There has been some mention of these sections being uncomfortably long, so I broke this one in half. Let me know what you think. Okay?
The Adventures of Béla, the Vampire Girl
Book 4: Time Walker
Chapter 9 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tabatha watched while Lisa sat on the floor with Ethan. At the ripe old age of four, Lisa was only a year older than Tabatha’s son. But she wasn’t the same species. The vampire species evidently matured, at least physically, at around five years of age. Lisa looked (and acted) like a bratty fifteen-year-old girl.
Tabatha had figured out how to get Béla’s daughter to behave while she babysat her. She’d bring Ethan with her and just let Lisa take care of him. Lisa loved little Ethan like he was her favorite doll or something. Right now, Lisa was mind-linked with Ethan, teaching him numbers.
There was a sound upstairs. Tabatha cast out with her mind.
‘Béla? Is that you?’
‘Yes! Keep the kids downstairs!’
‘I have Tanya with me. She's been hurt!’
‘I’m coming up!’
“Lisa,” Tabatha said, trying to remain calm. “Watch Ethan for me, will you? Guard him. I’ll be back in a minute.”
‘You think I can’t hear you two talk? Mom’s not that good at focusing her thoughts…’
‘Stay here with Ethan. Please?’
‘Please? I worry about him.’
‘Okay,’ Lisa thought into Tabatha’s mind, putting a lot of sullen attitude into that simple thought.
Tabatha closed her eyes and vanished, teleporting directly to Jake and Béla’s bedroom instead of taking the time to run her body up the staircase. Holding her body in the teleportation zone for a second, she quickly scanned the room to make sure she didn’t materialize where Béla or Tanya might be. Then she was there.
“Holy K-rap! What happened to her?” Tabatha whispered, staring down at Tanya.
Tanya was lying naked on the bed. There was dried blood between her legs and a partially healed gash in the top of her shoulder right next to her neck. The image appeared directly from Tanya’s subconscious mind of what had made it. Tanya seemed to think the rod was still in there.
“How did it change direction like that?” Tabatha asked, looking at the image in Tanya’s unconscious mind and at the damage inside her body.
“I changed it,” Béla told her. “It would’ve gone right up through her neck and out the top of her head, otherwise. It happened so fast that she didn’t even realize she was being killed. I’m making some changes in her anatomy so that if something like this happens again and I’m not around, it won’t kill her.”
“What kind of changes?” Tabatha wanted to know.
“Well, the main change I’m making is in that big artery that goes up the center of her body. When that gets sliced open, you can die rather quickly. Tanya’s managed to damage hers twice, now. I’m ‘rerouting’ her a little bit so it won’t happen again.”
“What a way to go,” Tabatha mused. “She seems to be healing all right. I’d better get back downstairs to the kids before I start thinking of trying that skewer-bot thing myself.”
She went down the staircase taking the steps two at a time. Lisa looked up and watched her come down.
Tabatha stopped at the bottom of the stairs.
‘What! I didn’t do anything!’ Lisa broadcast at her.
“I didn’t say you did,” Tabatha replied, out loud. Silently, she added, ‘I know you snooped. It’s okay.’
“I know why she did it,” Lisa said, cryptically.
“Why who did what?” Tabatha asked, momentarily confused.
“Tanya,” Lisa clarified. “She wanted that thing between her legs.”
‘Whoa! She's growing up way too fast!’ Tabatha realized, fearfully astonished.
“Ooo-kay,” Tabatha replied carefully. “Do you have any questions about that?”
‘That’s not fair! I shouldn’t have to instruct Béla’s child about sex!’ she thought to herself. ‘Christ! She's only four!’
Feeling relieved, she watched Lisa shake her head. Then she was suddenly more anxious that before when she heard Lisa’s thoughts.
‘I usually skewer myself on the bedpost. It doesn’t go as deep as what Tanya was humping, but it’s safer…’
Tabatha stared wide-eyed at Lisa. Lisa was looking at her with absolutely no expression on her face at all. Surprisingly, Tabatha realized that her own numbed mind wasn’t broadcasting right now, either.
Béla’s appearance at the top of the stairs seemed to cause time to start moving again.
“Well, Tanya’ll be fine by tomorrow night,” Béla said as she came down the stairs. “I teleported her home to her own bed. She’ll rest more comfortably there.
“Thanks for coming over. I owe you one,” she grinned at Tabatha, not seeming to notice her friend’s numbed state of mind.
“Uh, sure, no problem,” Tabatha said, her body suddenly working again.
“We have to go now,” Tabatha told him. “Daddy’s waiting for us.”
Ethan started to protest, then Tabatha heard Lisa in her mind, talking to Ethan in his head.
‘Go ahead, sweetie. Go with your Mommy. I’ll see you again.’
“Thanks,” Tabatha told her, surprised that Lisa’s surly teenage attitude was suddenly so civil.
Béla hugged her goodbye and kissed her on the cheek. As Tabatha turned away, Lisa was suddenly there, hugging her, too. She kissed Tabatha directly on the mouth and broadcast an image of them naked together into her mind. Tabatha felt her body respond strongly.
‘Don’t do that!’ Tabatha admonished her, shocked. ‘Your Mom will notice!’
‘She won’t notice; we’re shielded. I remember you! I think about you when I’m in my room…’
Then she was gone back into the room with her mom, leaving Tabatha on the walkway by herself, holding Ethan. As she rode it down the street toward the bus stop, she tried to understand what had happened in the last few minutes.
‘What does she mean, ‘She remembers me’? Were we lovers or something in a past life? Jeez, she gives me the willies sometimes.’
The bus landed with an exuberant blast of heated air and flying grit, and extended its vacant seats. She sat down on one and strapped herself and Nathan in. Then the bus retracted its seats and blasted into the air toward the next stop. Three mores stops and a short ride on the walkway brought her home.
As she walked in the door, Jake, her husband greeted her, grinned at Ethan and lifted him out of her arms.
“I’m glad you’re home,” he said, kissing her lightly on the lips. “We have company.”
She followed her husband into the greeting room. She recognized her mother-in-law, and…
‘Who are you? You look familiar…’
“I know you,” Tabatha said, feeling a little confused and suddenly dizzy.
A name came into her mind from more than a thousand years ago.
“Jackie?” Tabatha asked, not understanding why her eyes were tearing.
“You’re right, Mom,” Jackie said to Alicia. “It is her.”
‘How can I tell her I barely remember her name?’ thought Tabatha. ‘Were we close once? My mind’s not working right – too many confusing images…’
Frank Junior came into the room from the kitchen.
“You guys don’t have much to eat in there,” he exclaimed. Then he said “Hi, Bug, how ya been?”
“Fine, Frankfurter,” Tabatha said automatically.
She looked around the room, surprised that the whole family was here.
“What’re you guys all doing here?” she asked, animatedly. “Not that I’m not glad to see you… I’m just… surprised! Are we having a family forum or something? D… Gramps should be here.”
‘How did I know that?’
“I am,” Frank said cheerfully, following his son into the room from the kitchen.
“Well, I guess I should order some…” Tabatha began.
“It’s okay,” her husband said. “I made reservations. We have the Troubadour Room all to ourselves tonight.”
Tabatha blinked several times, trying to wrap her mind around an impromptu Tabor family reunion.
‘What could be that important? Usually these things are planned months in advance. Everyone here is at least the head of one corporation – that is, except for me and Hot Dog…’
“Aren’t we going to wait for Mom?” Alicia asked as everyone prepared to leave.
“No, sweetheart, we’re not,” explained Frank. “She had a bit of an accident at the some convention this afternoon, and she’s resting at home.”
“Really?” Frank Junior said. “What could hurt Mom? She's, like, invincible!”
“Well,” Frank grinned helplessly, “She met her match, today…”
He didn’t explain it any further than that. It was, he decided, none of the kids’ damned business.
Dinner was lobster, filet mignon, and a very tender butterflied flank with baked potato shells filled with whipped potato and cream, chives and soft bits of flavored pork – not bacon, the maitre-de insisted as Tabatha displayed her lack of high-class table manners. In addition, there was creamed corn, creamed spinach, and green beans with thin slices of tasty little nuts that Tabatha had never seen before. There were other things she didn’t recognize and she didn’t try them.
Surprisingly, there was no bread. Tabatha almost asked for some garlic toast to go with her lobster, but decided it would somehow be improper.
“I ate too much,” Tabatha groaned after the plates were taken away.
She sat with her odd family as they sipped red or white wine, depending on whether they had lobster or steak. To play it safe, she drank water. The lemon ruined it, but she drank it anyway, and tried not to grimace.
She wasn’t about to try that jiggly, sweet-smelling thing in the middle of the table. The last time she was with her husband at some high-class event and she tried something that looked like that, it tasted like the most god-awful creamed liver and she impulsively spit it out. She was still embarrassed about that, and much more careful about what she put in her mouth in public, now.
She saw her husband motion to one of the men standing around each entrance to the Troubadour Room. She recognized Jake’s personal bodyguard from Tomlin Security, but had no idea who the others were.
‘Everyone here probably has his or her own bodyguard. Jeez! I wonder how Ethan’s doing. I suppose it would be improper to teleport home to see…’
The man to whom Jake had signaled finished his casual walk around the room. He had something hidden in the palm of his hand that Tabatha couldn’t see. She was pretty sure that it was some sort of electronic detection device to snoop out bugs. She’d used them herself on occasion.
The man came over and whispered in Jake’s ear. Jake nodded to Frank.
“Well, it’s good to see all of you again,” Frank said, addressing his son, Alicia and the two children of Alicia’s that were present.
“This is the first time that we’ve included you and your wife, Jake, and you, Jackie, in one of our family get-togethers,” he grinned. “I’m sorry Tanya couldn’t make it, but she’ll see you all tomorrow, I hope.”
He smiled and closed his eyes, concentrating on the form of the single other invited person who hadn’t arrived yet.
‘Béla, are you coming?’ he thought as hard as he could.
He wasn’t much of a telepath. His abilities were pretty much limited to how much amperage the person he was trying to contact could generate. Béla was at the top of that list.
Suddenly she was standing there next to Frank. She sat down in the empty chair that Tanya would have been sitting in if she were there.
“Sorry I’m late,” Béla apologized. “My daughter had some trouble going to sleep.”
She looked around at the group seated around the table.
‘Why is she looking at me like that?’ Tabatha thought, self-conscious and feeling a little paranoid. ‘I didn’t do anything…’
“Well, I guess everyone who’s going to be here is here, now,” Frank announced.
He was, of course, referring to the absence of his wife and his youngest daughter, Katie, whom several at this table believed had popped back into their lives as Tabatha.
Frank recognized that Tabatha had a few of Katie’s mannerisms, and her eyes were very much like those of his lost daughter’s, but he was much more comfortable thinking of her as Tabatha and not as his dead daughter come back to life in another body. Aside from the fact that they were both female, they didn’t look much alike. And Katie hadn’t had that ‘oh-so-friendly’ Aussie accent. She had been much brattier at Tabatha’s age. Frank smiled to himself as he remembered.
‘At least thinking about her doesn’t make me tear up, anymore,’ he realized.
That had happened when he realized that Tabatha probably was Katie, after all.
“So, what’s the ‘big’, Dad?” Frank Junior asked.
“Well, that’s for your sister to tell us,” Frank said, giving the floor to his remaining daughter, Alicia.
“Okay, here is what I want to discuss,” Alicia told them. “My nephew Jake got married and his wife… pardon me for talking about you in the third person, Tabatha. His wife was initiated into the family shortly afterward. There wasn’t even a family forum called to decide on it.”
She stopped and looked around at her family members.
“May I answer that?” Béla spoke up.
“Tabatha is a very special woman whom I personally took under my protection,” Béla explained. “She has mental abilities that should be preserved. She is the only member of your species who can walk through time. I didn’t initiate her into ‘your’ family. I initiated her into mine! She just happens to be married to your son.”
‘I can time travel?’ Tabatha thought to herself, surprised. ‘I wonder how far…’
‘You promised!’ Béla thundered into her mind. ‘This entire family exists today because you time-walked! Don’t go back and mess this up! My favorite sister died time-walking from the future to get this information to me!’
“I understand your point,” Alicia said, unaware of the private mental conversation between Tabatha and Béla. “I have a point to make, too.
“Béla wasn’t here when I first got married,” Alicia continued. “Jackie’s stepfather, Andy Burke, died almost fifty years ago. There was nothing I could do to prevent that. Jake’s stepfather, Ethan, died six years ago. I couldn’t prevent that, either. I loved both of those men very much, and it was hard to let them go.”
Alicia looked pale, almost unhealthy. She was, after all, almost ninety-two, but, like the rest of her family, she looked twenty. Her physiology was stabilized at that age. She, like the rest of them, would live several hundred more years before they began to age. But right now, that didn’t stop her from feeling old.
“Please, Jackie,” Alicia said, her voice unsteady.
She sat down. Everyone looked at Alicia’s first-born as Jacqueline Burke stood up.
“There is a problem,” Jackie began. “I don’t know exactly how to address it, and there doesn’t seem to be a solution. But I’ll try to explain it as best I can.
“Mankind, as we know it, is going to become extinct,” she said, sounding more dramatic than she intended. “The scientists at Camden Research have all reached the same conclusion. The sun is going to burn mankind off this planet in less than two hundred years. There will be no survivors except for our own descendants because of our family’s regenerative abilities, which we owe to Béla.
“Already, the Normals are being to feel the effects,” Jackie continued. “Strange new cancers are suddenly appearing. The increased radiation from the sun has already sterilized a considerable percentage of the population. In a hundred years, we estimate that there will be no new births at all.
“The Northern Lights – you’ve all seen them – will soon cover the entire night sky, from pole to pole in only a few more years. They will be visible even at the equator. But by then, there will be no one at the equator to look at them. The radiation there will be too intense to support life. Human life, I mean.”
“Your turn, Mom,” Jackie said, sitting back down.
“Two years ago, when Jackie told me about this,” Alicia began, “I started looking around for a hole for humanity to hide in until the sun returns to normal. I found a pretty good one. Illegally using my husband’s resources and funds, I purchased an abandoned underground air base that was built in Colorado back in 2026.
“For the last two years, Solaris Construction has been cleaning out the facility and putting in modern housing. Solar collectors on the surface will supply the power for the city they’re building. I’ve also arranged to begin stockpiling tons of canned goods and the best hybrid grains that are resistant to radiation and drought when it is closer to the time to go underground.
“But, according to our calculations, what I’ve done won’t be enough. We can’t stockpile enough food and grain to feed enough people to restart the race when the sun settles down. We won’t last more than a hundred years underground before we all starve.”
“You called us here to tell us that?” Frank asked. “What do you expect us to do?”
“Dad, I don’t expect us to do anything,” Alicia admitted. “From our conversations, I understand that there are off-planet resources available. I was hoping Béla would help.”
“Then why didn’t you just ask Béla?” Frank asked, not understanding.
“Because,” Alicia said, her voice a little uneven and her eyes shining with unshed tears, “part of what I need Béla’s help for needs to be discussed with you – my family.
“My… husband… has one of these new cancers that Jackie talked about. He won’t live more than a few months. His body monitor caught it early – early enough for a normal cancer – but this one just ignores all the modern treatments.
“He’s dying, Dad,” Alicia cried, forcing her voice to stay as steady as she could make it. “And I’m tired of my men dying!
Unable to remain standing, Alicia sat down again.
“I don’t want to lose another husband,” she said, her voice almost normal. “I was hoping that… that he could become a member of our family. If he agrees, of course.”
“Have you talked to him about us?” Frank asked.
Alicia shook her head.
“He doesn’t know anything about us,” she told him. “I came to you first.”
“What happens if you tell him about us and he decides not to join,” Frank surmised, “or even worse, what if he thinks we’re dangerous?”
“I… I don’t know,” Alicia said. “I simply don’t know.”
She sat and stared at a crumb on the table, not even realizing she was doing that.
‘I never thought I’d see the day when Alicia didn’t know what to do,’ Frank thought to himself, emotionally distraught for the second time that day. ‘My daughter’s been broken. And I don’t know how to fix her…’
‘I can fix her,’ Frank heard Béla’s voice in his head. ‘Let her stay with me tonight…’
“I think, on this note,” Frank announced, “we’ll adjourn ’til tomorrow after breakfast. Alicia, I want you to stay with Béla. The rest of you work out your own sleeping arrangements. The townhouse Tanya and I have here in Boston is a lot smaller than the one we had in Bozeman, so don’t everybody think of crashing there.”
He got up from the table. Everybody else stood up, too. Tabatha stood up with the others. She felt strangely numb. She couldn’t even begin to grasp the idea of a scorched planet with no people on it. It was just too horrible to be believed.
Chapter 10 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Where have you been?” Jake yelled as his wife and Alicia walked through the front door.
“Well, I love you, too,” Béla admonished him.
“Don’t give me that!” Jake exclaimed. “I just now came home and I heard a shot upstairs! I ran up and Lisa was…”
He suddenly noticed that Alicia was standing there, looking very interested in what he was saying. He decided to go non-verbal, letting Béla see what was in his mind.
He raced upstairs and burst into Lisa’s room. His daughter was naked, curled up on the bed and fiercely holding her stomach. She was groaning, shaking and bleeding between her legs. There was no gun there, but he could smell that unmistakable smoke. Lisa snarled at him and mentally shoved him out of her room. The door slammed in his face. She was evidently holding it closed with her mind, as he couldn’t get open again.
He realized that Lisa had probably teleported the gun out of the room when she heard him bounding up the stairs. He went down to check his rifle. It was still there, but it was hot and the end of the barrel was wet. Some of the wetness was fresh blood. It hadn’t even begun to clot, yet.
He let Béla know what the end of the barrel smelled like, in addition to the gunpowder.
“I needed you and you weren’t here!” Jake whined. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you. All day! Where have you been?”
“Ah, there are two emergencies, then?” Béla asked politely, raising her eyebrows.
She was surprised, but not too concerned, that her daughter shot herself between her legs. Despite the fact that Lisa didn’t remember much about being Beth, she was still the same person. She just thought of herself as Lisa, now. She would, naturally, have similar drives and desires.
But, Jake had been searching madly for her before his discovery of Lisa’s little sin.
He looked at her now, not understanding her question.
“Why were you looking for me?” Béla asked, simplifying it for his human mind.
Jake glanced at Alicia. He formed his misadventure with Foxy in his mind, then showed it to Béla.
“Oh, god!” Béla said, disgusted.
She closed her eyes for a moment. She opened them again and looked at her husband.
‘He’s really worried about her…’
“The fair’s still going, but she's not there right now,” Béla said, trying to comfort him. “I’ll check again in the morning. If she’s there, I’ll bring her here. No one should be treated like that!”
“Well, you two seem to be getting along really well,” Alicia said, now that everyone was back on a verbal level.
She’d heard that Béla was telepathic, but it was really annoying to not be able to hear a conversation that was occurring right in front of you.
“I apologize,” Béla said, picking up her thought. “It was simply too private. I’ll try not to let it happen again.”
“So,” Alicia said, trying to start a conversation she could be a part of. “Am I to understand that your daughter is playing with guns? How old is she, now? Three? Four?”
“She's four – the same age as your own son,” Béla admitted, smiling at her guest, “but you’re in for a big surprise when you meet her.”
Jake sighed, feeling an odd relief and kissed his wife ‘hello’.
‘That’s more the greeting I was expecting, darling,’ Béla thought into his mind.
She radiated ‘calm’ at him. He was really distressed over how that strange girl with the sexy name was being treated. What was bothering him the most was what he had done to her. Béla let him see how he was hiding that from himself. After that little surprise, he seemed much more composed.
Their kiss only lasted five or six seconds. Alicia never even realized that, in that small amount of time, Béla had reached into Jake’s mind and helped him unravel his true feelings about Foxy.
Their kiss ended and Béla gazed into his eyes for a moment.
‘I understand why you feel that way about her. But I’m curious – What was it that made you want to take me under your wing?’
Jake grinned. He remembered only too well.
‘Your soul was hurting,’ he confessed to her. ‘You’d been alone too long. I made you happy again.’
‘Do you really think you can help this girl?’ Béla asked. ‘If we free her, she’ll simply find someone else to subjugate her. You showed me that you know this. Do you want to be the one who owns her?’
Jake blinked, surprised at what he almost admitted.
‘Well?’ she asked.
But Béla already knew. She saw it in the instant before he closed his mind to her. Then he connected with her again.
‘Yes! I want to own her!’ Jake silently admitted. ‘I want to protect her!’
‘Then I will find her for you, my love,’ Béla assured him. ‘But she won’t want your protection. She’ll only want to be your slave… And if you aren’t a harsh enough taskmaster, she’ll probably kill you for betraying her. I’ve been a slave and I know these things.’
“You’re doing it again,” Alicia complained quietly. “Can you at least point me to where I’m going to sleep?”
“No. Sorry,” Béla told her. “You’re going to sleep with me…”
There was a loud thump at the top of the stairs. Everyone looked up at the sound. Lisa was standing there in a nightgown looking furious.
“Mom!” she screeched. “Keep Dad out of my room!”
To emphasize her adolescent demand, she stomped her foot again and created a curtain of white fire around her. Then she vanished, along with the fire. They heard an angry, furious teenage screech from around the corner, then her door slammed shut, shaking the entire house.
They all stared, mouths open wide, at where Lisa had been standing at the top of the stairs.
‘Praetor! Explain what just happened!’ Béla demanded in her mind.
‘Processing. Please wait. I have a possible hypothesis. It concerns the hypothetical nuclear destruction of Albuquerque. Are you…’
The Praetor was still obviously upset about Béla pulling rank and forcing it to upgrade its historical knowledge so that it matched the data stored in the Praetor database in New Eden.
‘As you command, Carte Blanch. According to the data, which I supposedly transmitted to New Eden, the following incidents occurred:
‘The princess Beth, with the help of her companion, Katie, returned to the time of the nuclear blast and somehow moved the source of the explosion into the teleportation zone, which exists outside of the physical universe.
‘The teleportation zone contains no lateral space, but exists everywhere at the same time. It does, however, contain length. It stretches forward and backward through time.
‘Katie escaped annihilation by fleeing backwards through time. Forward motion is more difficult, as it is always necessary to visualize an exit point. Since no future exit points exist in the present, there are no records of forward motion in time having been accomplished.’
‘Get to the point, please! I have a guest!’
‘The princess Beth also attempted to flee the explosion by jumping into the teleportation zone. The nuclear source of the explosion, which she herself had placed in the teleportation zone, was behind her in time. She couldn’t flee backward. She didn’t know how to go forward. Her body was vaporized. She somehow managed to contain the forward moving part of the blast with her mind, but the force of the blast cast her lifeforce back out of the teleportation zone.’
Béla suddenly remembered!
The eerie glow on the horizon! The fiery ball of terror that attacked her and set fire to the living room in Jake’s cabin!
‘That was Beth! Horribly dead, terrified and desperately seeking me for help!’
“Béla?” Alicia asked, concerned. “Are you all right?”
“She's still carrying that thing in her head!” Béla exclaimed out loud.
‘That seems to be correct,’ the Praetor responded.
‘That would explain why she kept her mind shielded for so long after she was born.’ Béla thought as understanding flooding through her. ‘She was protecting the rest of us. What if she loses control of it?’
‘Then several square miles of Boston would cease to exist. But she seems to be handling it very well.’
“What thing? Whose head?” Alicia and Jake both asked, not understanding or even hearing the conversation that Béla was having with her Praetor.
“The Second Phoenix… The Fire Bird!” Béla murmured as the revelation opened up in her mind. “I understand now.”
“What are you talking about?” Jake wanted to know.
“Was that Lisa?” Alicia asked. “How’d she get so big?”
“What?” Béla asked, confused.
There were too many things happening around her. She needed time to reflect – time to reach a better understanding…
“Oh,” Béla murmured, her eyes focusing on Alicia.
‘I have to help Alicia first. She thinks she knows about the sun. She hasn’t even begun to comprehend what’s really going to happen. Concentrate! Focus! Take one thing at a time! Forget about the rest until you get to it and everything will work itself out!’
Alicia relaxed as she noticed Béla seem to come out of her trance. At least, she looked more cognizant.
“Yes,” Béla said. “That, was Lisa. She looks human like me. But, also like me, she’s a hybrid.”
“Yeah,” Jake added, grinning. “Her species grows up in five years, then they live for another thousand.”
“Such a deal!” exclaimed Alicia. “Where do I sign up?”
“You’re getting your thousand years,” Béla informed her haughtily. “And you’re already grown up!”
Then she smiled, letting her know that she wasn’t serious.
“Did you grow up in five years?” Alicia wanted to know.
This was an area of knowledge that Alicia was completely ignorant about – Alien physiology.
Béla smiled, looking a little sad. “No, Actually, I believe I was the first of my kind. I was born as an adult, in a vat in my father’s laboratory.”
“There’s still another alien species involved?” Alicia asked, surprised by Béla’s forthright answers.
Béla grinned at her. “We need a serious session together. I will put to rest all your questions. Then together, we will come to an understanding of how you can help some of the humans survive the coming holocaust. You’ve already made a fine beginning.”
“You’re going to sleep with her tonight?” Jake asked, disbelieving that his wife would choose his old lover over him.
‘Especially a selfish bitch like Alicia!’ Jake silently informed her.
Béla looked at him, fed up with his indecisive whining. The world around Jake vanished. He cried out in terror. Then he was standing in the desert looking at the setting sun. He looked around, surprised that he knew where he was.
‘This is where we fell in love,’ he realized.
Suddenly startled, he jumped as his camping equipment materialized and dropped to the ground next to him. Then he heard Béla in his mind.
‘This will give you solitude and the time you need to reflect on what you’re going to do with your Foxy when I bring her to you. Goodnight, my love. I’ll miss you terribly…’
Jake sank to his knees, stunned by her words and the memories they evoked.
How many times in the last hundred years had he stood here, in this very spot, longing for her touch – wishing she were still alive and they were together.
How many times had she come to him in his dreams, only to part with him again with those heart-rending words – ‘Goodnight, my love. I miss you terribly…’
His anguished memories of those terrible years separated from her flooded over him. He sank to his knees and sobbed, realizing the hurt he had done to her tonight. It was hours before he moved to set up his tent.
Chapter 11 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tabatha quietly closed the door to Ethan’s bedroom and turned around.
“Thanks, Cathy,” she said to the girl who’d sat for Ethan tonight.
The teenaged girl facing her smiled and held out her credit pad. Grinning, remembering her own babysitting adventures of a dozen years ago, Tabatha punched in her code.
‘It’s a lot easier to get paid, now,’ she thought as she and Cathy walked toward the door.
“What?” Cathy said, noticing the smile on her employer’s face.
“Oh, I was just remembering a time when I was babysitting,” Tabatha replied. “The father tried to pay me with the ugliest little green statue off his bookshelf ’cause he’d been robbed and didn’t have any money. I flat-out refused and stormed out of the house. I brought my uncle back with me the next day and he made the guy pay me what he owed me.”
“Is that it?” Cathy asked, beginning to feel annoyed that she had to listen to such a pointless tale.
“No, actually,” Tabatha told the girl. “I found out later that the statue was Jade. It was worth a lot more than what I settled for.”
“That’s…” Cathy thought for a moment, trying to be polite. “Cute. Goodnight, Mrs. Hedron.”
‘Yawn!’ Cathy thought to herself as she trotted down the steps. A small sports flitter magically appeared above her and landed. She hopped in.
“Hi, Davie,” Tabatha heard her say cheerfully.
Then the little Astro blasted noisily into the night sky, totally oblivious to the speed limit.
Tabatha turned and went back inside. The door closed and the alarms set automatically as she walked by.
Her husband, Jake, was in the bedroom. She walked in and watched him as he prepared for bed.
“What is it, darling?” Jake asked, hearing her sigh.
He looked at her. She was beautiful, as always. Her face looked…
‘Unanimated,’ he decided was the best way to describe it. ‘Numb.’
“Listen, sweetheart,” he said, trying to help her deal with the night’s events, “I didn’t know about any of this, either. It’s as much a shock to me as it is to you.”
He pulled off a sock and threw it toward the closet. The clothes hamper reached out quietly and grabbed it off the floor.
“Come ’ere,” he said, patting the bed beside him.
Tabatha walked her body over and sat it down next to him. He began unlacing the back of her gown.
“You know,” he began, “I have the greatest grandfather in the world. If there’s anything that can be done – he’ll figure it out. And then the rest of us will wonder how we missed such a simple solution.”
He smiled at her and touched her cheek. Tabatha smiled gently and turned toward him.
“I suppose you’re right,” she admitted. “It’s interesting to notice how young he looks yet how old he seems when I talk to him.
“Do you know what happened when Béla initiated me?” she asked, seeming to change the subject completely.
Caught off guard, Jake could only blink. He looked at her, waiting.
“Béla cut her wrist, and made me lick the blood off,” Tabatha told him. “It was such an incredible turn-on. Every cell in my body began tingling!”
She sat for a moment, silent under her husband’s quiet gaze.
“After Frank… Junior, I mean, left the room with Ethan, Béla and I… well, we made love,” Tabatha confessed. “She made me feel so wonderful that I couldn’t stop myself. It was rough, and violent. I felt this sensual – need – to test out my new body.
“Béla encouraged it, I think,” she continued. “She bit me on my breasts and neck. It hurt at first. She drew blood. Then it felt so fantastic that I started biting her. I tore into her neck like one of those vampires in an underground Tri-d. Then we wrestled on the bed, humping each other and sucking each other’s blood. Then she let me into her mind, let me share her sensations like I let you share mine, only I could see images, too.
“Her home is on another world, Jake,” she told him, becoming more animated, now. “There are already humans from earth populating that place. She's here, with… your father… She stays because she loves him. But she’s terribly homesick. She hides it from herself pretty well, but I saw it.
“There’s a ship coming for her in a few more years,” she continued. “Béla plans to take us all with her and abandon earth. I never understood why until now. She managed to hide that from me when our minds were merged together.”
“That’s amazing,” Jake said, dumbfounded. “So, I guess we don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen here. Béla’s already solved the problem of mankind’s continuation.”
“You don’t mind leaving Earth?” Tabatha asked, astounded by his complacence.
“No,” admitted Jake. “I can live anywhere, so long as I’m with you.”
He said it very simply, not intending to put any special romantic meaning into it. It was simply a fact.
Tabatha smiled. She could see in his mind that what he said was true. She realized she felt the same. But…
“I love Earth, Jake,” she said softly. “In my five years of working at OCI, I traveled all over the world. I was kind’ve… looking forward to spending a few hundred years discovering how many beautiful, romantic, exotic places you and I could make love in. I don’t imagine that will happen, now.”
“Sweetheart, I’m sure there are beautiful, romantic and exotic places on Béla’s home world, too.”
He smiled at her, trying to cheer her up.
“Home world?” Tabatha asked, surprised. “No. She doesn’t know where her home world is, or even the name of her species. The place she wants to take us to is just a really big space station out by Jupiter somewhere. Inside, it’s the same all over – mostly farmland and small communities. Béla’s homesick for her sisters and the alien being she thinks of as her father.
“Also, she revered as a goddess there,” she added as an afterthought. “It’s like she’s their queen or something… She misses that too, but she’d never confess to it.”
“Queen Béla, huh?” Jake asked, amused. “Well, she is special. If it weren’t for her, our entire family probably wouldn’t even exist. If Gramps somehow met Grams, anyway, they would be old and gray by now.”
“My parents are dead,” Tabatha admitted. “I don’t even remember them. I don’t remember a single event – a birthday, a holiday – anything we did together as a family. It’s like nothing happened before they died.
“It’s really weird, suddenly having a huge family around me after being raised by just my uncle,” she continued. “But I like it. It feels… normal.”
She smiled and pulled him down on the bed, landing softly next to him.
“I guess wherever we go,” she whispered, “we’ll go together.”
She kissed him and pulled herself up alongside him so the lengths of their bodies were touching.
‘Would you like to see what making love to Béla is like?’ she asked softly in his mind. ‘She showed me how to project images, too.’
“You tore her neck open like that?” Jake asked, suddenly seeing Tabatha and Béla wrapped around each other, sucking on each other’s jugular.
“She did to me, too,” Tabatha admitted. “It felt wonderful, exchanging our body fluids like that. It’s been a long time since I had a blood-sister.”
“Tabatha,” Jake began…
“Cat,” Tabatha said quietly.
“What?” Jake asked.
“She used to call me ‘Cat’,” Tabatha said, clarifying herself. “My first blood-sister, I mean.”
“Where is she now?” Jake asked, interested in finding out something new about his still mysterious wife.
“She… died,” Tabatha told him.
“I’m sorry,” Jake said softly.
Tabatha smiled. It was a sad smile. “I blocked her death out for years. I only remembered it again after the raid on those South American drug runners. She was the only person I ever allowed to give me that nickname.”
“Cat?” Jake asked.
“I loved it. I felt like it was my real name,” Tabatha explained. “My secret name.”
“You loved her, too,” Jake said, “I would be able to see that, even if we weren’t mind-linked.”
“Oh, yes! Mind-linked!” Tabatha said, suddenly brightening up. “I was going to show you what vampire sex is like while we make love.”
“You’re not going to bite my neck, are you?” Jake asked, trying not to show any fear of his own wife.
“No, silly,” she grinned. “I’ll just let you wallow in my lesbian images of humping against Béla’s leg while we sucked each other’s blood. And while you’re getting your perverted little rocks off, I’m going to impale myself on your beautiful cock and ride you to heaven…”
‘Anywhere I can go to escape this terrible calamity…’
“Sounds wonderful,” Jake grinned back at her. “Just don’t flood me with those images so heavily that I can’t watch you take that magnificent ride…”
She rolled over on him and began kissing and licking his chest and neck. Somehow, her gown came off. She merged her mind with his, always surprised at how her taut, but otherwise unremarkable body aroused him.
For the first time ever, she let him see the images that made up her thoughts, her mind, and made her who she was. He was shocked and saddened when he found Lorraine. He was terrified along with her as he watched the cable car plunge a thousand meters down into that Spanish canyon. He shared her fear, her fever, and her loneliness as she huddled against her dead parent’s bodies, shivering, trembling, and trying to keep warm, wondering fearfully what would become of her.
Tabatha gently guided him away from her heartbreaks and on to her ‘second’ awakening – her initiation and blood exchange with her new blood-sister, Béla.
‘Béla really is a vampire,’ Jake realized as he watched them exchanging their life-blood, joyfully sacrificing themselves to each other.
He could feel Tabatha’s body awaken to its immortality, suddenly feeling fresh and new again. He shared his wife’s astonishment at the new sensitivity her body was suddenly capable of, realizing his own body usually felt that way already. He was just so used to that state of ‘aliveness’ that it felt normal to him.
Her felt her joy at her first vampiric orgasm and her disappointment mixed with new loneliness when her initiation was finished and Béla’s thousand-year-old mind separated from hers.
Tabatha radiated her joy down through his body and mind as she sank down onto his cock. Jake could feel the stretching, the excitement, the penetration of letting him into her body – of sharing the center of her lust with him, the center of her body, and right now, the center of her universe.
He realized she was sharing her soul with him as she rode slowly up and down, her eyes closed, her body writhing gently against his hands holding onto her hips and waist. He could feel her deep desire for her onrushing orgasm to carry her away from all the troubles of the world that she’d learned about tonight.
As her orgasm approached, he sped up their gentle thrusting, trying to help her come, but she clamped down on him and locked her legs against his hips, preventing him from moving at all. She arched her back and pressed her clitoris against his pelvic bone. As the sensation of her orgasm increased, she pressed harder against him and began grinding her pelvis against his. She was so close to orgasm that the muscles in her pussy were actually fluttering.
He could feel in his mind that she needed more sensation in her breasts. She wanted them bitten, but, sitting on him, she was too far away. Jake reached up with his hands and began rolling her nipples in his fingers. She pressed her breasts harder against his hands, wanting him to maul them. He grabbed them and pressed his fingers in hard. Then she was crushing his hard dick with her cunt muscles and crying out, throwing her whole weight against his hands clenching her breasts. He could feel her squirting against his cock deep inside her – feel her mind as her orgasm swirled around, carrying her away.
As Tabatha relaxed, her juices began flowing down his dick and his balls, wetting the sheets beneath them.
Jake was so entranced with her performance that, when she moved slightly upward again, his cock sprang back to life, letting him know that it wasn’t finished yet. Feeling him in her mind, Tabatha realized it too, and began moving up and down on him, once again. It only took a moment for them both to realize that his cock, seeming to have a mind of its own, wasn’t going to be happy with anything less than another mind-rending orgasm.
In less than a minute, Tabatha came again. Then she collapsed, lying down on top of him. Jake realized she was exhausted, drenched inside and already completely satisfied. He rolled her off so that they were lying side by side with him still inside her. Moving one leg over her outside hip, he let her lie with her legs together while he slowly moved in and out, letting her rest, letting her almost fall asleep, letting her love flow over them both and carry them away.
After almost twenty minutes, he felt her pussy twitch as it began to respond to his gentle, but not insistent, movements. She moaned deep in her throat – a soft, quiet, sexy animal sound – and gently began to move her hips in rhythm with his.
Her mind was still open to him, but it wasn’t doing anything. There were no images, no verbal thoughts – just a wide expanse of clouds and a feeling of sated contentment. At the base of that contentment, he found himself. She had made him the center of her life. If he did anything to hurt her now, it would kill her.
Her vulnerability to him brought tears to his eyes. He wiped his face on her cheek and kissed her neck. The sticky feeling of their bodies lying together for so long was more arousing than annoying. He prayed that her body would never start to feel annoying to him.
Tabatha forced her arm under his rib cage so she could hug him closer to her. She smiled as the scent of their sex and their sweat assaulted her nostrils stronger than before, awakening her more. She kissed the edge of his eyes, his temple and his hair, wondering why her face was wet.
‘I must have come so hard I cried,’ she decided.
She hugged him closer, luxuriating in the wonderful way he was waking her up. She mind-linked with him again and suddenly realized that he was still in the last lovemaking session.
‘Good grief! I went to sleep on him!’ Tabatha realized, embarrassed.
She had never trusted anyone enough to go to sleep while they were still making love to her. Jake grinned, seeing her upset, feeling it in her mind.
‘Relax,’ he thought at her.
She smiled at him, hearing his thought, feeling his contentment with her that surrounded the word as it floated through her mind.
‘Where are we?’ she asked in his mind as she looked around.
They seemed to be floating in the air. The ground was a great distance away. The closest thing to them was the bed, turning slowly beneath them as the mattress and bed frame separated.
‘I don’t know,’ Jake admitted. ‘I found this place in your mind. It must be what you believe to be heaven.’
Tabatha looked around, suddenly realizing that the ground was above them, too. Startled, she started to pull away from Jake.
“What is it?” Jake asked, out loud. Then he opened his eyes. They were actually floating in air! It wasn’t just his imagination!
“What the hell!” he exclaimed.
They were surrounded by… Nothing!
His mind started racing, trying to determine what was happening. His hands, acting independently, held tightly onto Tabatha’s hips, making sure they didn’t float apart.
Tabatha stared at him, her mouth open in amazement. They were now at right angles to each other, but still connected where it counted the most. He was still buried deep inside her. Despite each one’s astonishment at where they found themselves floating and what was happening around them, each wanted to continue their lovemaking.
He was close to orgasm now. He pulled her hips harder against him as he spurted deep inside her. He felt her respond with a small orgasm of her own.
Their minds still connected, they began to float apart. As Jake looked around, feeling lost and bewildered, he realized that Tabatha didn’t feel the same.
‘You know where we are!’ he suddenly realized. Then he could see it in her mind. ‘This is Béla’s world!’
“How did we get here?” he asked, still astonished.
He looked more closely at his wife. She looked thinner – too thin.
“Have you lost weight?” he asked.
When they were making love, he’d thought her hips felt a little bony, but now, she seemed to be just skin and bones. And she was getting thinner as he watched.
She looked at him with pain in her eyes, the anguish of her starved body making itself known to her. She took a ragged breath, then her eyes closed and her head rolled back as she floated. Jake couldn’t feel her mind anymore.
‘She’s fainted,’ he realized.
Jake cried out suddenly as an enormous bird suddenly appeared right in front of him. Focusing his startled eyes, he found himself gazing at the naked body of an incredibly beautiful blond angel. Huge velvety wings, each at least three meters long extended from where her arms should have been.
A second later, another angel, this one with short-cropped dark hair, but just as stunningly and beautifully naked as the first, appeared. He could hear them talking to each other in his head.
‘I thought you said there were strangers dream-walking up here!’
‘They were, Elaine! They must have teleported here from Earth.’
‘They’re humans, Annalisa. Humans don’t teleport! Besides, there aren’t any humans left on Earth. They’re all dead!’
‘Maybe they’re from the mining colony on Io…’
“What?” Jake asked, stunned. “What do you mean, all dead? There are billions of people on Earth!”
He grimaced as he felt the blond angel sweep through his mind with hers. She stared at him, her eyes suddenly very wide.
“Do you know who this is?” she asked her sister, so surprised she said it out loud.
Elaine looked over at the unconscious, dark-haired, too-thin girl floating next to her. Images passed between the two angels too quickly for Jake to follow.
The other angel, evidently Annalisa, gasped.
“Then she must be…” Annalisa said out loud, remembering her history lessons from the Praetor, all those centuries ago.
Chapter 12 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Frank arrived home by himself, pleased that Alicia’s daughter, Jackie, and his son, Frank Junior, had decided to stay at the Boston Ramada-Hilton, the same hotel that harbored the Troubadour Room where they’d all had dinner. The Troubadour Room boasted a fantastic breakfast buffet, and uncle and niece decided they wanted to try it.
Frank knew, of course, that they hadn’t imposed on him because of Tanya’s accident, even though he had refused to even discuss the accident with them.
“What are you doing up?” he asked, trying to sound angry with Tanya for not staying in bed until she was completely healed.
“I was hungry,” Tanya replied.
She sounded normal. When she moved, however, she still moved slowly, as she forced a tube of stiff scar tissue running up through her body to bend in the proper directions as she moved.
“Well, sit down and I’ll fix you something,” Frank said, noticing how painfully she was moving around the kitchen.
“I’d rather stand, if you don’t mind,” Tanya said, her voice a little weaker now that she had someone around who would sympathize with her.
She stood, leaning against a counter and watched him.
“What do you want?” he asked.
“I was going to fix some eggs,” she told him. “They’re starting to get old and I wanted to use them up.”
“Eggs, it is!” Frank replied, thankful that she asked for something that he knew how to cook.
He broke the first yoke when he cracked it too deeply. He broke the second one, too, trying to move it around in the pan so that the white on top would get done without cooking the bottom too hard.
“Scrambled?” he asked.
He heard Tanya chuckle. It was pleasant hearing a happy sound coming from her.
“So, how’d the forum go?” she asked as he dumped the egg mess onto a plate for her.
She could tell he was terribly preoccupied with something. Whatever it was, it was bothering him a lot.
“Well, Alicia dropped a little bomb on us,” Frank said, not sure that he wanted to dump on Tanya while she was still in this weakened state. “It’s not important. I can tell you later.”
“Oh, okay,” Tanya said, sounding a little disappointed. “I thought some of Alicia’s clan might stay with us… Evidently they found somewhere else, huh?”
She took a bite of egg and swallowed it without paying much attention to it. After eating for a moment, she tried talking to Frank again.
“They’re staying somewhere else because of me?” she asked. It wasn’t really a question.
“They’re staying somewhere else because I asked them to,” Frank replied.
“What’s bothering you?” Tanya asked. “I don’t want to quarrel with you, but you’re acting really weird. Tell me what happened at the forum. Please?”
Frank took a deep breath, and let it out slowly.
“You remember Jackie, I’m sure,” he said.
“Yes. Of course I do,” she responded, sounding a little curt. “A grandmother doesn’t forget her first grandchild. I know she was supposed to be there, too. Did something happen to her?”
“No,” Frank said, hesitating. “It’s what she said…”
He told her about the unpleasant discoveries that her researchers had uncovered. He also told her that Alicia wanted to bring her husband into the family. She wanted Béla to initiate him like she had her son’s wife, Tabatha.
“Well, that’s up to Béla, isn’t it?” Tanya asked. “Is that the reason she called the family forum?”
“Well, it was that and a lot of other stuff,” Frank said. “She's been using funds from one of her husband’s companies to bankroll an underground city so that some of us will survive. She's nearly bankrupted her husband and it’s only a matter of time before he finds out.
“I think that the real reason she wants to bring him into our family is so that he won’t confiscate everything she has to repay what she’s embezzled,” he declared.
“She's trying to help!” Tanya insisted. “We should support her for that.”
“Yes. Well,” he sighed. “I’m letting Béla handle it right now. We’re going to meet again tomorrow after breakfast.”
“Where?” Tanya asked. “Here?”
Frank laughed. “I forgot to tell them where!”
Tanya laughed, too. She looked at her plate.
“What wine goes with cold eggs?” she asked, trying to be humorous.
“Orange juice,” Frank replied without any hesitation. He got up and got her some. “Drink that, and let’s get you back to bed. I want you healed!”
“Part of me’s healed already,” Tanya said, taking the glass from him.
“Oh yeah? What part?” he asked. He looked at her when she didn’t answer.
She was gazing at him over the top of her glass as she downed her juice. She had that look in her eyes.
“Oh, no!” Frank exclaimed. “No sex until you’re ready!”
“Guess what grew back… again…” she grinned at him.
Forcing her body to move fluidly, she walked across the kitchen and, taking his face in both hands, kissed him delicately on his lips.
“It’s waiting…” she whispered.
Then she disengaged from him and walked out of the room, forcing her hips into a sexy sway as she walked. She was glad she was facing away from him so he couldn’t see her grimace and clench her teeth in pain at her sultry walk to the bedroom.
She got to the bedroom and put both her hands out, one on each side of the door as she passed through, using the sturdy doorframe to remain standing upright. Once through, she turned around and met her husband, face to face. She leaned on the doorframe with both hands, one on each side, breathing heavily and trembling in exhaustion from the short journey down the hallway.
She forced a smile onto her face and kissed Frank as he almost walked into her. She put her arms around him and let him walk her, backwards, to the bed while she leaned sexily against him. When she felt the bed against the back of her legs, she let go and sat down quickly.
The scar tissue inside her body felt like it was tearing loose or something. Tanya rolled over quickly so he wouldn’t see the tears that the incredible pain brought to her eyes.
Frank looked down at her for a moment, expecting her to slough off her nightgown while he got undressed. When she didn’t move again, he reached down and touched her arm. Her skin was cold and damp. Suddenly more concerned, he pulled her onto her back. She was unconscious.
He straightened back up and got undressed.
‘Little faker!’ He thought to himself, mildly amused. ‘She's more scared of worrying me than she is of hurting herself further.’
He actually was concerned that she may have hurt herself again. But with Béla’s blood in her veins, that would heal, too. He finished undressing and crawled into bed with her, curling his body protectively against hers as she lay, taking up the middle of the bed.
‘Her new-grown cherry can wait until morning,’ he thought to himself.
In moments, he was asleep.
Chapter 13 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The air around Jake’s face felt too cool. He kept his eyes closed, not wanting to wake Béla as she slept next to him. The piercing cry of a faraway hunting bird snapped his mind awake.
Then he remembered that he was alone, cast out of his house by Béla and camping on the desert mesa where she had revealed her vampiric secrets to him a century earlier. He moaned, almost under his breath, not wanting to get up and face a day without her.
A sigh from close by caused Jake to open his eyes. They focused on Béla, sitting quietly in the tent with him. She’d been watching him sleep. He looked closer. She’d been crying.
“Hi, babe,” Jake said quietly. “I’m sorry. Can you forgive me?”
He could see she was upset. Plus, she didn’t answer him.
‘Wow! She's really ticked off at me this time!’
While neither Béla nor Jake had paid much attention to the idea that two people could be sexually faithful to each other for centuries at a time, this was the first time that he had ever asked her if he could move someone in with them. He’d thought of using Beth as a defense, since Beth and Béla had been lovers. But he’d fucked Beth, too. And, from what he understood, they were stepsisters or something, so that made her ‘family.’ And besides, using Béla’s sister as an excuse seemed rather unfair, now that she was dead.
“Listen, um,” Jake began. “If you don’t want to let Foxy move in…”
Béla held up her hand, stopping him. She shook her head sadly; her eyes beginning to tear again.
“Oh, no,” Jake murmured, realizing what Béla didn’t want to tell him.
Foxy was dead.
After a moment, Jake looked up at Béla, questions in his eyes. She didn’t wait for him to ask.
“They arrested her… boyfriend… a couple of hours ago,” she told him quietly. “But he may not be prosecuted. It isn’t illegal to murder someone who agrees to be killed.”
Jake slumped. “She's been waiting for someone to kill her for a long time, I guess. I just didn’t see it.”
“Wish her better luck next time,” Béla said quietly, gazing at the tent wall, her eyes not focusing on anything.
“What?” Jake asked, confused.
“Never mind. It isn’t important,” she said.
‘Not to Foxy… Not anymore…’
They sat quietly in the tent for a time. Then Jake spoke.
“Who’s watching Lisa?” he asked.
“Alicia,” Béla said simply.
Jake frowned, not particularly caring to have Alicia in the same house as Béla, or his daughter. Béla picked up his thought and decided to comment on it, rather than reach in, yet again, and fix the way his mind didn’t quite work right. She was tired of always fixing him.
“The only reason you don’t like Alicia is because she had children from you before I did.” Béla said, sounding cold and distant.
‘There! It’s out in the open! Let him stew on that for awhile!’
Jake looked at her, not believing what she just said. He felt his anger start to rise.
“I hated Alicia because she was alive when you were dead!” Jake declared. “I wanted her! But she didn’t measure up to you. Nobody ever measured up to you! Even dead, you ruined any possibility that I could be happy with anyone else.
“And there were several that tried!”
Then Béla was in his arms, crying into the top of the sleeping bag that had bunched up on his shoulder when she’d reached for him.
‘I’m sorry! I’m sorry!’ she thought anxiously into his head. ‘Please forgive me! I love you so much that I just don’t think straight when it comes to you!’
Jake smiled to himself and hugged her tightly, enjoying how good it felt to have her in his arms, again.
After a moment, she sat up. “I would give you anything, if I could, even Foxy, if she was who you wanted.”
“Instead of you, you mean?” Jake asked, wiping a wet streak off her face. “I’m not really looking to replace you, you know.”
He kissed her gently. They lay quietly in each other’s arms for several minutes. The hunting bird cried out again. It seemed closer.
“What is it?” Jake asked.
“I was just thinking,” she admitted. “I’d like to fly.”
“But you can fly,” Jake replied, not understanding.
“No, goof ball,” Béla said. Then she clarified what she meant. “I’d like to fly – now!”
“Oh!” replied Jake.
They started to untangle themselves from each other and get up. Then Jake stopped.
“Can I undress you?” he asked.
“What?” Béla asked, caught off guard. “Why?”
“Well, ’cause I like to take your clothes off.” he answered.
“I usually just teleport out of them, for flying,” she told him.
He just looked at her.
“Oh, alright!” Béla conceded, giving in to his wishes.
She rolled her eyes away from him, pretending she didn’t care if he touched her or not as he began unbuttoning her blouse.
Two minutes later, they were rolling on top of his sleeping bag and she wasn’t pretending anymore. Her little nipples were hard as erasers from his tender mauling and his teeth. They took turns shoving their tongues into each other’s mouths, first Jake, then Béla, then Jake again.
She unbuttoned his shirt, one button at a time with her left hand. Then she trailed her fingers down his chest and stomach. He was wearing a tight pair of jeans. She tried, without looking down, to unfasten then with one hand. As it became increasingly frustrating, she had to stop kissing him to see what she was doing wrong.
“Relax, girl,” Jake admonished her. “I have to go piss anyway.”
He started to get up. Béla’s hand on his stomach stopped him.
“What now?” he asked.
He looked at her face. She seemed uncertain about something. Then she moved her hand and let him get up.
“I’ll come with you,” she suggested, starting to get up with him.
“What? Don’t be silly!” Jake said, chastising her.
Then he stopped dead in his tracks, realizing what she wanted.
“No! Absolutely not!” he declared.
He turned to leave the tent.
Béla grabbed his arm. “I don’t want to drink it! I just want to… know… what it feels like.”
She swallowed nervously. “Inside me.”
“Inside you?” Jake asked, not believing her.
Béla nodded, still feeling nervous about even asking. She couldn’t quite meet his eyes as he stared at her, trying to figure her out, yet again.
“No!” Jake said, turning away from her.
“Why not?” she pleaded. “You’ve done everything else to me! What not that?”
“Because!” Jake offered angrily.
He walked away from her again, then undid the front of his jeans. Béla caught up and stood in front of him, then dropped to her knees. He glared down at her, thinking that perhaps he should just cut loose on her as she knelt there in front of him.
Béla gazed up at him. “You’ve beat me, you’ve chained me up. You’ve stabbed me and shot me. You’ve fucked me in the ass, then stuck your shit-covered dick in my mouth.
“And I loved it all!” she exclaimed. “Why do you think I won’t love this?”
Jake turned away, deciding to pee in another direction.
“You did it to her!” Béla cried out in anguish. “Why won’t you do it to me?”
“What?” Jake asked, disbelieving her again. “It that what this is about? Foxy’s dead! Don’t let her come between us anymore. I love you! I’d never do that to anyone I loved… I’ve never done that to anyone before. I don’t even know anyone who’s even had it done to them.”
“Tanya has,” Béla said, betraying her friend’s confidence in her desperate need.
Then Béla played the images in his mind – Tanya with her wrists tied to a bed and a man fucking her. Then he pissed inside her when he came. Tanya hated him for doing that to her, and she’d killed him for it. But she had loved how it felt.
“I want you to do that to me,” Béla said, determined to get her way. “I wouldn’t ask just anyone to do this.”
She knew she could simply take over his mind and make him do it, but it was important to her that he did this of his own free will.
“You’re sick,” Jake said, feeling disgusted.
“But you’ll do it?” Béla asked, daring to hope.
“If you want it this badly, you get the whole show!” he said, sounding more cold and withdrawn than before.
“What do you mean?” she asked, pleased that, at least, what she wanted would be included in what he was going to do to her.
“You’ll be my slave,” Jake told her. “Until I say you’re not.”
Béla thought for a moment. “I’ve been your slave before, dominated by you and your gun. I loved that. Why do you think I won’t love this?”
“Do you agree or not!” Jake asked, ignoring her question.
“Yes! Of course I agree!” Béla said, deciding to go through with it. “I’m your slave. I’ll do anything you ask me to.”
“Alright, then,” Jake told her. “Tell me what your favorite piece of clothing is.”
“It’s the red kimono my father gave me,” she answered. “Why?”
Jake bounded forward and backhanded her across the mouth.
“You will address me as ‘My Lord’!” he commanded her angrily.
Béla rocked back, shocked by his physical blow. She held her temper, barely preventing herself from teleporting him directly into the sun. She shook with her anger. Still on her knees, she straightened back up.
“Forgive me, my lord,” she whispered.
She didn’t look him directly in the eye. That was forbidden for a slave.
“Go!” Jake commanded. “Find that garment, put it on and return to this spot!”
Béla vanished. Then she suddenly returned. “Yes! My lord!”
Grinning happily, she vanished again. In less than thirty seconds, she was back. She was wearing the red kimono. It was a stunningly beautiful red silk garment with brilliant slashes of bright, hot pink creating an explosive design off her left hip.
“Kneel,” he said quietly.
He’d been holding himself in since they started arguing. His lower belly was starting to cramp as his bladder began backing up toward his kidneys. His dick was so hard he felt he could use it as a bat.
Béla knelt in front of him. Jake took his dick back out. Béla suddenly sat back on her haunches, a cry of distress emanating from her trembling lips.
‘No! Not my favor…’ she started to plead into his mind. Then, under his glare, she remembered her new status with him.
Closing her eyes, she straightened back up into a kneeling position and raised her face toward his, not knowing if she was going to be struck or pissed on. She trembled as she waited, not daring to use her mental abilities to read him without his permission.
She gasped in shock as a hard stream of hot piss smacked her in the face and spattered all over her. She spit out the few drops that had gotten into her mouth as Jake began hosing down her breasts right through her precious silk garment.
In seconds the garment was soaked through and clinging coldly to her flesh except for where he currently aimed. There, it was hot and wet. But it quickly turned cold and clammy when his stream was directed elsewhere.
She watched, too distressed to look away, while red dye bled into the hot pink design, then ran down in red rivulets, staining her legs. She closed her eyes, not wanting to look any more.
After a few more seconds, Jake stopped, abruptly.
“Put it in your mouth!” he commanded her.
Béla leaned forward, opening her eyes again so she could see her target, then began sucking on his dick.
She choked as a hard stream of hot piss struck the back of her throat and forced its way down into her lungs. She choked it out, suddenly realizing she couldn’t breathe in to expel the rest of it. She began to convulse as she desperately tried not to breathe in more of the hot, burning liquid, choking hard and violently expelling what was in her month onto Jake’s jeans and boots.
She felt Jake pull out of her mouth and took a deep, ragged breath. She choked and gagged it out, trying to expel the last of the foul liquid out of her nose, throat and mouth.
She suddenly found that she was lying on the ground, stunned from Jake’s violent slap. In addition to the piss, she could taste blood in her mouth. He’s hit her so hard that the inside of her mouth was bleeding where it’d been smashed against her teeth.
“Stand up!” he told her. “Face away from me and grab your ankles.”
Béla crawled to her feet, sullen and thoroughly disabused of the idea that she would enjoy this. But, at last, it looked like she was going to get what she wanted.
Moving painfully, she turned away from him and bent down. Her arms, legs and back created a fragile triangle that would support her during her next stage of abuse.
Jake walked up behind her with no preamble and shoved his hard dick into her pussy. She was surprised at how easily it went in, then remembered that she’d been aroused earlier and was probably still wet from that.
Jake fucked her harder and harder, trying to come with his dick nearly numb from the need to pee. Finally, he felt the distant edge of an orgasm. It quickly built up and released. In desperate relief, Jake released his stream inside Béla’s cunt, quickly flooding her insides so that it began to spray out and down both their legs.
Forcing himself to stop the flow one final time, Jake pulled out and roughly shoved his dick up against her ass. He began pissing again, lubricating her tight little bunghole with urine, then shoved it into her, a spray of hot urine leading the way into the depths of her bowels.
He rammed into her ass three more times before he was drained. Then he staggered back, gazing at his creation.
Béla stood, her knees locked in position, holding her ankles. Her leg muscles were starting to burn, but she knew not to move until he gave her permission. It had been a thousand years since she’d been truly subjugated by a man, but the rules came back quickly. She waited for his permission.
“So,” Jake gasped, still out of breath, “is this what you want, slave?”
“Yes, my lord,” Béla said, her voice strained from holding her awkward position.
“Tell me why!” he demanded, his voice shaking with emotion. “Why would you want to be like this for me?”
“May I stand, my lord?” Béla pleaded. “It’s easier to talk right side up.”
“Stand, then!” he told her.
Béla stood up, slowly straightening her stiff, sore back and trying to ignore the shooting pains running down her legs. She took a couple of deep breaths to collect her thoughts.
“When you said you wanted Foxy,” she began, then almost stopped as she saw his face harden.
She continued anyway. “When you said you wanted her, I realized that there was some part of your needs and desires that I wasn’t addressing – that I was ignoring, I mean. I realized that I was running your life for you, and that it was driving you away. I felt I had to relinquish that control, or I would lose you.”
“I was happy the way we were,” Jake confessed to her. “I didn’t love Foxy, and I didn’t really want to own her. But, compared to any other life she would have, I preferred to own her myself.”
Béla slumped, realizing their game was over and she hadn’t won him back. She began to take off her wet, ruined, no-longer-beautiful but still brightly colored sarong.
“I didn’t tell you to take that off,” Jake said. There was no love, or anger either, in his voice. It sounded flat and dull. “You like that dress so much, wear it until it rots off you!”
Béla pulled the clammy, smelly garment back down over her cold, wet skin. She waited, as was her station, for his next degradation.
Jake looked at her for a moment longer, then spoke. “Do you really think I would accept you like this?” The disgust and hate was evident in his voice and eyes. “I free you! Now get away from me!” He spit on the ground in front of her, then turned back toward the campsite.
A cry escaped from Béla’s lips before she could stop it. She sank slowly to her knees, her guts ripped from her, sobbing uncontrollably.
Jake returned to his tent and sat down on his bedroll. He knew that, if he waited long enough, she would be gone when he emerged again. After a few minutes, he no longer heard Béla’s heart-rending sobs.
Suddenly remembering what had been packed among his camping gear, he rummaged around and found the old automatic pistol Béla had once given him. He checked to see that it was loaded, then stood up and tucked it into his belt. He left the tent and began walking across the mesa.
Chapter 14 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He moved toward her. She backed away, suddenly realizing she was naked, and tried to cover herself with her arms. He offered her a seat. Gingerly she sat and stared at him, ready to flee at an instant’s warning.
He moved toward her, his dick brightly lighting the area between her legs. Then he was nuzzling her pussy lips, carefully finding the tiny opening between them and moving inward, into her slippery, shiny insides.
She liked the light on the end of his dick. “Ooo! It feels warm!” she told him.
He began to move more rapidly inside her, pushing forward a little more and deeper with each stroke. He knew that when he came, his orgasm would be so tremendous that his dick would blast right through the top of her skull.
He gradually increased his stroke, pushing deeper and deeper with each thrust.
Frank suddenly realized that he was lying in bed. He wasn’t fucking Tanya with that huge, powerful metal penis. But still, something wet and warm was moving up and down on his dick and producing a wonderful sensation.
Frank smiled, still half asleep. Whenever anything happened to Tanya’s cunt so brutal that her hymen grew back when her body regenerated, Tanya would become completely obsessed and impossible to live with until he broke it again.
Noticing her husband was finally awake, Tanya stopped licking his dick and crawled up beside him on her elbows.
“I’m a lot more limber, today,” she whispered softly, breathing directly into his ear.
She giggled as she watched him flinch away.
“That tickles!” he exclaimed and rubbed his ear.
She kissed him and sat up on the bed, scooting up near his head and folding her legs underneath her. He heard something ‘clink’ as it rolled on the bedcovers.
Frank sat up and looked around. On the bed were a half dozen of the torture devices that he’d bought her over the last few years, consisting mostly of perverse, torturous vaginal inserts. Once the device was inserted, either body heat or a timer triggers a mechanism that launches something sharp and wicked either further up or out to the sides, skewering her sensitive pussy walls. Tanya loved both kinds.
In addition, Frank’s old pistol was also on the bed with them.
“A gun?” Frank asked, not believing his eyes.
“Um-hum!” Tanya nodded brightly. “That skewering robot gave me an orgasm like I’d never had before. I knew using that ‘space girl’ technique of dissipating acute pain throughout my whole body could give me a really great orgasm, but I never knew that the amount of pain dispersed had anything to do with how incredible the orgasm was!”
“And?” Frank asked, already knowing where this was going.
This was why he and Béla had never become life-mates. But Tanya was already his life-mate. Somehow, he felt completely different about helping his wife achieve ultimate sensation. It was the same action – firing a gun into a cunt, but somehow he felt excited about doing that to Tanya. When Béla had suggested it, back in… (Wow! Was it 1970?)… whenever, the thought had completely disgusted him.
“And,” Tanya continued the sentence for him, “I thought that, since I’ve proven that I can survive being run through lengthwise with an inch wide barbecue skewer, I can maybe talk you into, um, using me for some, uh, target practice? There! I said it!”
She sat back, waiting for his answer, nervously chewing on her lower lip. Frank’s dick showed how he felt. Tanya watched as it seemed to grow another inch or two as he thought about it.
“Whoa, honey!” she exclaimed, reaching out and gripping it with both hands. “Does this mean yes?”
She happily twisted her hands around on his nice hard cock, almost giving it rope burn. Frank gritted his teeth to keep from coming all over the both of them and all the toys on the bed.
A couple drops of cum perked out through the little slit on the end, and Tanya leaned down and licked them off. That was all it took. His cock exploded into her face, covering her cheeks, her lips, her teeth and eyes with spurt after spurt. Some even shot up her nose.
They were both laughing uncontrollably as she wiped her face off, rubbing one side on his leg and the other on his hairy belly. Tanya sat back up and gazed into his face, grinning sappily.
“I had a dream when I was waking up,” Frank told her. “I believed that I was that fucking robot and that it was my dick – all glass light heating element and steel, complete with a pneumatic pump for a prostate. I couldn’t wait to come and shoot that tube up through your body. I just knew it would be the biggest orgasm of my life.”
“How do you want to do it?” she asked, anxious and excited.
Although she loved be mutilated, she preferred Frank to do it to her. When she did it to herself in her sanctuary, she always woke up feeling alive and rejuvenated, but she always woke up alone. With Frank, she never woke up alone. Most of the time, anyway.
“Well, we could paint targets on your boobs,” Frank joked.
“Just don’t shoot me in the head or the heart,” Tanya burst out, suddenly nervous. “Even the space girls can’t take that.”
She hopped off the bed, hoping that her movement toward the door would get Frank moving faster. She didn’t like the term ‘vampire’. She preferred her own ‘space girl’ term to describe the alien species that Béla and her sisters were.
“What’s that?” Frank asked.
There was a small box on the bed behind where Tanya had been sitting.
“Um, the space girls call them ‘poppers’,” Tanya explained. “If you said no, I was going to take the box into my playroom and stuff a couple of them in, uh, you-know-where, and see if I could get them to go off.”
“You need a fuse,” Frank said, recognizing what they were.
They were special explosive rods make to shove into the ends of dynamite sticks to get them to explode.
“Oh, I had it all planned out,” Tanya explained.
She walked around to the box, and dumped it onto the bed. In addition to the ‘poppers’, an electric lighter, a coil of fuse material and a desk stapler tumbled out onto the sheet.
“What’s the stapler for?” Frank asked, suspecting he already knew.
If he was right, his super-bombshell wife was going to give him a demonstration of self-mutilation that would have him drooling on his chest hairs. His limp, sticky dick jerked in anticipation and slowly began to grow again.
“Watch!” Tanya said.
She took one of the dynamite caps and stuck the fuse onto the end. Then she started to shove the short little rod up into her pussy. Wincing suddenly, she stopped. She pulled it back out of her pussy lips.
“Oh, fuck! I can’t!” she whined. She looked around the bed. “Crap! I can’t use any of this stuff! You have to ‘pop’ me first!”
Disgusted, she kicked the box with which she’d carried in all this stuff to the edge of the bed. Then she shoved all her toys over the side and down into the box.
Frank laughed and shook his head. The last thing that sailed into the box was the stapler. Then Tanya crawled across the bed and flopped down beside him, pouting.
“Oh, God I love you,” Frank said, sighing.
He twisted around so that they were lying face to face and kissed her, forcing his lips past her hands and arms in front of her face.
“Go get the stapler,” he whispered, “and the coil of fuse.”
He would do what he believed she had planned. He watched as his words registered somewhere behind her stunning blue eyes. She suddenly looked brighter and rolled over. Practically diving off the bed, she rummaged through the box; her legs spread wide to keep her from slipping completely over the side.
Frank watched her sexy butt and the slit that wasn’t quite hiding her pussy. He almost rolled across the bed and attacked what he could see. But he knew they’d have more fun with what he planned on doing. Watching her muscles work as she pushed herself back up on the bed, he almost changed his mind. Then she was back up and facing him with the fuse coil and the stapler.
He reached out and took them from her, then rose up out of bed.
“Lie down,” he said, standing beside the bed.
Tanya lay back with a look of excited anticipation on her face. Frank unrolled a section of fuse and dropped it down on top of her. Then he took the stapler and stapled one end of the fuse against her belly, shooting the staple right into her pelvis.
“Yipe!” she cried, startled by the sharp jab of the first staple.
Then her eyes brightened up and she stretched out so he’d have more skin to work with. She hoped he used lots of staples.
When he ran out of fuse, she gazed down at his handiwork, breathing heavily from the sensation of all those little staples sticking into her tender flesh. It appeared to be a very complex, small gauge model train setup, with switchbacks going up her belly and rib cage, then circling around one boob up to her hard little nipple.
He’d stapled the fuse right over the top of her nipple, then stretched it across like a suspension bridge to the other nipple and stapled it there, too. She had an orgasm when he stapled her second nipple. Her left breast was only partially encircled by the last of the fuse coil. He’d run out before he’d reached the bottom of her second little mountain of flesh.
Now, he gently pulled his fragile creation around so that her legs were dangling off the bed. He stood between them, his dick pointed at her already glistening, ‘virgin’ tunnel.
“Ready, Hon?” he asked.
He held the lighter in his hand.
“No ‘poppers’?” she whined in her best ‘Tootsie’ voice, trying to sound disappointed.
“This is the only popper you need, babe!”
Frank pointed at his own dick. Tanya smiled and lay back, feeling the fuse stretch and the staples shift in her skin as she moved.
She took a deep breath and prepared for his cock to invade her fresh, newly grown cunt. A couple of staples popped out of her skin, loosening the fuse.
“You’d better do it now, sweetie,” she told him, “before the whole thing comes apart.”
She gasped as she finally felt his cock head rubbing against her moist pussy lips. She tensed her body, determined to hold still while he entered her. She didn’t want any more staples to come loose. It felt wonderful when they did, but she wanted to feel the burn of the fuse on her skin, not dangling somewhere above. If she’d wanted that, she’d have just lit a sparkler and held it close to her.
That gave her a wonderful idea!
“Desk pad,” she called out to the wall.
“Ready,” the wall console replied.
“Remind me about fucking lighted sparklers!” she told it. “End note.”
“Noted,” it responded.
“You ready yet?” Frank asked, distracted by her memo making.
‘Lit sparklers? Yum!’
“Yes! I already said do it!” Tanya said impatiently.
Frank shoved in to where he met some resistance. Tanya braced, popping a few more staples, then cried out in orgasm as he popped her cherry (for probably the tenth time).
He fucked her slowly until she stopped moaning with each gentle thrust, then began to pick up speed. The intricate little design of fuse material stapled to her soft belly was starting to come apart, so he lit the end nearest her crotch.
Tanya cried out and bucked her hips into the air as the fuse flared to life and burnt into her tender flesh down there. Even Frank jumped back, pulling completely out of her as the sudden flare-up coated his face and chest in a layer of sparks and hot smoke. Then he shoved his bloodied dick back into her tight, wet pussy and continued fucking her, his stomach taut and held away from hers, not wanting his own flesh scorched any more than it already was.
The fuse quickly burned its way back and forth across her belly towards her boobs, leaving a deeply gouged trail of burnt flesh that slowly oozed blood.
Tanya was coming constantly now, her cunt muscles fluttering against Frank’s cock as she continually tried to flinch away from the burning fuse while, at the same time, trying not to move so that the staples holding the fuse down wouldn’t pop out of her flesh before the fuse burned through them.
She could smell herself cooking, and was suddenly jealous of that unknown member of the suicide club who’d elected to be barbecued to death and eaten.
She cried out louder and louder with each heaving breath as the fuse wound its way around and up her right tit, screaming in orgasm as it cooked its way over her right nipple.
There was moment’s respite when the fuse dropped against her less sensitive breastbone as it traveled across her chest toward her other nipple. She used the few seconds of sensual freedom to catch her breath and brace for the fiery destruction of her other nipple.
As the fuse eagerly climbed up towards its target, Tanya’s remaining nipple got so hard it hurt. In addition, the burning fuse was igniting the parts of the fuse that wound back down around her breast. Her whole left tit was going up in flames all at once!
“Aaaiiiieeeee!” she screamed at the top of her lungs as her entire breast ignited.
She could feel herself gushing between her legs as she came. Frank gripped her hips as hard as he could so that he could keep fucking her wildly bucking body.
Tanya arched up into the air in one final orgasm and collapsed back down onto the bed. Dimly, she felt Frank spurting inside her. As she lost consciousness, breathing in the smell of her own cooked flesh, she thought of how wonderful she would taste barbecued.
Chapter 15 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lisa stood on the sand, looking down at her mother. Béla was simply lying on the ground. Her eyes were open and she was conscious, but she wasn’t radiating any emotion – no thought, no feeling – she simply wasn’t functioning.
“Hey!” Lisa said, rather loudly. “Wake up, Mom!”
She waited another moment.
“Helloo!” Lisa shouted into her mother’s head with her mind. “What’s wrong with you?”
Béla blinked, then blinked several more times as she seemed to wake up. She looked around, dazed. Her eyes finally focused on her daughter bending over at her waist and glaring down at her.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, her voice sounding gravelly and unused.
Lisa flashed an image of a confused looking Alicia trying to read the instructions on a box of pancake mix.
“My step-mom doesn’t cook!” she exclaimed, in her typical teen-age fashion. “And you made me promise to stop teleporting cold cuts from the deli! I haven’t eaten all day!”
“She's not your step-mother,” Béla said, picking out something she could respond to.
“Her son’s father is my dad,” Lisa explained, acting surprised that she had to, “so that makes her my step-mom!”
“Go home and order a pizza or something,” Béla told her.
Lisa just looked at her in typical teenage disgust.
‘Go home and work it out between the two of you!’ Béla commanded with her mind.
She tried to get up. Lisa moved forward to help her. She suddenly backed away.
“Wow!” Lisa exclaimed. “You really stink!”
She backed away, choking the smell of her mother out of her mouth and nose.
“Go home!” Béla said, once again. ‘I mean it!’
“Fine! I’m gone!” Lisa exclaimed. “I’ll teach step-mommy how to make pancakes!”
She vanished. ‘Jeez!’
Béla, now upright, staggered unsteadily over to the tent where she’d found Jake this morning. The sun was almost straight overhead, now, making it around eleven in the morning, she estimated. She grimaced at the buzzing it made in her head, grateful that it was in the ‘soft’ part of its cycle.
Jake wasn’t there. Béla stood, looking at the empty campsite and becoming angrier by the minute.
‘You can’t treat me like that and then just walk away!’ she fumed, becoming more furious with him.
She angrily pulled off her ruined sarong and threw it on the ground. He’d sullied her. He’d degraded her. And then he’d thrown her away! She could forgive him the first two, but not for throwing her away – not for leaving her!
With her body now charged with pure female fury, she formed her wings and launched herself into the sky. She spotted his tracks leading out across the mesa and flew toward where he had to be.
Miles away, Jake staggered and fell. He crawled back up on his feet. There were only a couple more miles to the cave he’d found when he was hiking up here sixty years ago. No one would ever find him. He should have done it the last time he was up here. Then he’d have never had the opportunity to wound her soul like he had.
Watching the ground more closely, he put one foot in front of the other. He could already see the small cliff face. Soon he would be able to see the cave itself. Soon, he would atone for ruining her life, for crushing the spirit of the woman he loved more than life itself. He kept walking.
Far ahead, Béla saw her target. She’d been furiously beating the air with her wings for more than twenty minutes now, and she hadn’t worked off any of her anger and upset with him. If anything, she was just now getting warmed up. Her target grew quickly in front of her as she neared him.
‘Hit him fast and hit him hard! You fucking bastard!’
She didn’t make the mistake she’d made when she was hunting that monster Stoker after he’d killed her baby. She approached, gliding silently until she was almost above him, then vanished her wings back into arms. She arched down toward him like a high diver, picking up speed rapidly. She dropped quickly, not screaming her rage at him until she made contact.
She struck him squarely in the back, violently slamming him forward and down into the sandy rock.
“You Son-of-a-Bitch!” Béla screamed at him. “Nobody treats me like that!”
Jake struggled to rise up, trying to get his face out of the sand so he could breathe. Screaming her rage at him, Béla dropped down on his right shoulder, breaking his shoulder blade. With her flat of her palm, she hit him in the back of his head, driving his face back down into the sand. She began to pummel him on his back and head.
After a moment of this punishment, Jake managed to turn over. As soon as he did, he realized his mistake. Now she could reach his face and stomach. She kicked him hard in the gut, jamming her big toe against the knuckle in her foot.
Wincing in pain and with most of her rage spent on beating him up, she stopped, limping back and forth in front him, snarling every bad name she could think of at him.
“You ruined my favorite sarong!” she yelled at him when she finally ran out of all the swear words in all the languages she knew. “My father gave me that!”
She leaped at him again, knocking him backwards, pounding on him with her fists. Jake finally got a good grip on each wrist. Now all he had to do was watch out for her feet as she kept trying to kick him.
“You know,” he gasped as he twisted her wriggling body around against his in a half-nelson, “For as old as… you are… you can’t…fight… worth… a fuck!”
He held her tightly as she twisted around, trying to break his grip on her. She finally succeeded, but only because he couldn’t use the full strength of both arms.
They stood, panting heavily, glaring at each other.
“I told you to leave the dress on,” he said, daring to infuriate her further.
“You freed me, you bastard!” Béla spat back at him. “I don’t have to give a fuck what you want!”
She launched herself at him again, snarling furiously. Jake grabbed her arms, wincing in pain as his shoulder blade, almost healed, cracked with the pressure of trying to hold on to her as they hit the ground. Jake managed to roll over on top of her, effectively pinning her down.
“But you do…” Jake grunted. “That’s what binds you…”
She snarled her rage and frustration at him, trying to reach him with her teeth, now.
“Stop fighting!” he yelled at her.
“No!” she shouted back. “I’ll tear your eyes out and feed them to you!”
Jake dared to sit back a little, still holding tightly on to her wrists.
“That’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever threatened to do!” he said.
‘Stop being so angry!’
Béla snarled at him one more time, then lay completely limp beneath him. Jake was too smart to let go. There was still too much fury in her eyes.
“Now you’re acting like the girl I married,” he said to her, grinning through his teeth and panting heavily.
She furrowed her eyebrows, not understanding. “What do you mean?”
‘If you think you’re going to get out of this with some sappy philosophical crap, you are in for the beating of your life!’
“Think! Will you?” Jake demanded. “I fell in love with you because, despite everything that has ever happened to you, you still stayed true to yourself.”
“Fuck! You don’t even know what that means!” she spit at him.
She struggled furiously to get loose again, but his weight and his grip on her wrists was too strong.
“Yes,” Jake answered quietly. “I do.”
“Now, I’m going to let go,” Jake told her. “The fight is over. Okay?”
Béla struggled against his grip for a second, letting him know…
‘It’s not over!’
“Promise me you won’t fight anymore,” Jake told her.
He waited, still holding her tightly.
After a moment, she relinquished, sullenly. “Alright. I promise!”
He slowly let go of her, pretty sure she’d keep her word, but still being careful. As soon as she could, Béla scooted backward a few feet away from him on her bare rump. She sat and glared at him, ignoring the fresh cuts on her butt from sliding across the rocks.
Jake flexed his shoulder, making sure that it healed properly. It seemed all right, which was good. He didn’t want to have to break it again to reset it.
“I was afraid I’d crushed your soul,” Jake said, checking out his bruises. “I’m glad to see you’re all right.”
“I was certain I was going to kill you,” Béla informed him. “In fact, I’m still thinking about it!”
Her body was still shaking from the adrenaline overload.
“You told me you knew what it was like; being a slave,” he said. “So what are you so upset about?”
“I’m not upset about you enslaving me!” she spat. “But you can’t do that to me, and then just leave!”
She got up and was advancing toward him again, her teeth clenched.
“You promised no more fighting!” he yelled, bracing for her assault.
“That fight’s over!” she shouted back. “This is the next one!”
She launched herself at him. She got one good punch past his defense and socked his jaw. She broke two bones in her right hand doing it and it felt great! She threw another punch at him, using her other hand.
Suddenly, Béla was on fire! There was a solid wall of flame between her and Jake. Through it, she saw Jake slapping at flames. His jacket was on fire. He quickly stripped it off.
They were suddenly illuminated like the sun was only ten feet away. The ground began shaking so hard, Béla lost her footing and tumbled onto her side. She bounced around on the ground, staring at the brilliant umbrella of fire surrounding her.
As suddenly as it appeared, the fire was gone. The ground around her in every direction was smoking, as was Jake’s discarded jacket and shirt.
The flaming body floating a few feet in the air next to them became Lisa. She was furious! She was naked, having burnt her clothes off when she flamed.
Béla felt her daughter’s angry mind flood into hers.
‘Try to teleport!’ Her daughter angrily commanded.
Stunned by the power of Lisa’s adolescent mind, she tried to obey her daughter’s command. She reached into the teleportation zone. Scorching white fire greeted her mind and she flinched back out.
“Good!” Lisa snarled out loud.
Then Béla screamed out as an almost molecule-sized ball of fire ignited inside her shoulder socket.
“Now, you can’t escape by flying, either!” Lisa said to her. “You told me to work it out with my step-mom! Now I’m telling you!
“Work out whatever the fuck is wrong with the two of you!” She shouted it both verbally and into her parents’ minds, as well. “I’m not going to be the product of a broken home!”
Lisa vanished, leaving behind a brilliant fireball that quickly burnt itself out as it rose in the air above them.
Jake started picking himself up off the ground.
“She takes after you, I see,” he commented, panting as he stared at her.
Jake pretended to dust his arms and chest off as he walked toward his wife. Béla blinked and just stared at him, still lying half-stunned on the ground.
“What did she mean, ‘escape’?” Béla asked. “Escape from what?”
She looked up at Jake. His mouth was wide open. He was radiating awe, wonder, and some fear.
Béla quickly got to her feet, favoring her left shoulder and the tiny blazing fireball that flared up every time she moved her arm. She joined Jake in her wonder at what they saw.
They were both standing on the ground, but it only extended a few meters away in all directions. For the next hundred feet, there was a huge circle of…
Then the ground continued normally.
Jake walked over near the edge, then got down on his hands and knees. He crept to the edge of the ground and looked down. Béla felt a flash of terror as she watched him scoot quickly backwards, away from the edge.
“What is it?” she asked.
Jake suddenly burst into hilarious laughter, almost rolling on the ground.
“That damned Tri-d!” he finally was able to say.
He created a cartoon image of where they were and how their daughter had done it so Béla could see.
That stupid duck and his loyal sidekick were fighting the Mad Martian! Every second or so, each one would produce a larger weapon, escalating their warfare to a greater level of destruction. When the smoke cleared, each warring contestant found himself standing on a tall, narrow section of ground with everything around him completely vaporized.
Béla laughed at her daughter’s ingenuity.
“She nuked us!” Béla exclaimed. “And then protected us with a force field.”
“Wow! That takes a lot of power,” Jake said, sitting back up. “Can you do that?”
Béla just looked at him. Then she shook her head, her mouth still open in wonder.
“Are you still mad?” he asked, daring to bring up their earlier confrontation.
Béla thought for a moment.
“No,” she told him. “I’m hurt. You left me. What the hell were you doing out here, anyway?”
Jake was unable to shield his thoughts as his wife looked at him. They were still in too much turmoil.
“You were going to kill yourself?” Béla asked incredulously as what he was trying not to think about slapped her in the face.
She got up and strode toward him, spitting her words at him. “Here, you jerk! Gimme the damned gun! I’ll do it for you!”
She held out her hand expectantly.
“Up yours,” Jake said, not believing she’d actually shoot him.
Béla reached down and started searching through his jeans.
“Keep doing that and something else might go off,” Jake suggested, trying to lighten her mood.
Fuming, Béla stood back up. “Where is it?” she demanded.
He felt around, then looked around. He shrugged his shoulders.
“I don’t know,” he said finally. “Probably back there in the dirt where you knocked me down.”
Béla started to walk over to where their fight had begun. The wind picked up and the ground moved threateningly beneath them. She stood, legs wide, waiting for the quake to subside.
‘You don’t have much time…’ they both heard in their heads.
“Well, I guess we should talk, huh?” Jake suggested, walking over to stand next to Béla. “The subjects seem to be ‘enslavement’ and ‘abandonment’. Which do you think we should tackle first?”
“You left me, you bastard!” she said, her voice sounding less angry and sadder.
“Abandonment, it is, then,” Jake replied, sitting down.
He patted the ground next to him. Glaring at him sullenly, Béla sat down facing him. She was naked. She stank. She was covered with dirt. It occurred to Jake that she’d never looked sexier.
‘Yes, she has!’ Jake realized, as he remembered how she looked just before she lit into him that last time.
He realized that the best part of their fight had been when he was holding her close as she twisted around trying to free herself from his grip.
“Is that all you think about?” she asked, unable to avoid seeing the images he was unintentionally projecting. “How many different ways you can fuck me?”
He nodded. “Um, yeah, pretty much… Yeah…”
Béla started to backhand him, but he easily caught her arm before she connected. He dared to laugh at her small effort, knowing she could kill him with just a thought.
She dropped her arm down as he relaxed his grip, then just glared at him. He grinned at her.
“Why!” she demanded quietly. “Why did you walk away like that?”
Jake’s face became more serious. Béla watched as he remembered standing over her as she was covered in urine, the exotic dye in her dress running madly down her beautiful legs. He knew that he had done this to her. The thought sickened him.
But what sickened him more was that she had let him do it. There was no pride, no fierce independence as she knelt on the ground before him. She was just a receptacle for his urine.
“All right,” she said quietly as she received his thoughts. “That was a mistake – agreeing to be your slave. But why did you leave?”
“Can’t you see?” he cried. “I couldn’t stand what I did to you! What you let me do!”
“Oh, so this is my fault?” she asked, raising her eyebrows.
She realized she was going to have to hit him again and started to get up.
“No! Of course not!” Jake denied vehemently. “I left…”
He took a deep breath. “I left so I wouldn’t hurt you any more! God! You’ll let me do anything to you. You proved that this morning. I pushed you as far as I could, and you just took it. I realized that I could probably ask you to cut off a leg and you’d do it.”
“Not hardly,” Béla murmured. She listened, not arguing, not certain that she believed him. “Not anymore.”
“Do you think we should part company?” he asked her.
Béla looked up at him suddenly. There was fear in her eyes.
“God! That’s exactly what I mean!” he exclaimed. “You need me too much! You even came back from the dead to be with me!”
“So what!” Béla demanded, rounding on him now. “So what if I did? Why should that scare you away from me! I want to be with you! Why do you keep pushing me away? I know you love me! I can see it in your head. Sometimes that’s the only thing that keeps me with you.”
“Do you love me?” Jake asked, surprising her.
She blinked as the question slapped her in the face.
“You shouldn’t have to ask,” Béla said, her voice softer now. “You know I do. I wouldn’t put up with you, otherwise. God, you’re such a goddamned jerk!”
“Then do some damage control, dammit!” Jake demanded, not yelling, but sounding serious. “Make it so that I can’t hurt you so badly. Put some limits there!”
“All right, how about ‘no more pissing on me’!” she demanded angrily.
“Okay,” Jake agreed.
“And no more sticking your dick into some other girl unless I say it’s okay!” she added, sounding more uncertain that she had a moment earlier.
“All right,” Jake said.
“All right?” she asked, surprised that he’d agree so easily.
“Yes!” Jake told her. “You’re my only girl from now on.”
“What about me?” she asked, really confused, now.
“What do you mean?”
“I should stay faithful to you,” she clarified.
“Why?” he asked.
“Well, because,” she began, then she flared up at him again. “What do you mean ‘Why?’ Why do you think? It hurts me to see you with some stranger, knowing that she’s fulfilling some part of you that I can’t reach! Doesn’t it bother you when I do it?”
“No,” he said simply.
“No?” she asked, not believing him.
“No,” he said again. “I like watching you fuck other people. I like watching you orgasm. I like watching you go crazy with lust when you’re surrounded by twenty cocks and don’t know which one to grab next. I’d never want to take that away from you!
“But,” he added, looking into her eyes as she glared disbelievingly at him, “what I like the most is the way you still want me when you’re finished with all of them.”
“But you don’t care if I take that away from you?” she asked.
He shook his head. “No, it probably sounds stupid and even a little dippy, but, you’re all I want.”
Béla looked at him, not entirely convinced.
“What about Foxy?” she asked.
“What about her?” Jake said. “She needed help. I wanted to help her.”
“There’re a lot of girls out there that need help,” Béla reminded him. “There’ll be another one.”
“Then I’ll let you help her,” Jake said adamantly. “I should’ve done that with Foxy. She’d still be alive.”
“Maybe,” Béla answered, “maybe not.”
They sat for a few minutes, looking at each other. The little pinhead-sized fireball was still embedded in her shoulder socket. She wondered what it was using for fuel.
“What else should we talk about,” Béla asked, finally.
“Well, we pretty much covered ‘abandonment’,” he said thoughtfully. “What about enslavement?”
“I didn’t tell you not to enslave me,” Béla reminded him. “I told you not to piss on me anymore.”
“You like being enslaved?” Jake asked, deciding he didn’t understand her after all.
“Well, no,” Béla said. “But… If I, well… If I had to choose between being your slave and losing you, I’d rather be your slave.”
“You’d be miserable as a slave,” he told her. “You were miserable this morning.”
“I’d be more miserable without you,” she answered. “Why do you think I let you do all that icky stuff to me? Do you know how hard it was to just sit there while you peed on my favorite outfit without teleporting you into outer space and then jumping up there with you just to watch your eyes bug out?”
“You could do that?” he asked, half-joking.
“You bet I could!” Béla said, crossing her arms beneath her bare breasts.
“All right then,” Jake told her. “You’ll be my slave!”
“What?” Béla screamed at him. “The hell I will!”
“Be my slave, or I’m gone!” he grinned at her.
He got up and began to walk away.
“Where do you think you’re going?” she yelled at his back. “That’s five hundred feet straight down!”
He ignored her and kept walking.
“Jake!” Béla shouted again. He was getting too near the edge. “Jake!”
“Damn you!” she screamed at him, terrified. “All right!”
“All right!” she sobbed. “I’m your slave!”
Béla stood, sobbing, her shoulders hunched, tears streaming down her face.
Jake walked back and took her in his arms. He stood for a moment while she sobbed into his shoulder, lovingly stroking her dirty, stinking hair. After a moment she settled down.
“Okay,” he said. “Rule number one. Anytime that I hurt you, you have my permission to beat the crap out of me.”
“What?” Béla asked, her voice still shaky from crying.
She looked up at him.
“Rule number two,” he continued, ignoring her question. “Anytime I get mad at you or storm out of the house or do anything stupid and adolescent like that, you have my permission to beat the crap out of me.”
Béla stood back, watching him, laughing as she cried.
“Rule number three,” he said, unable to keep the grin off his face any longer. “Anytime you catch me sticking my dick into some other girl…”
“I will definitely beat the holy hell out of you!” Béla exclaimed, interrupting him. “And here comes the first beating now!”
She leaped on him, pounding on his chest with her tiny fists!
“Damn-you-damn-you-damn-you!” she cried as she pounded into him.
Then she was kissing him and pushing him down on the ground. Although she was filthy dirty, she was already naked, and it didn’t take her long to get Jake out of his jeans. She furiously flung them up into the air where the wind caught them. His jeans sailed over the side and down out of sight.
Now she had a good grip on his dick. It was growing as she held it tightly.
“What other rules are there?” she demanded, her face inches from his own. “Tell me! Or I’ll break it off!”
“You have to tell me when you’re upset,” he said.
“That’s it?” she asked. “Nothing else? You don’t need a pony girl to pull your lard ass around the track at the fetish fair or anything?”
“Nope!” Jake admitted. “That’s all the rules.”
“Alright. I agree to be your slave under those conditions,” Béla told him, relaxing her grip somewhat. “But you have to promise one thing, because that’s what my other option was.”
“What is it?” he asked.
He already knew.
“Don’t ever leave me again!” she told him. “Or I will…”
“I know!” Jake laughed. “Beat the living crap out of me.”
The laughter was suddenly gone from her face. She gazed at him with her soft, dark eyes. “It would be much, much worse,” she promised.
Jake was stunned by her sudden change in attitude. Then he realized she’d been a slave before. She’d told him so when she was explained how Foxy was going to react to his rescuing her.
“How bad was it?” he asked.
She blinked at him, not understanding his question.
“The last time,” he said, making his question clearer. “You said you’ve been a slave before. What happened?”
He pulled her down against his chest, ignoring her dirty hair as it blew into his face.
“I killed him,” she said, simply.
“He probably deserved it,” Jake said, “I’ve probably deserved it too, once or twice.”
“No,” Béla said. “I didn’t directly kill him. He was torn apart by my hunting dogs. He threatened me and they jumped on him before I could stop them.”
“That doesn’t sound like murder,” Jake said. “How come a slave had hunting dogs?”
“Jake,” Béla sighed. “You don’t want to hear this. Let it go.”
“It’s upsetting you,” Jake said. “You have to tell me. It’s one of the rules of your enslavement to me.”
“I never…” Béla began.
“Yes, you did,” Jake said. “It’s rule number four. ‘You’ll tell me when you’re upset.’ So, spill it!”
“Okay!” she said, sitting up. “I’m upset! Now you know! End of story!”
“That’s not what I meant and you know it!” he declared. “You can read minds…”
“Not in the daytime!” Béla yelled at him. “The sun gets in the way!”
“That no excuse!” Jake cried at her. “Are we going to yell at each other all the time?”
“If that’s what it takes!” Béla yelled back. “Yes!”
Jake dropped to his knees. “Why?”
“Why what?” Béla asked him, her volume still high.
“Oh, Christ!” he cried, giving up. “Just… forget it!”
He rolled over and turned away from her. His mind seethed with emotion as he stared out over the gap at the rest of the mesa.
After a while, Béla walked up behind him. He could tell she was there. He could smell her. After a few more minutes, she gently touched his shoulder with her hand. He flinched, ever so slightly. Then he reached back, took her hand to pull it forward and kissed it.
“He caught me making love to another slave,” she said softly “We were both sold to the arena for entertainment. I was tied to a stake off to one side and my lover was forced into the center of the arena by guards with long tridents.
“Four great hunting dogs were turned loose on him. They attacked him, knocked him down, tore him apart. They were well trained. They didn’t kill him; they just tore him apart.
“They tore his dick off,” she sobbed, “I can still hear him scream!”
Jake turned around and caught her as she dropped to her knees. He pulled her to him again and she cried into his bare shoulder.
“They made me watch,” she continued, after a moment. “There was a guard there and he stuck me with his slave prod every time I looked away. Finally, Samuel stopped screaming. The dogs flopped him around for awhile until the crowd got bored with it, then they were called off.
“After that, this big, smelly gladiator – they called him ‘Fish’ because he used a net and trident – and because of how he smelled. They send two slaves out with swords that were so heavy the slaves could barely hold them up.
“That butcher cut them up alive. Then they sent two more. He killed them, too. As a reward, Claudius offered me to him. ‘Do what you will with her,’ he said.
“He came over in front of me and stuck me in the stomach with that bloody trident. It wasn’t a deep cut, but it bled bright red all over my slave toga. He tore the garment off me, then gazed at me, licking his teeth. Then he bit off my nipple! He spit it out on the ground. Then he raped me.” She shuddered as she remembered.
“After that, he turned around, with his arms raised to the crowd, showing off the blood that was smeared on his chest and his big, hairy belly – my blood. The crowd went nuts. They yelled for him to cut me up alive like he did the Christian slaves.
“I knew ‘Fish’,” she continued. “I didn’t like him. He’d tried to rape me once before, and my master had him beaten for it. I knew that if he decided to dismember me, my life would be over. I could never regenerate that much, and after twenty-five hundred years, I finally faced my death. I actually felt calm about it. I was tired. I’d lived a long time and I was ready to die.
“But his mean streak wasn’t directed at me that day. I suppose I should thank those poor slaves that died at his hand earlier. ‘Fish’ liked to irritate people. He liked that almost as much as he liked killing them. He could irritate the entire crowd if he let me live, so he cut me loose.
“But I wasn’t free. He gave me back to Claudius and walked away. The emperor was angry and he ordered the dogs back out. I tried to run, but they caught me and knocked me down.”
Béla shook as she remembered what had happened to her. She stopped talking for several moments.
“What happened then?” Jake asked quietly.
“Please don’t make me tell you,” she begged Jake. “You’ll hate me. You could never love anyone who…”
She stopped, knowing that Jake, out of all the people she’d ever met, was probably the only man in the world who could possibly understand what she went through.
“Go on,” he said gently. “What happened?”
“One of the dogs, the leader of the pack, I guess, grabbed me by the throat and pulled me down. I thought it was going to kill me. It just held me there, growling at me. Every time I moved, it growled louder. After a moment, it let go, and another of the dogs came up and held me. I didn’t understand what was happening – why they weren’t tearing me apart like they had Samuel.
“Then the lead dog, he… Oh, please! Jake! I can’t tell you!” Béla sobbed hysterically.
“Béla, darling,” Jake pleaded with her, his own eyes glistening with tears. “You have to get it out! Can’t you see? This is eating you alive. You have to say the words and get it out of your system.”
Béla gave him a scream of frustration that sounded like a half-snarl mixed with it. They stared into each other’s eyes for a moment, then she dropped her head, lowering her eyes to the ground.
“They fucked me,” she said, almost too faint for him to hear. “They all took turns like I was their bitch in heat. They hurt me, inside. When they were finished, they let me go. I tried to run again, but they caught me. This time they tore me apart. I was glad. I thought I was finally dying.”
“When I woke up,” she continued, “I discovered that I’d been returned to my original master for disposal. He was given extra gold for that. Somehow, anyway, he or someone in his household noticed that I was still alive, so he took me back to his home.
“My regenerative abilities were exposed, now. Every week he’d dye my hair a different color and cut it. Then he’d sell me to the arena to be fucked and eaten alive by the emperor’s great hunting dogs. Between events, he kept me chained so I wouldn’t escape.”
“God!” Jake said, tears running down his face as he listened.
He held Béla tightly against him, promising himself that nothing like that would ever happen to her again.
“I guess I made him a lot of money,” she said. “The fourth, or maybe the fifth time – I can’t remember – my hair was so short I was almost bald. The dogs knew it was me every time. They were getting more relaxed on their guarding me, like I was their pet, or plaything, or something.
“The lead dog was fucking me. That bulby part of his dick had grown inside me and I was stuck until he could come. There weren’t any fangs at my throat this time. I knew I’d be torn apart anyway, so I decided to fight back. I twisted around underneath the pack leader and bit into his neck. I wrapped my arms around that barrel chest and just dug in with my teeth.
“The other dogs attacked me, tearing at my arms and my face, trying to make me let go. I didn’t see any reason to, since they were going to tear me apart anyway. I finally bit through his jugular. His blood splashed into my mouth and I felt that big bulbous ball explode inside me at the same time. I hung on until he stopped shaking and dropped down dead on top of me.
“That’s when the other dogs stopped attacking me. I didn’t understand why at the time. When I finally crawled out from underneath the leader dog, I staggered up to my feet, expecting to find, like, a hundred arrows sticking out of me any second – that’s what Claudius did when things didn’t go well in the arena. He’d just have everyone shot down and start the next event right over the top of the dead bodies.
“I didn’t understand why everyone was cheering. The other dogs were just sitting, watching me like I was their mommy or something. I think they considered me their new pack leader. The emperor was so impressed he gave the dogs, and my freedom.
“Still not believing it was really happening, I walked the entire length of the arena all the way back to the gate, still naked, still covered in blood and… dog… stuff, with those three scary monster dogs following meekly behind me.
“I was bathed and cleaned up by other arena slaves, clothed and given my ten pieces of silver. As I left, there were hundreds of people at the entrance waiting for me. I had to have the dogs pulled back so they wouldn’t hurt anyone. People were offering me money to sell my services to them. I mean, lots of money!
“I finally got away from them, but realized I’d have to go back for the dogs. They were too valuable to be left behind. One fellow from the crowd that had greeted me at the Arena entrance found me wandering the streets waiting for the arena to empty, not knowing what to do with my newfound freedom.
“He helped set me up in a pleasure house. I didn’t mind. I’d been a sex slave before – the first time was in the temples of Sumer. But the first week, my old master found me. He tried to convince me to perform for him in the circus with my dogs. I had him thrown out.
“Later he came back, with some of his thug friends. They killed the slave guards. The dogs out in the rear yard woke me with their frantic yowling. I fled into the yard, into the protection of the pack. He followed me. He struck me. Then they tore him apart. Alive – like they’d been trained to do.
“I knew I’d be accused of his murder after that, so I fled north, out of Rome, out of the country. I left the dogs behind. Eventually, I met up with a band of wagon people in Rumania. I stayed with them awhile. One of the women and I became very close friends. But, eventually, I left them, and traveled west. I finally found myself among the druids. I lived among them for hundreds of years. Except for my first few years in Sumer, those years were the best part of my old life. They treated me like a goddess.”
She sighed. Silently, she and Jake watched the sun set. After at least an hour, Jake finally spoke.
“No one will ever treat you like that again,” he said softly, “I promise.”
“But I liked being treated like a goddess…” she said, remembering her last words to him.