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Sex Life of the Gods, The

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<h2 title="Chapter Six"><SPAN name="p59" id="p59"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>59<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>CHAPTER SIX</h2> <p>Nick awoke to sunlight streaming into his face and had a momentary impression that it was dawn; then he realized that the sunlight had a reddish cast to it. He blinked at the bedroom clock, amazed to find that he had slept until late afternoon.</p> <p>My God, he thought groggily.</p> <p>His headache was nearly gone, he noticed as he threw off the covers and swung his long legs to the floor. The soreness was still there, thumping dully in his stiff muscles, but sleep had been deep and brought no fresh nightmares to worry about. He cleaned himself up in the bathroom and got a pair of slacks and a shirt from the closet, still feeling somewhat like a stranger. While he dressed himself, he thought of the woman he was married to.</p> <p>Despite the feeling of being a stranger in a strange world, and of being caught up in a strange set of circumstances, he found himself feeling delightful tremors when he thought of Beth. Even now, there was a tight, fluttering sensation in his insides when he thought of the talcumed satin of her skin, the warm lift of her brightly<!-- TN: no hyphen in original --> nippled breasts and the strong response of her rounded thighs. She was a beautiful woman. She was sex all rolled up in a frame of gentle curves and soft flesh, and he could see that to love a woman like her would not only be easy, it would be a privilege.</p> <p>He buckled the belt about his waist, trying to dispel the thoughts of the woman, and went downstairs to the kitchen. Hunger gnawed at him <SPAN name="p60" id="p60"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>60<span class="ns">] </span></span>violently.</p> <p>The coffee was cold. He turned the gas on under it and the note on the table caught his eye. He picked it up to scan it briefly.</p> <div class="bethnote"> <p>DARLING,</p> <p class="dblindent">HAD TO RUSH OFF TO WORK. KISSED YOU GOOD-BY AND YOU SAID “GLUMPTH”. BE HOME SOON. LOVE YOU TERRIBLY.</p> <p class="sig">BETH</p> </div> <p>He grinned at the note, balled it into his fist and threw it into the paper can. When the coffee was hot, he poured himself a cup and fixed a couple of sandwiches with what was left of the package of cold meat. As he was finishing the last couple of bites of the sandwich, he heard the thud of the evening paper against the front door. For a moment, it startled him, then, when he had realized what it was, he was half out of the chair... He paused there momentarily, then sank back into his seat. He <em>couldn’t</em> go out there and get the paper - if the neighbors saw him picking it up ... He sat there, waiting for Beth to come home, the suspense digging into his guts with ragged teeth. Had they found the plane? Were they onto him? Who were those two men? How did they know where to find him? Why were they looking for him?</p> <p>He drank damned near the whole pot of coffee and watched the hands of the electric clock move with agonizing slowness. Finally, at five forty, Beth drove up to the house and came through the door. Nick leaped from the chair.</p> <p>“The paper!” He snatched it from her hands and began tearing it open. Damn newsboys for <SPAN name="p61" id="p61"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>61<span class="ns">] </span></span>folding them!</p> <p>“Nick! Aren’t you going to kiss me?”</p> <p>“Huh? Oh.” He kissed her briefly, fleetingly, and returned to the paper. The crash was on page one.</p> <div class="newsitem"> <h3 title="">WRECKAGE OF PRIVATE AIRCRAFT FOUND</h3> <p class="noindent">Everett, Pa. The smouldering wreckage of what was apparently a private plane was found late yesterday evening in the heavily wooded area north of the city by a young Boy Scout looking for a campsite.</p> <p>Benjamin Talbot, aged 13, after locating the mangled aircraft, promptly called local police who dispatched Detective Lieutenant Nolan Brice, Everett Rescue Squad and FAA investigator Arron P. Dickson to examine the wreckage.</p> <p>“It’s the most unusual crash site I’ve ever seen,” FAA investigator Dickson told local newsmen. “There’s no evidence of wings or tail assembly. The fuselage<!-- TN: original reads 'fusilage' --> is also of a strange design.”</p> <p>Detective Lieutenant Brice, after checking with the airport tower at Everett, and with CAP officials, informed newsmen that no private aircraft had been reported in trouble, or even over the particular area in which the craft was found. “Of course,” Lieutenant Brice added, “one plane may have gone unnoticed. This is highly unlikely, but we cannot overlook the possibility. What is puzzling, to me, is that the aircraft has not been identified and there have been no bodies found.”</p> <p>“The Civil Air Patrol,” Mr. Dickson commented, “has been most cooperative and are now engaged in an air search of the area, while rescue squads work in the mountains.”</p> <p><SPAN name="p62" id="p62"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>62<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>Mr. Dickson went on to state that the mystery crash will be thoroughly investigated by authorities in an effort to determine the make and model of the plane, as well as the fate of its occupants.</p> <p>At present, the crash site has been roped off and placed under guard by local Militiamen. Only authorized personnel will be allowed to view the wreckage. Major Gilbert Donnoue, of the Air Force Experimental Wing, refused to make a statement as to whether the plane was of Air Force origin. “To my knowledge, we have lost no test planes. However, an extensive check will undoubtedly be run to verify this.”</p> </div> <p>Test plane? Nick stared in amazement at the words that leaped at him from the printed page. Test plane? What the hell was going on in this screwy world? No wings? No tail assembly? No Mayday calls? No record of the plane? The whole damned thing sounded ridiculous. Coupled with the fact that he had been out of touch for thirteen months, it all became weird.</p> <p>And to top it all off, Nolan Brice was one of the men who had been placed on the investigating staff at the crash scene. Suppose he, Nick, had left something at the scene ... a fraternity pin, a slip of paper ... anything that would link the crash to the fact that he was alive and in Everett. The whole damned bunch would be on his tail, before you could say, “Jack Robinson.” He...</p> <p>“Nick,” Beth pouted. “Will you pay a little attention to me for a change?”</p> <p>“I’m sorry, honey, but it’s the plane.” While she listened he read the account aloud and, when he’d finished, they exchanged glances. “That’s the plane I was in,” he told her.</p> <p><SPAN name="p63" id="p63"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>63<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>“But you don’t know how to fly.”</p> <p>“I must know, unless someone else flew it. That’s the plane I woke up beside. I must have been in the damned thing. But I don’t know if anyone else was.” He buried his face in his hands.</p> <p>“Nick. Should we call the police?”</p> <p>“No!”</p> <p>Alarmed at his violent outburst, she put her hand on his shoulder to comfort him. “All right dear. I’m sorry.”</p> <p>“It’d been different, if those men weren’t after me. I’d call the police if they weren’t dogging my tracks. I’d turn myself in just to find out what the hell’s going on.”</p> <p>“Me too,” she said softly.</p> <p>At first he didn’t catch the meaning behind her words, then he blinked. “What?” He asked.</p> <p>“The car, the black one. It followed me to work this morning.” She paused, then added, “It didn’t follow me home though.”</p> <p>Nick slammed the paper to the floor, his lean jaw muscles knotted in anger. “That settles it,” he snapped. “I can face whatever I’m mixed up in, but there’s no earthly reason why you should be subjected to it! I’ll have to get out!”</p> <p>Beth threw herself into his arms, the ever<!-- TN: no hyphen in original --> ready tears welling in her eyes. “No, Nick,” she pleaded. “Whatever it is, we’ll fight it. We’ll make out, but darling, don’t leave me again!”</p> <p>He held her tightly against<!-- TN: original reads 'aginst' --> him, his hands stroking the warm softness of her back and spine. The perfume of her hair filled him with a heady thought of summer fields of flowers, of sweetness and tenderness, of ... love. Love. Nick Danson, he told himself, you <em>are</em> mixed up. You’re falling in love with your own wife.</p> <p><SPAN name="p64" id="p64"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>64<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>“... and we’ll go away,” Beth was whispering in his ear. “We’ll pack everything and go far away, where we’ll never see these men again. Nick. Please. Oh, please keep me with you.”</p> <p>“Going away won’t settle anything, sweetheart. They’ll always be there, just outside the door. I’ve got to do something...”</p> <p>He broke off suddenly and it flicked into his mind like a film of the past, like a memory. The soft face of the girl, her hair a golden color against the backdrop of the ochre mountains ... the softness of the pale blue-green tree... She spun away from him, the loose, filmy blue dress whirling about her trim ankles ... then she was coming back to him, arms outstretched ... kissing him lovingly...</p> <p>He shut it off, clamped it from his mind. A memory! A memory that made no sense at all. A tremor of fear ran along his spine and trembled in his flesh. What did it mean? What was happening to him?</p> <p>“Nick?” It was Beth. “What is it, Nick? You look pale and frightened.”</p> <p>“Nothing. We’ll go away.”</p> <p>She beamed. “I know just the place. The cabin. Far up in the mountains. No one will know we’re there. We’ll learn to love each other again.”</p> <p>“You have to work,” he pointed out.</p> <p>She nodded. “That’s true, still <em>you</em> could go up there and try to puzzle this all out. I can come up in the evenings, and on weekends<!-- TN: original reads 'week ends' -->.”<!-- TN: original lacks closing quote --></p> <p>“Might be a good idea,” he admitted, thinking that at least, he’d be safe from prying eyes.</p> <p>“Then it’s settled. You go sit somewhere and I’ll get things packed.”</p> <p>She whisked away, almost running up the stairs <SPAN name="p65" id="p65"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>65<span class="ns">] </span></span>to pack some things for him. He walked to the kitchen, without turning on a light, and poured himself a glass of water. Outside, through the window, he could see the twilight fading into evening, the heavy purple clouds of night sweeping steadily across the sky. A star winked later and he knew it. Venus. He stood there in the darkness and picked out many of them as they flickered into being. Mars. Sirius, Vega and others. There were...</p> <p class="tb">&nbsp;</p> <p>... She came into his arms and talk was insignificant and quite unnecessary. The soft, white arms wound about his neck, tugging fingers pulled playfully at his hair and she smiled at him. His lips moved down against hers and they were lost in themselves. He could feel the taut pressure of her breasts playing against his chest and the firm roundness of her thighs working against his.</p> <p>Her strong fingers worked against the muscles of his shoulders, pulling him down onto the cottony moss beneath the strange tree. The small litheness of her body molded into his and his hands stroked her breasts beneath the filmy cloth that covered them. Her hands moved upward to the straps that swept over her shoulders and pulled them down. His eager fingers helped her, working the straps down until the firm mounds of her breasts lifted their rubbery, coral tipped nipples toward the sky. His fingers worked them, kneaded<!-- TN: original reads 'kneeded' --> the warm muscles, while his mouth worked on hers. When he had released her lips, she pulled his face down into the twin cushions of her breasts. His hand moved against the flesh <SPAN name="p66" id="p66"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>66<span class="ns">] </span></span>of her thighs, caressingly...</p> <p class="tb">&nbsp;</p> <p>“Ready, dear?”</p> <p>It was gone. Like that. A sudden flickering memory of some long vanished event that might have given him some hope. It had been fantastic again, the strange colors and the weird landscape, but he wanted it despite that. She had stolen it, ripped it viciously from his mind; but she was not to blame. He turned and smiled at her as she came into the kitchen.</p> <p>She had turned on a soft light in the front room, but had allowed the kitchen to remain dark. In the half-light of the room, he thought that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. It would not be hard to love her, he thought again.</p> <p>He reached out and took her by the shoulders, pulling her gently against him to kiss her. Her mouth moved against his, satiny with desire, until they parted.</p> <p>“I’m ready, if you are,” he said.</p> <p>“For what, darling? The bedroom, or the car?”</p> <p>He chuckled. “The car. The bedroom will keep until we’re up in the woods.”</p> </div> <div class="chapter">
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