Soul Searching - Jake returns to the mesa where he had fallen in love...
Jake stood and stared at this marvelous, malevolent female poised in his shower stall. She looked like Athena bathing in the mists as the swirling little showerheads surrounded her voluptuous form with hot steam and water. Realizing she was mesmerizing him, *again*, he abruptly turned away and strode into the bedroom. He stopped, trying to think what to do next.
‘I can’t think with her here!’ he realized frantically. ‘She’ll make me forget anything I try to figure out. I’ve got to get away!’
He remembered that he always kept his flyer equipped for backpacking. There was a tent, a bedroll and canned supplies for several days. He took the stairs down two and three at a time, jumping over the final railing. Opening what looked like a closet door under the stairwell, he trotted down the next set of stairs into the underground garage where he kept his vehicles.
Currently, he only had two; a two-wheeled old-style two-cycle combustion engine motorcycle of unknown vintage and the Mitsui Mach II flyer he’d received as part of his retirement package along with the cabin. It wasn’t a top-of-the-line model; it’s altitude ceiling was eight thousand feet and it would only do twenty two hundred kph. It was also a real gas hog, being equipped with only a turbine and not the much more efficient turbo-ramjet stutter combination that was just beginning to become popular when he retired.
Jake checked his flyer, quickly. It was fueled and ready to go. He climbed in and fired it up. The automatic doorway to the ramp opened up, revealing a sharply angled exit ramp leading to the desert surface. Bright sunlight lit up the ramp as the outside doors raised to clear a pathway for the flyer. The floor quickly lined Jake’s flyer up with the exit ramp and began moving it through.
When the flyer was halfway up the ramp, Jake pushed the throttle forward and was airborne, shooting into the sky. He pressed ‘Auto Location #1’. This set the autopilot to take him approximately fifty miles north of Bozeman to the town where he grew up and connected his vehicle and flight path into the nationwide flight grid.
He changed his mind and pressed ‘Auto Location #2’. This took him another five minutes north to the mesa near where Béla’s cabin used to be. That was the most solitary place he could think of now that Alicia had pre-empted his living space.
He sat back and watched the scenery on the horizon as it quickly grew, then flashed beneath him. The first few minutes of his flight were noisy and irritating. Then, with a slight feeling of being pressed back into his seat, the little flyer passed through the sound barrier and settled into the quiet, monotonous sound of air passing smoothly over the outside hull, a comforting sound familiar to all air travelers.
“Uncle Jake,” the speaker in the instrument panel squeaked. “Uncle Jake, I know you can hear me. Please come back.”
It was Alicia’s voice, pleading for him to return to her. It sounded tinny and artificial coming from the tiny speaker. He clicked off the speaker box.
Twenty-five minutes later, he passed over Bozeman. He didn’t like big cities, and, although he knew Bozeman wasn’t big, compared to New York or Chicago, it had done its share of urban sprawling in the last century. Skyscrapers, shopping malls and housing developments swallowed up the forests and farmlands that once separated Bozeman from his hometown.
The console beeped twice. Jake looked at the display. It was requesting a landing site. On ‘Auto Location #2’, there were three selections that he had input when he created the program. He chose number three. It was the most desolate place he knew of, and, to him, the most precious piece of real estate on the planet.
The console immediately beeped again. He looked at it, wondering what was wrong now. Jake read the display and laughed. He thought that was a pretty good idea.
'Admin code required.'
'Delete VR Alicia.'
He punched his admin code into the console.
'Admin code confirmed.'
The screen went dark. Jake suddenly realized he wanted to know what Alicia was doing behind his back. The console lit up again when he touched it.
“Monitor Alicia,” he told it.
The display brightened into an image showing Alicia in her tight fitting red flight suit carrying her bags through the front door toward her flitter. Even in the tiny monitor, her rear end looked delicious.
‘I hope she didn’t take anything of mine,’ he thought to himself, annoyed that he was still attracted to her.
Jake watched the desolate landscape grow as the little craft descended toward the top of the mesa where he and Béla had fallen in love. At one thousand feet, he switched to manual. All but one of the console lights showing his connection to the nationwide grid went out. Jake looked at it and tapped it with his finger. The button was marked ‘Tracking’.
‘God Damn,’ he thought, angrily. ‘Alicia is getting a little too nosey.’
Jake tapped his console to get its attention.
“Locate tracking source,” he told it.
He banked his flyer into a tight circle, killing off most of his forward speed. No matter how depressed he was, this old thing was fun to fly.
He was down to less than two hundred kph. In a few minutes, the flyer squatted down in the hard, dry ground. The air cushion created by the turbine blew sand and dust high into the air.
His console beeped.
'Tracking source located.'
'Tabor Investigations, Inc. Bozeman, Mt.'
'Turbine shutdown procedure initiated.'
So, it was Frank or Tanya who had noticed him go by. Well, if they saw where he was going, then they knew he wanted to be left alone. He felt slightly guilty about mentally accusing Alicia of snooping, but only slightly.
The console beeped again.
‘What now?’ Jake thought, getting irritated with all of these interruptions in what was supposed to be his self-inflicted exile. He looked at the display.
'Alicia outside tracking area location #4.'
'Recorded destination: Boston, Ma.'
“No.” he said. The console went dark.
At least, she wasn’t coming up here after him.
Opening the hatch, he was struck by the early spring heat of the blinding midmorning sun, now high overhead. He climbed out and dropped to the ground.
‘I should have worn a flight suit.’ Jake realized. ‘It would have protected me from the heat of the sun as well as the cold of the wind.’
Then he remembered that he had packed one in the luggage compartment. He went back behind the flyer and changed into it. Although it was an older, two-piece pants and jacket combination, he immediately felt more comfortable as the environment controls activated the suit's lining.
He looked around. It had been almost fifty years since he had last come here. There was no longer any trace of the old mining shack. The wall next to it, which had evidently been part of an even larger structure hundreds of years earlier, was only fallen rubble, now. There was no sign of where the ancient water pump had been. It had rusted completely away.
Jake walked around his flyer; checking it over and making sure it was still flight worthy. He didn’t find anything wrong. Pulling out his ration case, he opened a bottle of water and sat down on the low wing, wondering why he had come up here.
Alicia, of course, beautiful, blonde, the reason the word bombshell was invented – just to describe her and the effect she had on people’s lives. Did he love her? Of course not, he knew what love felt like. Did he hate her? Again, no. She had deceived him, but only regarding her pregnancy. Amend that to ‘pregnancies’. He pulled out his palm display unit and inquired into Alicia’s history.
As he read the display, he realized his private beliefs were being tested. He believed a girl should be allowed to get pregnant if she wanted to. And if she didn’t want to, she shouldn’t be forced to. Alicia had told him up front, in the beginning, that she wanted his child. At the time, she had also wanted him.
Now, Jake understood why Alicia had suddenly changed her mind and let him go. She’d settled for having his child. She had simply looked elsewhere for a suitable father. While she was looking, she had expanded her plans for her little dynasty to include much more wealth and power.
‘She found a rich, powerful man to help her to raise my firstborn,’ he thought to himself as he read the display. ‘While she was at it, she pumped out a bunch of half-brothers and half-sisters to keep my child company and to please the man she’d married.’
Afterwards, she’d tracked down Jake and gotten pregnant again, and did the same thing with her next husband. Was there actually anything wrong with that?
The only reason he caught her was that she’d confessed. For some reason, she had decided to play straight with him, now. Her parents could be coercing her. They didn’t like the idea of keeping secrets from their love partners. Or, maybe she was telling the truth. His daughter really did want to meet him, and she was no longer able to keep her covert agenda hidden.
Jake knew that if he had impregnated Alicia this morning, he probably wouldn’t see her again until her next husband died. He also knew that, however long it might be until he saw her again, he would forgive her. She had already asked for his forgiveness, last night.
He decided he did love her, after a fashion. He also knew he could never live with her. The complexity of her mind and her methods of solving problems would drive him nuts. She simply had way too much ambition for him to want to be partnered with her.
Jake woke up and looked around. He had fallen asleep sitting on the wing and leaning against the side of his flyer. The sun was setting, huge and bloated on the horizon, painting the earth and the cirrus clouds red, purple and orange. A cold, evening wind had picked up and had blown loose sand in his face. As it happened again, he realized that was what had awakened him.
He got up and stretched, trying to ignore his cold, stiff joints as they complained loudly about his falling asleep in this cool weather. Then he picked up his water bottle and drained it down his throat, ignoring the few grains of sand that had blown into it through the open top.
Opening the back of his flyer, he pulled out the pup tent and sleeping bag he’d packed into it over a year ago, knowing someday he’d want to come up here again. The food rations were canned and self-heating, so he wouldn’t really need a fire. But, after setting up his little camp, he searched out some brush and small pieces of wood, and built one, anyway. The desert night was cold enough to warrant one this early in the year.
He ate, not tasting the food, thinking about flying vampires and roasted wild rabbit as he sat, staring into the fire. Eventually, he fell asleep, again.
He could hear Béla’s ghost walking up behind him. If there were any place in the world where she would come to him, it would be here. She put her hands on his shoulders and began to massage them.
‘You’re tense, tonight,’ she said softly.
Jake looked up into her beautiful oval face surrounded by luscious, silky black hair. Her sparkling black eyes shone in the firelight as she smiled back down at him.
‘Miss me?’ she asked.
She always asked that. She bent down, pressing her breasts against him, bending his head backward and nearly breaking his neck as she pressed her chin against his nose and kissed him on the lips.
She was naked. She was always naked when she visited him. The cold air didn’t seem to bother her, but, after all, she was already dead. She backed away, allowing Jake to roll backward onto the backpack he’d been leaning against, and looked around.
‘Where are we, anyway?’ she asked. Then she spotted the flyer. Her face lit up with interest. ‘Ooo! Is this what cars look like, now?’ she asked as she walked over to it.
Reaching out in awe to caress the sleek metal surface, her fingers passed right through it. She turned away, a disappointed look on her face, and walked back to Jake. She dropped down next to him; her beautiful legs folding compactly beneath her, and put her arm across his waist, hugging him.
‘At least you’re real,’ she told him. ‘I wish I was still here.’
She gazed into his eyes. Jake still didn’t speak. He knew she wasn’t real. He was just dreaming, again. Béla looked around, not wanting to hear those thoughts.
‘I remember this place,’ she said, brightening up again. ‘This is where we fell in love.’ She laughed. ‘You made me…’
She stopped, a surprised look on her face.
‘Happy,’ she said, finishing her sentence. She had almost said, ‘Pregnant’, but then realized she had never told Jake she had carried his child for awhile.
Béla stretched out, half laying on Jake, holding him tightly, an incredibly sad look on her face. Jake wondered if, in all the years she had been visiting him in his dreams, this might be the first time she realized that she was truly dead.
‘No, that isn’t it. She thinks she’s still alive,’ Jake thought. ‘I got it. She’s acting just like Alicia was last night!’
‘Who’s Alicia?’ Béla asked, looking up at him.
Jake was surprised at her question for a moment, then he remembered that, at night, Béla could read his thoughts. He looked down at her and thought of yesterday’s and today’s events for her to see in his mind.
Béla lay quietly, looking over the information he had shown her.
‘You call yourselves ‘long-lifers’,’ she said, chuckling.
She didn’t seem a bit concerned that Jake was fucking Alicia or that he actually had children by her. In fact, she seemed to approve…
‘Alicia’s right, you know,’ Béla said, sitting up. ‘She’s trying to make as many ‘long-lifers’ as she can. We do, after all, have an entire planet to populate. And the people here will soon be becoming impotent. In only a few more years, only your ‘long-lifers’ will still be healthy enough to reproduce…’
Jake didn’t know what she meant. Béla felt frustrated. He never remembered what she told him. She hoped, at least, he remembered their astral lovemaking. Sometimes, she was sure her nightly visits with him were the only thing that kept her sane. She missed him so much, and he was still so far away, although every day now brought her closer.
‘Never mind,’ she said, and stretched up so she could reach his face. ‘Kiss me.’
She held herself upright with one hand, caressing Jake’s lips with hers as she worked her other hand into the front of his flight jacket, against his belly, and down inside his pants. Jake unfastened his pants so she could reach him better.
As he became aroused, he began caressing her slender body, lightly pinching her nipples and squeezing her breasts. She became more amorous as he did that to her. Then, sliding his hand down between her legs, he began playing with her pussy and clitoris. As he did, Béla squirmed in his grasp and bit him lightly on the neck, being careful not to break the skin. She was getting so aroused she couldn’t keep from moaning lightly with each breath she took.
Jake could feel himself getting hard as Béla’s hand stroked up and down. Then she was squirming her body up on him, still holding her cheek against his as she twisted her pelvis around, trying to get their bodies lined up properly without having to look.
Then Jake could feel the heated insides of her body surrounding him. Béla grunted as he penetrated her, than began quietly humping against him while she kissed and licked his face and neck. She made love to him with her whole body, sliding every inch of skin against him that she could manage to touch him with, desperately trying to make their lovemaking more real.
As Béla approached her orgasm, she began whimpering helplessly into his ear with each breath. Jake was ready to come, too. To help her climax, so they would do it together, he dug his thumbs into her stomach, just above her hipbones. He was rewarded with a sharp bite on the neck, piercing his skin this time. She quickly released her teeth from his neck, crying out in orgasmic bliss. Jake spasmed a half dozen times, drenching her insides with his cum.
Her energy depleted, Béla began to vanish, an anguished look on her face.
‘We’re almost here, my Love,’ she cried as she faded away. ‘I’ll see y…’
She was gone.
Jake woke up with a start, kicking the campfire with his boot. Béla had visited him, again. This time, they had talked a lot before they make love. He tried to remember what they’d said. It seemed important. The memories were fading away like a dream as he desperately tried to surround them with his mind.
He was losing her, again!
Her words were gone. Only his memory of their lovemaking remained, warm and sweet, yet far away and forever unattainable.
The tears ran down his cheeks, like they always did afterward. His most intense desire was that he would wake up and find that she would really be here. He knew with a bitter certainty that that would never happen.
He noticed that he had come in his pants. She had just been a dream, after all. He stood up and stretched, glad of the itchy feeling of cum soaking into his underwear as he moved. If that was all he had left of Béla, then he would accept it. But he wanted so much more of her than that.
He crawled into the pup tent and unzipped his sleeping bag. As he took off his flight jacket, he noticed a damp spot on the collar. He looked at it, not believing what he saw. He found his flashlight and shined it on the collar. He raised the collar to his mouth and sucked on the damp spot.
He hadn’t been mistaken. It was blood.
He felt his neck where Béla had bitten him when she came. There was no wound on his neck after all. He looked at his fingers. There was a drop of blood on them.