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Sex Life of the Gods, The

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<h2 title="Chapter Three"><SPAN name="p27" id="p27"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>27<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>CHAPTER THREE</h2> <p>The dream was of a woman.</p> <p>He was lying on a strangely made bed, the warm breezes of evening rolling in off the crashing sea and the woman stood in the ornate doorway that entered the bedroom. About him lay all manner of bright silks<!-- TN: original reads 'sliks' --> and strange colored cloths. The woman smiled and his eyes caressed her.</p> <p>Her hair was as gold as the noon sun and her eyes, lifting slightly at the outer corners, were as blue as the sea. Her lips petaled back over the white strength of her teeth and her fingers did strange things to make the flimsy robe drop from the rounded softness of her shoulders. He watched her walk, upon curvaceous legs, to the edge of the bed. For just a second, she smiled down at him.</p> <p>“Father is sleeping like a baby,” she whispered.</p> <p>He felt himself talk: “Good.” Then his fingers curled about the curve of her thigh. His fingers tightened and the crimson smile broadened; he pulled and felt her resist him with maidenly demureness, but in the end she came to him.</p> <p>He felt the yielding firmness of her body pressing down into his on the bed and his arms furled about the softness that she offered. The warm cones of her breasts worked on the hardness of his chest and his mouth fused against hers in a passionate kiss.</p> <p>“Lors, Lors, darling. You’ve been gone so long.” Her voice was a kitten purr in his ear, warm and gentle.</p> <p>“I’m back, Jela,” he smiled, his hands caressing the lithe length of her body, folding her against him tightly.</p> <p><SPAN name="p28" id="p28"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>28<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>She moved away from him, rolling, tugging at him to respond, but he needed no encouragement. His body rolled with her, his arms pinning her to him tightly so that she could move nothing ... nothing but her legs, but then there was little need to move anything else...</p> <p class="tb">&nbsp;</p> <p>The dream faded and he cursed, and tried to get back to sleep and the beautiful woman who awaited him. Sleep came, but the dream was gone.</p> <p>Andy, shaking his shoulder, woke him about sundown and Nick swung his legs off the cot and stood up. Still sleepy, he fingered the heavy stubble on his face and looked at the old man.</p> <p>“Y’kin use my razor t’chop off that beard, son,” he said. “C’mon, get around now. Got soup and sandwiches ready an’ some famous Hocum coffee.”</p> <p>Nick straightened his wrinkled clothing, shaking the last remnants of weary fog from his brain. Andy went on talking to him and said something that woke Nick Danson up completely.</p> <p>“Yer buddies was here, couple o’ hours ago, son.”</p> <p>“What?” It was almost impossible to keep the surprise out of his face and voice. Andy didn’t seem to notice anything wrong.</p> <p>“Th’ fellers y’got drunk with. Wanted t’know if I’d seen any strangers on th’ road. I said I hadn’t, ’cause I figgered they might want t’slap y’around again.”</p> <p>“Thanks, Andy.”</p> <p>Who could possibly know about the plane crash? <SPAN name="p29" id="p29"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>29<span class="ns">] </span></span>If the wreck <em>had</em> been found, it would be the police asking questions, not two strangers. Somebody, somewhere, was searching for him. Who? And what did they want?</p> <p>Fingers of fear and worry flittered along his spine.</p> <p>When they had finished eating, Nick shaved, cleaned himself up and followed Andy out to where his car was parked. He found that he liked the old man, but under the circumstances conversation was difficult. The plane crash, for one thing, was a bit on the odd side. The burning wreckage, he recalled, had shown no signs of ever having had wings or a tail assembly. But that was probably minor; the wings could have been ripped off by the trees when the plane came down. The important thing was that someone knew he was here. As they drove toward the town of Everett, the old man began talking about the strangers that had inquired after Nick earlier in the day.</p> <p>“... Nope, I says to the big feller, ain’t seen a soul on foot all day, ’ceptin’ o’course, Jimmy Dilson, goin’ down t’Willer Creek, t’fish. That seemed t’satisfy them so they lit out.”</p> <p>“Notice what kind of car they drove, Andy?” Nick asked.</p> <p>“Yep. Gave ’em gas. They was drivin’ a Chevrolet. Looked to be a ’56 or a ’57; black, it was. Blacker’n th’ inside of a coal bin, with th’ shiniest chrome y’ever saw.”</p> <p>“Sounds like them,” Nick told him, enlarging the lie. “One of them short and the other medium?”</p> <p>“Not exactly. The one did all the talkin’ had a funny accent. Anyways, he was about six feet, three or four, and heavy. Goodlookin’, with blond <SPAN name="p30" id="p30"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>30<span class="ns">] </span></span>hair. The other guy was about your build, with sandy hair. Never talked, that guy.”</p> <p>“They’re the ones,” Nick lied and shook a cigarette from a half empty pack. “Thanks for not giving me away.”</p> <p>Andy nodded, lapsing into silence, while Nick concentrated on coming home to a strange woman, and the two men who had been asking after him. For some reason, he got the feeling that Beth Danson was his wife and he accepted it that way. She couldn’t be his sister ... besides, a man his age would be married, in all likelihood. He wondered vaguely how she would welcome him, but cast the thought aside. He’d know soon enough.</p> <p>As they approached Everett, in the gathering twilight, Andy turned to him.</p> <p>“Where d’ye want off, son?”</p> <p>“Weisman Drive. Know it?”</p> <p>“Yep. We’re almost there. Suburban area, just north of town. Y’got friends there?”</p> <p>“Yes.” Nick grinned inwardly. That is, he thought, I hope she’s a friend. Hell, I don’t know whether she hates my guts, or loves me ... but she’s the only one that can help. A frightening gloom fell over him suddenly.</p> <p>Andy lapsed again into silence and the sound of the motor became loud. Nick continued to ponder the strange men and the woman he was coming home to, but it was like bashing his head against a wall. He could remember nothing. And, through his thoughts, the memory of the dream returned to him. It was the most vivid dream he had ever had, almost as though it was real.</p> <p>Abruptly Andy brought the car to a stop before a sign that read, “Weisman Drive.” Nick thanked him and climbed out onto the road. The old man <SPAN name="p31" id="p31"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>31<span class="ns">] </span></span>waved and the car spat cinders as it roared back onto the highway, heading toward the town. For a moment, he stood there watching Andy’s car fade into the night, then he began walking along the road, looking for 2312 Weisman Drive and trying to ignore the feeling of fear that welled up within him.</p> <p>When he finally found it, he saw that it was a two story place that looked to be white frame, trimmed with a darker color that was probably blue. In the off light from the street lamp, it was difficult to tell. There was a garage built alongside and a good sized lawn in the front, but there was no evidence of children. A light in the front room told him that someone was home - likely Beth - and caution told him he’d better make sure no friends were with her.</p> <p>He slipped quietly up on the porch and looked briefly into the window. Beth was there, sitting on the sofa reading a book. Her hair, he noticed, was brown with a reddish cast to it and she was every bit as beautiful as the picture he carried in his hip pocket.</p> <p>He knocked on the door.</p> <p>It occurred to him, after he had rapped, that this was his own house. Why should he rap? But what was done, was done. He waited until she had opened the door and stood looking at him. He tried a smile, but Beth Danson’s eyes widened in shock and her lips parted in astonishment.</p> <p>“Nick,” she whispered, as though she had seen a ghost, and fell to the floor in a dead faint.</p> <p>Stunned, he stepped over the crumpled body of the woman and walked into the room. When he had closed the front door, he lifted her limp body and laid her on the sofa. He began patting her face and hands to revive her, wondering what the hell <SPAN name="p32" id="p32"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>32<span class="ns">] </span></span>he had done to cause her to faint.</p> <p>Why the devil was she so shocked to see him, he wondered. Is she in love with another man and did they rig that plane so it would crash to be rid of me? If they had tried to kill him, he could damned well see why she had fainted at the sight of him. The rings on her left hand bragged that she was married, probably to him. But why faint?</p> <p>He was trying to decide whether to stay or run, when her long lashes fluttered and she came to. Again her greenish eyes dilated in astonishment, but this time she did not pass out. Her soft arms slid about his neck and she pulled him down to where she could kiss him. Her warm lips caressed his face, kissing his mouth, his cheeks and his eyes, while she murmured his name over and over in absolute joy.</p> <p>Had news of the crash reached her? Did the authorities find the wreck and presume him dead? Was that why she had fainted and was now so overjoyed at having him back? His mind whirled with a hundred questions that his stunted memory refused to answer, and he decided to take it easy, waiting for her to make the first move.</p> <p>“Oh, Nick,” she murmured against his ear. “Where have you been?”</p> <p>“I don’t know. I’ve been in a crack up, Beth. I can’t remember anything...”</p> <p>She pushed him away, suddenly, looking at his face. “Darling! Your face! You’re hurt!”</p> <p>“Just scratches,” he told her swiftly. “Nothing serious. Beth, you’ve got to help me. Please!” He felt strange. It was like asking a total stranger for help, and he was ashamed and confused.</p> <p>“Of course I’ll help you, darling. I’m your wife. Now come out to the kitchen where I can <SPAN name="p33" id="p33"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>33<span class="ns">] </span></span>patch you up.” Suddenly she burst into tears and held him close. “Oh, darling, darling! It’s so good to have you back!”</p> <p>He held her until she had stopped crying, then he allowed himself to be led into the kitchen where she began applying iodine and bandaids to his scratched face. Weariness was again dragging at him like some clutching demon that threatened to drag him down into a bog of darkness. He studied her, trying to take his mind off his lethargy.</p> <p>Beth Danson was about twenty-five and, besides her deep auburn-brown hair and lovely face, she boasted an equally attractive body. He found himself captivated by the warm thrust of her breasts beneath the silk blouse. The clear milk of her flesh, at the “V” of her throat excited him in a strange way. When he thought of her as his wife, it was frightening. It was as though someone had tossed him a woman and expected him to just fall into the routine of marriage. It wouldn’t be hard to come to love this woman, but it would take awhile. Hell, he didn’t know her. She was a complete stranger who had suddenly told him they were married. There was nothing familiar about her; even the fingers that were softly working over his face were alien.</p> <p>Alien! That’s it! The whole damned world is alien, and I don’t know who I am, who I’ve been...</p> <p>“Beth?” He asked suddenly, “how long have I been gone? You act as though it’s been a long while...”</p> <p>“A long while, darling.”</p> <p>“How long?”</p> <p>She looked steadily at him for a moment, her eyes deep with seriousness. “Thirteen months,” <SPAN name="p34" id="p34"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>34<span class="ns">] </span></span>she whispered, her voice shaking.</p> <p>Thirteen months! He relaxed heavily in the straight backed chair and stared at her dumbfoundedly. Over a year! Where had he been? What had he done? Why hadn’t he been located before now?</p> <p>“Thirteen months,” he croaked, unable to say anything else.</p> <p>She nodded. “Oh, Nick, every police agency in the country has been looking for you. I’ve had detectives out hunting. Nolan Brice has been doing everything he can to locate you. But they couldn’t. No one could. It was as though you had disappeared from the face of<!-- TN: original reads 'fo' --> the earth.”</p> <p>“Nolan Brice?” Nick asked.</p> <p>“Your best friend...” When she realized that he knew nothing of the man, Nick could see her starting to cry. Her eyes began filling and he could almost see the hopelessness within her.</p> <p>“Please, honey. Don’t start crying again.”</p> <p>“I’m trying not to<!-- TN: original reads 'too' -->.”</p> <p>He rose to his feet slowly, his head starting to thump and thunder again, and took her into his arms. It was kind of difficult, trying to comfort her the way a husband should, but he tried.</p> <p>“Listen, Beth,” he whispered against her cheek. “It’ll all come back to me. It’ll all come back eventually and I’ll remember. But for now ... for now, you’ll have to bear with me. I don’t know where I’ve been, or what I’ve done, so don’t tell anyone I’m here. Please! Don’t tell a single soul! No one!”</p> <p>“But why, Nick?”</p> <p>“Because I could have killed someone. I could be a thief, a desperado or something. I don’t know. I could even have gotten married...”</p> <p><SPAN name="p35" id="p35"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>35<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>“Oh, darling!” She collapsed on his shoulder and began crying violently again.</p> <p>“Honey, honey! I didn’t say that’s what I’ve done. It’s just that I don’t know. Whatever I am, I can take my medicine, but I want to know what it is first. You’ve got to understand that.”</p> <p>She tried a smile, blinking back the tears that lay close to the surface, and he forced a smile to pull at his mouth. It was difficult to comfort her, yet he knew that it was his duty to do so. She’d been through a hell of a lot, <em>and</em> she had the memories of it. He did not. Despite the alien feeling that was welling within him, he knew that she was the only person who could help him return to himself. Whether he loved her or not was immaterial; he needed her desperately to show him to the man he was. Perhaps it would all come back then.</p> <p>“I’m sorry, Nick. I’ll try to help.”</p> <p>“Thanks, honey.”</p> <p>“Hungry?” She asked brightly, moving to turn the flame on under the coffee pot. At his nod, she went on: “There’s some apple pie and I can whip up a couple of sandwiches, or something.”</p> <p>“Coffee and pie is fine.”</p> <p>“In a way, it’ll be like courting all over again,” she told him, in an attempt at lightness. “It’s terrible to lose the things we had, the memories. I can’t share them with you anymore. But we’ll make a whole lot of new ones to take their place.”</p> <p>“I’m interested in the old ones right now,” he told her glumly. “Things have happened so fast, it’s hard to accustom to the thing.”</p> <p>“I know,” she mused, working over the meal.</p> <p>He looked at her steadily. “Beth? When did you last see me?”</p> <p><SPAN name="p36" id="p36"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>36<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>“Thirteen months ago.”</p> <p>“No, no. I mean, where was I going, what was I doing?”</p> <p>“You were going up to the cabin to repair the fireplace and build some lawn furniture. You were going to stay over night and come back the evening of the second day. When you didn’t come back, Nolan took me up to look for you. Your car was there, but you were gone.”</p> <p>“No clues?”</p> <p>She shook her head. “Nothing. We thought you might have wandered off into the woods and injured yourself; but I couldn’t accept that. You were always a good woodsman, even in desolate country like that.”</p> <p>“Secluded, huh?” He asked.</p> <p>“Some of the worst country in the state. We bought the place so we could get away from the mess in the city.”</p> <p>He smiled at her. Apparently they had gotten away from one mess merely to fall victim to another.</p> <p>She sliced him a huge piece of pie and set it before him, the same brave smile still fixed upon her lips. Then she fixed the coffee for him, black with a lump of sugar. He forked some of the pie into his mouth and felt a little sick, along with the headache. A stranger feeding him and loving him, and who knew more about him than he did. He bolted the pie and gulped the coffee hurriedly. When he had finished, he glanced at the electric clock above the pink refrigerator. 9:15.</p> <p>“Tired, dear?” She asked.</p> <p>He nodded dully. Now, he thought, I suppose I’m to crawl into bed with her! He felt trapped, <SPAN name="p37" id="p37"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>37<span class="ns">] </span></span>suddenly panic stricken at the thought; but she was his wife. He’d married her. He’d probably slept with her thirteen months before. Why the horror?</p> <p>“We’ll go to bed now,” she decided. “I usually turn in early. Have to work, you know.”</p> <p>“I’ll sleep on the sofa,” Nick mumbled.</p> <p>She blinked at him. “You’ll do no such thing. You’ll march right upstairs to bed, Nick Danson.”</p> <p>And the die, he figured, was cast...</p> </div> <div class="chapter">
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