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Sex Life of the Gods, The

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<h2 title="Chapter Four"><SPAN name="p39" id="p39"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>39<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>CHAPTER FOUR</h2> <p>In the final analysis, he was just too tired to attempt an explanation - not physically worn out, but mentally. Since just before dawn, he felt as though he had been on a fantastic merry-go-round. Feeling a bit strange, he allowed her to lead him upstairs to the bedroom. The sight of one bed startled him, even though it was a rather large double. He slid eyes sideways, caught her smiling coyly and forced a grin. She installed him in the bathroom, tossed a pair of pajamas to him and left him alone.</p> <p>He took a long time showering and shaving. Then when he could avoid it no longer, he went into the bedroom. She was combing her long satiny hair at the dresser and had slipped into an aqua colored nightgown. For a moment, his breath caught in amazement, then he slid between the sheets of the bed and watched her. Finally she stopped combing and walked over to look down at him. He looked back, feeling a little like a caged animal - but enjoying it.</p> <p>She fell to her knees beside the bed, her eyes shining with happiness. The red lipped smile was again tugging at her full mouth. Her fingers wound gently in his hair and the warm pressure of her soft breasts rested boldly upon his arm as though they knew they belonged there.</p> <p>“I love you so much, Nick,” she whispered, her eyes half closed.</p> <p>He reached out a hand to touch her cheek and the softness of it against his fingers alarmed him, thrilled him. He knew what he had to tell her, but it was a long time in coming. “I ... I love you too, <SPAN name="p40" id="p40"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>40<span class="ns">] </span></span>Beth,” he whispered.</p> <p>Her soft, moist lips came gently down upon his like a twin promise of the offering of love that awaited him and he felt his own lips responding. A slight tremor ran through him as her fingers flicked at the wall and the room became sheathed in darkness. Moonlight filtered through the curtains and she moved into the bed, her lithe shape molding into the hardness of his. Her voice was a warm breath in his ear and her arms slid over his chest while she talked.</p> <p>“You don’t love me, darling. That’s the whole trouble. We love with our minds, and love is an accumulation of a million memories - but you have lost yours. I know, I know. To you...”</p> <p>“Beth,” he began but she clamped her hand over his mouth.</p> <p>“To you, darling, I’m a stranger, just another woman. I know I can’t be anything more right now. You’ll have to learn to love me again.</p> <p>“But me? Nick, it’s different with me. I’ve waited for thirteen long months for you to love me again, and by some miracle you’ve come back. You’re here and so am I. I love you and I want you. Oh, darling, pretend I’m a whore; pretend I’m anything ... but make love to me. Pay no attention to anything except to me...”</p> <p>His mouth folded over hers, shutting off the flow of words in a passionate kiss, while his hands smoothed down over the wisp of silk that kept his fingers from her flesh. Her arms clung to him tightly.</p> <p>“It won’t be hard, Beth,” he whispered against the side of her face. “You’re beautiful ... it won’t be hard to love you...”</p> <p>Then she twisted from him, making a memory <SPAN name="p41" id="p41"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>41<span class="ns">] </span></span>of the film of nightgown that had kept his hands away from her. He moved to her, his fingers stroking her into passion while she pulled his face down to the soft thrust of her breasts. Then she was clamped against him and struggling to get even closer, her body making a prison for him ... yet at the same time giving him freedom.</p> <p>Later, when she slept, he propped himself on one elbow to study the soft lines of her face. Then he too dropped off to sleep.</p> <p class="tb">&nbsp;</p> <p>His uniform was torn by the purple bushes and their nine inch thorns, and streamers of blood painted the rich blue and yellow of his trousers. His face was smeared with grey, pasty dirt and the hand that held the auto-pistol was wet with sweat. His stomach had rolled into a tight ball within him and he was frightened.</p> <p>They were out there somewhere, waiting for the sound of his black leather boots to clatter on one of the grey-green rocks that littered the hillside. They would find him. Their damned radar antennae would spot him for them. There was no escape from the bastards, and he knew it. Commander Imry had bungled every damned assignment he’d been given, and now Firstspacer Lors would have to die in the supreme bungle that had created the first native uprising on Thista. He looked up along the face of the high mountain in his rear. Nothing moved in the greenish-purple scrub, but he knew they were there.</p> <p>He peered over the edge of the rock into the valley, a hundred and fifty <i>kinos</i> away. The patrol <SPAN name="p42" id="p42"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>42<span class="ns">] </span></span>car was still there, its driver lying grotesquely just a few feet from the hatch. The thick, heavy spear through his chest resembled a finger pointing toward the violet sky. Closer to him, on the slope, one of the enemy lay dying, a greenish-brown fluid pumping spasmodically from the hole put in his chest by the auto-pistol. The alien’s huge yellow eyes blinked owlishly and the slash-like mouth worked as if he wanted to call for help. But no sound came. The antennae swiveled limply as he tried to locate his comrades, but they drooped as the alien died.</p> <p>Still tightly clutching the auto-pistol, he watched the thin, grey antennae fall to the ground. They pointed off to the left. He swung about and looked in the direction the native had been scanning, but he could see no movement beyond the swaying of the desert grass moving in the faint breath of air.</p> <p>They should have gotten the message. By now, there was probably a ship on its way to him. He had to hold out until they got here. He flipped open the cartridge box and checked his ammunition. Plenty. Of course, the auto-pistol only held fifteen shots and if they rushed him... He wished fervently that he had thought to bring the projectile launcher from the wrecked patrol car.</p> <p>Damned natives and their uprisings!</p> <p>He searched the sky anxiously, cold sweat trickling off his forehead in tiny rivulets. Scenes of other uprisings flickered through his brain, and more horrible scenes of the remains of tortured captives when he reached them too late. Those had been small. This one was for real.</p> <p>The native seemed to materialize out of the ground, screaming shrill obscenities as he drew <SPAN name="p43" id="p43"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>43<span class="ns">] </span></span>himself to his full nine feet of height and brandished the heavy maul over his head. He came leaping over the ground and up the hill of tumbled rocks in fiendish rage, his grey antennae pointed directly at Firstspacer Lors. Behind him came the others, eight of them.</p> <p>He fired the auto-pistol at the lead alien, watching the bullet tear a hole in his face, ripping away one of the blinking yellow eyes. The alien screamed and fell blubbering. He fired again and again, dropping two more before the charge broke.</p> <p>Then suddenly, at a sound, he whirled and stared terrified at the alien behind him. The charge had been a fake, an old military stunt that any green Spacer could have seen through. For one brief instant, he stared into the large eyes of the native. Then he fired. Another native rose from the ground, then another and another. He fired repeatedly, crying and cursing in his rage at the weapon’s inefficiency, while over his head he heard the roaring of the rescue ship.</p> <p>Tongues of flame soared over his head and into the surging mass of aliens. He hoped the ship was not too late...</p> <p class="tb">&nbsp;</p> <p>“Nick! Nick, darling!”</p> <p>He awoke, his face drenched with sweat and his stomach a tight knot of fear. He reached out, in his fright, and grabbed the woman at his side, pulling her into his arms to hold her tightly. She stroked his hair, kissed his face and whispered soothing words into his ear.</p> <p><SPAN name="p44" id="p44"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>44<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>“What is it, Nick?”</p> <p>He relaxed his grip and laid his head back on the pillow. In the bright light of the moon, he looked at her and returned to himself. Those monsters! So vivid<!-- TN: original reads 'vived' -->!</p> <p>“Nightmare,” he croaked hoarsely.</p> <p>She smiled, her lips glistening in the moonlight, and kissed him gently. “The apple pie,” she suggested. “Nightmares are usually caused by eating before bed.”</p> <p>“It was so real,” he muttered. “So real. I ... I was on another planet ... I wore a blue uniform with yellow stripes on the legs and my name was Lors, or Lars. The natives, horrible monsters, were in a state of revolution ... they killed my driver. I was alone and they were all around me...”</p> <p>“Science fiction,” she cooed and stroked his hair. “I think it’s a good sign. All you ever read, for relaxation, was science fiction. Your dream was probably a story you once read and your mind put you in the hero’s place.”</p> <p>He sat up and looked at her. “Did I cry out?”</p> <p>“You were mumbling. I couldn’t hear what you said. Then you began sobbing and thrashing about.”</p> <p>Nick ran his fingers through his hair and over the back of his neck, the reality of the dream almost too much for him. It wasn’t an ordinary nightmare where he would be running, with a huge monster panting in pursuit. This was frightening. Like a memory. Like some damned fantastic memory.</p> <p>He stood up and patted her shoulder. “Go back to sleep, Beth,” he told her gently. “I’m going downstairs.”</p> <p>“Shall I turn on a light?”</p> <p><SPAN name="p45" id="p45"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>45<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>“No. It might cause the neighbors to wonder.” He walked to the door of the bedroom. “The moon is bright enough.”</p> <p>He walked into the hall, feeling his way in the dark places, and down the stairs into the living room. As he sat in the chair near the window, he thought about the dream. It bothered him, because it was unlike a dream; it had the weird consistency and logic of a memory, yet seemed almost supernatural ... Hell, what kind of thing had huge, yellow eyes and stood nine feet tall? What sort of a world had a violet sky and grey-green rocks? The whole damned thing had the scent of a Walt Disney movie, the colors vivid and sharp, the landscape seemingly done by a watercolor brush.</p> <p><em>Thista.</em></p> <p>Apparently it was some kind of planet and he hoped that Beth was right. Would it be possible for a man to get so confused via a crack on the head, that he believed he had lived through the literature he’d once read? What would he dream about next? <cite>Macbeth?</cite> <cite>Treasure Island?</cite> Christ, what a world!</p> <p>If he could get to a doctor, a headshrinker, it might all be ironed out. They would get things squared away in a short while, but hell ... suppose I’m Public Enemy Number One, or something. Thirteen months! In thirteen months kings have been broken, dynasties crushed ... What had happened to him in the thirteen months that he had been out of touch? One thing he was sure of; he hadn’t been laying around. In a stretch of time like that, he had worked, eaten, slept, loved ... Maybe he had married again! An almost comical thought, compared to the possibility that he could be a killer, a bank robber; there were a million <SPAN name="p46" id="p46"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>46<span class="ns">] </span></span>things he could have done.</p> <p>A psychologist? Nope. That was out of the question, until he knew more about Nicholas Danson. And learning more about himself would be a real problem. The cabin that Beth had spoken of would probably show him nothing. After a period of a year, there would be damned little trail left to hunt along. There would be almost nothing. Whatever had been there, would have probably been sifted through by the guy, the detective, Nolan Brice. Brice! Of all the friends for him to have, he had to be saddled to Brice! He’d have to be real careful where that character was concerned because the slightest slip would set the cop on his trail like a blood hound.</p> <p>The crackup? Now there was something. He would always be stuck with the question of how he had managed to get out of that mangled mass of metal with merely cuts and bruises. But he could chalk that up to dumb luck, or something. The thing that worried him was had he left a clue that could trace him here? He had burned the flying suit ... he had tried to cover it up to Andy ... A lot of things about the smashed aircraft bothered him. Things like the flying suit; it had been made of strange material; but hell, he’d burned that thing. There would be no problem with that.</p> <p>Almost without realizing it, he found himself staring at the car that was parked on the other side of the street. The streetlight gleamed on the black paint of the Chevrolet sedan and he thought of what Andy had told him earlier about the men who had been interested in finding him. Looking at the car much closer, he could see the two men sitting in it. The knot of fear <SPAN name="p47" id="p47"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>47<span class="ns">] </span></span>returned to his stomach when he saw the light shining on the driver’s blond hair.</p> <p>The men from Andy’s gas station!</p> <p>“Nick?”</p> <p>It was Beth. She had followed him down and he could see her framed in the doorway at the foot of the stairs. She had slipped into a nightgown that, in the moonlight, was more alluring than if she had been nude. She started to speak, but he hissed at her for silence.</p> <p>“Come here, Beth,” he instructed, “and don’t put on a light.”</p> <p>Her bare feet whispered on the rug as she came to his side in obvious bewilderment. He pointed out the car and the two men, telling her about how they had inquired after him at the gas station. She listened quietly.</p> <p>“What do they want?” She asked, when he’d finished.</p> <p>She was sitting on the arm of the chair, leaning against him to study the car. The soft pressure of her breasts was disturbing and conjured up memories of early in the evening.</p> <p>“What do they want?” She asked again.</p> <p>“I don’t know. That’s something I have to find out. Listen, give me a minute to get to the upstairs window. Then snap on the light and move around. They’re probably looking for me and I want to give them the impression I’m not here.”</p> <p>“All right, Nick.”</p> <p>He got up and threaded his way to the stairs and up to kneel before the bedroom window that fronted on the street. Through the gap in the curtains, he could see the car plainly. The light snapped on downstairs. For a moment, nothing happened; the men merely sat in the car and <SPAN name="p48" id="p48"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>48<span class="ns">] </span></span>watched the house. Finally the car began moving down the street with its lights out. Then, out of range, the driver flicked on the lights and the car disappeared. The downstairs light snapped off and a moment later Beth came into the room.</p> <p>“Nick?”</p> <p>“Here.”</p> <p>“Perhaps they saw the crash...” she began, but he cut her off short.</p> <p>“No one saw me crash.”</p> <p>“I mean, later,” she explained. “After all, a wrecked car on a highway would...”</p> <p>“Car? Beth, I didn’t crack up in a car. I crashed on a wooded mountain in a private plane.”</p> <p>“Oh, darling, don’t be silly! You’ve never been in a plane in your life.”</p> <p>In the darkness of the room, Nick could only stare in stunned amazement at the moonlit outline of his wife.</p> </div> <div class="chapter">
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