Beelingo.com

English Audio Books

Sex Life of the Gods, The

SPONSORED LINKS
<h2 title="Chapter One"><SPAN name="p13" id="p13"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>13<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>CHAPTER ONE</h2> <p>He awakened to flame and smoke and it was as though he had been born again. About him lay thick, summer cloaked forests and heavy carpets of laurel and brush. Obviously, it was some sort of plane that was burning nearby and he had probably been in it. In his mind, he remembered only the blinding flash of white light, then a sea of darkness that had enveloped him. Whether he had been thrown clear of the wreck, or whether he had crawled, he didn’t know. But the torn flying suit he wore convinced him that he had once been airborne<!-- TN: original reads 'airbourne' --> in that battered craft.</p> <p>The heavy, canvas-like material of the flying suit had protected the blue serge business suit underneath, so that besides a ripped pocket it was presentable. He grinned wryly in the pre-dawn darkness. Presentable to whom? The squirrels? He peeled off the flying suit and added it to the flaming wreckage, then staggered off through the night toward the valley below. There was usually, he recalled, water in ravines.</p> <p>He used small saplings for handholds while his head thumped and thundered wildly. Probing fingers found a lump beneath blood matted hair that was sensitive to the touch. There was a scratch on his cheek, sealed with dried blood, and his hands were skinned as though he had broken a fall in cinders with them. It was, he decided, amazing that he had survived a plane crash with so little injury; but then, stranger things had happened.</p> <p>There was a run at the bottom of the hill, one of those leaf choked<!-- TN: no hyphen in original -->, meandering little creeks that become stagnant pools in July and August, and <SPAN name="p14" id="p14"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>14<span class="ns">] </span></span>raging torrents of brown water in the spring. Lying on a sloping, flat rock he thrust his face into the stream and drank deeply, feeling the life flow from the water into the weariness of his body. He washed his face in it, splashing it over his head until his mind began to function with familiar clarity.</p> <p>But he still did not know who he was...</p> <p>When he tried to search backward into the past, he could see only the white flash and the darkness. It was frightening. It was as though someone had taken a pair of scissors<!-- TN: original reads 'sissors' --> and cut away the whole memory of his past life. He fumbled through his pockets, found the wallet and the cigarette lighter and began flipping through the cards with the help of the tiny lighter flame.</p> <p>An identification card labeled him Nicholas Howard Danson and stated that he lived at 2312 Weisman Drive, Everett, Pennsylvania. There was also a draft, social security and drivers license card. The others were membership certificates to various clubs and organizations. Finally there were several pictures of himself and a woman; in fact, there were a great many pictures of the woman. One was a portrait of her, inscribed, “love, Beth”, which told him that she was either a girlfriend or his wife.</p> <p>Nick extinguished the light and put the wallet away. In his shirt pocket he found a crumpled pack of cigarettes. He shook one out, lit it and dragged the smoke down deep into his lungs while he pondered over his newly discovered self.</p> <p>Of course the proper thing to do would be to get to a phone, call the local authorities and explain the crash. The law would help him get home and check him out. That was the proper thing - <SPAN name="p15" id="p15"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>15<span class="ns">] </span></span>but he wasn’t about to do the proper thing. He was a stranger to himself. Who was he? What was he? He could well be outside the law, a criminal... Then what? Turn yourself in, Danson, he grimaced, and discover that you are wanted by the law for something? To hell with that. Get to this Beth woman and get some answers to a few questions before you bring in the law.</p> <p>Apparently no one had seen the crash. No one knew he was here. Perhaps it would be better to leave it like that until he had a chance to find out just what he was up against.</p> <p>He decided not to contact anyone. When it was light enough he would look for a ride to somewhere. At a gas station he could find out where he was and where Everett, Pennsylvania was. Then, by thumbing, he could get a ride to where he lived. If this Beth woman was his wife, she could fill him in. There was plenty of time to call the law.</p> <p>Sleep, when he tried it, refused to come. There were too many unanswered questions rocketing around in his brain. Well, he had to find a road, sooner or later, so it might as well be now. Perhaps the more distance he put between himself and the wreck, the better it would be for him. He took a final drink of water from the creek and stood up, his sore, battered muscles protesting violently. Then he began to stumble through the adumbral forests to find a road.</p> <p>It was getting light when he found the highway. It was small and narrow, bedded with pebbly asphalt with a faded white line down the middle that told him it was not a first class road. It stretched ahead of him, dwindling among the thick hemlock forests and dwarfed by the steep, wooded <SPAN name="p16" id="p16"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>16<span class="ns">] </span></span>hills. He grinned, wondering vaguely which direction he should travel to get to Everett. Finally he pulled a quarter from his pocket and flipped it into the air. He caught it deftly. Heads, I go to the right; tails, I go to the left. Heads won and he started off toward the right, the stiffness and the weariness dragging at him like a weight tied to his legs.</p> <p>While he walked he studied the pictures in his wallet, noting happily that it also contained twenty dollars in bills. That was comforting.</p> <p>In the daylight, the picture of Beth that had looked pretty in the flame of the lighter, became beautiful. Although it was a black and white photo, Nick decided that her hair was brown. It swept about a soft, heart<!-- TN: no hyphen in original --> shaped face like a cloud. The image was smiling at him and he felt that if she was not his wife, he hoped that she was his girl.</p> <p>It was late in the morning when he found the service station. It was a small, lonely, isolated place that sported two pumps and cramped<!-- TN: no hyphen in original --> looking lube rack. Through the open door of the washroom, Nick could see the shoes and coverall legs of the attendant as they stuck out from under a Ford. Nick found a dime in his pocket and treated himself to a cold drink, while he tried to figure out where he was.</p> <p>Across the highway a marker told him that he was on Route 87. He pulled a Pennsylvania map - not entirely sure he was in Pennsylvania - from the rack inside the door and, unfolding it, found Everett. The route 87 ran through the town, but it was difficult to puzzle out whether he was north or south of the place. He refolded the map and stuffed it into his pocket for further reference, and glanced around. On the far side of the office <SPAN name="p17" id="p17"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>17<span class="ns">] </span></span>was a door marked “MEN”, that was just what he wanted. His clothes, his hair and his face needed a few emergency repairs before he could confront the population of Everett.</p> <p>He went in.</p> <p>In a mirror, with most of the backing peeling away, he discovered that Nick Danson was rather good looking, if you overlooked the damage. His blocky, rugged face was smeared with dirt and dried blood, with a slight stubble shadowing his lean cheeks. The mop of tangled black hair had a lot of red splotches in it from the blood he’d lost. He filled the bowl with tepid water and began soaping his face and hands vigorously, even though it hurt. After washing most of the blood from his hair, he found a comb in a pocket and whipped some order into the matted, dark mass.</p> <p>The attendant was standing at the counter when Nick came out of the restroom. He was an elderly man with receding grey hair, a hawk nose and grizzled features set firmly into a face that looked like a dried apple. He grinned and the gold cap on an eye tooth flashed dully.</p> <p>“Thought I heard someone in here,” he said around the chew that pouched his cheek. “Car break down on ye?”</p> <p>“I’m walking,” Nick<!-- TN: original reads 'Hick' --> told him.</p> <p>“Yer a long way from any kind ’o town, son ... say,” he said suddenly noticing the scratch marks. “Y’ been fightin’ a bobcat?”</p> <p>Nick shook his head and fished for a lie. “Got drunk last night and into a brawl. My friends pitched me out of the car in a moment of playfulness.” He hoped he had put enough bitterness into the explanation to make it ring true.</p> <p>The old man chuckled softly. “Durned shame, <SPAN name="p18" id="p18"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>18<span class="ns">] </span></span>son. Y’from around here?”</p> <p>“New York,” Nick lied. “I’m stayin’ in Everett.”</p> <p>“Everett,” the old man cackled. “Hell, that’s fifteen miles south o’here, or better.” He paused, swiveled his bird-like head and spat a jet of brown juice through the open door. “Tell y’what, son, seein’s how you’ll have t’walk it down there. Ain’t no one goin’ that way, I know of. S’pose y’could thumb it, but it’d be hard. Lonely road, y’see. If y’don’t mind waitin’ till after supper, I’ll run y’down to town. Drop y’off where y’want to go.”</p> <p>“Hadn’t thought of waiting so long,” Nick told him. “What would I do? Just sit here?”</p> <p>“Hell no! In th’ back room there’s a cot. Been sleepin’ there myself sometimes, since m’wife passed along back in ’53. December of ’53 it was. I’ll wake ye, come supper.”</p> <p>“Thanks.”</p> <p>With the hunger gnawing at his stomach, Nick took a cellophane wrapped pie from the counter and began eating it. He handed the old man a quarter.</p> <p>“S’funny,” the old man said, ringing up the sale, “ye don’t smell like a drunk. Ought t’be some likker smell to y’son.”</p> <p>“I was drinking vodka,” Nick countered, wondering how he had pulled that from a mind that could not remember his past. He took another bite of the pie as the old man gave him his change.</p> <p>“Bad stuff, vodka. That’s th’ slop them Russian hassocks drink, ain’t it?”</p> <p>“I think so.”</p> <p>“Well, it ain’t for Andy Hocum. Them hassocks can have it.”</p> <p><SPAN name="p19" id="p19"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>19<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>Nick was saved from further conversation by a new station wagon pulling into the pumps. A young woman, dressed in a suit, cut the engine and honked the horn briefly. Andy waved and headed for the door.</p> <p>“Get some shut eye, son. I’ll wake y’ later.”</p> <p>“Thanks, Andy.”</p> <p>He finished the last of the pie and watched Andy stick a hose into the wagon’s gas tank, then go around front to wipe off the windshield.</p> <p>Nick cleared the pie wrapper off the small counter and tossed it into a box as he headed for the backroom. After closing the door, he fell onto the bed and a moment later into the well of sleep.</p> </div> <div class="chapter">
SPONSORED LINKS