop the car and... and what, exactly? What would she do?
Ashley cast another look in the direction of the mirror. She thought she caught a glimpse of fangs, an open lizard mouth, and a large, twitching, bushy tail hanging from it.
She forced her eyes back to the road.
For what seemed like an eternity but was likely only a few seconds, silence came from the back seat. Then the silence was broken by a small belch.
Ashley's heart continued to pound as she felt Lisa's hand grip the mouse's seat, just behind her right shoulder. The lizard leaned forward. "Hey there. Enjoy the show?"
Ashley forced herself to glance back. Lisa leaned between the two seats, her upper body resting on her belly, which was now enormous. It twitched and squirmed each time the squirrel inside moved, and occasionally Ashley could hear a stream of words come from it, though they were far too muffled to make out.
"I-it was, um, quite a surprise."
"I bet." The lizard licked her lips. "Now, let's talk about you."
Ashley's heart skipped a beat, and she struggled to draw in each breath.
"I would like to make a proposal," Lisa continued. "The sleeping arrangements for tonight have changed. What do you say that, when we get to that town, we split the cost of a motel room? We wouldn't even need to get one with two beds."
Ashley froze, her cheeks heating up again. She was brought back to reality by her car drifting onto the bumps again. "A-are you hitting on me?"
"Yeah," the lizard answered nonchalantly. "I'm recently single, you know."
That comment elicited a flurry of muffled protests from Lisa's stomach.
"But, um, your girlfriend..."
"I'll be dumping her in a few days."
Ashley swallowed again.
"Look, it's not that complicated," Lisa said. "You're cute. I liked you from the moment I laid eyes on you. And judging from where your eyes went when I leaned in the window earlier, I think you liked me, too."
Ashley felt herself blushing. "Let's say - hypothetically - that I say yes. How do I know I won't end up where Perri is?"
"Ah, but that's the beauty of it," Lisa responded. "You don't."
A shudder went through Ashley's body, and she wasn't sure it was entirely due to fear.
"You could always just say no. We'll part ways tomorrow, I'll find a different ride, and you'll never see me again. Or you can spend the night with me tonight, and I'll stick with you, wherever you're going. And I promise that, however long our relationship lasts, every minute will be a lot of fun."
Lisa's long tongue flicked Ashley's ear, and the mouse shuddered again.
Lisa giggled, then leaned back, kicking her feet up and laying across the entire back seat. Her large belly continued to squirm and wiggle, and she played her hands across it. "You don't have to answer right away. I'm sure we've got a couple hours until we get to the next town. Just think it over."
Ashley glanced up at the sky. The rain was letting up a little. The clouds remained swollen and the sky stayed dark, but it would at least be a little easier to navigate.
That was good, because Ashley had a pretty big choice to make.
The mountains watched the little car as it disappeared into the darkness, heading towards the lights of a nearby town.