My sexual awakening came in the form of the Ents from the Lord of the Rings series.

I was thirteen; a fat, awkward, late bloomer. Sitting with my cousin in his basement, a stuffy teenage paradise piled high with video games and beanbag chairs, we’d finished an original-trilogy Star Wars marathon and had moved onto the other big name in Nerddom. Shoveling handfuls of popcorn and oreos into our piggish mouths, we reveled in the gluttonous glory of youth.

Then, they came lumbering through across the screen.

Towering, magnificent beings with so much bark and so much bite. After so much confused fumbling, something just clicked. My sexuality was personified and laid bare right before my very eyes. Seeing those titans traipse across the screen, hearing the gravelly anciency in their guttural voices, I found myself unable to breathe.

The pinnacle scene of the last march of the Ents is what really sealed the deal for me. Up until that point, I’d barely been able to contain myself, squirming uncomfortably in my seat and trying to ignore the raging forest fire in my pants. When they came upon the horde of orcs and used their pure brute force to demolish their ranks, I lost it.

“Be right back,” I said, slightly panting.

“Hurry up, fag. I hate pausing shit.” My cousin Perce was such a charmer.

“Don’t have to pause anything, asshole.”

He threw an empty soda can at me. It missed. “Bring more chips.”

I scurried away, hands shoved deep in my pockets to cover my shame, and crept around the corner where the bathroom door stood slightly ajar. I lingered in the doorway, my pale, chubby face illuminated by the moonlight pouring in from the small window at the top of the far wall. My heart was pounding in my ears, chest, and groin; I’d never been this aroused in my life. Unfurling myself from my shorts, I saw a strand of amber-tinted goo dripping precariously from the tip of my dick. Something compelled me to catch it with my fingertip, and I brought it up to my nose to sniff. It was oddly heady and sweet.

My tongue crept past my lips with a mind of its own, drunkenly dancing out to catch its fated partner in an erotic salsa. As soon as it touched the unknown substance, my mind lit up like an enemy battalion.

It tasted like maple syrup.

My entire body shuddered uncontrollably, spasming from head to toe. The former felt light as a cloud, the latter curling and cracking hard on the stone floor. Unconscious of my body’s actions, the roaring, vicious assault of the Ents soundtracking my ascent into heaven, my hand crept downward across the rough cotton of my shirt and found its mark. I’d just barely touched myself when I felt the surging power of a millennia of sexual tension spastically rip through my body. Heaving, I lurched forward, gripped the doorframe hard, and coated it with an eruptious glaze of my sweet, sugary nethercream.

Slumped against the doorframe with weak fingers splayed, I wheezed. My head was swimming somewhere in the hazy, fluorescent lights of the basement. Just over the crest of my orgasm, a shrill scream snapped me back to reality and I was caught, literally pants down, by Aunt Cheryl coming to turn over the laundry.

Needless to say, I was never invited back to my cousin’s place.

I’d always felt strangely at home in the forest, but it wasn’t until after my explosive revelation that I fully realized my place in the world. The reservoir for my desires had, until then, gently ebbed and flowed. The dry, crusted banks of my youth were not to be wasted, dashed upon the shores of mediocre handjobs and spray-tanned porn. I refused to be an ignorant child, a walking turbine of waste, a feedbag with a crotch that drooled effortlessly into a sea of crumpled tissues and hidden socks.

Thus, my descent into the fervor of arboreal eroticism began, and I became one with nature. The rest of my teenage years were spent in fevered daydreams at school and belabored trips to national state parks and garden centers. The scent of fresh-cut grass became a sensory overload of seething pleasure and I found myself pressing my fingers deep into the soil of potted plants on more than one occasion, sometimes to the misplaced dismay of teachers, friends’ parents, and strangers on the street.

Despite my initial catalyst of Tolkien’s walking, talking trees, I never quite felt the need to dress up as one and fuck or be fucked. I didn’t beat off to worn out copies of National Geographic and Discover Magazine. The thought of hearing something like “oh daddy you make me so thorny” from a seriously understanding sexual partner never even occurred to me as a way to get off. No, I needed the real thing. I needed soil in-between my toes and the promise of chlorophyll on my lips. I needed nature au naturel. Mom was a cleanfreak, but I managed to convince her to let me keep one plant in my bedroom; a potted Dracaena Marginata. I named her Marge. She was more woman to me than any girl I could’ve ever made eyes at or sloppily swapped spit with in-between classes. She carried me effortlessly through countless sweaty nights. The odd amber ooze that’d escaped me on that fateful day never returned, but I didn’t mind. I could’ve stayed in the rapacious thrall of youthful sexual exploration for the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, adulthood calls.

Once I graduated from high school, I got into a decent town college. From there, I got a bachelor’s degree in business management, had a few solid internships, and by the age of twenty six, landed a huge job opportunity at a bigwig manufacturing company in New York. My parents and friends were ecstatic for me. Myself, less so. The City had glistening skylines with endless horizons. It had bustling workforces and meaty buzzwords and crisscrossing ladders with pots of gold at every top rung. But, I lamented, it didn’t have the forever forests of my youth, underbrush rich with the rolling wild. The final drive from West Virginia to the big apple was a morose one; I truly felt like the worm. As I got on I-79 with all my worldly possessions rattling around in my car and Marge strapped safely into the passenger seat, I felt like I could almost see the ghost of the forest in my rearview, shimmering trees waving farewell in the gentle Spring breeze.

The first few months were rough. The city was harsh, cold, and unforgiving. Gone was the small town hospitality I was so used to. Instead, a grunt and a shove on the subway platform were there to greet my sore body and exhausted mind. My office was bustling, but the air was stale, recycled with the pained breath of a thousand empty promises and extended due dates and forms, forms, forms.

Four months in, Marge died. The plant and partner that I’d had for over ten years was gone. She’d been drooping for weeks and I just didn’t have enough time to tend to her; even when I did, I was so worn out from the seemingly interminable workday that I just forgot. I held her wilted leaves against my tear-stained cheek as I wept, unintentionally watering her for the first time in recent memory. As I sat there, mourning the loss of my dear lover, a growling sensation of retribution and warmth began to spread throughout my body, starting with my groin. Without thinking, I set her wasted leaf down, unbuttoned my trousers, and quickly disrobed. I sat down in the armchair flanking Marge and ran a shaking hand over her stilted body. Her bark, though still firm, was supple and receptive to my touch.

“I’m so sorry, my love,” I whispered aloud. “How could I have let you fade? I’m a monster.” Tears began to well up and pour down my face anew, lightly pattering against my pale, splotchy flesh.

Then, she shook her head. Well, her leaves. Startled, I looked around. The window in the far corner of the room was open; just the wind. I raised my aching form from the chair and padded over to the window, closing it with a heavy sigh. I stared out at the city street below, people passing by in the dozens, unaware of anything except their destination. How had I let myself become so lost and jaded in such a short amount of time?

“Phillip?”

I spun around, almost falling over. A voice. A soft, woman’s voice. There was no one in the apartment. I quickly ran to the front door, just to be sure. Locked. Was I hearing things? Too much coffee at work, probably. The boss had really been getting on my case lately and I was on the edge of –

“Phillip, it’s me.”

This time I did fall over, tripping over my own foot and landing hard on my bare ass. The voice was coming from Marge. I crawled forward a bit, unsticking myself from the floor, and placed a tentative hand on the small endtable. Shaking it just the bit, I watched as the remaining leaves swayed lazily from the movement. Was this really happening? Was she talking to me?

No. It’s a plant. She’s a plant. No matter how much I personified her, she’s still a fucking plant. I was honestly losing it. I picked myself up and turned around, grabbing my clothes, and started to head to my bedroom.

“Come back. Don’t leave me.”

I whipped around, threw my clothes at the wall, and dove to the floor, ready to tear the plant up and end this nonsense. Instead, I was greeted by the strangest sight I’d ever seen in my life.

A dozen or so small green and white tubes were protruding from the soil, slowly wriggling in a synchronized formation. As soon as I acknowledged them, they began churning faster and faster.

“What. The. Fuck.” The words squeezed themselves past my pursed lips.

The tubes, thin and stringy, instantly straightened, looking like a demented organic pincushion.

“No curses,” trilled one in the back right corner.

“We love you,” from the middle.

“We need you.”

They spun a few times clockwise and straightened once more. In perfect unison, they rang out “we can’t go on without you”. The words were like a song; a sweet, dulcet soprano hung in the air.

My knees gave out and I sat down heavily. What the hell was going on?

“What…” I began, unsure of the words even as they left my mouth. “What are you? Who are you?”

The tubes flattened against the soil save for one in the dead center, slightly bigger than the others and leaning up against the stalk. I subconsciously dubbed it Large Marge. Although it had no eyes or other distinguishable features, I could feel it staring directly at me. Into me. When it spoke, the words came from behind it, underneath it; all around it.

“We are you. We are your love. We are your fancy. We are Marge.” As soon as it said the name, the rest of the tubes began slapping back and forth in a frenzied fit, all shouting “Marge” in the same shrill voice.

“You planted us,” the last two words echoed back and forth throughout the rows, “planted us with your Father Seed. Your Seed made us whole and you loved us but you left us to dry.”

I rubbed my eyes and dejectedly shook my head. “I’m sorry. Work got so busy and things at home fell to the wayside and I just ran out of time. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Yep. This was it. I was talking to a fucking dancing worm parasite that’d invade my plant. Real top of the charts here.

“We forgive,” said the left half. “We forget,” claimed the right. “But we aren’t dead yet!” cried the whole lot. They doubled over, as though giggling at their little rhyme, and then seemed to regain a more serious posture. “We thirst. Please feed, Papa Phillip, please feed.”

Numbly, I looked around, There was a glass of water sitting on the edge of the kitchen counter. I slowly rose to my feet and started towards it, but the chorus pulled me back.

“No, no, no water, no water. We need Seed. Father Seed from Papa’s Life Stem, please.” The last word swelled and broke in the air like a balloon.

I looked down at my fright-shriveled dick, remembering countless masturbation sessions ending in a cloudy white release trickling down Marge’s lush green leaves.

Glancing back up at the tubes – Marge – I cupped my little white worm and offered it forward to the ones in the pot. “Is this what you want?”

“Yes! Yes! Please! Life Stem! Father Seed!”

A cracked smirk crept across my lips, and I stepped closer, feeling a twitch deep inside my balls. I hadn’t jerked off once in over a week. No wonder the plant had died.

I began stroking myself, hardening beneath my grasp, and draped my body across the chair. The Marges began flailing, whispering excitedly back and forth. Large Marge stood tall, quivering, waiting. I maintained eye contact with her as my pace quickened, remembering a particularly steamy session one night during a thunderstorm. I edged closer and closer to the brink, and The Marges went wild, flailing in no particular pattern. Just as i reached orgasm, the voices rose up in an almost whitenoise wall of sound, reveling in the shower of voluminous amber discharge.

It was back.

I leant back into the chair, soaked with sweat but wildly satisfied, and watched with absolute rapt fascination as The Marges lapped up every drop with greedy abandon, scouring every nook and cranny of their pot for more. When they were done, an endless chant of “thank you”s filled the air. Large Marge, looking beyond full and brimming with light, slowly slid from the pot, inching closer to me. She ran up my thigh, her slimy yet coarse skin a welcome touch, and began cleaning my distended member for the rest of her prize. When she was done, the rest of The Marges settled down and she curled up my arm, over my shoulder, and nestled next to my ear. We fell into a deep sleep in the sated embrace of lovers.

The next month passed in a blur. On the subway ride to and from work, sitting at my desk all day, getting a hotdog from the cart outside of my building – all I could think of was Marge. The Marges. It almost sounded like a band. Large Marge and the Little Tubes. The Tubeway Margey. Ha!

My mood had skyrocketed. Things were going better at work and I felt healthier and happier. Daily feedings became an absolute ritual of morning dew and nightly fertilizer. It was bliss. With each passing session, The Marges seemed to grow bigger, louder, stronger. Large Marge was my favorite, of course, but I divided my attention fairly. We talked for hours, though they didn’t seem to be capable of forming completely coherent sentences. When we were tired of talking, they would sometimes sing to me. Other times, I would read aloud from my vast collection of botanical tomes, dedicated to all walks of greenlife. We became inseparable.

Then, I fell behind on rent. I sent a few emails around at work, put up a notice in my local coffee shops, and finally resorted to the festering cesspool of Craigslist. Within four hours, I’d received 12 spam emails, 7 sexual solicitations, and 2 hopefuls. One was a young professional in the city looking to move closer to work, and the other an aspiring “artist” trying to find a homebase so they could “make it big”. Stars in their eyes, I’m sure. I rolled mine. I called the suit and came up with smoke; they’d found somewhere cheaper and even closer. Disappointed, I reluctantly punched in the number for America’s next underground breakout.

He could move in tomorrow. Great. The Marges sensed my frustration and soothed me with a pretty little tune.

Loud, boisterous, and arrogant, Salide came bursting through my door. Yeah, Salide. Pronounced like “salad”. You know, the fucking edible bush. His real name was Darrell, but I only knew that because of his ID – he swore me to secrecy the second he handed it over, flourishing a stubby pinky capped with a gaudy fake gold ring. Fashion designer by day, crossdresser by night, he flounced into my life and puked glitter and sickly sweet perfume onto everything I owned. Coming from a very traditional and dirt poor black family in Georgia, he vehemently shunned his roots and chalked them up to an alien abduction or some other bullshit. I learned very quickly to ignore almost everything he said. I kept to my room, only coming into the common areas to get food, leave for work, and visit Marge when he was gone. Sadly, she had to hide when he was around. I would’ve moved her into my bedroom, but there just wasn’t enough light. It put an unhealthy strain on our relationship, and the stress quickly grew.

After a mostly silent feeding session, the tension in the air finally broke, and The Marges spoke up.

“We love. We need. We miss.”

I sighed. “I know, darlings, me too.”

Large Marge, more vibrant and beautiful than ever, wriggled closer to me.

“Take me with you, Papa. I can leave, they will be fine, I can leave and come with you.”

I looked her over and smiled broadly. “I’d love nothing more. But how?”

She waved back and forth in response, and began stretching. She curved across my thighs, still moist and sticky with our lovemaking, and wrapped around first one, then the other. After a good ten seconds of stretching, I saw the soil where her body was connected begin to tug up. Another moment, and it gave way. She slipped out of the pot completely with a little popping noise, crumbs of dirt trailing behind. Continuing to wrap herself around my body, she made her way to my crotch, slid sensually across my shaft, and stopped at my urethra. With a little wiggle, she softly split the skin and entered me. It felt like a warm, dull fire coursing up through my stomach. I’d never felt a greater pleasure in my life. I could feel her spreading first through my abdomen, passing through organs and muscle alike, snaking her way through my intestine like a lovelorn parasite looking for food. She pushed gently against the wall of my stomach lining and I giggled, tapping on the taut skin. I watched, fascinated, as the very last of her emerald body disappeared into me, feeling her traipse lovingly around my lungs and then up through my neck, flicking her tail against my heart. She stopped just neighboring my brain stem, rubbing her tiny head against my fleshy walls. When she spoke, I heard her inside of my own head, as though she were a thought.

“I love you, Papa.”

“I love you too.”

We slept soundly that night, the tiny coos of the rest of The Marges a gentle lullaby for the ages.

I rose for work the next day, rejuvenated as ever. Getting dressed and grabbing a bagel from the kitchen, I shook my head at the filthy state of the apartment. Darrell––sorry, “Salide”––was disgusting. What a wreck of a person.

Passing him in the hallway, no doubt on the way back from one of his ill-fated auditions, he shouted something about a party later that night that he was throwing in the apartment, some celebration for his “drag mother”, whatever that means. I shrugged it off. No use getting into it with him now; I would be late.

After a long day of endless paperwork and not wanting to deal with a party full of loud, drunk queens, I took off to a local bar and proceeded to get shithouse smashed on $2 happy hour beers. The entire time, Marge whispered sweet nothings in my ear. She always knew just what to say to take the edge off. Around 1 AM, properly tanked and ready for bed, I stumbled home. I could deal with a few unwelcome stragglers if need be. To my delight, when I got inside, the apartment was dark and empty. Trashed, but empty. With a sigh of relief, I snagged an unopened but still cold beer from the counter and headed to the bedroom. I had my hand on the handle when I heard it.

“Papa,” a whisper, gentle as a dust mote.

Something’s wrong said Marge.

“Papa, help.”

Go to them.

Unsteady on my feet, I walked over to the pot and looked down. Once my eyes focused, I gasped and fell to my knees. It was scorched earth. My tiny babies were all withered, black husks. They looked almost burnt.

An unintelligible scream sounded from somewhere deep under my skin. On the surface, a sob was lodged in my throat.

“What happened?!” I nearly shouted.

“Bad men, bad men. Rained ash, smoke ash. Yellow showers. Hurt so bad, Papa, hurt so bad.”

Even through my drunken haze, I could clearly picture Salide and his guests ashing cigarettes and pissing on my helpless love. Instantly, my blood was set to a boil and rage coursed through me like lightning. My feet were pulling me towards his room; whether it was my own doing or Marge’s, I have no idea, but it didn’t matter now.

His door was locked, but we made short work of that. The flimsy wood splintered under my second kick and flew inward. The smell of sickly sweet perfume was like a punch in the face, but I powered through it, running up to Salide’s bed. His bloated, drunken face curdled my stomach, false eyelashes fluttering open and smudges of makeup creating a clownish horror as he sat up, looking around and blinking heavily.

“What… what the fuck?” he said. I just stood, shrouded in darkness. Then, I realized through my rage, it wasn’t all that dark. My skin, previously covered by shadow, was now glowing with an unearthly green, luminescent light. It was almost rippling.

“What the fuck!?” Salide repeated, fully awake now and quickly shuffling backwards. I opened my mouth to say something, but before I could get even a sound out, I felt a solid form shoot past my lips. It was Large Marge. She curved upwards and arced back down, tail slipping fully out of my mouth. She’d reshaped, her head now ending in five razor sharp points, glistening kaleidoscope eyes set deep in the center. Giant black mandibles protruded from her face, rows of similarly black teeth extending back into her open maw, and her cavern of a mouth oozed with the same amber goo that’d birthed her.

Salide screamed, then vomited, sending a cascade of chunky effluence in a waterfall down his pudgy stomach. He choked and tried to scream again, but Marge surged forward, catching his mouth and throat in one bite. Her jaws unhinged in a horrific horizontal angle and closed with a sickening crunch. Salide flailed wildly, but Marge wrenched up and down in quick succession, severing his jugular and sending a spurt of blood across his bedsheets. Body flopping with limp effort, he succumbed to her crushing vice and drowned in the backwash of his own blood; a symphonic gurgle his last gift to the world.

Covered in blood and steaming viscera, we retreated into the living room, but it was too late. The rest of the clan had taken their final breaths minutes before. Slumping to the floor, I leaned against the wall and cried softly. Marge coiled around my neck, her head now back to its normal smooth exterior, and licked away my tears before sliding past my lips, back down my throat, and cuddling up next to my heart. We sang, in harmony, The Marges’ favorite tune.

It’s been a few months since the incident. Salide suddenly up and “left town”, but that’s alright; the arrangement wasn’t working out anyway. All of his things found a lovely little home in the dumpster out back.

Large Marge and I held a nice eulogy at home. A quiet affair. I miss The Marges, but I know they’re resting well now.

Good news, though – I’m expecting! I don’t know what the twins/triplets/quadruplets version of 2,238 is, but hey, my degree was in business management, not math or English. I can already feel the eggs, gently throbbing deep beneath my skin. They’re scattered in my organs, threaded in muscles and up against bone. A few are even nestled right behind my eyes. In just two months time, they’ll begin to surface and burrow, and we’ll be a family again.

I see a bright future for Marge and I. There’s really nothing like true love to plant the seeds for a better tomorrow.