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Introduction:

The stories of Béla and Jake, Frank and Tanya - and Katie's adventures in the far, distant past.
The Adventures of Béla, the Vampire Girl
Book 3: Wrinkles in Time
Part 4
Chapter 1 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Simon was sitting in a tavern. He was drunk. It was hot and biting flies were everywhere. He stank and his robe was filthy. His feet were blistered and cracked from the heat and his long journey northward.

He had no money, having been robbed, beaten and left for dead by a band of robbers outside of Bologna. He was able to barter for a meal and some stale beer by offering to clean the stables behind the inn. He had done a mediocre job on the stables, throwing fresh straw over old. His poor performance made the warm beer even more stale in his mouth.

Although he appeared young, it had been many, many years since he’d had a purpose, a sense of pride – of self-worth, rather.

‘Pride is one of the sins He taught us about…’

‘Sloth’ was another – a sin of which Simon was guilty more often than not, these days. It wasn’t that he was afraid of work, or was unable in some manner – it was that, now, there was no longer a purpose; a purpose for his life, a purpose for… anything.

He had begun his long journey to Lombardy to discover for himself how the holy words were being interpreted by Ambrose. The stories that had filtered down to his small group near the Red Sea were troubling. What he had seen in his journey northward was troubling. The Word was already being usurped and was being used by this Ambrose fellow to gain power and control over his fellows.

Suddenly, the earth leaped beneath Simon’s feet! He was violently knocked to the floor and thunder roared in his ears! He staggered to his feet and looked around the tavern, confused. Other patrons were also climbing to their feet.

‘Lightning on a clear, sunny day?’ he thought to himself. ‘It struck very close!’

Simon staggered outside. He could see smoke coming from behind a low, squat building. People were milling around, looking confused and chattering to each other. He began trotting toward where the lightning had struck, his rum-shot eyes squinting in the bright sunlight.

He ran around behind the building and stopped, stunned by what he saw. A young Aryan girl, completely naked, was lying in the middle of the yard. Her skin was obviously pale, although she appeared to be badly burnt. The burn marks from the lightning strike spread out from her, making a sign – a religious symbol from the days before He had come.

‘The Star of David! She is an angel fallen from heaven, taking her human form as a member of the purest race.’

Simon had no doubt that the angel was sent specifically for him. He ran to the center of the blackened area and knelt down. The angel was unconscious and Simon’s first observation had been correct – she was badly burned.

‘Perhaps she was acting on her own,’ he thought, ‘defying the Lord’s wishes and was struck down for attempting to get a message to me.’

Simon was certain that he was in God’s disfavor because of his, and others, failure to save Him from persecution and death. Nevertheless, he pulled off the top half of his robe, tearing it and laying it over the angel’s body, covering what should not be viewed in public. He was tense and frightened, fearing that his Lord might strike him down with a second lightning bolt for helping the fallen angel.

He didn’t care. Right now, he wasn’t too fond of how his Lord had been handling things. There were too many evils in the world, and Simon’s work, along with others of his group, seemed to be ineffectual in stemming the tide of evil that flowed outward from Rome.

Shoving his arms under the angel’s shoulders and legs, he lifted her up, surprised at how light she seemed. Although she was taller than he, she seemed to weigh very little, perhaps the same as a half-grown child.

As he stood there in the center of the burnt-out yard holding the angel, he noticed, for the first time, a ring of townspeople had gathered around them.

In his native tongue, he called out to them. “She is anathema! She is cast out of heaven to live in the filth of humanity for her sins! I will take her to the river to bathe her in the forgiveness of God.”

The citizens of Pavia murmured to each other – those who understood what Simon had cried out to them explaining what he had said to the others. As Simon began walking toward the river, proudly carrying his smoky, red and golden-haired burden, the crowd made way and allowed him to pass.

‘Anathema’ had many meanings; originally it referred to something so sacrosanct and pure that to merely touch it was to defile it. Now, Ambrose had given the word a new meaning: Cast out and unworthy; detested.

Excommunicated!

The good people of Pavia wanted nothing to do with someone who had been excommunicated by The Church! This filthy man was obviously a priest of some holy sect that practiced self-flagellation, probably sent here in a vision to collect this offal – this unworthy being who was cast out from heaven.

As Simon walked toward the Naviglio Grande, some of the more curious followed. He reminded them of the old stories of John, the Baptist. Perhaps he was going to immerse the fallen angel in the river and offer her the Lord’s forgiveness.

Simon didn’t care what they thought. The words that He had spoken all those years ago were not the words that were attributed to Him now. But Simon could sense what was expected, and knew that he must immerse the angel in the Naviglio Grande, whether she needed God’s forgiveness or not, or they would both be stoned to death.

It seemed like a long walk, but it was actually less than an hour. Not that it mattered – Simon measured his time in years; sometimes hundreds of years. That was how long it had been since he had supped on His blood, back when he was a foolish lad who believed he understood the world he lived in.

When he reached the river, he waded in to the water until he was hip-deep, his feet glad for the cool, wet mud that suddenly surrounded them. He turned and faced those who had followed him. Simon knew the words, even after all these centuries, that John had spoken when He had been baptized. Immersing the angel, he spoke them now, curious, himself, about what would happen.

The angel, limp and unconscious until now, suddenly choked and floundered in the water, kicking and fighting until her head was above the surface and she could breath again.

“What the hell… do you think… you’re doing?” she yelled, coughing up water.

Simon stared at her with his eyes wide. He had absolutely no idea what she had said. He could tell she was angry, but that was about all.

‘Is this the language of the gods?’ he wondered as they stared at each other. ‘She does not speak directly to me as He did. Is it possible that I have just empowered an agent of evil?’

Then she seemed to realize she was standing hip-deep in water, displaying her glistening wet, naked body to thirty or forty people on the bank, watching them. They seemed to be enjoying the display immensely.

The angel tried to cover herself with her arms, suddenly shamed, and knelt down into the water until only her glistening wet shoulders were displayed. She looked around, lost and confused. Floating in the water next to her was Simon’s torn robe. The angel grabbed it, pulled it against her body, and stood up, again.

At least now her front was covered as she stood there, shivering. Her back was still bare, though, still visible to Simon. The angel was uncertain which way to turn. It seemed to Simon that she was rejecting his offer of the Lord’s forgiveness.

‘It’s obvious why she was thrown down from heaven. She was probably the most desirable of all the heavenly angels.

‘And desire and lust are Satan’s weapons; used to defile love and friendship amongst those you care for.’

Those words had been usurped, too. He never said what the Church was saying He said.

The angel was staring at him, her lustrous blue eyes penetrating into his dark brown, almost black ones. He could see himself in her mind; his hair wild and unkempt, his unwashed flesh, his torn and filthy robe. She reached out and touched his arm.

‘Who are you?’ she asked in his mind.

Startled, Simon cried out and backed away, almost falling as his feet refused to come out of the soothing mud and catch his fall.

‘Then it’s true! You really are an angel from God! You speak in His manner…’

Simon stopped, feeling the confusion and uncertainty in her mind. Then he realized that God had wiped her mind clean, causing her to forget whatever evil she had been guilty of. He understood, now. He had come north to Milano to find…

Her!

‘Come with me, Angelic One,’ Simon thought back at her. ‘God has sent me to bring you back and teach you the true words. Your soul shall not be lost to God’s grace forever. You are being given a second opportunity!’

“Why should I go with you?” she asked out loud, arrogant even though she was terrified; not remembering who she was. Simon understood her thought, although her words were unknown to him. As she held onto his arm, he searched in her mind for words that she would understand. There was not much there – God had, in his mercy, wiped her mind clean, erasing her sins from her soul.

There were, however, a few words of the angelic tongue floating around; oddly phrased and out of context. He had no idea what they referred to, but he found one phrase that God had evidently placed there, specifically for him, so that his errant angel with the wet, rusty gold hair would obey.

“Because,” he said in halting, badly pronounced English, “Simon says.”

Chapter 2 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tanya was watching the Tri-d recording. Tears were running down her face. Frank sighed quietly, hoping after he did that she didn’t misinterpret his sigh as criticism of her depressed attitude toward life now that Katie was gone.

She didn’t. Instead she turned her head toward him and smiled.

“She's very pretty,” Tanya said, referring to the dark-haired beauty in the sky-blue wedding gown standing next to her grandson. This time, she was crying because she was happy that her grandson Jake had finally found ‘the right one’. “I hope she likes me.”

“Well, you have the advantage of not being her mother-in-law,” Frank said, chuckling. “Our darling Alicia will have that privilege. We will be the doting great-grandparents of their children, of which, I hope, there are many.”

He smiled at his wife, glad that something could make her happy, if only for a little while.

“I hope he’s not as ruthless with his spouses as Alicia has been,” Tanya said, surprising Frank with her… well… frankness. “I’m sure Alicia cared for the men she married – maybe even loved them a little – but she kept her secrets to herself and, in the end, left each one in the ground and went on to the next.

“I wonder,” Tanya continued, almost to herself, “if she ever looked back, and regretted…”

“Darling,” Frank said, moving from the chair to sit next to her on the couch, “she never had the opportunity to make any of her husbands a part of our family. Béla was gone, and only she…”

“I know,” Tanya interrupted him and changed the subject. “I wonder where they’ll go on their honeymoon.”

She smiled to herself, her mind wandering to happier times. “Do you remember when we closed down the business and took five years off to travel through Europe?”

“Yes,” Frank said, also remembering. “We took the kids and just traveled across Europe, moving from city to city, sometimes staying in one place for months at a time.” He chuckled, remembering, “Then there was that long, unexpected stay in Milan…”

“Where Katie was born…” Tanya said, the smile vanishing off her face.

Then she was crying, again, sobbing into Frank’s shoulder, missing her youngest daughter all over, again.

‘Well, you did it again, you big dumb idiot…’ Frank thought to himself.

After a few moments, he picked Tanya up and carried her into the bedroom. He lay next to her, holding her while she cried herself to sleep.

After awhile, he fell asleep holding her in his arms, his own eyes leaking from the misery their lives had become.

‘Go to Béla. She will help your life-mate to get past her grief,’ he heard as he dreamed.

‘What about my own?’ he asked into the darkness. ‘Of all my children, I loved her the most…’

‘The Princess Béla can help you both,’ the words formed in his mind. ‘It is her wish that you know this.’

‘Please, then, let Béla know that her help would be accepted. I do not wish for my wife to die of a broken heart…’ Frank pleaded as the alien but somehow benevolent presence faded from his mind.

Frank slept, strangely peaceful. When he woke up, Tanya was sitting on top of him, slowly moving up and down on his morning hard-on.

“Good afternoon, lover,” she said, her voice deep with her lust. “I thought I’d better wake you up. You’ve slept all through the morning.”

Frank was suddenly wide-awake.

“All morning?” he exclaimed. “I never sleep late!”

‘Well, you did, today,’ a familiar, voice chimed into his mind, softly caressing his soul. ‘You needed as much help as Tanya did.’

It was Béla’s thoughts in his mind. Then he remembered the strange dreams that he’d had:

Terrible images of losing his parents, of his high-school girlfriend being killed in a stupid car accident, of Béla being burned alive, losing his favorite daughter, Katie. Béla had guided him through them all; back to where his grandmother had died when he was but a child.

‘Strange,’ he thought, ‘I didn’t even remember Grams. And that was the worst pain of all…’

But now, he felt light and, if not joyful, at least content. Tanya, sitting astride him, her eyes closed as she approached orgasm, was evidently doing even better.

Someone picked up his hand and kissed it gently. Frank turned his head and discovered that Béla was here physically as he gazed into her dark eyes. Still mind-linked with her, he realized that she wasn’t the same Béla that he had lost a century ago. She was the same person, but…

‘She isn’t really different – it’s like… well… there’s more of her.’

There really wasn’t any other way for him to understand it.

Béla smiled, feeling his thoughts, and pulled herself closer to him. Tanya started moaning and arched her back, tightening herself around him as she came. Then Béla hugged them both, sharing her love for them and experiencing their love for each other.

The emotions and sensations the three of them shared in the following moments were so intense that Frank didn’t even remember having an orgasm. But when Tanya lifted herself up, he realized that he had. She leaked it all over him.

Tanya, mind-linked with her husband for only the third time in an entire century, wasted no time flooding into his mind, becoming one with him – her insecurities swept away by his deep love for her. She lay on top of him, tears leaking out of her eyes, one arm around him and one around Béla, who was mentally linking them together.

Frank wasn’t upset about Tanya’s tears this time. He could feel her contentment and her love. She was, once again, satisfied with her life. The thing Tanya feared now was the power she had over Frank because of his love for her. Hopefully, the time when she would ever hurt him that way was still hundreds of years away.

‘I should get back,’ Béla thought into both their minds.

Image of Jake babysitting ‘the baby’… my unnamed child.

“If she is really Beth,” Tanya replied, “she may open up to me. We were mind-linked once before…”

Now the tears were in Béla’s eyes.

I’ve told her I forgive her for whatever it is she did. At least, now, she looks at me. But her mind is still shielded. I could easily smash through her shields, but I will not! She must open up to me of her own free will, no matter who she is… Your help would be appreciated.

“Okay,” Tanya purred aloud. “We’ll come down this weekend, or next, if you prefer.”

Béla nodded. “Next weekend is fine. Would you like to baby-sit that weekend? Jake wants to take me into the mountains…”

She grinned, contemplating her first sexual maiming in almost a year. Then her eyes widened in embarrassment as she realized…

‘Whoops! You heard that, didn’t you…’

They all laughed and hugged each other one last time, then Frank and Tanya were alone again. Tanya broke down and sobbed into Frank’s shoulder, surprising him beyond belief.

“What in the world is wrong, now?” Frank asked, consternation strong in his voice.

‘I hope she doesn’t think I’m mad at her or something…’

“We were mind-linked,” Tanya sobbed. “I’m happy that you love me so much…”

She sniffed, trying to control her leaky face.

“Well, you know,” Frank admitted, “I was kind’ve curious, myself. And I discovered that you’re somewhat fond of me, too.”

He smiled at her. Then they kissed. Then, no, they didn’t make love again. Frank went downstairs and fixed her breakfast in bed – her favorite – poached eggs and fried potatoes with shredded peppers and sausage.

Tanya sat patiently through it all while he served her like a queen; feeding her, cleaning up after her and satisfying her every whim, including making a fresh grapefruit juice slushie for dessert.

Then they made love again.

Chapter 3 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The gold and red-haired angel with no name sat up. Something had awakened her. Their small fire was almost out, but there was no light on the eastern horizon, yet. There was no moon, either.

Simon had stolen clothes for them both earlier that day. The sheepskin the angel wore was itchy and uncomfortable. She hadn’t complained, though, because it was at least something to wear. She casually scratched her ribs, listening to the night. There were crickets and frogs. That was all she could hear.

Then she heard what had awakened her – a movement muffled in dry leaves. The angel nearly jumped out of her skin. She reached over and shook Simon awake. He made too much noise waking up. The pair was suddenly surrounded by dark figures.

The intruders didn’t speak; they simply attacked. Simon was in the habit of waking up quickly and was able to fend off his attacker, sending him sailing several yards behind him. The gold and red-haired angel was not so lucky. She took a knife in the ribs, then tore out her attacker’s throat with her teeth.

‘Wow! Where did I learn that?’

Then Simon had his dagger out. The two surviving thieves fled into the night. Simon could hear his angel gasping in the dark.

‘She's been hurt! I’ve got to help her! God let it not be too serious!’

It had been a long time since he had prayed. His thoughts even surprised him!

In the dim firelight, he could just barely make out her silhouette as she knelt on the ground, holding her hands against her wound. He reached out to touch her. As his hand made contact, his mind was flooded with sensation – not painful, but sexual!

The angel was kneeling on the ground, having an orgasm because she’d been stabbed.

‘What an interesting way to die…’ Simon couldn’t help but think.

He jerked his hand away, fearful that he might lose control and take unfair advantage of this mortally wounded angel, but she’d felt his contact and now she wanted him. She reached out, radiating lust at him.

“Wait!” Simon cried out. “You’re hurt! Let me check your wound, first! I don’t want you to die…”

She touched him, then embraced him, tightly. Simon felt his body respond to her heat… her need. Still trying to help, he put his hand against the bloodstained tear in her clothing. He didn’t believe that he couldn’t find the open wound in her ribs – the orifice that had spit out all that blood, but there was nothing there but warm, sensuous female flesh!

After a few seconds, he gave up and surrendered to the lust raging through them both. He allowed her to shove him roughly back onto the ground. She grabbed his robe and pulled it up, gathering it around his waist so that his lower half was exposed. Simon felt her hand on his hard member, then she was poised over him, ready to skewer herself on his shaft.

The angel cried out as she dropped down on him, radiating her orgasm right through him. Simon was amazed as the angel shared her orgasmic sensations with him. In seconds, he was pumping his semen into her, unable to withstand the incredible sensations overwhelming him.

‘This must be what sex is like in heaven…’ he thought as the angel began to relax and lay down on top of him.

‘No, this is what sex is like – with me…’ her lustrous voice echoed into his mind.

Simon could feel her arrogant superiority and suddenly realized why she had been cast from heaven.

‘You have been sent to me to learn humility, angelic one,’ he explained, their minds linked so they could understand one another.

‘Are you certain that I have not been sent to teach you how to enjoy what you already have?’ she countered, and flooded his mind with her sensations, again.

Simon realized that this angelic being may have had her mind erased, but she was still willful, extremely intelligent and somewhat manipulative – the last being an undesirable but common female trait. Females used their minds and their wiles to counter the physical strength of men.

‘He told us in His infinite wisdom to not cherish what belongs to another. This knowledge I already have,’ Simon insisted. ‘You cannot teach that to me!’

‘Your knowledge goes back centuries, while mine only goes back a few hours… Explain to me why, then, when we are like this, I have the power and you are subjugated to me!’

She was proud, too, Simon realized, recognizing the humor his God had demonstrated when assigning this task to him. They each had the same flaw.

The gold and red-haired angel squeezed her insides against his failing cock, causing it to respond and jerk upright, once again. Then she was moving her pelvis, caressing him with her hot, slippery insides and making him realize that he was, indeed, her thrall – at least for the next few moments...

‘I recognize you now, even if you do not know yourself,’ Simon said in his mind. ‘You are the essence of Bathsheba – David’s alluring queen. Though she was dark and you are light, it can only be you, Bathsheba, incarnate!’

‘I can see in your mind who it is you think I am,’ the angelic being silently replied. ‘It is possible, I suppose. I have no way of knowing, although I recognize the names and the images you display for me, like stories I once heard. However, I am presently interested in a different sort of essence… Come with me… Come… Now!’

She radiated her orgasm down into his body. His body spasmed in response as he came into her heated body – again and again. Finally, she collapsed down on top of him, a contented growl in her throat. He could taste blood on her mouth, and was suddenly concerned that she might be wounded and bleeding inside, after all.

‘I am fine!’ she insisted in his mind. ‘Sleep now!’

He fell asleep with her still lying on top of him. Some time later, he awoke suddenly as she slid off him to lie at his side. Urgent pressure in his bladder made him slide carefully out from under her arms, then he stood up to go relieve himself. A dead robber was still lying on the ground, visible now in the early morning light.

A quick look exposed the horror of the previous night and the true reason why the angel had behaved in so erotic a fashion. It also exposed the true source of the angel’s power. The robber lay with his head twisted around and his neck torn open. The sleeping angel’s bloodied face betrayed her crime to him.

‘She has used the lifeblood of another to heal herself!’ he realized with growing horror.

He stared at the sleeping golden-haired angel as the eastern sky slowly grew brighter.

‘Abomination! Cast out of heaven by God, himself!’

He had been more right than he realized when, in an effort to protect them both from an ignorant population, he had labeled her ‘Anathema!’

Simon spent the next several hours watching the rising sun, watching the sleeping angel as the sun struck her hair and reflected its reddish, golden color into his eyes, praying to God for the strength and courage to end the life of this beautiful abomination.

In all the years as His student and follower, He had continually taught that it was wrong to take a life. Now that He existed only in the memories and writings of His followers, His teachings faded against the reality of the world and its ever-more-powerful evils.

‘Lord, are you testing me? Or are you testing your cast-off angel? Which of us is the teacher here and which should be the student? Are we expected to learn from each other, perhaps? How can you reward her taking a life with health and sensual ecstasy while my life that I have lived for you is empty and barren, lacking purpose and fulfillment?’

Simon realized that he was being selfish, of course, and that was another sin. He had taught that one should not compare one’s fortune or misfortune to another’s.

‘You can only compare how you are today to how you were yesterday,’ Simon remembered from a conversation with Him, all those years ago. ‘Are you better, or worse? Are you achieving your goals? Who have you helped, and who have you done harm to? These are the things that are important. It’s not ‘what was done to you’ that eats at your soul, my blood-brother, but ‘what have you done to others’, regardless of the reason…’

Those words had been twisted, too…

But the gold and red-haired angel was still an abomination. To use that as a reason to kill her, however, would injure his soul. He realized that, now, and understood the purpose – the reason why they had been cast together.

‘How well did I learn His lessons? Well enough to guide me now? Well enough to pass them on to this fallen angel? If that is my task, then I accept it, and am humble that that You think me worthy enough to accomplish it, my Lord.’

He would take her back with him to join the others; the ones still living who had supped of His blood – back to the humble Academe where each was recording their memoirs.

As he watched the fallen angel sleep, Simon thought back to what he privately considered ‘The Great Mistake’ – when He had shared the secret of His blood with His closest and most devout followers. Each who had partaken of the cup was rejuvenated and youthened; their lives extended now for many hundreds of years instead of the single hundred one could expect.

The one who was closest to Him, whom He called brother, argued that this was a gift that should be shared with the world. Much to the consternation of them all, His brother had gotten up and left the table in an uproar. But He knew what His brother was about, and forgave Judas even as he stormed out of the room.

Later, when the Romans came and took Him, full of guilt and remorse, Judas hanged himself. After he had been cut down he found himself rejuvenated and still alive, as he had supped from the cup as well. Judas was with the others now, a member of their little Academe, high in the hills overlooking Murrabba’at.

There were others who had discovered the Academe, and joined, as well. The two soldiers who had bled Him and collected His blood in another cup and others who had drunk from that cup found themselves living on, while their wives and sons died and turned to dust. Some had married again, only to lose everything to human mortality once again. Such was the unhappy price of their long lives. Some who joined the Academe were the long-lived children of those who had drunk His blood.

After a time, the angel awoke. She looked over at Simon and smiled, remembering the events of the early morning hours. Then she realized that her face was sticky and matted with the blood of the thief she had butchered. She tried desperately to wipe off the accusing stain, finally managing some semblance of cleanliness by licking her hand and wiping her face like a cat washing itself.

Simon tossed a piece of bread to her and she chewed on it for awhile.

“Do you have any water?” she asked, her eyebrows raised.

Simon looked at her, a blank expression on his face. Then she remembered the word. She had seen it in his mind when he had dunked her in the river.

“Mayim?” the angel asked, and pointed at her mouth.

Simon smiled, then laughed at her misuse of the word.

“Tachath shiphlah,” he said, pointing.

He smiled as the angel looked with uncertainty in the direction that he had pointed. Then she got up and walked over the rise. After several minutes, when she didn’t come back, Simon got up to see where she’d went.

He walked to the edge of the brook and looked around, not seeing her. Then he heard her voice and looked toward the sound. She was naked, kneeling in the middle of the icy stream, scrubbing her face and neck and trying to get her hair wet. The hourglass shape of her back and hips was more than a little alluring.

She yipped in surprise when she saw him out of the corner of her eyes. He walked along the edge of the stream until he was even with her, standing on the bank.

The angel preened herself; throwing her wet hair back and jutting her glistening wet breasts forward. Simon had never seen such a perfect body.

‘Do all Aryans look like that?’ he wondered as he gazed. ‘It’s no wonder there are so many of them…’

He smiled and watched as the angel finished washing herself. She teased him by splashing handfuls of water on her breasts and belly, rubbing her wet hands under her hairless armpits and then washing between her legs. She turned toward him while she did that, shameless in the knowledge of her physical perfection.

Simon thought once again of David’s ode to Bathsheba.

‘She is surely the incarnation of the love the First King sang about!’

She stood up and looked around for her clothing. Then she looked at Simon, accusation in her eyes.

“Yesh,” he said, nodding his head.

She looked where he nodded. Her robe was hanging up to dry. She had washed it in the stream, unintentionally ruining it. Simon had hung it up, hoping that it would dry and not shrink too much.

When she pulled it on, it was much tighter than before, and shorter. Simon was surprised at how attractive she looked in the skimpy, skin-tight garment. The angel wriggled around uncomfortably, the damp wool itching her terribly. Simon realized that he was going to have to steal another garment for her. He hoped she’d learned her lesson and wouldn’t get the next one wet.

Two weeks later they were both working at an inn in a small hamlet on the shore of the Tyrrhenian Sea. They had traveled directly South to reach the sea. Simon did not want to take his angel through Rome. He had come up to Lombardy that way, traveling the entire length of the land from Sicily to Pavia on foot. In Rome, he had been stopped and questioned several times, and had been arrested for vagrancy once.

He realized the dangers of escorting an Aryan woman who didn’t speak the language through Rome, especially during these unsettling times. There were Celts, or rather, Gauls, encroaching on this side of the mountains, settling the lands north and east of Milano. There were rumors of raids against the Venicians and retaliation by the Romans. The Aryans were mixed up in the middle, both sides claiming Aryan support. Aryans were not very popular anywhere right now, despite, or perhaps because of, their striking appearance.

The inn where they were working belonged to members of his own people – an old Hebrew man and his wife. The angel was permitted to serve the members of the chosen people who stopped to eat there, and perhaps stay overnight. She was not, however, allowed to eat or sleep with them, and had, instead, a pallet of wood and straw set up on the roof of the structure. A simple sheet held up with sticks kept the dew off her. Nothing kept the flies off.

Her little dwelling was comfortable enough, but she got lonely at night, and would often wander off, coming back at dawn smelling like a sharlila, which is what the innkeeper’s wife called her when they were alone. The waspish woman would angrily make the errant angel wash herself until she no longer stank and then put her to work scrubbing the tables and floors until she stank again.

“When we do leave?” Rybba asked.

Simon had offered the fallen angel a selection of Hebrew words that described her. She had picked Rybba. (Note: There was a time when there was no 'e' in written language. Thus, the 'y' is pronouced as an 'e'. Rybba is pronounced Reba. Gyorgy would be pronouced George.)

“It’s the only word that sounds like a girl’s name,” she’d told him, touching her fingers to his arm so he could understand her. “What’s it mean, anyway?”

An image of a host of angels appeared in her mind.

The angel smiled. She liked what it meant.

“I shall name you Rybba Malak,” Simon declared. ‘Angel of Angels.’

“I like it,” she said, radiating gratitude. “It’s much better than Sharlila.”

Simon laughed. Rybba could see what it meant in his mind. Her face turned bright red, making Simon laugh harder.

‘She's making progress!’ he realized as he saw her reaction. ‘She can actually be shamed!’

Rybba turned smartly away from him, her arms folded under her breasts and an angry frown on her face. Simon stepped forward and hugged her. He was beginning to like this strange angel that had fallen from the grace of God. She was learning, but she was teaching him, also. It occurred to him that he had not felt this good for more than a hundred years.

“We should have enough for two fares in another week,” he told her.

After two weeks with him, she was getting a good grasp of the language. She no longer needed to touch him to understand most of what he said.

“A whole week?” Rybba exclaimed. “I’ll die!”

“You won’t die,” Simon assured her. “You fell from the sky and you didn’t die. You were cruelly knifed in the chest and you didn’t die. God did not send you here to die. You were sent here to learn.”

“And just what am I learning?” she exclaimed, pouting. “How to clean floors and tables? How to serve your food? How to sleep on a straw bed under an open sky by myself?”

“Raphac lwm Hwhy!” Simon said firmly. ‘To humble yourself before God!’

They looked at each other for a moment before she spoke.

“Come to me tonight, and I will raphac before you,” Rybba said softly.

She touched his cheek, filling his mind with her loneliness. Simon took her hand in both of his, and pressed his lips to her fingers. It was not something he’d done before, but she seemed to expect it.

“I promise,” he told her.

Chapter 4 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Béla had decided not to wait until her infant unshielded. She introduced herself, mind to mind, and named her Elizabeth, her name from before. Her nickname, Jake decided, should be Liz or Lisa, so as not to be confused with Beth, whom Tanya believed the lifeforce that animated her child had once been.

Béla decided on Lisa, so that’s what they started calling her. The test was, of course, whether or not Lisa responded to her new name. She did, and it didn’t appear to upset her.

Lisa wasn’t a crybaby. If she did cry, it was because she was angry about something. But, at least, she didn’t burn anyone after that first time.

“I think she was ashamed of her behavior,” Jake suggested. “That’s why she teleported to our bed.”

“Yes, probably,” agreed Béla, “but who taught her proper behavior so she could be ashamed when she was wrong?”

Jake shrugged his shoulders. He had no idea.

Lisa was five months old and growing rapidly. In fact, she was already as large as a two-year-old. For the last four weeks she’d been crawling everywhere. Now she was starting to walk.

Frank Junior stopped by to see how his second family was doing, and jokingly suggested that Lisa’s development was a little slow.

“What do you mean, ‘slow’?” Béla asked, defensively. “She's five months old and she’s walking!”

She stood, patiently waiting for Frank’s reply.

“Yes, but, you’ll have to admit, she looks like a two-year-old,” he told her. “I’m just saying that she’s developing more slowly than she’s growing.”

Béla was silent. She was thinking, ‘If Lisa would just unshield her mind, her progress would be much faster, I’m sure!’

But Lisa’s mind was her own. She could understand what was said to her, but she didn’t talk, and she didn’t mind-link, although she demonstrated that she could hear what was ‘thought’ at her. So far, her maximum teleport range was forty miles. Jake discovered this by inventing a game where she would ‘throw’ a portable transmitter as far as she could, then they would go look at the ‘big screen on the wall’ to see how far away it was.

The second part of the game was retrieving the object. That was harder, and Lisa was often frustrated, not able to locate the object once she’d released it back into the physical universe. But, she’d succeeded twice, now. The first time she’d just retrieved the keypad, having forgotten to make an image in her head of the whole object.

The second time was picture-perfect. Lisa dropped the thing right in front of Jake. Later, when Jake picked it up to use it, it seemed awfully light, and it didn’t work. But that was because its internal circuitry was still lying out on the rocks, somewhere.

“Tanya’s coming,” Béla said, holding Lisa in her arms. “It would be nice if you would say something to her.”

“Alright,” Lisa said.

Béla nearly dropped her and screamed. “Jake! She talked!”

Lisa, terrified by her mother’s sudden outburst, teleported to safety in her room, upstairs.

“Lisa, I’m sorry, baby,” Béla said, trying to woo her back. “I didn’t mean to yell…”

She sighed and sat down on the couch.

‘I’m not going to chase her. Not again!’

After a moment, Béla heard a sound at the top of the stairs. She looked up. Lisa was standing there, quite grown up looking (for a two-year-old), watching her.

‘Please, baby, come down,’ Béla thought at her.

She very carefully did not emit a single wave of emotion as she watched her child obey her first mind-to-mind command.

Jake came into the room just about the time Lisa reached the bottom of the stairs.

“Want some pancakes?” he asked Béla.

“Okay,” Lisa said.

She was talking, now. By the end of the day, both Béla and Jake wished Lisa would shut up so they could go to sleep.

Tanya arrived with Frank the next afternoon. They had missed their son’s visit to the cabin by only a few days. Béla had worked on him, helping him to get over the loss of his kid sister and the incredible guilt he felt about leaving her behind when his father had asked him to come across the country and play doctor to Béla and her unborn child.

The afternoon went pleasantly enough. Lisa, although talking, kept watching Tanya closely. After dinner, Tanya stepped out onto the porch for a moment to enjoy the sunset and the northern lights. After about twenty minutes, she realized she wasn’t alone on the porch. She turned and saw Lisa, sitting a few feet away, just watching her.

“Well, hello, darling,” Tanya said, smiling at her. “Have you been out here long?”

‘I wonder what she wants,’ Tanya wondered. ‘I think she’s wanted to talk to me all day.’

“I’m sorry,” Lisa said quietly.

“Why are you sorry, darling?” Tanya asked.

Lisa looked sad – a very grown-up look for a two-year-old.

“I hurt you,” Lisa said, frowning as she tried to express herself with words.

“What do you mean, you hurt me?” Tanya asked, squatting down on her heels.

Lisa was an adorable child, Tanya realized. ‘If Béla had ever been little, she would’ve looked like Lisa.’

“I sent your lady away,” Lisa admitted.

Then she blinked several times, trying to concentrate. It seemed important to her to say things to Tanya.

Tanya was very quiet for a moment, trying to put together what Lisa was telling her. Lisa didn’t know that many words, so it was important to keep the conversation on a simple level.

“Can you get her back?” Tanya asked, daring to hope that her daughter could somehow be resurrected after all this time.

Her hopes were dashed when Lisa shook her head. “She's too far. She can’t get back.”

“Lisa,” Tanya said quietly, thinking to herself, ‘This is so important! I have to know, so please don’t get frightened and run away now!’ “Is Katie alive?”

Lisa nodded her head. Tanya took a deep breath, trying to control her emotions.

‘Let’s not break down now! I need to know so much more…’

“Will Katie ever come back?” Tanya asked.

There were tears in her eyes. If she understood Lisa correctly, Katie was alive, but lost in time.

Lisa looked at Tanya, then seemed to lose interest.

‘Either she doesn’t know, or she didn’t understand the question. I suppose it’s possible that she doesn’t even know the words so she can answer.’

“Can I sleep in your bed tonight?” Lisa asked, suddenly more cheerful.

“Why would you want to?” Tanya asked, surprised by the question.

“Cause,” Lisa said, “you smell nice.”

Tanya laughed, and smiled at her.

“Yes, of course you can,” she promised. “We’ll just kick ol’ Uncle Frank out of my bed and make him sleep on the couch.”

Lisa thought for a moment. “It’s my bed.” She stated it simply, not being a bit aggressive.

“Oh, well then,” Tanya said, smiling. “May I sleep with you, tonight?”

Lisa grinned and stood up. “Okay!” she said, and ran inside.

Tanya could hear Lisa telling her parents that Tanya was sleeping with her tonight.

‘And for every night as long as she’s here. Okay?’

She watched the northern lights dancing above the horizon for awhile. The desert skyline outlined by the eerie light was incredibly beautiful, but it left her feeling cold, inside. After a while, she went back in.

Lisa was asleep on the couch in Frank’s lap. The rest of the family was working on some conversation and a bottle of wine.

“Lisa seems to like you,” Béla said.

Tanya could feel Béla’s mind tickling hers. Béla was polite enough to hold back from simply raiding Tanya’s mind, but she really wanted to know what her daughter had said to her.

Tanya sat down. Jake handed her a glass of wine.

“Yes. We had a bit of a chat,” Tanya admitted.

‘If I think of what she said so that Béla can hear,’ Tanya wondered, ‘will Lisa hear it, too? If I tell her mother what she said, will Lisa think I’m betraying her?’

‘I suppose you’d better not say, then,’ Béla replyed into Tanya’s mind. ‘I will let her have her confidences with you…’

Béla was disappointed. Tanya didn’t have to have any telepathic ability to sense that. Conversation seemed dead after that, so, claiming exhaustion, they all begged off and went to bed. Frank carried Lisa upstairs and, as promised, put her to bed with his wife. Lisa didn’t even wake up. Frank slept on the next bed in the guestroom, which was now Lisa’s room.

Tanya was dreaming. She was in a nightmare, surrounded by white fire.

Katie and Beth were there with her.

“There it is!” Katie cried. “There’s your great crime! Now stop it!”

“What? I can’t!” Beth exclaimed, sounding terrified. “It’s too big!”

“You know what started it!” Katie insisted. “You can stop it!”

Tanya could feel Beth concentrating – trying to surround the hugeness of a nuclear blast with her mind. She felt the energy shift out of this time and into another as Beth teleported the dead body and the section of wall that was becoming atomized out of the physical universe.

The sudden change caused Katie’s grip on reality to slip. Time started to speed up. Katie screamed, her body suddenly blazing up in the white-hot blast.

She vanished. Tanya, watching the nightmare unfold, realized that Katie had teleported, trying to escape the terrible nuclear burning. But the white fire followed her. Then Beth reached for Katie and gave her a shove, helping her get ahead of the wave of nuclear energy that pursued her.

They both vanished. Tanya remained alone, watching the nuclear blast reverse itself as it was sucked into time.

‘Katie, where are you?’ Tanya cried in her mind.

A faint image was left behind. Tanya recognized the skyline of the city in the image. She even recognized one of the magnificent buildings – the Basilica de Sant’ Ambrogio.

Tanya jerked awake. She didn’t recognize where she was, at first, then remembered she was at Jake and Béla’s. A tiny form was sleeping quietly next to her.

‘I must have mind-linked with her in my sleep,’ Tanya realized.

She also realized something else.

‘Katie went home. She went back to Milan. But… When? How far back into time did you send her with that push, Lisa? How long will it take her to get back?’

Tanya stayed awake a long time. If she remembered correctly, Saint Ambrose’ Basilica was built sometime in the fourth century. If she understood teleportation correctly, Katie couldn’t have gone earlier than that, because she had been concentrating on that specific structure when she’d tried to teleport to safety.

‘How can I get her back? She's could be seventeen hundred years away! If she has to live through that many centuries to get back here, will she even remember me?’

Finally, sometime before dawn, she fell asleep. She didn’t dream, or, if she did, she didn’t remember.

Chapter 5 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rybba lay on the hard cot that Andrew, Simon’s brother, had made for her. It was made of flexible branches tied together with rawhide and wrapped with a thick wool pad. A large sheet sewn from several pieces of lambskin was stretched over that. A blanket made of soft animal hair was available to cover her and keep her warm.

“In heaven, they had beds that move when you touch them,” she told the two brothers. “They adjust to any position for your comfort, and they are softer than lamb’s wool.”

She realized she sounded like a commercial, except she couldn’t remember what a commercial was.

Simon and Andrew had asked her other questions, many of a theological nature. Rybba was incredibly uninformed for a fallen angel. But, they realized, God had taken away much of her memory. She was sent here to learn, after all.

She did remember where she lived in heaven. She had lived in a beautiful room with light shining right through the walls. From her room, she could see images of anywhere in the world, and the music…

‘Oh, the music was so alive and vibrant!’

And when she left her place and went out into heaven, she was surrounded by tall, slender structures that reflected the bright sunlight right into her eyes. They were so tall that they grazed the sky. She would get dizzy looking up, trying to see how far they went.

Rybba never once doubted Simon’s explanation for why she was here on Earth. As the weeks and months passed, she learned to read the strange symbols they used to describe the images in their minds. She even learned to read and write in Greek and Aramaic, although she never really mastered them or the old language of the chosen people well enough to help the scribes in the community with their work of copying the True Words and sending them out into the world.

During the years that she stayed there, Rybba became very religious; an odd statement to make about an angel that was cast out of heaven. But she learned about Jesus and the message of hope and self-worth that He had tried to spread to a barbaric world. He was so pure that others – even those who professed to be His friends – coveted His blood because it could heal in a godly fashion.

She also learned about the advantages of having drunk the blood of the Christ, as they called Him. Those who had drunk from the cup of Christ, either during that last meal when He had revealed His secret to His followers or from the cup that was used to collect His blood as it flowed down from the wound in His side, were almost impossible to kill. Over the many years that followed, each discovered that they were immune to aging, as well.

Rybba came to realize that, somehow, she also had the blood of the Christ flowing in her veins. She had the same ability to heal herself as Simon or any of the others in the community. The appointed leader of the community, Thaddeus Lebbaeus, allowed her to be tested to determine if she were divine, as He had been, or merely a recipient of His divine gift.

Rybba was disappointed to learn that her blood could not cure anyone except herself. But she did have special status in the community because she could speak directly to others, in the same manner as He had, simply by touching them. The ‘unfortunate’ thing about that, as she learned when she accidentally overheard Thaddeus and Matthew discussing her was, basically…

She has nothing to say…

After some weeks, Rybba found her niche in the community. She began accompanying Simon and others when they traveled and needed to barter for goods. Rybba would flirt with the merchants, like a zonah, touching them and sometimes flashing her koos, as Simon called it.

Later, when her companion was bartering with the merchant, Rybba would be in physical contact, innocently holding her companion’s arm. Because of her earlier contact with the merchant, she would still be somewhat linked to him, and she would mentally let her bargaining companion know when cheating was attempted.

Twice, over the years, their little caravan was attacked as they returned laden with supplies for the months ahead. Both times they fought off the thieves. Both times, Rybba was badly wounded. Both times, fortunately for Simon, it was he who was with her, and was the recipient of the incredible sex that Rybba seemed capable of only when she was mortally wounded.

After several years, when it became evident that God was not going to come down any time soon to retrieve his fallen angel, Simon took Rybba as his fourth wife. As a wife, she was disappointed to discover that she was no longer exempt from the mores of the community and was expected to keep her little koos to herself and, of course, be available for Simon.

Stoning was the accepted method of correcting errant morals, and, although Rybba was mostly unkillable, she didn’t much like the idea of a bunch of angry townspeople throwing rocks at her. Besides, if she were caught in an adulteress situation, Thaddeus might make an example of her and cut off her head, sending her soul back to heaven minus her heavenly body. She was quite proud of that body and wasn’t anxious to lose it.

‘Oh, that’s another sin, isn’t it?’

Rybba never had any children with Simon. She really didn’t want children because Simon had told her that any children sired by one who had supped from the cup of Christ would live an unnaturally long life and be cursed by the mortality of those he loved and cherished.

He also believed that, as an angel, Rybba would probably never age. She would live to see Simon and any children she had, no matter how long they might live, die of old age long before she was recalled to heaven. Rybba could see in Simon’s mind that this was the mantel that God had placed on her. She accepted it as she did everything she saw in Simon’s wonderful mind.

She also knew that her independence and fierce pride kept her from being able to receive God’s mercy, but she was, for now, unwilling to give them up as she felt those qualities were what made her who she truly was. She liked who she was, even if she didn’t know her true name.

After another century, what Simon had foreseen for the angel came to pass. Rybba didn’t age at all while Simon and the others in their long-lived community began to grow old and feeble. On his deathbed, Simon once again touched her and joined his mind with hers, trying to make her understand the harsh, lonely road ahead of her. She would suffer endlessly for her pride and arrogance until she learned to truly humble herself before Hwhy. Only then would she be permitted to age and die so she could return to heaven.

Rybba knelt by the side of his bed as they came and carried Simon away to be wrapped and placed in the caves with those who had gone before. Her head was covered, hiding the tears running down her face. She slowly and methodically tore her garment according to their custom. She didn’t cry out her pain and anguish as was customary, for she had known, for the century that she and Simon had shared, that her destiny, her mowt, was to lose all she loved. She accepted that, and did not bemoan her fate.

But none of that meant that she hadn’t learned to love him over the years they were together. Her mentor was gone. That which gave her life meaning was taken from her.

‘Please, God, if you can hear me, please take me home…’ She closed her eyes and wished hard. ‘Take me home…’

The air was suddenly warmer. Inhaling, she smelled candle wax. The incredibly loud sound of church bells blasted the grief from her mind for a moment. Her eyes flew open!

‘I’m in a church!’

Stunned by the sounds surrounding her, she looked wildly around, beginning to panic. She held her hands up to her ears, trying to block out the sounds of the bells. After a moment, they stopped. She could only hear a voice, wailing loudly in protest. After a few seconds, she realized…

‘That’s me making all that noise!’

With an effort, she closed her mouth. Silence fell over her. A priest was approaching, half-walking, half-running. He didn’t look very happy. As he drew near, he began talking to her. Rybba didn’t understand the words he used, but he seemed to be scolding her. He was frowning and looking at her shepherds clothing. His hand and arm motions were unmistakable. He wanted her to leave.

Right now!

Rybba turned to flee and tripped over a padded railing. Her hood slipped, displaying her fiery golden hair. She turned away and half-rose to flee again.

“Attende!” the priest called out, suddenly more friendly. “Ne pas bouger!”

“Kalos?” Rybba asked, still frightened. “Asunetos…”

‘What? I don’t understand…’

“Ah!” the priest said, much more pleasantly. “You speak Greek!”

“Alla,” Rybba replied, and nodded nervously.

She was still backing away slowly, not knowing what to expect from this strange dark-robed figure.

“Where am I?” she asked, not certain if she should give him that kind of an advantage over her.

“In Milan, of course,” the priest informed her. “Specifically, you are standing in the Basilica of Saint Ambrose.”

She blinked several times. The name seemed familiar.

‘Why is this place so important to me?’

“Where is your master?” the priest asked her.

“My master?” Rybba said, not understanding.

“Yes,” the priest insisted. “Your master, your… guardian?”

“Oh,” Rybba replied. She cast her eyes downward. “Nekros.”

“Ah!” he said, suddenly understanding her situation. “Then you are here to join the convent.”

Rybba’s eyes looked sharply upward at him.

“For your year of mourning, of course,” the priest continued, clarifying his question.

Rybba mutely nodded, then waited.

‘They can take care of me until I understand what’s happened to me… until I understand what I should do.’

The priest raised his arm and bade her to follow him.

In the convent, the section of the monastery set aside for women in seclusion, she found life very similar to the life she led in the hills above Murrabba’at. With mortar and pestle she ground herbs and small amounts of grain. She sewed; repairing frocks the priests wore and making garments for the children who lived in the church’s orphanage. She also worked in the kitchens of the orphanage, and, if not there, then in the convent, itself.

Her name, Rybba, was not well accepted among the other women, as it was a word used by the blasphemers who lived across the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Rybba confessed that she did not know her real name, and that her master had named her when he took her from Pavia. When asked if she was an orphan, Rybba admitted that she believed she was, but begged the headmistress’ forgiveness for her inability to remember where she came from or her lineage.

That she was Aryan was evident. They decided that she had been stolen by an unbeliever because of her beauty and taken across the sea as a child.

The headmistress renamed her Mira, because of the misfortune that had befallen her and the way she had been treated, so far, and had the priest baptize her as part of her naming ceremony.

Rybba, now Mira, had to do a month of penance when she claimed she could read and write both Greek and Aramaic. She was not allowed to prove she could, as women were not permitted such things. She fumed at the stupidity of her benefactors (captors), but could do nothing about it. Having learned much about humility from Simon, she quickly recanted and made no more claims of any special talents.

As soon as her month of solitary confinement was finished, she escaped, going ‘over the wall’, literally, after the evening meal. By the time it was determined that she was no longer at the convent, ‘Mira’ was miles away and was hiding among a group of ‘tent women’ who specialized in following caravans and military groups.

Using her ability to merge her mind with those she was in physical contact with, Mira quickly found a new protector and enamoured him to her by sharing her sexual sensations with him.

Her new master, a middle-aged man (around thirty, she estimated) named Fredrick Rutten, was kind enough, and completely taken with his new Aryan acquisition. Like her, he was also Aryan. Unlike her, he spoke in a coarse guttural language that she’d never heard before. Although he was adept with a sword, he had caravan guards available to do any fighting that needed done.

From Milan, Fredrick took her north across the Vosges to Strasbourg. The journey was fraught with peril from bandits, Huns and the weather. As they traveled, Mira spent much of her time huddled in the middle of a wagonload of wool to keep from freezing. At night, there were campfires where she helped prepare and cook the evening meal and food for the next days’ travel. Later in the night, there was Fredrick’s tent and his very comfortable bed of furs.

After the evening meal was cooked, the women melted snow in kettles for water before they were permitted to eat, themselves. The water would be used for washing, later. Mira didn’t mind any work she could do next to the roaring campfires.

‘Anything to keep warm!’

Since she was deemed to be the youngest of the women traveling with the caravan, she was usually one of those picked to gather firewood. She always gathered as much as she could – she wanted a big fire to warm her.

One of the men had shot a deer the day before and had cleaned it yesterday evening. Mira had offered to clean the hide for him in exchange for some of the meat. So today, instead of simply huddling in the warmth of ‘her’ wagon of furs, she sat on the back where she had a surface to work with, and spent most of the day industriously scraping the hide clean.

After the evening meal, she took it back to him. His name was Anthony, and she could see that he was pleased with her work, but he still tried to give her less meat than she thought she deserved. It only took a touch of her hand on his cheek to change his mind.

She carried her prize back to the lead wagon feeling very pleased with herself. She and Fredrick would have extra rations for at least a week because of her ingenuity. She wouldn’t find out until the next day that the venison had been evenly divided amongst the entire caravan, and the hunter had done naught but give her and Fredrick their rightful share. She spent the rest of the day huddled in her wagonload of furs deciding how to get even with him.

At the next evening’s campsite, Mira followed her victim into the woods, intending to pounce on him, offer herself for his use, then leave him ‘high and dry’ and alone in the woods without any clothes.

As she followed him, she lost track of him for a moment. She walked through the snow for a few minutes until she found his tracks, then took off at an angle, trotting to get ahead of him.

After another couple of minutes, Mira circled around to where Anthony should be. Smiling, she stepped out from behind a tree to confront him and suddenly found an arrow sticking out of her navel. She looked down at it and sank to her knees in shock and surprise. Blood began to stain her garment and run down her front. She looked up at Anthony. He had a look of horror on his face.

He ran up to where Mira knelt in the snow and dropped down on his knees in front of her, babbling in that guttural language that was so uncomfortable to her ears. Mira took hold of both his hands in hers, and their minds merged together.

Because of the accident with the arrow, Mira had to share her secret with him, mentally showing him the images of her arrival from heaven and that she was really an angel fallen from the grace of God.

It took several minutes to convince Anthony that she was really an angel. The fact that she could communicate with him in the assumed manner of the divine, and the fact that she had memories of having lived at least a hundred years, finally made him realize that she was telling the truth.

‘I can’t be harmed. You haven’t hurt me with your arrow. But if you help me get it out, I’ll show you what sex with an angel is like, for the raging sensations you’ve created by piercing me must be satisfied!’

She was so aroused by the impact of the arrow, and then the further agony of having Anthony yank it out, that she forgot her plans for revenge until she was completely sated and he had soaked her insides with his cum.

‘Why were you out here?’ Anthony asked her, copying the manner in which the angels communicated.

Mira smiled up at him.

‘Image of spending her afternoon plotting her revenge against him for the free work on the deerskin – her petty fury – the delight of her plan to expose him sneaking back into camp, naked, after she’d seduced him and stolen his clothes.’

Anthony sat up, still astride her. “That isn’t a very angelic attitude…”

She could understand what he was saying because they were still touching each other – in quite a few places, in fact.

‘I was cast out to learn humility,’ she thought back at him. ‘I guess I’m not very good at it, yet…’

“There is something you’re very good at,” Anthony grinned down at her, “but I don’t think that your sexual skill will get you back into heaven. In fact, I can very well imagine it to be the reason you were cast out in the first place…”

Anthony laughed at his lewd little jest.

‘That’s not funny, you dolt!’ Mira blasted at him. ‘I’m stuck here until I get this right!’

She sighed, easily seeing another jest on her words in his mind, this time unspoken, of being stuck!

She considered taking his clothes anyway, and making a run for it, but her own clothes were torn and bloody. She needed to spend some time and rub them in the snow. She shivered as she worked. She’d finally got her garments clean enough so that they only looked dirty, not bloody like they had.

By the time she was through rubbing snow on her bloodstained garments, she was shivering cold; her skin almost white. She didn’t even have enough muscle control left to put her cold, frozen clothes back on. Anthony helped her dress, then helped her gather firewood.

That night after the evening meal, Mira gave herself to her master, putting him to sleep for several hours. After making sure he stayed asleep with a mental suggestion that he do so, she crept out to spend the next few hours making love with Anthony properly, without her backside being squashed into the freezing snow. Plus, he made it fantastic for her by piercing her belly button over and over with the point of his knife as she sat on top of him doing her best not to scream out in pure ecstasy with each orgasm.

That was the caravan’s last night in the mountains. Late the next evening, they pressed on past their normal stopping time and arrived in Strasbourg a few hours after dark. The caravan broke up as it arrived in the city, each wagon going its own way to its own destination.

Mira never had the opportunity to say goodbye to Anthony, and she never saw him again. For the rest of his life, though, he often wondered if she ever made it back into heaven. He hoped she had, but he seriously doubted it. She was simply too much in love with herself to be accepted into heaven. So instead, he wished her a long and wonderful life, filled with adventures and excitement.

‘The day will come when God in his infinite mercy will accept you back. Until then, have a good life, my golden-haired angel…’

Chapter 6 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“This is amazing!” Jake Hedron, the newlywed Chairman of Tomlin said to his new bride. “I’ve never actually flown in one of these, before.”

Tabatha grinned at him as she floated next to him a few feet away. “Really? I’ve taken strato-jets all over the world. I love free fall. It’s too bad we aren’t alone. Zero-G sex is so incredible!”

Tabatha looked around. There were only a few people in First Class. None seemed interested in getting up and going anywhere for awhile.

“Come on!” she whispered excitedly as she unstrapped Jake from his seat.

She grabbed his arm as he floated upward and pushed away with her feet.

“Wait!” Jake exclaimed as he was suddenly jerked forward with her.

Then, in physical contact with her, he could see in her mind what she intended and could feel the sexual excitement that motivated her. They floated toward the front of their section. There were two more passengers seated in front of them; one was focused on a hand-held interactive Tri-d and the other was sitting with his eyes tightly closed, holding a bag still folded in his hand, ready for any emergency.

Reaching out in front of her, Tabatha gently stopped them both as they reached the front bulkhead. Hanging sideways in the air, she stuck her head around the corner into the observation chamber. It was empty. She reached back and pulled Jake through the doorway.

As soon as he was through, Tabatha gently nudged her body up against his, almost stopping his forward progress across the room. She put her arms around his neck, aligned herself along his length, and pressed her lips against his mouth.

Jake closed his eyes, put his arms around her and returned her kiss. Their minds merged, sharing their sensations with each other as they floated slowly across the room in free fall. After a moment, they touched against the forward bulkhead, bringing them to a halt. Tabatha pulled back from their wondrous kiss and gazed into his eyes.

“Make love to me,” she whispered, her breath hot against his mouth.

“Someone might catch us,” explained Jake.

‘Ever the party-pooper…’

“Then they’ll just have to wait their turn, won’t they.” Tabatha informed him breathily.

She bit him gently on his cheek. Then she had her hand inside his pants, caressing his hardness. Before he realized it, Tabatha’s shorts had disappeared, his cock was sticking out the front of his pants and she was pulling herself down on him. She wrapped her legs around his hips to hold them together and squirmed, caressing his cock with her hot, moist inner flesh.

‘Wow! You’re really good at this!’ Jake thought at her, admiring her balance and control in the middle of all this spinning, light-headed sensuality.

‘Practice makes perfect, darling,’ Tabatha replied in his mind, squeezing her pelvis against him.

‘Practice a lot, do you?’ Jake thought, teasing her, then suddenly realized he’d just called her a slut! ‘Oh God! I didn’t mean it that way!’

Tabatha closed her mind to him and pushed away with her arms, just far enough back to look into his face. She gazed into his eyes and kept grinding back and forth on his cock. She wanted him to know that she was in control of the sensations she provided him, and this time she wasn’t about to share. He was stuck with the limited sensuality his own body provided him. The way his cock felt, surrounded by her hot wet insides, that was almost enough.

“I had to practice a lot!” she told him flatly, emphasizing the past tense. “I wanted to be perfect for when I finally found you!”

‘Though I can’t imagine why…’ her thought rippled through his mind.

Then she squeezed him tightly with her cunt muscles, her body seeming to suck the cum right out of him.

She watched him with a triumphant look on her face as he tried valiantly, but unsuccessfully, to prevent himself from coming inside her. Then the heat between her thighs began to melt her belly as her own orgasm began. As the orgasmic wave swept through her, she opened her mind and let it flood through Jake, as well. He came again; his own orgasm extended as his body reacted to the sensual wave crashing through him.

They clung to each other in the middle of the chamber, panting for a few moments. Jake recovered first.

“That… was incredible,” he gasped, and kissed her on the neck. “You’re incredible!”

‘I’ve never had anyone give that much of herself to me before…’ he realized.

Tabatha smiled. Her face was still flushed and rosy from her orgasm. She looked around and located her shorts, floating near the ceiling and gently pushed away, Jake moaning in mild protest as their mind-link was broken. He watched, fascinated by her grace and agility in free fall as she retrieved her shorts and expertly twisted around, easily putting her legs through and pulling the garment up.

‘How’d she do that? I have trouble doing that even while sitting down on a bed!’

Tabatha pushed against the ceiling and floated back down to him, then gave him a gentle kiss on the lips.

‘Glad to oblige…’ she thought into his mind, referring to the sex they’d just had.

Jake closed his eyes, enjoying her kiss and the gentle love flow he felt coming from her. Then she was gone again. He opened his eyes.

‘Hey! She's leaving!’

He hurriedly pushed against the bulkhead behind him, crossing the space between him and the doorway and ramming into the edge of the hatch with his shoulder.

‘Ow! Damn!’

“Practice makes perfect,” he heard her say.

Then she chuckled at him. He looked at her. Tabatha was already strapped back into her seat.

“Come on! We’ll be in Florence in a few minutes.”

He almost had his harness fastened when the engines fired, jerking him sideways out of his seat. Tabatha expertly caught him and pulled him back down.

“Course correction,” she told him, calming his suddenly anxious mind. “They do that every time. And they never tell you!”

“That must be why everyone else stayed safely strapped in their seats,” Jake admonished her.

Everything began to shake as the wings were extended. Tabatha stayed in close mental contact with her nervous husband, letting him know what each rattle and bump meant.

‘Why is it shaking like this?’

‘We’re going ten thousand kph and we’re coming back down into the atmosphere! It’s only air. Don’t be so scared.’

Image of the New York to Beijing strato-jet plunging into a mountain at two thousand miles an hour two years ago and destroying half the city.

“As long as we’re shaking, we’re slowing down, okay?” Tabatha said, trying to calm him. “That’s the brakes you feel!”

‘Brakes? A little thin strip of metal designed to create a vacuum behind each wing to slow down ten thousand tons of steel? Jeez! No wonder he’s nervous… Crap! He heard me!’

The landing in Florence was uneventful. They spent a week there, seeing the sights, then traveled on to Milan.

“It’s not there!” Tabatha exclaimed, standing in the middle of the square.

There was supposed to be an impressively huge and very ornate church where she was looking. Instead, there were two burnt-out walls still standing and the remains of the foundation.

They walked up to a plaque – a monument in itself, to itself. The first two lines Jake understood; “Basilica de Sant’ Ambrogio” and “a.d. 379 – a.d. 2051”.

“Huh. No wonder I missed it…” Tabatha mused absently.

“Can you read that?” Jake asked.

Tabatha shook her head.

“No, but I feel like I should be able to… You ever feel like that?” she asked.

“Like what?” Jake queried.

“Like, well,” Tabatha thought for a few seconds. “Like something’s just right there, you know? Just there… like you can almost see it and you just can’t put your finger on it, you know?”

“No, I don’t know, and you’re sounding like a valley girl from the turn of the last century.”

“How would you know?” Tabatha asked, a little annoyed at his remark. “You weren’t alive back then. I’ve read your bio, mister, your real one, and you weren’t even born until 2057. Despite the fact that your family is long-lived, you are only a year older than me!”

“I’m sorry,” Jake replied. “It’s just, well… You’ve been talking about Milan and this hotel for the last month, and now, well… now everything’s…”

He stopped, remembering something she said just a moment ago.

“What do you mean, ‘you missed it’?”

“What?” Tabatha asked. “I didn’t say anything.”

“No?” Jake said, then clarified what he said. “When we walked over here and you looked at the plaque, you said, ‘No wonder you missed it.’ What did you mean by that?”

Tabatha looked at her new husband. Her expression was completely blank.

‘I don’t know. I didn’t say anything. I don’t remember saying anything.’

“I guess I was just… I felt…” she sighed. “I was just disappointed that it wasn’t here. I guess I saw a picture of it when I was a girl and I just, well… I’ve always wanted to come here. Just to see it.”

‘Okay?’

“Okay, I guess,” Jake said. “And you still sound like a valley girl.”

‘A very beautiful, sexy one, too.’

They walked hand-in-hand along the street, casually looking at the shops and the people.

“Well, do you want to stay in Milan?” Jake asked. “There’s lots of other stuff to see…”

“I don’t care,” Tabatha said, still strangely depressed about the destruction of the Bastille, more than thirty years ago. “We can if you want. We could go to Rome…”

Rome was on the edge of what was some newscasters had recently begun calling The Final Solution – a huge, radioactive wasteland where three thousand years of religious intolerance had finally culminated in the nuclear annihilation of both sides. By the end of the first day of that war, there was no longer any quarrelsome Third World, hence the name of the radioactive zone: The Final Solution.

“We could, I suppose,” Jake replied absently. “I hear they’re rebuilding now that the radiation level is down…”

Rome hadn’t been destroyed in the war, but the entire southern half of Italy had been rendered uninhabitable because of radioactive fallout and volcanic eruptions. As the years passed, the Italians were slowly reclaiming their land, meter by meter, as the radiation levels became more tolerable.

They walked along for several more minutes. Then Jake stopped and looked around.

“What is it?” Tabatha asked.

She was looking at Jake. Jake looked puzzled. And thoughtful. After a moment, he smiled.

‘I’ve never seen a smile look sad, before,’ she thought

“I just remembered,” Jake said. “When I was a small boy, my parents brought me here. In fact, my mother told me that her sister was born here… my aunt, Katie.”

“Here, in Milan?” Tabatha asked.

“Well, yes,” Jake admitted. Then he added, “What I mean is here! Right there!”

He indicated a building across the street from where they were standing.

“In there?” Tabatha asked, not entirely sure what he meant.

“Well, no,” Jake told her. “There were, um, apartment houses – condos – there, then.”

“Oh, well,” Tabatha concluded. “They tore them down then, huh? I mean – There’re no pasty green houses with terracotta roofs over there, are there?”

Jake looked at her. She couldn’t tell what he was thinking. She took his hand. He wasn’t thinking. He was simply confused.

‘What’s wrong?’ Tabatha thought at him.

‘How did you know what color their house was?’ Jake wanted to know.

“I don’t know,” she replied verbally, defensively. “Maybe I saw it in your head. There are lots of things in there I don’t pay much attention to… maybe it stuck… How did you know what color it was? You weren’t here, then…”

She didn’t understand it herself. ‘This place is weirding me out!’

“Family pictures,” Jake told her. “That Basilica was still standing when my mother was a child and her family lived here. She said that her sister Katie, as soon as she learned to walk, got lost once. Gramps found her sitting on the church steps. After that, Katie would spend hours just gazing at it from her window. Grams used to worry about her – Katie was really quiet as a baby, except when she couldn’t see the church, then she’d get upset and cry a lot. She didn’t actually start to develop normally until the family moved back to the States.”

They looked at each other for a moment, then both made the decision at the same time. Milan was just too weird for both of them.

‘There is too much history here…’

“Rome!” they both said together, then they laughed.

They took a land-rail to Rome. After the first hour-and-a-half of city and countryside, they were traveling along the coastline. Tabatha was snuggled up to Jake, watching the shoreline rush by, lulled by the rocking motion of the rail car as it raced down toward their destination. Occasionally someone would squeeze by their seat on the way to the dining car or for more personal reasons.

‘It’s nice that you have memories of your childhood,’ Tabatha thought into Jake’s head.

‘Doesn’t everyone?’ Jake asked.

Tabatha shook her head. “I have a memory of a cable car falling through the air,” she told him. “But look at it. It’s completely skewered!”

Image of people screaming as the cable snaps, stranding the heavy car high over a snowy canyon. It seems to fall slowly, at first, like in a dream. Then it’s falling swiftly, and smashes into the snow-covered earth far below.

“I’m told that my parent’s bodies cushioned the fall so that I survived. But I don’t remember them at all. And the memory I have of the accident is like I was watching it from outside. It’s all skewered. It’s almost like that’s when my life started!”

“You’re right,” Jake replied. “It’s too weird. I’m not going to even try to figure that one out. But I’m glad you survived.”

“Really?” Tabatha asked. “That’s sweet.”

‘You are so totally weird!’ he thought, then he kissed her.

The rocking of the rail car as it raced toward Rome put them to sleep for awhile. The sudden squeal of metal brakes startled them both awake as the rail car slowed for a wide, shallow curve. They both were silent, watching the coastline race by. After a while, the coastline moved away from them and the landscape became more… humanized.

‘Pastoral, do you think?’

‘Maybe… I don’t see any cows. Lots of trees and orchards.’

‘It feels strange not to be working…’

‘You think so? I was thinking the same thing.’

‘Yeah, but you had a different reason for doing your job.’

‘What? You think I didn’t care what OCI was about?’

‘Wait! No! That’s not what I meant. Besides, you said you joined the OCI to find me.’

‘No, I joined because I believe in what they’re doing. And… it was… useful… in finding you… You sure have a big ego, you know?’

‘Yes. And you’re a great kisser.’

‘Well, I have someone great to kiss.’

‘You’re not helping my problem with my big ego…’

‘It’s your turn to kiss me, now.’

‘We’re taking turns?’

‘We have been for some time… Aren’t you paying attention?’

‘How can I not pay attention? You’re irresistible!’

‘Hmmm. So kiss me already!’

Chapter 7 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was 1038 in the Years of Our Lord. It was a cold and blustery October day. The rain came down in swirling spats and swept through the entire length of the wagon. Then it would stop and the sky would change color, becoming brighter, promising a bit of sunny respite from the chill. Then the sky would become angry again and spit more rain down for the wind to blow through the wagon.

Katrina was wrapped in a heavy blanket now damp from the uncertain weather. She sat, partially sheltered, behind the seat of her common-law husband, Gyorgy Gyoffrysun.

A bow and several arrows lay on the bed of the food-laden wagon by her feet. There was more uncertainty in the district recently because of the untimely death of the good King Styphyn, who left no heir to the throne. Throughout all Roumainia, there was a feeling of civil unrest and coming upheaval. There were no king’s patrols now, and merchants gathered in ever-larger caravans for protection against armed bands of thieves and brigands.

Katrina was lost in reverie, her mind wandering aimlessly through memories of her last seven hundred years. At least, that was how long she estimated it had been since she was cast down from heaven. Of course, Gyorgy, her husband, knew nothing of her history. The fact that she could speak fluent Latin, Greek and Aramaic made her an invaluable assert to his clan when it came to trading for goods.

In the last two hundred years, Katrina had lived several lives. Having been purchased and made part of the household of a local chieftain named Arpad, approximately a hundred and fifty years earlier, she was traveling to rejoin his family when their caravan was attacked and overrun. She was captured and taken as a prize.

Later, the group who had enslaved her was itself overrun and slaughtered to a man, including her. Several days after she was run through with a sword and left for dead, she woke up and fled, starved and half-naked. She found herself in the Pyrenees, and was befriended by local peasants, who took her in and gave her the name Electra, after a mythological goddess who had fled Mount Olympus to avoid an arranged marriage.

Several years later, when Carpathians overran that region, she found herself once again in Transylvania, taken as a prize of war and was eventually sold to become a member of a Captain’s household. The captain served a local lord called Duke Geza.

After spending several miserable years locked into a single room for the cruel captain’s amusement, she found herself deserted and forgotten for several weeks. When someone finally discovered her, unconscious and near dead from starvation, she was nursed back to health and informed that her master had been killed in a battle. She was once again put on the auction block; this time to be liquefied as part of her master’s personal assets to reimburse huge gambling debts that had been accumulated.

Her new master, appreciative of her Aryan beauty despite the fact that she looked half-starved, put her to work in the world’s oldest profession. From there, using her sensual mind-merging abilities, she easily found someone to persuade into risking life and limb to aid her escape.

On her second day of freedom, as they fled north into more civilized territory, the lovers were set upon and murdered by a roving band of thieves and she was once again left for dead at the side of a road.

That was where Gyorgy had found her and nursed her back to health. When she was herself again, she discovered that, during her delirium, she had told him her name was Katherine. She didn’t ever remember being a Katherine, but Gyorgy insisted and named her Katrina, a name that was to her liking.

As a reward for rescuing her, Katrina shared her lovemaking abilities with him, enamoring him to her for life. When he brought her home to his clan, she was welcomed with open arms. Although the Rom, as they called themselves, were very clannish and kept track of each family’s history back to the golden days of the Roman Empire, inter-tribal marriage amongst other peoples was strongly encouraged. They believed it made them more vital as a people.

Suddenly jerked fully alert, Katrina sensed something was happening. Leaving her warm blanket behind, she gathered up her bow and arrow and crawled through to the back of the wagon. Her movement alerted Gyorgy to be more observant, as well, so, between the two of them, any danger would be spotted no matter from what direction it came.

After several minutes of intense alertness, Katrina relaxed a little. Nothing seemed to be happening. A movement in the sky attracted her attention. She looked up. Two huge birds of prey were flying overhead. The larger of the two seemed to be chasing the smaller one.

The strangeness of their shapes caused her to look closer.

‘They have legs! They must be angels! I’ve been forgiven and they’ve been sent to search me out and bring me home!’

With a cry of joy, Katrina leaped from the back of the rumbling wagon and ran toward them as they flew away, crying out to them in the language of the gods.

“Wait! I’m here! Take me with you!” she cried out in joy as she ran. “I’m ready to come home!”

Then the larger angel caught the smaller and they both vanished.

“No!” Katrina screamed, her joy turned into bitter anguish that stabbed deep into her soul.

She tripped and fell face down into the brush alongside the road. By the time Gyorgy got to her, she was kneeling on the ground, racked with great sobs, her spirit completely broken at last.

Gyorgy finally got his wife back into the wagon. She was incoherent and inconsolable, babbling and sobbing words in a language he’d never heard before.

‘That must be her native tongue. Perhaps, if the clan elders know what it is, we can find out where she came from; where her true home is…’

Days passed. Katrina was now in the care of Gyorgy’s grandmother, who knew the lore of herbs and potions.

“The language she speaks in her delirium is a Germanic derivation,” she surmised. “Perhaps she comes from the strange land across the sea – the old land of the Druids. I shall think greatly on the matter.

“In time,” she continued, “your Katrina may recover from her madness, but I believe her spirit is in great peril. It is evident that she no longer wishes to live. I will do what I can to help her regain her soul.”

Gyorgy returned to his home, still devestated by the event. He loved Katrina more than anyone he’d ever known. He’d kept her secrets to himself for almost ten years now – her special ability to share her mind with his, her special ability to heal in the manner of the ancient gods. Now, he realized, it was time to tell his grandmother what he knew.

The next morning, after another sleepless night without Katrina at his side, he confessed Katrina’s secrets.

Marna, his grandmother, thought on what Gyorgy had told her for many minutes while he sat, patiently, waiting. She finally spoke.

“There was another,” Marna began, “not too dissimilar to your Katrina, many, many years ago. She was dark, where your Katrina is light, and carried the blood of the Huns in her veins.”

“She, too, was disconsolate,” Marna continued, “and was wanting to end her existence on this earth. She, also, was able to speak directly, mind-to-mind, in the manner of the old gods, and could not be physically harmed in any way.”

“She was a Child of the Night, and had lived for many thousands of years,” she told him. “She had taken hundreds of names and had outlived many husbands. She, herself, was childless, and believed that, sometime in her unremembered past, she had traded her fertility for her immortality.”

“Is this immortal woman still alive?” Gyorgy asked, not really understanding what she was telling him.

“She was traveling westward, searching for her purpose, much like I suspect your Katrina was doing before you found her. In her delirium, Katrina’s mind opens to me, and I can see that she, also, has memories that go back a thousand years. She is old beyond your ability to comprehend, and believes that she was cast out from heaven and deserted by God for her unremembered sins.”

“What can I do, Grandmother,” Gyorgy asked, his own heart breaking as he realized that Katrina, now obviously lost to him, had never actually been his at all.

“I believe that she needs a purpose to give her life meaning,” Marna explained. “She has many centuries of life ahead of her, whether she wants to live or not. When she is at least physically recovered from her ordeal, I shall share with her my memories of the dark Child of the Night. Perhaps Katrina will decide to seek out this dark child. Perhaps, together, they can determine the purpose for their existence.”

Two weeks later, Gyorgy said goodbye to Katrina for the last time.

“I wish I could at least leave you with a child, my love,” she told him as they lay together for the last time. “I committed another sin of pride during my very first year after I was cast down from heaven. God spoke to me and told me I was pregnant. He asked if I wanted to keep Simon’s child.”

Katrina burst into tears as she continued her tale. “I told him, ‘No, I never want to have a child, for Simon told me the truth about what would happen… As a divine being, I would live to see each and every child I bore grow old, die and turn to dust.’ In my selfishness, I added to my sins of pride and arrogance. In His infinite wisdom, He punished me by giving me what I requested. I can never have children!”

Katrina cried in his arms for a long time, finally crying herself to sleep. In the morning, she was outfitted with the best single-ox wagon in the clan, food and the clothing she had accumulated over the years she had spent with them.

“Goodbye, Grandmother,” she said to old Marna. “I thank you for giving me a purpose. I promise I’ll find your Child of the Night. If she wishes, I will bring her back to the clan and offer her a place with you, my only living family.”

“I know who you are, ancient one,” replied Marna, taking Katrina’s hands in her own. “I also know it will be many years before you accomplish your quest. What we send you with will not last. You will have to make your own way across the world – perhaps across time, itself, to find the dark child.”

Katrina smiled. “I’ve been on my own many times, grandmother. I cannot help but survive, however unpleasant the circumstances. I know there will be hard times ahead for me, but there are always hard times for everyone, and good times, as well.

“Again, I thank you and your clan for giving me ten years of peace and happiness. I shall make good use of my memories of you and your people – and especially you, Gyorgy. My thoughts of you will keep me warm at night.”

Katrina felt tears coming to her eyes again.

‘I really, really hate saying goodbye!’

She quickly kissed Marna goodbye and hugged her husband tightly, brushing her tears off on his shoulder, then climbed up on the wagon. She yelled at the ox and shook the leather straps. The wagon moved slowly away.

Gyorgy watched until she was out of sight. Then he opened broke into tears and allowed his grandmother to console him.

Katrina didn’t know at the time that it would be almost five hundred more years before she finally found the Child of the Night. Sometime early in the fifteen century, she noticed that she had begun to age.

At long last, she realized, with great joy, God had finally forgiven her and was allowing her to age naturally so she could die and finally return to heaven.

Still, she searched, growing old and weary over the next half century. She met up with a roaming gypsy clan traveling to Espania. They were not really Rom and could trace their lineage back only a few generations.

Their clan had begun when several impoverished families had banded together, more for protection than any other reason. Now they traveled from town to town, setting up fairs and providing entertainment for the local townspeople.

She realized that traveling with them was a good way to search the countryside for her lost Child of the Night.

On a sunny day as she wearily drove a small donkey cart down a rocky road near Madrid, her quest came to an end. She could feel the dark child on the road only a small distance ahead. She grew more excited, knowing she would soon share her mind with the Child of the Night and, perhaps, discover her true purpose. Once her long quest was ended, she would be permitted to die. She looked forward to both events with great spiritual joy.

Chapter 8 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tabatha turned sideways on the bed, her eyes still closed. She reached out for the loving warmth she knew was there, but her fingers met only an empty sheet.

‘Damn! He’s gone!’

She opened her eyes and looked over at him. Jake was sitting in a chair, just looking at her.

“What?” she asked sleepily.

“Just you,” he replied, quietly. He smiled.

“Don’t tell me,” she said, sounding sarcastic. “You were watching me sleep, right?”

Jake looked disappointed. “Yes, of course I was. You’re beautiful when you’re asleep.”

‘I just know where this is going,’ Jake Hedron realized, ‘right down the toilet! She's so damned independent!’

“All right,” she said, matter-of-factly. “I’ll let you off the hook – but just because it’s our honeymoon. Got it? No more ‘you look great when your hair’s all messed up and you’re drooling on the pillow’ or ‘I love to watch you sleep ’cause that’s the only time you’re not talking!’ Okay?”

Jake sighed and thought, ‘She's just too jaded for her own good! Too much experience can be a bad thing…’

“I heard that,” Tabatha informed him haughtily.

She stuck her tongue out at him and rolled out of bed. She disappeared into the bathroom. Jake got up and followed her.

“Gonna take a shower?” he asked, putting his arms around her waist from behind and hugging her.

Tabatha continued brushing her teeth with an ancient portable brush provided by the hotel, then grunted as her husband tightened his embrace.

“Hey! You had your chance,” she rudely informed him. “I was willing and you were gone!”

‘Watching me sleep. Ha!’

“What! I don’t get another chance?” he asked, kissing her neck.

Tabatha tilted her head back, trying to prevent him from tickling her with his tongue. Goosebumps appeared all over her and she began to giggle.

A moment later, she was turned around with her bare butt on the sink. Jake gently caressed her between her legs with his hard dick while they passionately kissed. Then she slid off the sink and onto him, wrapping her legs tightly around his hips so she wouldn’t slide down to the floor. The sound she made as he entered her was halfway between a growl and a squeal, muffled by the fact that their lips were still locked together.

Still impaled and wrapped tightly around him Tabatha let Jake carry her unsteadily back to the bed. Then she leaned back, forcing him off balance so they both came crashing down on the mattress. She yelped as Jake landed hard on top of her.

“Ow! You nearly tore me in half down there!” she cried. She wasn’t feeling sexy, now. Jake had nearly ruptured her cunt. “That hurts!”

Jake let go and slid out of her. He sat down next to her on the bed.

“I don’t know what to expect from you!” he complained. “One minute you’re all excited and showing me how skilled you are and all the new stuff we try, and the next minute… well… we’re like this!”

He sighed and wondered, ‘What do you want from me? Tell me and I’ll give it to you…’

Tabatha sat and looked at him for a moment. She thought she understood the problem they were having.

“You know,” she said, “we’re both pretty independent… we each like having our own way. I think the reason why we don’t mesh together is… maybe… we just want each other so badly that we just… well, we just clash. Like a meteor smashing into the moon or something. There’s no brakes, you know? We hit together and then carom away… We just hit together too hard.”

“Does that mean you really want me?” Jake asked, daring to be hopeful.

“Yes,” she replied. “Of course it does!”

She reached over and pulled him back on the bed. She lay there with her arms around him.

“It hurts when we clash,” she murmured, kissing his shoulder. “I just want to hold you all the time and I know that stifles you. You need your freedom – the freedom to admire me while I drool on your pillow. I shouldn’t object. I love the way you worship me.”

“Worship?” Jake asked, a little surprised. “Well, I guess you could call it that.”

It was true, he realized. There wasn’t anything about her that he didn’t love, except the way she always seemed to argue with him.

“I do, don’t I,” Tabatha mused, listening to his thoughts.

‘It doesn’t hurt so bad, now, if you want to continue… I’d like you to… I want you to.’

Jake rolled onto his side and put his arm around her. They kissed, allowing their passion to build, more gradually this time. Soon, Tabatha was moaning with her lust for him. She reached down to touch him, then realized she was actually preventing him from making love to her.

‘If I make every advance, I’ll only end up pushing him away!’

She lay still in his embrace, for the first time letting her husband initiate their lovemaking. By the time Jake actually entered her, Tabatha was so frustrated she was ready to tear a hole in his shoulder with her bare teeth. But the flow – that incredible flow coming from him was so tender, so full of love, that when she finally orgasmed, she actually broke down and cried.

Jake was surprised at her feminine response and held her gently while she cried herself dry. He could feel her in his mind. She was crying because she loved him too much. He didn’t understand it, but he accepted it.

‘How can you love anyone too much?’ he wondered, not understanding.

~~~~~

It was early afternoon. Jake and Tabatha Hedron were guests at the newly constructed Museum of Roman History. The museum curator, upon discovering that the chairman of the security company that guarded the museum’s treasures was honeymooning in Rome, had searched them out and invited them to see the rare acquisitions that had recently arrived from the Vatican.

“You mean we actually get to see them?” Tabatha asked eagerly.

The museum had managed to procure the entire collection (at least what had been transported to Rome before the nuclear destruction of the Promised Land) of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

“You realize, of course,” said the director of the museum, “that most of the collection is still in the original containers. The papyrus is much too fragile to be removed.”

“But we can at least see the jars?” she asked, her enthusiasm undeterred.

“Of course you can, darling,” Jake promised her.

After all, Tomlin Corp. was providing the security for the museum. The museum director was only too happy to extend every courtesy to the Security Company’s Chairman.

Tabatha didn’t really know what she expected to find. The basement of the museum was light and airy; a far cry from the dark recesses portrayed in fictional Tri-d recordings.

She walked toward the still-sealed urns in awe, gently reaching forward to actually touch something that she knew, in her ‘soul of souls’, contained the true words as written by the apostles.

She caressed a jar, singing quietly to it, feeling a strange peace coming over her.

“Your wife is quite remarkable, sir,” the curator said, breaking her reverie. “It isn’t often that we discover someone who actually knows ancient Aramaic.”

“Was that what that was?” Jake asked, looking at his wife incredulously. “You know Aramaic?”

“What?” Tabatha asked, blinking and looking confused.

“You were singing to those jars in Aramaic,” Jake told her.

“No I wasn’t,” she replied, surprised. “I was just looking at them – admiring them… I might have been humming, perhaps?”

“No matter,” the curator spoke up, interrupting them both. “You are not the first to be affected by the ‘speaking of tongues’ when first viewing this ancient treasure, and I doubt you will be the last.”

The curator reached out, embracing them both, a hand on each shoulder.

“Be content in the knowledge,” he told Tabatha, “that you have touched the mind of God. I envy you the peace I saw in your face as you approached that which contains His words. That happens rarely, but often enough to give me the faith and knowledge that there is a divine something beyond this mortal life.”

“Why haven’t all the jars been opened?” Jake wanted to know. “The Vatican had this treasure in their possession for at least a hundred years. You’d think they’d want to know what’s in them.”

The curator smiled. “That is the great secret,” he explained.

“The first few jars that were opened contained ancient texts that pretty much agreed with what was already known about the written word. However, early in the twenty-first century, documents were translated that were completely original, and didn’t at all agree with what the church had been preaching for the last two millennia.

“Indeed,” the curator continued, obviously enjoying his own story, “there were several documents that the apostles themselves supposedly wrote four hundred years after the Crucifixion.”

“Wow!” said Tabatha. “Was there anything else?”

Her interest was really piqued, now. The curator had her complete attention.

“In fact there was,” he answered. “One papyrus contained an obviously fictional account – a story about the apostle Peter. It seems that he had become depressed and disillusioned after the crucifixion of his Christ, and wandered through the land of the infidels, trying to find a new purpose in his life. According to the text, supposedly written after his death by the apostle Thaddeus, a golden-haired angel was sent to Peter in a ball of fire to show him the error of his ways.

“He repented and returned to the other apostles with his faith in God renewed. According to the text, he actually married the angel and they lived together for quite a long time. Upon Peter’s death, the angel vanished and returned to heaven, her mission on earth complete.”

Tabatha smirked. “Yeah! Right!” Then, as the curator glared at her, she recanted. “I suppose it’s possible. But does it say she returned to heaven? I mean, what if she went somewhere else?”

“I’m sorry, my dear,” the curator replied, somewhat haughtily. “I only know what the translation says. It is possible, of course, that the apostle Thaddeus assumed she returned to heaven when she vanished, but vanish, she did! At least, according to the text. She disappeared from right in front of him.”

“Tabatha, don’t pick a fight, darling,” Jake said, trying to smooth over the obvious upset that was occurring between her and the curator.

“It’s quite all right, Mr. Hedron,” the curator interrupted. “There are quite a few texts that were translated before the Vatican decided not to proceed with the project. One text even suggests that when Jesus was discussing being ‘born again,’ he was referring to reincarnation, and not the popular version that is promoted by the church. Another text suggests that he was actually married to Mary Magdalene.

“So you can see,” the curator continued, “there is much disagreement about what really happened. I, myself, tend to agree with what these ancient words actually say. I have seen too much evidence of God’s power emanate from these treasured urns. As witness your own wife a few moments ago.”

The curator, who was much pleased that they had visited, guided Jake and Tabatha out of the museum. Indeed, he would remember the strange song she had sung for many years. It was recorded on the security cameras, as were other similar spiritual phenomena that had occurred around those clay jars.

Someday, perhaps, I will put them all together as a documentary, proving the existence of God, once and for all.

Chapter 9 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Aaiiieee!” Lisa’s ear-piercing squeal reverberated throughout the house.

She raced around the corner into the kitchen with her daddy, Jake, in hot pursuit. They were both laughing so hard they could hardly breathe. Jake made a desperate grab for her and she squealed again, dodging toward the wall next to the refrigerator.

“Ah-ha!” Jake crowed triumphantly. “I got'cha now!”

He lunged toward his daughter and wrapped his arms around…. Nothing! He crashed heavily into the wall.

‘Damn! Missed!’

Lisa popped back in on the other side of the kitchen, laughing gleefully.

“I won! I won!” she shouted to the world.

Béla appeared next to Lisa and quickly picked her up. Lisa squealed in pretended terror.

“I won,” Béla said, smiling at her daughter.

Then she kissed Lisa on her nose.

“Thanks,” Jake panted from the floor of the kitchen. “Getting her to take a bath is getting more and more… “

“Exciting?” Béla asked. “Come on, darling. Let’s show Daddy how it’s done.”

“Okay,” Lisa said, suddenly acting very mature and polite.

She and Béla vanished.

There was a loud splash and an angry yell from upstairs. It was an adult yell. Jake lay on the kitchen floor, too contorted with laughter to get up. Lisa had evidently teleported her mother into the bathtub.

“You!” Jake heard Béla yell.

There was another splash and a child’s squeal. Jake could see it all in his mind.

‘Now they’re both in the tub!’

He clawed his way to his feet and took off towards the staircase, listening as they playfully splashed water at each other.

‘Yes! I definitely want to see how this is done!’ he excitedly thought to himself.

“Incoming transmission,” the wall console said.

“Damn and double-damn!” Jake muttered, stopping his head-long flight up the stairs.

He turned around and came back down the stairs.

“Who is it?” he asked the console.

“Jake Hedron,” the console said.

“Open the line,” Jake commanded, suddenly more cheerful about the interruption.

The face of his son appeared on the wall monitor.

“Hello, father,” Jake Hedron said. “I thought I’d call and give you good news.”

“Hello, Jake,” Jake said. “It’s good to see you. How’s your mother?”

The relationship between Alicia and Jake Pestova was somewhat strained after she revealed to him that two (now three) of her children were actually his.

“Oh, she’s… mother,” Jake Hedron said, tactfully avoiding a direct answer. “You know how it is. She's keeping busy. I haven’t actually seen her for several months.”

“Oh? What have you been up to?” Jake wanted to know.

“Well, Dad, if you must know,” Jake Hedron paused for effect, “I got married.”

“Married!” Jake exclaimed happily. “You found someone who’d actually marry you? Who is she?”

A perky little redhead pushed her way into the viewscreen.

“Hello, Father-in-law,” she said, waving her fingers.

“Hey! Isn’t that…” Jake couldn’t quite remember. “Yes! She's that foreign agent that rescued you.”

“Tabatha,” Jake Hedron supplied the name.

Tabatha nodded happily.

“So! She caught you at a weak moment, I presume,” Jake teased. “What is that behind you? Ocean? Are you on a ship?”

“Yep! We’re on our honeymoon,” Jake Hedron admitted. “We’ve flew to Italy and we’re taking a cruise ship back. We’ll be arriving in Miami in about, oh, ten days.”

“Well, how about that,” Jake said, stunned that his extended family was extending itself further. “So, when are you coming to visit? Béla will want to meet your new bride, you know.”

“We could be there in, oh,” Jake Hedron looked at Tabatha. They talked quietly for a moment. "How about two weeks?”

“That’d be fine,” Jake told them. “I’ll let Béla know, too. We look forward to finally meeting you face to face. Both of you, of course.”

“You mean you’ve never met your dad?” Tabatha asked.

The screen went dark. Jake chuckled to himself, then went back upstairs. It was awfully quiet up there.

Too quiet…

There was water splashed all over the bathroom. There was no Béla and no Lisa anywhere. Béla’s clothes were in the bathtub, soaking wet. Evidently she'd teleported right out of them.

Jake sighed, thinking, ‘No telling where they went…’

Jake flipped the switch to clean the bathroom and went back downstairs. Wherever they went, they would be hungry when they got back. Their mental exercises always took a heavy toll on their metabolism.

He went into the kitchen to decide what to fix for lunch.

Sandwiches for us, and, hmm. What would Lisa like?

They had recently discovered that Lisa liked potato soup. And not just any brand, either. It had to be Campbell’s.

‘She likes salty, lumpy, carbohydrate soup. Yuck!’

They actually had some, so he put it on to heat. Ten minutes later, his girls were back. They were both naked, and Béla was panting heavily.

“She can fly!” Béla gasped. “And she… teleported… halfway across the damned planet!”

She took a moment to catch her breath.

“Sweetie,” Béla said, now talking to Lisa. “You’ve got to be more careful. You can’t let people see that we’re different. They will hunt us down and they will kill us!”

“But I wanted to show you,” Lisa insisted.

“Show me what, sweetie,” Béla asked.

“The pretty lady,” replied Lisa.

“There was a lady?” Jake asked.

“Yes,” Béla replied, still catching her breath. “We teleported somewhere… I don’t even know where we were – I was just following Lisa! Some woman started chasing us and cursing. She probably thought was were witches or something.”

“Did not!” Lisa insisted. “She wasn’t chasing us!”

Béla looked at her daughter and smiled.

‘How do I make you understand, darling? What you did was so dangerous…’

“Was not,” Lisa said, more quietly. “I wanted to show you.”

“Show me what?” Béla asked, more insistent, now.

“The lady!” Lisa insisted.

Béla sat down and gently took Lisa in her arms. In all of Lisa’s short life, she had kept her mind shielded. It was shielded now. Béla couldn’t get in without risking her daughter’s sanity.

“Tell me about the lady, honey,” Béla coaxed her. “Why did you want to show her to me?”

“Cause,” Lisa replied, her eyes looking around the room.

“Cause why?” Béla asked quietly.

“It was Tanya’s lady,” Lisa said.

‘Tanya’s lady? Oh, God! That was Katie?’

Lisa nodded.

“What are you two talking about?” Jake asked.

“She says she knows where Katie is,” Béla replied.

“That’s impossible!” Jake replied. “Katie’s locator shows that she was in that hospital that blew up.”

“Jake,” Béla said, standing up, still holding Lisa. “If there is any possibility that the woman I saw was Tanya’s lost daughter, I’ve got to go find her.”

“Okay,” Jake backed down. “Do you want to eat first? I’ve got soup and sandwiches.”

“No,” Béla replied. “We should be right back.”

Béla teleported outside the cabin and put Lisa down.

“Can you take me to where Katie is?” Béla asked.

Lisa nodded.

“Do you want to fly up and then teleport?” Béla asked. “It’ll be safer. That way you won’t materialize inside a tree or something.”

“Okay,” Lisa agreed.

Béla watched in amazement as Lisa twisted her baby shoulders around and, for the second time ever, formed the most beautiful, delicate webwork of wings she’d ever seen. Lisa wasn’t strong enough to jump up into the air, so she simply teleported up ten feet.

Béla watched from the ground, amazed. Lisa was simply hanging in the air. She wasn’t flapping her wings. She didn’t know she had to.

‘She wouldn’t be strong enough to hold herself aloft, anyway,’ Béla realized. ‘She must be levitating! Wow! How I’d love to see inside your mind, my little darling…’

Béla leaped into the air and flew up to where her daughter was waiting.

“Okay, honey, take me to Katie…”

A brilliant circle of fire appeared right in front of them. Two objects flew out of it and fell, flaming, to the ground. Béla could hear a horrified screaming in her mind. She looked down.

‘Elaine!’

‘Elaine! What is it? What happened to you?’

Béla dropped down to her badly burnt sister.

‘Feed!’

‘Too late! I’m already dead! Whatever you’re doing, you’ve killed us all!’

Béla and Elaine both screamed as Elaine’s body dissolved in fire. Terrified, Béla shoved away from the flames and watched her sister’s body completely disappear, enveloped in flames. There weren’t even ashes left. It was like she had been ripped out of the physical universe.

The object that Elaine had carried with her suddenly exploded. In the instant that Béla looked at it, she had recognized it as a Praetor!

‘Praetors can’t blow up!’ Béla thought, concentrating on the problem she could confront.

She wasn’t even willing to consider that her sister…

‘just died right in front of me!’

Béla knelt on the ground, shaking in terror and grief.

‘She said I killed them all! Praetor! Explain! What just happened?’

‘Please wait. Still analyzing download.’

‘What download?’ Béla demanded, terrified and angry.

‘The data transmitted by the Praetor from the future.’

‘What? From the future?’

‘Data analysis complete. Summation: Two temporal anomalies appear to have originated from this point in time. One anomaly moved forward in time and ‘uncreated’ the events that you, the Carte Blanche, set into motion hundreds of years ago. The other anomaly moved backward in time and changed history from this point to the early sixteenth century, earth time.’

‘What are you talking about? How did it change?’ Béla asked, frightened, now.

‘I can only compare the history of the Praetor from the future to the history I have recorded, to date.’

Béla looked around. Lisa was sitting, playing in the sand. She evidently had lost interest in looking for Katie – at least for the time being.

‘Thank God for children’s short attention spans!’

‘Okay, Praetor. Where are you, anyway? You sound like you’re far away.’

‘Present location undetermined. Beth took me to the cabin you presently reside in. Tanya teleported me back to her residence. Her daughter, Katie took me to where I am now. I have determined that I am in a storage facility with Katie’s personal belongings. It is believed that I am something called a ‘boom box’.’

‘Alright. Tell me the differences in our histories.’

‘The first difference is that in our present history, the hybrid now known as Melinda was removed from society in the last few years of the fifteenth century. In the other history, that did not occur. Melinda became the queen of old Spain and her king, Torquemada, conquered all of Europe in the sixteenth century, and England after that.

‘The American Revolution was against Spain, not England. The Americans lost that war. A hundred years later, they revolted again. This time, they won.

‘Your personal history has also been altered. Sibilius caught you in New Hampshire and his Praetor took you into itself. That was necessary to prevent you from butchering more innocents. You, as with all your hybrid sisters before you, had finally gone insane.

‘In the future Praetor’s history, you never escaped. Your sisters were never reborn. Everyone around you today has been dead for many years. Effectively, you don’t exist after the seventeenth century.’

‘How did Elaine get here? How did she find out?’

‘A hundred years from now, in this present time line, the Princess Elaine was doing an exercise – teleporting through time. You had asked her how far she could travel in a single leap. She decided to find out.’

‘That sounds like Elaine. What happened?’

‘According to the data from the other Praetor, She appeared out of nowhere and discovered she was being dissolved in an alternate reality. In the last few instants of her life there, she took command of the Praetor and imprinted her mind on it. She then teleported it and her into the relative safety of the teleportation dimension.

‘Once outside the physical universe, she was able to stop time and find out what had happened by questioning the other Praetor, much in the manner we are doing now.

‘Between the two of them, they determined that the focal point of the temporal anomaly was here, now. The Princess Elaine then teleported here in an attempt to prevent whatever was about to occur, knowing that she would die when she rematerialized in the physical universe. She was hoping the Praetor from the other reality would survive here, since she believed Praetors are mechanical in nature, as it contained the essence of all her imprisoned sisters, including you. The rest is known.’

Béla sat on the ground and thought for awhile.

‘The Praetor survived long enough, I suppose. What was I going to do that destroys the future? If I don’t do it, then nothing changes, and everyone will still be safe and Elaine won’t die! Seems pretty simple to me.’

Someone touched her shoulder. Béla jerked, then realized it was her daughter.

“Can we go get the lady now?” Lisa asked.

For an instant, Béla froze. Every hair on her neck was standing up straight.

“Where is she?” Béla asked, forcing her voice to stay calm.

‘This could be important… This could be the ‘event’ that destroys us!’

“I can show you,” Lisa said.

She looked very serious.

“No, Lisa,” Béla said and smiled at her. “I want you to tell me where she is.”

‘Dear God, please don’t let her know how frightened I am right now…’

“I can’t. I have to show you,” Lisa insisted, beginning to get upset.

“Alright, honey,” Béla said. Then she got an idea. “Tell you what. You think about where the lady is and put the thought in my head. Okay?”

“Is this like hiding Daddy’s remote?” Lisa asked.

“Yes, honey,” Béla said, hoping that it was.

She watched as Lisa scrunched her little eyebrows together and concentrated. The image that slammed into her mind knocked her flat on the ground. She had been totally unprepared for the pure raw power her daughter generated.

A few minutes later, Jake stepped outside the cabin.

“I thought you said you’d be right back…”

Then he noticed his wife lying on the ground, unconscious. Lisa was sitting next to her. There were two scorch marks on the ground near them.

Knowing that making any sudden moves would probably frighten Lisa into teleporting somewhere else, and maybe taking her obviously injured mother with her, Jake forced himself to act calm and sat down next to his unconscious wife.

“Hi, baby,” Jake said. “What’s Mommy doing?”

“She's sleeping,” Lisa said.

Jake leaned over and touched Béla’s neck, feeling for a pulse.

‘Thank God – she’s alive!’

“Is she all right?” he asked.

Lisa nodded.

“Did you have fun?” he asked.

Lisa thought for a moment, then seemed to lose interest. Jake sat and waited for several moments.

‘She’ll wake up eventually, then I can find out what happened.’

“She burned up,” Lisa said, startling Jake from what he was thinking about.

‘Burned up? Who burned up?’

“Who burned up, honey?” Jake asked, forcing himself to remain calm.

‘Christ! I hope you don’t mean Katie…’

Lisa pointed at the scorch mark nearest them.

‘Holy shit! What happened there?’

‘Are you asking a question?’ the Praetor responded.

Jake jumped at the sudden intrusion into his mind.

‘Where the hell have you been?’ he asked the Praetor.

‘I have been where I still am,’ the Praetor replied.

‘Enigmatic, as usual, I see,’ Jake surmised. ‘Do you know what happened here? Who got burnt up?’

‘The Princess Elaine teleported here from the future. She was uncreated by an anomaly in time.’

‘What? What anomaly?’ Jake asked, astounded.

‘It has not yet occurred,’ the Praetor replied.

‘If it hasn’t occurred, then why is Elaine dead?’ Jake wanted to know.

‘The Princess Elaine is alive and well on New Eden.’

‘Then who died? What made those scorch marks? Why is Béla lying on the ground?’ Jake was beginning to get desperate. ‘Where the hell are you, anyway?’

Just then, Béla moaned and tried to sit up. Jake was instantly there, trying to help her.

“Hey, Hon,” he said, forcing his voice to sound calm while his entire body shook with a bad case of nerves. “What happened?”

Béla grinned, in obvious discomfort and put both hands on her head.

“I found out why Lisa stays shielded,” she said, then made a sound between a chuckle and a groan.

‘Our little darling can generate a lot of power…’

“What do you mean?” Jake wanted to know.

“Lisa mind-linked with me and showed me where Katie was,” Béla said.

“She can mind-link? That’s great!” Jake exclaimed.

He smiled at Lisa. Lisa just watched them.

“No! It’s wasn’t great!” Béla insisted, still holding her head with her hands “She doesn’t have a volume control…”

“So, can we get Katie?” Jake asked.

Béla shook her head.

“I don’t think so,” she replied, feeling better now.

She shook her head and blinked rapidly several times, trying to clear her thoughts.

“Katie's… somewhere back in the Middle Ages,” Béla told him. “We started to go back and get her, and Elaine popped in and blew up right in front of me! She said something about changing history and killing us all…”

“Wow!” Jake said.

‘Heavy trip!’

“Then she died, Jake,” Béla burst into tears. “She burnt completely away right in front of me. And I couldn’t stop it!”

Béla sobbed for a moment, then regained her composure, somewhat.

Jake held her against him. He knew firsthand what she was going through. After she was breathing more normally again, he gently questioned her.

“Do you know what changed in history?” he asked.

“Everything,” Béla said softly. “There was no ‘you’, no ‘me’. My sisters were never reborn. I never made it past the eighteenth century and Torquemada rules the known world with his queen, my sister – Melinda.”

Béla shook at the thought of Torquemada being alive again.

“And all that will happen if you bring Katie back into the present?” Jake asked, not sure he understood. “What does she do that’s so important?”

Béla shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t remember us ever meeting. The only images I have of her was from Tanya.”

“And Lisa, now,” she added.

“So, you mean Katie belongs in history,” Jake surmised.

Béla nodded. They both looked at Lisa.

“Honey, we can’t go get Katie,” Béla told her. “Do you understand why?”

Lisa thought for a moment, then seemed to forget the question.

“It’s all right,” Lisa said. “She’s coming anyway.”

‘Oh, my darling baby,’ Béla thought to herself, full of love for her child, and fear, as well. ‘What are you?’

But before anything else, she had to make certain of one thing.

‘Praetor,’ Béla said in her mind.

‘Do you have a question?’ the Praetor responded.

‘No. I have a command,’ Béla thought at it. ‘Don’t ever let me ask Elaine how far she can time-jump. Understood? Even if you have to knock me out or something, I mustn’t ever ask her that! Her life may depend on it!’

‘It will be as you command,’ the Praetor informed her.

Chapter 10 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was morning. Tabatha rolled over against her new husband. She began kissing the side of his rib cage and worked her way up to a nipple. She knew that would wake him! Jake’s nipples were extremely ticklish. After a few seconds, Jake yelped and pulled her lips off of him, pulling her head away,,,

‘by my hair! Hey!’

“I’m sorry!” Jake cried. “But you deserved that! You know how ticklish I am!”

Then he realized she wasn’t pissed at him. She’d expected him to react that way. He felt immensely relieved.

Tabatha was grinning wickedly at him. It wasn’t a let’s have sex grin. He couldn’t quite determine what was on her mind. He simply hadn’t known her long enough yet.

“What?” he asked.

She grinned wider at him. ‘I have a secret…’

“Alright, What’s your secret?” he asked, chuckling at her antics. Instead of answering, she climbed up on top of him and began rubbing herself against his hard-on.

For the last few days, she’d been letting Jake make the sexual advances, believing she’d been stifling his creativity with her sexually aggressive behavior. Now, she was taking the lead, again.

Jake quickly became aroused at her touch, anxious to be inside her. Her scent, as she moved, was intoxicating. After a moment, she was sitting on top of him, impaled on his cock, and rocking back and forth. She still didn’t say anything.

In another moment, his orgasm was approaching. Jake felt Tabatha’s mind enveloping his, the incredible sensations she experienced mingling with his own. This time, she let him into her mind deeper that she ever had before. They were two bodies making love, both completely aware of each other – both completely aware of the sensations each one was creating in the other.

This time, when she came, she concentrated on letting him feel how wonderfully slippery her cunt felt when he filled her with his cum – how incredibly exciting it was to feel his cum saturating her insides, filling her, satisfying her, making her…

“You’re pregnant!” Jake exclaimed ecstatically. ‘You’re going to have a baby!’

He corrected himself. ‘We’re going to have a baby! Oh my God! We’re going to have a baby…’

“It’s waiting for an answer,” she said, her voice low and throaty.

“Waiting?” Jake asked. “Who? The baby?”

“No, silly,” Tabatha replied, and kissed his neck. “My body monitor! It wants to know if I want to keep it.”

“What?” Jake asked, not believing what he’d just heard her say.

It hadn’t occurred to him that they didn’t have to have a baby right now.

“Well,” she explained, with more patience than she was feeling. “Usually, I tell it ‘no, I don’t want a baby.’ But I wasn’t married then. I need to find out what you think. It’ll be your baby, too…”

“Personal monitors can do that?” Jake asked.

‘Wow! The marvels of modern technology! Don’t want the nuisance of a kid around right now? No problem! Your body monitor will kill it for you. Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, Just say no!’

A strange, gurgling sound issued from Tabatha’s throat. She pushed herself away from him, a look of horror on her face. Jake could feel her fear, her rage with him. But most of all, he could feel how badly he had just wounded her.

Stunned, trying to make amends, he reached for her. She slapped him away. Then she was off the bed and backing away from him, shaking her head, tears streaming from her eyes.

“I can’t imagine why I thought I wanted a child with you!” she snarled vehemently. “You judgmental son-of-a-bitch! I don’t know what I ever saw in you! I don’t want your baby!”

“No!” Jake cried and leaped out of bed.

Tabatha had sunk down to the floor, sobbing hysterically. Jake found himself next to her, holding her tightly as she shook with her sobs. He knew she’d just killed their baby. He forgave her for that, even as it happened.

He just hoped she still loved him enough to try to work things out. Now that he’d discovered what life was like with her, he didn’t want to return to the empty life he’d had without her. He desperately hoped he hadn’t pushed her too far this time with his stupid morality judgements.

‘Why do I always hurt her with my stupid superiority crap? What’s wrong with me? I love her just the way she is… Why do I keep trying to change her? Are her morals any worse than mine are? I’ve slept around, too. I’ve provided my dates with ‘morning after’ cocktails. I’m no better than she is. Why do I keep passing judgement on her? Oh, please God! Let her give me one more chance…’

He noticed that she’d stopped crying. She was listening to him – watching his thoughts even as he was trying to sort things out in his mind. He watched as Tabatha collected her own thoughts together, then blinked as she closed her mind to him. She’d evidently made up her mind about him, and was punishing him by not letting him know her decision.

Tabatha looked around for a handhold to pull herself up off the floor. Jake moved away slightly, offering her some freedom of movement. She struggled to her feet and looked at Jake as he stood up, too. Her face was numb with grief. Her mind was closed to him.

“Please,” Jake pleaded with her, “stay with me…”

Tabatha opened her mouth to say something, then closed it again. She gazed at him. Jake didn’t have to feel what was in her mind. He could see the pain in her eyes.

‘She's going to leave me…’

Tabatha opened her mouth and drew in a breath, then closed it again, still not saying anything. She looked away and stumbled toward the bathroom. Jake reached out to steady her. She raised her hand, warding him away. She looked at him, again. He looked away, unable to stand the pain he could see in her eyes.

He sat down on the bed and waited. He itched between his legs from their recent lovemaking.

‘How could it go from ‘there’ to ‘here’ so fast?’ he thought, astounded, and yet, numb inside.

After awhile, Tabatha came back into the bedroom. Her movements were slow and unnatural.

‘She's fighting to stay calm, too. Maybe there is hope, after all…’

But when he looked into her eyes, he realized they were finished. He’d judged her once too often, and she’d fought back, hurting him the only way she knew how. And now, she couldn’t forgive him – or herself…

“I’m sorry,” Jake murmured.

He got dressed and left the cabin.

Stepping out into the passageway, Jake gently closed the door behind him and took a deep breath. He walked to the sunlit end of the passageway and climbed the metal stairs, cringing at the noise his feet were making.

Jake stood for awhile, just holding onto the railing and looking out over the vast and rounded flatness of the Atlantic Ocean, feeling the ship move up and down as it plowed gracefully through the waves far below the deck. The fresh, warm salt air whipped around him, excited by his presence and refreshing his body with its exuberance.

He felt someone walk up beside him. He turned.

“Drink?” a pretty redhead said.

It was the waitress from the cantina just behind him. She was holding what he usually ordered – a simple rum and coke. He took it from her.

“That bad, huh?” she said, smiling.

He nodded. “I think I really blew it…”

“Well,” the waitress said, liking him and wanting to help, “if I stay around and offer my sympathies, you’ll blow it for sure! Is there anyone that you can talk to? Someone to confide in?”

Jake’s brow furrowed in thought. Then he brightened up.

‘Gramps! He knows everything! Maybe he can help…’ he realized.

“The Comm Center is this way,” she said, directing him towards another passageway. “But there is one thing you mustn’t do…”

“What’s that?” Jake inquired.

“Nothing!” she said, completely serious. “You have to do something. If you do nothing, you’ll lose her forever…”

Jake looked at the cocktail waitress, surprised by her advice. There was pain in her eyes, too. Someone in her life had done nothing to reclaim her love, and now she was lost, traveling back and forth across the Atlantic on a boat, by herself.

Alone.

“Thank you,” he said, sincerely.

He realized that the girl actually wanted him for herself, and that by helping him try to save his own relationship, she was acting against her own selfish desires.

He kissed her gently on the cheek, knowing she wouldn’t have any trouble finding someone to keep her warm tonight, then turned and walked into the Comm Center and sat down at a console.

Chapter 11 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tanya lay on her massage table in her private little torture chamber – my sex sanctuary…

She was squirming around, moving her pelvis so that the intense heat generated by the magnifying glass overhead didn’t stay in one spot too long.

“Okay,” she said breathily to Frank. “Lower…”

She hissed at the hot beam scorched the tiny hairs off a new section of her labia. She was starting to get really horny. She knew Frank had a boner the size of the Florida peninsula waiting for her whenever she was ready for it.

“Okay, darling,” Frank told her. “You’ll have to turn over for the back half.”

Tanya flipped expertly over on the narrow massage table and shoved her rump up into the air. Frank laughed at her enthusiasm – her complete willingness to get her ass scorched.

He redirected the beam directly at her anus and watched her butt and leg muscles twitch as she forced her body to stay put. Then she began moving up and down, letting the hot beam fry the hairs out of the crack of her ass.

In another moment, they were finished with her depilation. Tanya sat up and rubbed her hand between her legs, checking for any they might have missed.

“Wait!” Frank exclaimed. Tanya grinned; knowing what he was up to. “There’s one we missed!”

“Where?” she said, innocently, pretending there was actually something there.

“Right here,” explained Frank.

He pressed his fingers up against her clitoris. Despite the fact that she knew what was coming, she twitched, anyway.

“Oh, God!” Tanya exclaimed, sexually aroused despite the fact that they’d done this a hundred times before. “We do need to take care of that!”

She turned back over and twisted her pelvis around while Frank redirected the magnifying glass, carefully moving it upward until the sun’s light was concentrated into a tiny bright pinprick spotlighting her tiny clit.

He heard a keening sound coming from Tanya’s throat as he watched her clitoris begin to blister. Her legs and belly were shaking from the force she exerted to hold herself steady and not flinch away from the agonizing burning. Then she was bucking her hips up and down, fucking the scorching beam and letting it caress her clitoris and pussy lips with its heat as she came.

Frank, watching carefully, flipped the glass away in another direction as Tanya collapsed back down on the table. He gently touched a finger to her scorched flesh, knowing how tender and sensitive it was right now. Tanya quivered as he moved his finger slowly up and down.

He watched, fascinated, as her burnt flesh renewed itself. He knew that the sensation of her clitoris growing back would arouse her beyond sanity. He moved his fingers slowly in and out of her soaked pussy, waiting. They had all day, and he planned on spending most of it torturing his wife.

Frank looked over at the box of firecrackers his sweet, adoring wife had gotten out earlier. She hadn’t explained how they were to be used. She left that up to his imagination. With her regenerative abilities, he had a good idea what she wanted him to do with them.

He reached over to the box with his free hand and felt Tanya clamp down on his fingers with her pussy. It was going to get pretty exciting in a moment or two. He closed his hand around several of the little darlings and laid them on the damp mat between her legs.

These were big firecrackers – about an inch long and almost a half-inch thick.

‘You could blow your fingers off with those… and she wants one in her cunt?’

He didn’t have to ask her. He knew she did. She’d probably experimented with them by herself when he wasn’t around, so she should know what to expect.

Picking one up, he noticed that there was a place in the packaging where a fuse could be inserted. Since the one he was holding already had a fuse, Frank presumed that a fuse for another firecracker could be stuck in there so that, when it exploded, it would ignite the fuse for the next one.

He smiled, and put three of them together in a row. He gently inserted them into her twitching cunt as far as his fingers could push them, then began playing with her clitoris for a moment. It was swollen and engorged with blood. Tanya was already as horny as she was going to get. What she needed now was release.

He reached up and redirected the magnifying glass down at the little string sticking out of her cunt. After a few seconds, it ignited. Tanya began twitching as the fire scorched a path into her cunt and disappeared. Frank put his hand over her cunt and pressed down tightly so she wouldn’t spray blood all over like she had last time. He also dug two fingers in, one on each side of her clitoris, and squeezed, offering her more sensation.

Then her hips jerked upwards, in time to a dull thump. Tanya cried out in agony as she came. The second one went off and she came again. Then the last one went off. By now, Tanya was curled up in a ball, coming steadily. Blood flowed freely out from between her legs and she was wailing her agony and pain out to the world.

Now, it was his turn. He gently helped Tanya straighten out so that she was lying on her stomach. Then he positioned the magnifying glass so that it was shining on her blood-streaked rump. He moved the glass slowly back and forth, scorching little furrows on her ass.

Then he shoved the magnifying glass away and climbed up on the table behind her. He shoved his cock into her bleeding cunt and fucked her ruptured pussy while she gasped in agony. After a moment, he felt her come, making the mess he was fucking inside of her even more liquid and juicy.

He decided he was lubricated enough and pulled out of her. Tanya shifted her rump up to make herself easier to enter. Frank shoved his blood and cum coated cock into her ass. Tanya cried out, more in relief than anything else.

She was coming steadily, now. It would only be another moment before Frank coated the insides of her bunghole with his hot semen. When he did, Tanya came so hard she squeezed most of the blood and cum right out of her pussy, then passed out completely.

Frank lay on top of his wife for awhile, then dragged himself off and stood beside her for a moment, just admiring her. Her skin was shiny with sweat, her golden hair was disheveled like normal, and covered half her face. She looked incredibly beautiful. He smiled, then brushed some unruly hair away from her temple so he could kiss her.

Gently pulling her toward him, he turned her over and carried her to the double bed they’d had installed after he discovered that Tanya didn’t like waking up alone, splayed out on a bench after he’d torn her up between her legs.

He laid her down on the bed, then climbed over and curled up beside her.

‘This is the best part, embracing her warm, sex-scented body while she sleeps.’

He fell asleep, knowing that she’d be happy to find him sleeping next to her when she woke up. She was.

Tanya’s insides had healed while they slept. Now she needed him to ‘de-virgin’ her again. She badly needed his cock stretching her fresh, new cunt. Sometimes her hymen didn’t grow back. It didn’t really matter if it did or not. This was one of the times when it had. The incredible tearing sensation of his cock rupturing her fresh, never-before-fucked pussy was going to be wonderful.

“Do you want to deflower your captive virgin, oh mighty lord and master?” Tanya whispered sensuously into his ear.

Frank woke up and smiled at her. Tanya climbed out of the bed and walked submissively over to the manacles hanging on the wall. She stood there, waiting, while Frank watched her, gazing at her body.

Tanya began caressing her breasts and belly, making herself more aroused. She knew Frank liked watching her play with herself. She began to insert her fingers into her wet pussy, then stopped.

“There seems to be something blocking the entrance,” she said innocently. “Something must have grown back…”

Frank grinned and climbed out of the bed. As he walked toward her, his cock got harder.

“You should be chained to the wall and whipped for what you’re thinking,” he said as he pressed her back against the wall.

He kissed her passionately while he grabbed one arm and pulled it up over her head, then clamped the iron wristband around it. He did the same to her other arm.

While he chained her up, Tanya had jutted her hips forward, trapping his cock between her legs. Now she was moving back and forth, dry-humping herself against his hard dick. Then she felt his dick sliding into her wet hole and stopped, gritting her teeth against her desire to simply impale herself on it.

Frank finished tightening her other wristband and pulled away from her. He’d almost sprayed her hymen with his cum. He took a moment to relax while his cock throbbed from the nearness of his orgasm. A few pearly-white drops appeared.

“Ooo!” Tanya cooed, gazing at his dick. “That was close…”

She knew that, if he had come, he would still make sure she was satisfied, but the intensity that they loved to share wouldn’t be there. Besides, she wanted to be whipped, first; to be flayed so that her flesh would react with fiery agony to his most gentle touch. Then, he could rupture her freshly re-grown hymen and come inside her, burning her torn flesh with his salty cum.

Frank walked over to the remote hanging from the ceiling beams and pressed, ‘on’. He was rewarded with the quiet sound of the electric rotor beginning to turn, moving four various-lengths of whips around in a circular motion.

He watched, and Tanya watched, as each whip flipped up into the air over the rotor, then slapped down on the floor, only to snake its way forward toward the wall where Tanya waited. The sudden motion as each whip reached the end of its length snapped it into the air, with a little help from the spring-loaded handle.

Tanya was breathing heavily, anticipating her coming torture while Frank moved the rotor closer and closer to her. Finally, the longest whip made contact, forcing a cry from Tanya’s throat as it caressed the inside of her left thigh, leaving a thin, bleeding line where it had kissed her.

Frank, noticing where the whip had struck her, delicately adjusted the controls to move the rotor to one side. The next time the long whip came along, it left a similar mark on the inside of her other thigh. Tanya now had two matching cuts, one on each inner thigh.

She watched Frank readjust the controls and jutted her hips forward, knowing the next one would get her right in the cunt. She watched as the shorter whips flipped by, inches from her face, then gritted her teeth and turned her head away as the big whip came around again.

“Aaiiieee!” she cried as the whip turned her pussy into liquid fire. Her legs and belly quivered from the hot agony of that hot kiss. No matter how many times they did this, she was always surprised by the intensity of that first stroke of the whip on her cunt.

Tanya forced her body to hold still while she watched the long whip come around again. Its second kiss wasn’t quite as intense as the first had been, but now she could feel blood running down the insides of her legs. She could also feel the heat inside her cunt. It usually took three strokes directly on her cunt to make her come. Today wouldn’t be any different.

She waiting impatiently for the long whip to come back around, twisting her hips back and forth in her need. Then she screamed as the whip kissed her again between her legs, slightly off-center this time, cutting into fresh, undamaged flesh. She shook violently, every muscle in her body straining against her chains as she came.

Frank turned the rotor off and started to remove the long whip.

“No!” Tanya cried. “Do it again! Make me come ‘til I cry for you to stop!”

Frank looked at her, his eyebrows raised. He didn’t mind the change in the routine, but in her need, Tanya had forgotten the role-playing part.

He took the long whip in his hand and snapped it at her, carving a thin red line across her belly.

“Yes!” Tanya cried out. “That’s it! Whip me… Master!”

She remembered the game, now. But he knew she’d want to be ‘taught’ a lesson. The next lash carved her left nipple open. Tanya screamed in agony and tears streamed down her face, but she jutted her right breast forward for him to mutilate it, too.

In the next few minutes he made at least twenty delicate, new cuts across her tender breasts and several deeper ones across her belly. Tanya was hanging limply from her manacles, tears and mucus streaming down her face and blood streaming down from the myriad cuts on her breasts and torso. She was almost unconscious from her whipping and her orgasms.

Frank’s hard-on was raging, now. He threw the whip down and strode toward her, his cock so sensitive that even the feel of the air as he walked aroused him. He stopped in front of his wife and pulled her head up by her hair. Tanya cried out at the sudden movement, then tried to smile at him.

She whimpered as he crushed his body against her torn and bleeding flesh, luxuriating in the feel of her slippery, sticky blood against his own, smooth skin. He kissed her passionately as he ground his body agonizingly against her, forcing his tongue deep into her mouth.

Tanya whimpered in protest, then submitted as her body incredibly began to respond to his torturous advances. In another moment, she was moaning with desire and he shoved his hard cock up into her soft, wet insides. Tanya was too weak to respond, even when he tore her hymen, so she simply hung there and let him fuck her. As he came inside her, coating the insides of her freshly ruptured pussy with his salty cum, she did manage to coax one more feeble orgasm out of her exhausted, beaten and bleeding body.

Then she passed out, exhausted from blood loss, the regeneration of so much tissue, and all the incredible orgasms she’d just had.

‘What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon…’

When she woke up it was morning. Tanya found that she was in her own bed. The sun was shining through the window. Her skin smelled fresh and clean, which meant that Frank had carried her from her playroom to the master bath, cleaned and washed her, then put her to bed.

She looked around, not seeing him anywhere. She hoped he hadn’t wasted his morning hard-on by peeing it away before she had a chance to ride it. She closed her eyes, remembering yesterday afternoon. It wasn’t often when she got torn apart twice on the same day. She smiled to herself, then sat up.

She was hungry. She also wanted more sex. She wondered where Frank was, then decided to go find out. She paused by the glass display case next to the bedroom door. Glancing inside, she saw the wicked mangler that Frank had brought home almost a year ago. They’d only used it once. Once the surprise had worn off, it seemed rather… contrived.

Then she remembered the reason why Frank was reluctant to use it again. He’d had a lot of trouble getting the damned thing to let go of her so he could get it out. She smiled, inventing her own solution to that little problem.

Just rip it out!

The thought of it made her more horny. She carried the mangler with her, searching from room to room. Then she realized…

‘Damn! It’s Monday! He’s at work!’

She stopped in mid-stride, suddenly depressed. Five days a week, she had to take care of herself. Frank wasn’t there to help her. Then she remembered a certain torture chamber that she’d discussed with someone months ago. She closed her eyes and stood in the middle of the hallway, remembering the events surrounding that torture chamber.

‘They didn’t happen,’ she realized. ‘At least, not in this universe.’

But she knew that in some strange pocket of time tucked away somewhere in the universe, those events had happened. Abdullah was a white slaver. If she tried to take him on by herself, she would be captured again, like she was before.

‘And Katie isn’t here to help me anymore.’

Thoroughly depressed now, she wondered how badly she’d have to mutilate herself to make her lost daughter fade from her mind again.

‘I survived having a dozen holes pierced right through me when that cage door slammed shut. I could probably survive other things, too.’

Tanya trotted down the hall to her playroom and went inside. She was still holding the mangler in her hand. Then she remembered the saddle seat that Frank had built for her. It was an improved design based on the mangler. He’d never finished it because of the problems he’d had with the retraction mechanism on the original.

Around that same time, she and Frank had discovered their mutual love of fire and the whip, so the saddle seat became a project that ‘might be finished, someday…’

Standing next to it, Tanya moved the kick-lever down. A metal rod appeared in the center of the saddle. If she’d been sitting on it, the rod would have rammed itself deep into her cunt. She pushed a button on the saddle horn. Several wicked little knives suddenly appeared and the rod twirled around as the spring mechanism unwound.

Tanya smiled, feeling her belly tighten as she watched. This was exactly what she was looking for. She moved the kickstand back up and watched the knives retract into the rod as it disappeared into the seat.

‘Easy in – easy out! No sweat!’

Then she climbed up on it, straddling both sides with her legs. The seat itself was quite sensual to sit on – its rounded saddle shape pressed against her in just the right places. She rocked back and forth on it for a few minutes, getting up her nerve and arousing her body enough so that it would react properly to the anticipated violation.

Lifting her leg, she pushed the kickstand down with her foot. She was slightly off-center because of her leg position and the metal rod bruised her pussy lips as it slammed up inside of her. After she regained control of her pain, she began fucking the metal rod, moving up and down on it. Soon, she was horny again and almost ready to come.

She reached down to the saddle horn and hesitated for a moment, then pressed the button. Every muscle in her body went rigid as the little knives emerged from the tip of the rod buried deep in her cunt. The rod spun around as the knives came out, slicing the insides of her cunt into sushi.

The sudden pain was so intense she couldn’t even take a breath to scream. As she passed out and began to fall, she felt the shape blades carving through her insides as her weight pulled her off the metal rod. She fell to the floor, unconscious, bleeding profusely from her sliced open pussy.

Hours passed before Tanya woke up. She could tell it was evening because the skylight was reflecting the red glow of clouds lit up by a setting sun. She pulled herself up into a sitting position and looked at the saddle she’d fallen from. The metal rod was still there with the blades sticking out of it. The saddle was covered with her blood and a good-sized chunk of her pussy meat was hanging from one of the knife blades.

As she tried to stand, she realized the floor was soaked with her blood. Her skin was also blood soaked where she’d lain in a pool of it all day.

‘Christ! If Frank sees me this way, he’ll never leave me alone in the house, again!’

She staggered weakly to the door of her private sanctuary and down the hall toward the bathroom and the big Jacuzzi. She grew stronger as she walked, and realized, just as she got to the bathroom, that she could hear Frank’s voice. He was talking to someone on the wall console in the living room.

That sounds like… Jake! Our grandson.

She stopped to listen for a moment.

“I don’t think so, Gramps,” Jake was saying. “She was really hurt. I don’t know why I reacted that way. I must just be nuts.”

“Well, Jake,” Frank told him, “the first fight’s always the worst. That’s when you learn where each other’s boundaries are. Once you’ve discovered how much damage you can do to each other, it’s like walking a tightrope. It takes a lot of courage to try and mend a relationship that’s come undone like that. It’s actually easier to just walk away.

“The trick is,” Frank continued. “Don’t try to use the power you have over the other person to try to control them. It never works, and it just makes everyone miserable. You have let her be who she is!”

Jake chuckled; it was a sad sound to hear. “What was your big fight, Gramps?”

“Well, you know, sonny,” Frank said, chuckling, “We never actually had that ‘big one.’ I was a bartender and had been for thirty years. Tanya was a stripper with big, fake hooters back then. Neither one of us put the other on a pedestal. We were both too familiar with the seedy side of life. She actually surprised me by being more moral that I believed she was.”

“That sounds like the perfect relationship,” Jake said, sadly envying his grandparents. “I don’t think that’ll work for us, though. Tabatha has a really quick trigger, and she takes things I say… well, I say things that I shouldn’t. And as soon as I do, I’m sorry, but then it’s too late.

“She's an Empath, Gramps,” Jake whined. “You’d think we could get along. When our minds are merged, we get along great! It’s what I say that’s ruining us!”

‘A mind-merging Empath? Is she human or part space girl, I wonder?’ thought Tanya as she listened.

“Listen, Jake,” Frank said, sounding serious now. “You think you’ve found the perfect girl. I won’t say you haven’t. But your problem is that you expect her to be perfect, and she’s not! This girl, Tabatha, is a product of her society, just like you are! She has her own long list of sins that need forgiven, just like you do.

“It sounds to me,” Frank continued, “like you condemn her every time you discover she’s only human! If she’s truly an Empath, and she truly loves you, it will cut her like a knife every time you show her how disappointed you are! Who the hell do you think you are to judge her? I’d leave you myself if you treated me that way!”

There was silence for a moment. Tanya suddenly realized she was standing naked in the doorway looking like the victim of a bad Slasher movie. She went on in to the bathroom and quietly closed the door. She turned on the Jacuzzi and quickly hopped in. By the time Frank came in, investigating the noise the Jacuzzi was making, most of the blood in the water had been filtered out.

Frank stood in the doorway and watched her for a moment. He smiled as she realized there was still blood in her hair and she ducked her head under the water, trying to rinse it out.

When she came up for air, his face was only a few inches away. She gasped in surprise, then tried to smile and pretend everything was fine. Frank looked down at the side of the Jacuzzi and ran a finger through her bloodstained handprint.

“Hard day?” he asked quietly.

Tanya didn’t answer. They gazed at each other for a moment. She swallowed nervously.

“Yeah, a little,” she said, finally. “I forgot it was Monday.”

The sound of the Jacuzzi jets seemed deafening in her ears. She reached over and turned them off.

“You needed me and I wasn’t there,” Frank said quietly. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Tanya said, “I managed…”

‘to nearly kill myself I missed you so much!’

“You dropped this,” Frank said, holding up the mangler.

Tanya’s eyes widened. She’d forgotten about that.

“Where’d you…” she began.

Frank smiled. “I just followed the trail you left… a wounded animal’s pretty easy to track…”

“Then you saw…”

‘that horrible bloody mess I left behind.’

Frank nodded. He sighed, just watching her.

“You know how I get when I’m by myself,” Tanya said, trying to get him to just…

‘don’t look at me that way!’

“I was missing you, and missing Katie, and I just…” Tanya took a deep breath, deciding to tell him the truth. “I needed enough pain to make me forget – even for just a few minutes.”

‘Oh, God! Now he’s feeling sorry for me!’

“You think I’m a wounded animal?” she asked.

“I think,” Frank responded, “I think you’re hurting inside. I was hoping Béla would help…”

“Don’t put this off on her!” Tanya insisted. “Béla helped me a lot!

“But,” she continued, “it would be nice if someone believed me – believed what really happened to me. Lisa is the only one who’s ever said anything about it, and all she said was, ‘I’m sorry’…”

“I’m sorry, too,” Frank said.

Tanya looked at him, not completely understanding.

‘Are you planning something I’m not going to like?’ she wondered.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t here for you this morning,” he said, clarifying himself. “I’m sorry I didn’t wake you up and kiss you goodbye. I wanted to, but you were sleeping so beautifully… and I didn’t want to wake you up, then leave you alone…”

“Great life we have, huh?” Tanya asked.

She didn’t expect an answer. It wasn’t that kind of a question.

“So,” she continued, becoming more… social. “How’s Jake? I overheard you talking to him. Is he having trouble with his new bride?”

“Some,” Frank admitted. “He expected too much of her, and he was disappointed. Typical romance.”

“So, I guess we’re not going to get to meet her, then?” Tanya asked.

Frank could feel her disappointment in her grandson.

“I don’t know,” Frank admitted. “A miracle could happen… It’s not unheard of.”

“We could be that miracle,” Tanya suggested.

She looked at him thoughtfully.

“No, wait a minute,” Frank protested. “I don’t want to get stuck in the middle of their little war…”

“She's an Empath,” Tanya insisted. “She may be one of Béla’s lost sisters or something. We can’t just know that she’s special, then let her slip away. She needs to know there are others like her!”

“All right,” Frank said, realizing that once Tanya makes up her mind about something… “What do you propose?”

“We could meet them when their ship arrives,” Tanya said. “We could have Béla there, too. I just need to find out when and where!”

Tanya was up and out of the Jacuzzi, fired up with new life, her glistening, naked body dazzling him as she splashed by. Frank smiled and followed her trail into their bedroom. This time it was a wet trail left by a healthy animal.

Chapter 12 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Katie’s little blue Continental sat on the landing pad outside Jake’s cabin. Tanya felt strange about driving it, but her son Frank Jr. had given it to her, and, since it was all she had left of her daughter, she kept it.

“You sure you don’t mind babysitting?” Béla asked. “You realize that Lisa could abandon you on the moon if she felt like it, don’t you?”

Tanya smiled. “We’ll be fine. Go have fun,” she said, thinking of the fun she and Frank had had the previous Sunday.

Béla stared up at her tall blond friend with laughter in her eyes. “Oh, my!” she exclaimed. “You’re going to have to show me this ‘playroom’ of yours. We could have some serious fun!”

“I expect you to have some serious fun today,” Tanya replied. She kissed Jake goodbye and whispered, “Blow her full of holes for me!” into his ear.

Jake grinned and whispered back, “I will,” although he felt strange, having other people know about what he considered his and Béla’s private little perversion.

Then they were gone.

“We could just teleport,” Béla suggested as Jake’s old flitter rumbled toward the underground exit.

“I like to fly,” Jake replied. “I can’t just take off like you do – I need extra equipment.”

Béla sighed and thought, ;I finally get him alone and all he wants to do is play airplane!’

Then she suddenly got an idea.

“How about… aerial combat?” Béla asked excitedly. “Does this thing have guns?”

Jake laughed. “No guns, sweetheart. But we could probably get one installed.”

‘That’s actually a pretty good idea. She wants to get shot up and I want to fly. Good combination!’

“We’d have to go to Albuquerque for the gun mount,” he told her. Then he added, “You know, this project could take most of the afternoon. Why don’t we just land somewhere and play ‘target?’ I can order the equipment we need and have it installed for next time.”

“Okay,” Béla agreed. “There’s a good spot – lots of rocks to hide behind.”

She pointed over toward the base of a bluff. Jake extended the landing gear and set the flitter down. He climbed out, noticing that Béla was already gone; teleported, no doubt.

Taking his time, he checked his rifle and made sure he had lots of ammunition. He still had dark memories of the last time he’d hunted – with Beth.

He was suddenly clopped in the back of his head with a clump of grass. He looked up as Béla, naked with her wings spread wide, sailed by.

“Come on, slowpoke,” Béla called down to him, “Let’s play!”

Jake grinned and stepped away from the flitter, wondering for a moment how she could have thrown a clump of grass at him with no hands, then realized that she probably just teleported it over his head and let it fall. He trotted off in the direction she’d flown. After a bit, he walked along more slowly, looking for signs that she’d landed somewhere. A shadow passed overhead.

‘That’s the same mistake Beth made, darling…’

He rolled to the side, into the shade of a boulder and looked upward, searching the sky. He didn’t see anything. Then he flinched as his view was completely blocked by a dark curtain. Then something jerked the rifle out of his hands.

Béla crashed to the ground next to him, clutching his rifle in her arms.

“Seems kind of one-sided, doesn’t it?” she asked him, grinning mischievously.

Jake sighed and held out his hand for the rifle. Holding onto the barrel, she handed him the stock end.

“Let’s play ‘tug-o-war’,” Béla suggested. “If you can make me let go of the rifle, you win. If you drop the rifle, I win.”

“Okay,” Jake grinned and reached for the trigger.

Béla yanked the rifle out of his hands.

“I win!” she said cheerfully. “Play again?” Jake nodded, watching her more intently this time.

This time, Jake held onto the rifle. He couldn’t help but notice how gorgeous Béla taut, slender but muscular body was. He couldn’t wait to put some holes in it.

They both twisted the rifle around, laughing, trying to force each other to let loose. Finally Jake had his finger on the trigger and pulled it before Béla could twist it away. The bullet caught her just under her collarbone next to her shoulder and knocked her back, forcing her to let go of the gun. She lost her balance and fell.

“I win!” Jake crowed. “Another?” Béla sat up, gasping.

Her eyes were wide open. She caught her breath and reached for the gun barrel.

“You want to hold this end?” she asked, laughing, still out of breath from the previous impact.

“No way!” Jake told her. “It’s not my fault you’re so out of shape…”

“Out of shape?” Béla asked.

Then she twisted around, rolled her back against the barrel and twisted the rifle out of his hands. It went off, but the barrel wasn’t pointed at her.

“I win!” Béla said, breathing heavily. “Best three out of five?”

She gazed at him excitedly, breathing heavily, a mischievous grin on her face.

Jake nodded.

Béla swung the butt end of the rifle around to him. Jake grabbed it by the trigger casing and squeezed, firing a bullet right through her belly button. Béla grunted and let go, falling backward with the impact.

“That’s two each,” Jake replied, waiting for her to get up.

He was only slightly out of breath. Béla was gasping for air, with two bullet holes in her. She staggered to her feet and reached for the rifle barrel.

Jake let her get a good grip on the rifle barrel. He already had a good grip on the stock and the trigger.

“Ready?” he asked.

Béla nodded.

He pulled the trigger and shot her in her pelvis. The game was over. Béla sank to the ground, her knees spread wide, and waited, rubbing her hand over her crotch and smearing the blood from the bullet wound in her pelvis.

Her eyes were glazed over with pain and lust. Jake walked up to her and pointed the rifle at her, holding it loosely with one hand on the trigger guard. Béla reached out and guided the rifle down between her legs.

‘Well, if that’s where she wants it…’

“Okay,” Jake told her. “Lie down, then, darling.”

Béla lay back on the rocks and jutted her hips up into the air. Jake placed the end of the rifle barrel against her pelvis and rubbed her clitoris with it, guiding it up and down her pussy lips, just holding it by the trigger guard. They both knew that, little by little, that trigger was creeping backward.

Béla’s pussy was on fire. The three holes Jake had made in her were almost healed now. She needed more. Jake pressed the hot barrel of his rifle against her pussy lips, gently trying to get it inside her. She put her hand down there and helped guide it in. The sudden lack of pressure against the front end of the rifle was all it took. As it moved forward into her cunt, it went off.

Béla bucked wildly as the bullet traveled up into her belly from inside her cunt. Jake, trying to hold onto the rifle, pulled the trigger again, carving another glorious, white-hot path of agony through her gut and up into her abdomen.

Béla was twitching on the ground, now, coming hard. Jake knew that, to keep her coming, he needed to put more holes in her. The rifle barrel was still in her cunt, and she seemed to like what it was doing there, so he pulled the trigger a few more times, each time making her cry out louder.

Now, there was too much blood flowing out of her pussy. Jake was concerned that acidic blood from her central core might melt the end of the rifle barrel, making it pack up if he fired it again. Besides, he was so horny now that he needed to shove his cock into the hole he’d just destroyed.

Jake pulled off his breeches and knelt down between her legs. He shoved two fingers into her bleeding cunt, testing the acidity of her blood. It was just blood. The blood from her central core had already coagulated deeper inside her, preventing her from bleeding to death.

Béla, barely able to control her own orgasmic convulsions, managed to hold still long enough for Jake to shove his cock into her. After that, it was up to him to hold her steady enough to fuck.

Despite the fact that there were seven or eight runnels traveling up from her cunt to her central core, and the additional fact that there were two bullet holes in her belly, Jake had a hard time holding her down. Béla’s abdominal muscles were nicely etched. She was as lithe and supple as an anaconda. And right now, she couldn’t control her own body movements. She was having too many orgasms.

Jake came twice while he was fucking what was left of her bloody cunt. Then he fucked her for awhile longer, but didn’t come again. After awhile, Béla seemed to finally relax from her sexual ordeal. She lay on the ground, breathing heavily. Jake was kneeling between her legs, also panting heavily.

“Not too bad,” she said, finally, when she could talk. “But the rifle has too much punch…”

“Well,” Jake admitted, “you always liked the light stuff better. Beth was the one who liked the rifle. But I liked the tug-o-war game. That was a good idea.”

“You liked it because you weren’t the one holding the barrel,” Béla grinned up at him.

Jake leaned over and kissed her breast. It seemed strange, somehow, that they were still whole and undamaged. As he thought about mutilating her breasts, he started to get aroused, again.

“You pervert,” Béla giggled, reading his thoughts. “What do you want to use? Your teeth? Maybe a knife?”

“I don’t have one,” Jake confessed. Béla closed her eyes. The heavy French knife from their kitchen drawer appeared in her hand.

“You do now,” she said, her voice low in her throat.

Jake felt his cock stiffen as she held out the knife to him. Without any more preamble, he positioned himself above her and shoved his cock into her almost healed cunt. Then he sat back, pulling her hips up onto his lap so he could sit back and carve on her at his leisure while they fucked.

Béla lay with her hips jutted upward and her back and shoulders flat on the ground beneath her. She spread her arms out to her sides so Jake could admire his work while he mutilated her with the knife. She smiled up at him and waited.

Jake held the knife in his hand, feeling a little self-conscious as he moved his cock slowly in and out of her. It had been a long time since he’d carved on her hot, willing body. He pointed the knife downward and shoved it slowly into her writhing, twitching stomach, watching the muscles in her stomach become slack as he severed them, one at a time. Béla gasped and coated his cock with her cum.

Jake then slid the knife along the skin of her rib cage, its side flat against her body. After a moment, the point of the knife reached the bottom of her right breast. Béla hissed as it penetrated her soft flesh. As Jake fucked her, he used the movement of their bodies to push the knife, slowly, thrust by thrust, up beneath her right breast. Gradually, the blade disappeared into the bleeding red slit in the bottom of her breast, then the sharp tip appeared in her soft flesh near her collarbone. Fresh blood trickled over her shoulder as the knife tip continued to slice its way up.

Béla cried out as Jake cruelly twisted the knife in her breast so that its cutting edge was pointed outward, away from her ribs. Jake came as he delicately sawed upward through her breast toward her nipple. He was still pumping his cum inside of her when he carved her nipple in half from inside her breast.

Béla was coming constantly from this torture; fluid flowing freely from her freshly healed cunt. Jake watched as her two breast halves independently flopped loosely around with the motion of their fucking. Béla watched them, too, her eyes glazed over with agony and orgasmic sensation. The shape of her breast was completely destroyed with the severing of the skin that held it together.

Jake stuck the knife into her abdomen, making her grunt and come again. With both hands now free, he cupped her filleted breast-halves together and watched with fascination as they slowly grew back together. He was surprised at how little actual blood there was in her breast tissue. Her breasts were so soft that he had assumed they were full of fluids.

“Do you want me to do the other one?” he asked.

His dick was still hard, but it was getting sore now. He didn’t believe he had more than one more orgasm left in him.

“Yeah,” Béla said, breathlessly. “But do it faster. I need to come, again.”

Then she grunted as Jake jerked the knife out of her belly and stuck it into her left breast. He simply stuck the sharp end of the knife a couple of inches down into the soft tissue of her breast several times. Each time he shoved the knife down into her breast, her cunt tightened around his cock and she got wetter.

“Ready, darling?” he asked through clenched teeth as he grinned down at her.

Béla nodded, gasping for air, trying to maintain her hip motion and coordinate it with his thrusts.

“Here goes!” Jake told her, and thrust the point of the knife down into her nipple.

He pushed deeper, slicing it in half. Béla cried out in orgasm and squirted cum right past his cock and all over his legs. Jake came again; adding his little spurt to the flood of juices flowing out of her cunt. Béla writhed wildly beneath him.

“I can’t stop coming!” Béla cried.

Jake pulled the knife out of her breast and pressed the bloody tip against her belly button. Béla arched her back, pressing her belly up against the knifepoint as she came again. Then she collapsed onto the ground, spent, at last.

Jake pulled the knife out and collapsed down on top of her. They slept like that for awhile. Then Jake, realizing his legs were still folded up under Béla’s rump, painfully straightened out his cold, stiff body and tried to stand up.

Both his legs were numb and it was several minutes before he could walk. Meanwhile, Béla, who’d been crushed beneath him while he slept, seemed limber, more alive and much too peppy.

Rejuvenated!

It was another hour before they were cleaned up and back home, again.

“How was everything?” Béla asked Tanya.

By everything, she meant, of course, Lisa.

“Oh, everything’s fine,” Tanya said, trying not to be too obvious.

Béla noticed something different about Tanya’s mindset, but she couldn’t determine what it was. Then she realized…

“You’re shielded!” Béla exclaimed. “How did you learn that?”

“Oh,” Tanya replied, happy that her friend had noticed the change. “Lisa taught me, of course! Where did you think I learned it?”

Béla just shook her head.

Tanya relaxed her mental shield down to where she appeared to be ‘normal human’. Béla, casually looking it over, was impressed. Tanya could snap her mind closed in an instant if she needed to.

‘That’s more efficient than mine is!’

As Béla walked her friend to the door, she could see that Tanya didn’t want to drive her daughter’s little blue Lincoln back home.

“If you want, you can leave it here,” Béla offered. “Jake has plenty of room downstairs in the parking garage.”

Tanya smiled her thanks and accepted.

“But, now,” Tanya suddenly realized, “how do I get home?”

“I can teleport you!” Béla replied cheerfully.

Then Tanya was standing in her own living room, looking at her husband.

‘See you Friday?’ Béla asked in Tanya’s head.

Friday was when Jake Jr. and his estranged bride would be arriving in Miami.

‘Sure!’ Tanya thought, as loud as she could, hoping Béla would receive the thought from so many hundreds of miles away.

Béla had been intrigued with Tanya’s story of her overheard conversation between her grandson and Frank, and now she wanted to meet this special young girl that had managed to capture the heart of her husband’s son.

Transportation? No problem, we’ll just teleport!

“Well, nice trip?” Frank asked, looking up.

“Why yes, thank you,” Tanya replied, very formally. “Lisa and I had a very nice time.”

“What did you do?” Frank wanted to know.

“Well,” Tanya said thoughtfully, “mostly, we talked. Then we took a nap, then Béla and Jake came home and she teleported me here.”

Yep! That’s about it!

Frank could tell something was on her mind. As she left the room, he got up and followed her. He was right. She went to the door of her playroom and stood, waiting for him to get close enough to invite him inside.

Tanya’ new ability to shield her mind wasn’t the only thing that eight-month-old Lisa had taught her. She hadn’t gotten that ‘mind-pain separation’ thing quite right, before. But she had it down cold, now. She was ready to have some very sensitive areas of her body shredded into very little pieces.

Frank smiled, seeing the amorous look on her face, and walked toward her.

Chapter 13 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tabatha stood in the caf?atchway watching her new husband. He was sitting at a remote console with his back to the door. She could see that the console screen was blank – or rather, it was presently displaying the ship’s logo screensaver.

A moment earlier, however, it had been displaying the image of her grandfather-in-law, Frank Tabor. She knew, from researching her husband’s family, that Frank Tabor was over a hundred years old, although he appeared to be in his early twenty’s.

She could sense her husband’s distressed thoughts. She stood quietly, unashamedly eavesdropping on him.

‘That’s what I get for going to Gramps looking for sympathy. What I got was a Royal Reaming! But he’s right. Everything he said was true. I guess I deserve what I got…’

“Yes, you do,” Tabatha said quietly, still standing behind him.

She was still angry with him, but she was ready to make up. She's spent half her life looking for someone who was special like him, and she wasn’t about to let his poor opinion of her lifestyle spoil everything.

Jake Hedron turned halfway around in his seat and looked at the alluring redhead standing in the doorway. As much as she fascinated and enthralled him, he still couldn’t believe she’d married him.

When they’d met, she was an agent of a foreign government – a trained field operative, no less. Mentally, she could out-perform anyone in his family, plus, she was very dexterous, and clever, too. During the short, fierce firefight to reclaim his rightful position as Chairman of Tomlin Security, she’d also demonstrated her courage in battle, holding her position right alongside him. She even got herself shot protecting his flank, not realizing that he had enhanced healing abilities because of his lineage.

As a trained field agent himself, Jake realized that there was a need for frequent and intense sexual release. The idea that Tabatha’s sexual prowess and expertise should rear its ugly head and distort his feelings for her was ludicrous.

His grandfather was right. Tabatha was a product of her society. She had learned to survive in a carnivorous world, and not compromised who she was to get where she was. She was fiercely proud of that, and because she, perhaps foolishly, loved him, he had wounded her terribly by doubting her self-integrity.

‘My grandmother was a stripper!’ Jake Hedron thought to himself. ‘She may’ve had hundreds of men before she met Gramps. What she did wasn’t important to him. What was important was who she was. And Grandma has more integrity than anyone I know, except maybe Gramps.’

Tabatha stood leaning against the doorway with her arms folded, listening to his thoughts as they gazed at each other, calmly waiting for the words that would destroy her soul.

She had done her best in his behalf. Their future together was now up to him. She didn’t wonder why she’d handed him that kind of power over her, and she didn’t regret it. She just waited to see what he would do with it, knowing that his decision could destroy him, too – or save them both.

Five days later, the cruise ship North Star docked in Miami. Jake and his new bride had spent most of the last week in their tiny cabin, making love and talking. They actually did a lot more talking than making love. Tabatha’s empathic abilities helped them to stay honest with each other. The couple that walked down the gangplank toward Tanya and Béla was more than just newlyweds. They were lifemates.

“I thought you said they were having trouble,” Béla said to Tanya as they watched the pair descend from the ship.

“Well, evidently, they worked it out,” Tanya replied.

“I suppose we’d better go before they spot us,” Béla said, suddenly changing her mind.

She was ready to help them if they needed it, but this pair didn’t need help. Béla decided that she would meet them when they were ready to meet her.

Béla and Tanya quickly turned away. They walked behind a concession stand and vanished.

“Have you ever been to Miami?” Jake asked, looking at his new wife.

“Twice,” she replied, “but it was all business. I didn’t get to go anywhere.”

“Well,” Jake said, grinning widely at her, “you do this time!”

“Why?” Tabatha asked, smiling up at him. “Where are we going?”

She anxiously resisted raiding his mind to find out. That was one of the many topics that had come up during the last few days – her casual invasion of others’ privacy. Having that ability was a valuable asset to an agent, but it could wreak havoc in a marriage. And she’d developed the bad habit of simply reading everybody’s mind.

“How can I ever plan a surprise for you if you always know what I’m thinking?” he asked her.

She agreed to stay out of his mind, unless invited in. And he invited her in a lot.

“I’ll show you,” he replied, answering her question.

Being careful not to touch her, now that he was thinking about the surprise, Jake began walking along the dock toward the empty sandy beach, and away from the city. A platform on one side of the dock lowered them down to the beach, itself. A half-mile further down the beach was a beautiful long, white, porcelain pier.

Tabatha gazed at it, and at her husband as he climbed the stairway up to it.

“It doesn’t go anywhere,” she complained.

“Yes it does,” he replied.

He turned away, letting her climb up by herself. Jake walked to the end of the beautiful pier, then turned and looked at his wife. She stood a few steps behind him. He held out his hand to her, opening his mind.

There was an image of an underwater dome – ‘Atlantis!’ – a newly completed resort and casino that few people even knew existed. It was the brainchild of Roger Trump, of the Atlantic City Trumps – a place where the ultra-rich could get away from everyone else. The perfect, and private, underwater retreat.

“Or the perfect honeymoon,” Tabatha whispered, in awe of the fact that her husband could snag a reservation for such an exotic retreat. Then she saw it in his mind.

‘Of course he already knew about it! Tomlin was supplying the security!’

Tabatha laughed with joy. Jake had gone to great lengths to make this the perfect honeymoon – Italy (her idea), the cruise across the Atlantic, and the underwater Atlantis resort.

“How do we get there?” Tabatha asked, then saw that in his mind, too.

“You swim!” he laughed.

“It’s too far!” she exclaimed, laughing, knowing he was teasing her.

“Sorry. That’s how the young and healthy get there,” he replied, pretending to be serious. “There’s an underwater causeway for us old folks.”

She could see he was teasing her. It actually was possible to swim to the resort, and there were those adventurous souls who did so. For the rest, a glass-encased causeway ran from the end of this pier, underneath the water, to the resort, itself. A glass elevator was, even now, rising up right out of the water at the end of the pier to meet them.

Tabatha watched, enchanted, as water cascaded off the top of the elevator and down its contoured sides. Then the glass doors opened and they stepped in. There was acoustical music being piped in through invisible speakers somewhere in the glass and steel above them. The doors closed and the elevator carried them down under the wildly splashing waves.

“This is beautiful,” Tabatha exclaimed softly, gazing out in wonder at the sandy ocean bottom.

This close to shore they could only see a short distance because of the silt stirred up by ocean waves. But after a moment, the elevator doors opened on the seaward side. They looked out into a long, fragile-looking glass tube that disappeared into the distance.

Jake stepped out of the elevator onto a wide steel platform and turned to offer a hand to Tabatha. There were several comfortable-looking seats bolted to the floor on one side. Jake and Tabatha both sat down and the ride began.

Atlantis’ creator, Roger Trump, had spared no expense in creating an artificial reef alongside the glass tube they traveled in. Artificial lighting blended in so well with the natural sunlight from the surface that Jake couldn’t tell where one left off and the other began. But he was willing to bet that, at night, it looks fantastic!

There were thousands of colorful fish, a squid, a real octopus, and quite a few sharks swimming around outside their fragile little tube. Tabatha felt like she was twelve years old again, visiting Marine Land in Sydney with her uncle, a year after her parents had died.

Thinking about them, and that stupid accident the year before, when that ancient cable car had dropped them into a canyon, a half-mile down, brought tears to her eyes. It disturbed her that she couldn’t remember her life before they were taken from her. But she wasn’t going to let that ruin this special moment with Jake. This was Jake’s time now, and hers.

She leaned closer to Jake and watched the incredibly beautiful underwater panorama pass by. Much too soon, about thirty-five minutes, actually, they approached a huge glass dome. It looked just like an artist’s rendition from an old Disney film. As they reached the base of the dome, she was overawed by the sheer size of the structure as it loomed up like a huge bubble and disappeared into the distance.

Large double-doors opened before them and suddenly they were in a Las Vegas casino environment, complete with slot machines and gaming tables. Tabatha laughed, not really understanding why, not knowing what she expected, but delighted with what she saw – especially with the sharks and the orca swimming in the huge tank over the ceiling of the gaming tables.

Atlantis’ manager, Gene Stockwell, personally greeted the Chairman of Tomlin and welcomed both he and his bride to their resort. Chairman Hedron, as head of their security organization was given carte blanche and they were both assured that their every whim would be instantly acted upon.

They spent a wonderful four days there – with breakfast in bed, or at a buffet – scuba diving – treasure diving (different than scuba diving; no tank, you see) – and, Tabatha’s new vice, gambling!

She won, then lost, thousands of credits. On the last day, she determined that she was actually ahead two hundred and fifty credits. Ten minutes later, she was dead even. Frustrated, she determined to stop, refusing to go into the hole on their last day. An hour later, she’d lost a thousand credits. Two hours later, she’d lost over ten thousand credits.

‘One more hand!’ she decided.

So far, she’d played fair, not using her empathic abilities to ‘read’ the dealer’s cards. She had a ‘9’ and a ‘5’. The dealer’s ‘up’ card was a ‘6’. She looked at the dealer. There were two other players at the table showing face cards and she was holding up the game. She tapped her finger on the table. She got a Jack.

‘Damn!’

Furious with herself, she got up and left the table.

‘I should have read his mind to find out what he had!’

Tabatha would have continued to play, but she’d promised Jake that she’d only play until 2:30. It was almost three p.m. now. She looked up to determine where the exit was, found it, and found Jake.

“Hi, Hon,” said Jake, smiling.

Then he saw the determined look on her face. “Uh-oh, bad day?”

She didn’t say anything. She walked up to him and politely kissed him on the lips. In that kiss, she mentally dumped the entire day’s frustration on him. He grinned at her.

“It’s all right,” he said. “It’s only… No, It’s not even money, anymore, is it?”

Even Tabatha smiled a little. She was glad he loved her. She didn’t feel very lovable, right now.

“Our baggage is already at the terminal, so we should go,” Jake told her.

They turned to leave, and ran right into Mr. Stockwell, Atlantis’ manager. He smiled at them, and shook the Chairman’s hand.

“Mister Chairman, Madam,” he began, “I do hate to delay your departure, but I would like you both to come to my office for a short visit.”

“Well, I… We have a flight,” Jake began.

“I am well aware of your schedule, sir,” the casino manager told him. “We have a limo available that will get you to your terminal in plenty of time. Shall we?”

He gestured with his hands that they should follow his assistant.

‘ ‘Goon’ is more like it…’

‘Hush, darling. This may be important.’

‘You’re doing ‘it’ again!’

‘Oh, God! I am, aren’t I!’

They were escorted to the manager’s office. Mr. Stockwell invited them to sit, then walked around and sat down at his own impressive real wooden desk. He cleared his throat. Jake and Tabatha casually reached out and held hands.

“Ah, M… Chairman Hedron,” he began, “we have been made aware of your wife’s, ah, Missus Hedron’s rare talent in the area of mental, ah, shall we say… telepathy.”

“Yes,” Jake replied.

‘You haven’t? Have you?’

‘No! Of course not!’

Jake could see in her mind that it was true; she hadn’t.

‘But Oh God I wanted to…’

“Ahem. Well,” the director said, “We recently acquired a new monitor that is supposedly capable of registering mental… ‘extracurricular’… activity. We’ve been testing it for several days, now, and your wife…”

“I didn’t cheat at your games, Mister… Whatever!” Tabatha fumed.

‘Tabatha! Your manners!’

‘Stop doing that! You promised!’

‘That it! You just won a week with my mother! She’ll put a finish on you so shiny, no one will be able to crack it!’

“Please, Mister Stockwell,” Jake said, pointedly not apologizing for his wife’s outburst. “Continue.”

“As I was saying,” the casino director said again, very politely. “Your wife is especially gifted in honesty and integrity, even though, today, it cost her what some would consider a great deal of credit.”

He sighed, then continued. “We were, covertly, hoping to test it on her. However, she declined to give us the opportunity to see how well it worked.”

He smiled, very forgivingly, at Tabatha’s brightly flushed face.

‘You deserved that!’ Jake thought to her.

‘Oh… Shut up!’

“Sir,” Jake began, “are you suggesting that the games were rigged for her to lose? To test your machine?”

He chuckled, seeming to make light of his wife’s earlier misfortune at the gaming tables.

Mr. Stockwell smiled. “Yes, actually, the games were rigged, and just for you, my dear. Our gaming employees were instructed to make you lose. I brought you here, now, to apologize, and to request an undeserved favor.

“I would like to know, madam, if you would grace us with a quick demonstration of your abilities.” Mr Stockwell was addressing her, now. “The, ah, psychic monitor, as it’s called, has been set up in a room above this office, specifically for this interview…”

“I see,” Tabatha replied.

She solemnly stood and stepped forward to his desk. She held out her hand. Mr. Stockwell held his hand out and she touched her fingers to his.

A look of surprise appeared on Mr. Stockwell’s face, then Tabatha turned around and sat back down with a look of smug satisfaction. She casually reached out, returning her hand to her husband’s.

‘What did you do to him?’

‘Oh… Nothing…’

‘Tabatha!’

‘All right! I told him he was a bastard! Alright? I also looked into his mind. The machine hasn’t detected anything!’

“I see,” the casino manager said, quietly reflecting. For the first time, Mr. Stockwell seemed to notice their intimate physical contact with each other.

Then he looked up at them. “Well, I’m disappointed, of course. We were hoping that this device was the real thing… But, I thank you for your… um… demonstration.”

Rising from his chair, he turned toward Jake.

“This equipment was offered to us for testing by a subsidiary company of Tomlin, Mr. Hedron,” he stated, matter-of-factly. “While I am aware of the recent internal power struggle in your organization, I was pleased to note that, from all outward appearances, the service your organization provides was not compromised in the least.”

While Mr. Stockwell was talking, Tabatha had risen from her chair, as Jake had, and walked toward the door, giving the two men room to say their goodbyes.

“However, there still seems to be a rogue element in your organization that you should probably look into – Decca Electronics. It’s in Albuquerque.”

‘Ohmygod! The alien helmet!’ Tabatha broadcast to Jake.

An alarm went off on the director’s desk. Startled, the manager turned around, looked at it for a moment, then turned it off.

“Well,” he said, sounding more confident as he turned toward them. “It appears to work, after all. Your organization comes through for us, again, it seems.”

He smiled at them, genuinely satisfied with the product and his interview with them.

Jake returned the manager’s smile as sincerely as he could. “We’re glad to be of service. We try to be ‘cutting edge,’ and it looks like we’ve succeeded once again.”

The manager smiled and put his hand on the director’s shoulder, guiding him toward the door.

“The next model,” Mr. Stockwell was saying, “if I may be so bold as to suggest an improvement, could contain, perhaps, some way of determining what the telepathic person is thinking, or, even better, be able to jam their abilities while they’re playing at the tables.”

“We’ll see, Mr. Stockwell,” Jake promised. “We’ll see.”

‘God! There’s alien technology loose on earth. How did I miss that helmet? And how the hell did Tabatha know about it?’

His private questions would have to wait. Mr. Stockwell led them to a freight elevator at the far end of the casino. The manager looked toward what was probably a security recorder and waved his hand. Both Jake and Tabatha jumped at the sudden sound of the huge doors beginning to open.

Tabatha squealed. Jake turned and stared at her. There was a silly grin on her face, her entire body was bouncing up and down (making her breasts a very attractive distraction) and she was making squeaking noises. Jake turned to see what she was looking at. Setting on the freight elevator was…

“My car! My car!” Tabatha squealed.

It was a gold painted Cadillac Stratocruise, capable of Mach IV at seventy thousand feet and very comfortable, inside.

“I played for that all morning!” Tabatha squealed excitedly.

Jake turned to the casino manager. “Mr. Stockwell, we can’t accept this…”

‘Yes! Yes! Yes, we can, damn you!’ Tabatha broadcast as she glared at her loving husband.

“Wait, you don’t understand,” the manager replied, interrupting his guest. “She actually won this car! But… we were trying to test our new monitor, so the ‘right numbers’ never came up! But, they actually did, once.

“She won it fairly,” he continued. “The car is yours. Please enjoy it.”

He bowed gracefully to them both, then indicated that they should get in it.

With a squeal of joy, Tabatha hopped up into the control seat.

‘It’s mine! I get to drive it!’

Jake chuckled at her happy selfishness, then climbed up and into the other side. The freight doors began to close. After a moment, they felt the elevator begin to rise. The glassed-over ceiling was suddenly awash with foamy water, then bright sunshine filled the elevator with golden light as it reflected off the surface of Tabatha’s hot, new, luxurious Caddy.

The wall in front of the Caddy began to descend.

“Start, please,” Tabatha commanded.

The car shook as the engines ignited.

“Ooo! It’s already imprinted to my voice!” she exclaimed, immensely satisfied.

Jake reached over and touched her hand. ‘It could also be recording your voice, so be careful what we talk about until it can be checked out…’

Tabatha looked over and blew him a kiss. Then Jake was pressed against the back of his seat – hard – a gurgling sound coming out of his throat as they accelerated into the sky.

‘What’s happening?’

Fighting the G-forces, he managed to straighten his head and look forward through the front panel.

‘Holy shit! We’re going straight up!’

‘Relax! This won’t go any higher than seventy thousand feet. That’s only thirteen miles… We won’t collide with any strato-jets at that low altitude.’

Jake watched as the sky slowly turned a darker blue. After a couple of minutes, he was surrounded by silence. He lurched forward against the seat restraints as the golden craft ceased its acceleration into the sky.

“What happened to the jets?” he asked, more than a little concerned.

“I turned them off,” Tabatha replied.

Jake looked over at her. Tabatha was already unstrapped from her seat and was taking off her top.

“What are you doing?” he gasped. “Trying to kill us? We’ll crash!”

“Don’t be silly,” Tabatha told him. “It takes a long time to fall thirteen miles. And we haven’t even stopped going up yet!”

Then she was in front of him and unstrapping his harness; her bare boobs giggling only a few inches from his face.

Then Tabatha reached out and held his face with both hands, merging her mind with his, helping him overcome his terror of crashing – using the energy of his fear to create sexual desire. Then she pulled herself forward so that her lips met his with a kiss that set his body on fire. He felt like…

An inexperienced young man suddenly discovering that he had the attentions of the fabulous Mata Hari and was about to receive the rare, forbidden pleasures of her sexual expertise.

‘Thank you. I’ll take that as a complement.’

‘We’re going to crash…’

‘I can’t think of a better way to go – fucking in free fall as we smash against a mountain – merging our bodies forever into a sexy splat of protoplasm…’

Jake couldn’t escape the desire Tabatha created in him. And now, he was too horny to care if they lived or not – he had to have her.

Now!

Jake yanked open his pants and freed his hard-on. Then he pulled her down onto him. As he did, she reached between her legs and guided him to the target, closing her eyes and emitting a low moan as her insides expanded to accommodate him.

Jake moaned his desire as her hot, moist insides suddenly surrounded his cock. In less than a dozen strokes, they were both coming, Jake making her insides slippery with his cum and Tabatha coating his cock and matting down his pubic hair with her juices.

They stayed together for a moment, kissing and enjoying the aftermath of their sex. An alarm started beeping on the console.

‘Damn!’ Tabatha thought in Jake’s head. ‘This thing doesn’t stay up as long as the strato-jets do…’

Jake chuckled at her apparent annoyance. He knew she was satisfied with their little tryst. He could see it in her mind.

Without bothering to put her clothes back on, Tabatha pulled herself around into her seat and strapped in. Jake, watching her graceful, naked body move so easily in this tiny, cramped space, suddenly realized he wasn’t strapped in, either. He quickly remedied that problem.

“You’ll stain the seat,” he told her, indicating that she should at least use her clothes to sit on.

“Then every time you see that stain, you’ll remember how it got there, won’t you?” she replied, coyly teasing him.

They both grinned wickedly at each other.

Tanya leveled off at thirty-five thousand feet.

“Where to, sir?” she asked, pretending to be his chauffeur.

‘A naked chauffeur? How decadent!’

‘Are you complaining?’

‘Are you kidding? From now on, I forbid you to wear any clothes at all!’

‘You can’t! I’ll freeze!’

‘How will you freeze? It’s summer!’

‘Not where we’re going…’

‘Where are we going?’ Jake looked down. All he could see was water.

‘The Gulf of Mexico?’

‘Skiing, of course. It’s winter in Bolivia…’

‘Bolivia? Oh, great! Something else I can become terrified of besides letting you drive – falling down a mountain with a pair of slippery sticks on my feet!’

‘God, what a whiner! You should be glad you got me – you were a really dull case study before we met…’

‘Who? Me? I consider that I’m conservative and well bred…’

‘Dull! Even Cassandra thought so.’

‘Cassandra? What do you know about her?’

‘I know she was the last one you had before me. How do we compare, anyway? She's very pretty…’

‘If you were Venus, Jake thought to her, waxing poetic, and she was Alpha Centuri…’

Alpha Centuri is magnificent through a telescope! Three beautiful stars; red, white and blue, swirling around each other…

“Yes,” said Jake, out loud, “but you’re the brightest star in my sky.”

Tabatha glanced at him, and smiled. ‘You’re sweet.’

‘See, I said I’m not dull.’

‘Sweet is dull, darling.’

‘You don’t like it?’

‘I love it. I love you. Don’t change! I’ll provide the excitement for you.’

‘Well, okay… What else will I be terrified of by the time I get you home?’

She didn’t answer. She didn’t have to.

Chapter 14 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Well, they’re getting along fine, now,” Tanya said.

She and Béla had teleported directly from the docks in Miami into Frank and Tanya’s living room.

“Hello,” Frank said, cheerfully. “I didn’t hear you come in.”

He smiled and hugged Béla. She stretched up and kissed him. Then she laughed, seeing what was in his mind. He was actually a little disappointed that Béla was there. He had been hoping to get Tanya alone in her private sanctuary.

“You never did anything like that for me,” Béla complained, pretending to be jealous.

“Like what?” Tanya wanted to know. Then she was suddenly more cheerful. “Did you buy me another present?”

Frank grinned. “There’s no fooling her, is there.” Béla hadn’t let go of Frank yet, so he hugged her, again.

“I wouldn’t mind trying that myself,” she murmured, hoping Frank would take the hint.

“Hey,” Frank confessed. “It’s Tanya’s playroom. She's the one that has to invite you.”

“Well, if that’s where my present is,” Tanya informed them, “you’re both invited. So you two may as well stay together. You’ll be ‘doing’ her, first.”

Frank looked down at Béla. She smiled up at him.

‘You two already worked this out, didn’t you?’ Frank thought as he gazed into Béla’s laughing, dark eyes.

Béla nodded. “Tanya was telling me how my tiny, little daughter mind-linked with her and showed her all her little secrets – much more than she’s ever talked to me!”

“You really are jealous!” Tanya exclaimed. “I’m sorry, but you and Lisa just don’t seem to mesh together, mentally. And she didn’t show me her secrets. She just helped me fine-tune my own abilities.”

“Well, I’m not really jealous,” Béla informed them, “I’m just wistful. I’d love to be able to mind-link with her. But the one time we tried it, she knocked me completely unconscious.”

“I think, from what you told me earlier,” Tanya replied, thinking hard, “that you both have to be asleep! The two times I’ve been mind-linked with her, Lisa and I were just curled up together and napping.”

“Hmm. Okay, I’ll try that,” Béla decided.

She let go of Frank and embraced Tanya.

“You’re not staying?” Frank asked, obviously disappointed.

“No, of course not!” Béla told him. “But I promise that Jake and I will come and then we’ll all explore Tanya’s little torture chamber.”

“Well, alright, then,” Frank said, not too pleased at the idea of Jake working Béla over in the same room with he and Tanya.

Béla disappeared from Tanya’s embrace, leaving her holding nothing but air.

“I hate when she does that,” Tanya said, mostly to herself.

“I love when she does that,” Frank replied, confusing her. “She left me alone, with you.”

“Should I be frightened? Mister… What did you say your name was?” Tanya said in a childlike voice.

She let Frank lead her down to her ‘special’ doorway, and then she stopped as he blocked her entrance.

“What?” Tanya asked, hoping for some extra-special treatment.

She got it.

Frank reached out and ripped her blouse open. She squealed and ‘tried’ to prevent him from yanking her breast supports out from under her boobs. He got them, anyway, then Tanya found herself bent over with her arms twisted behind her.

“Hey!” she yelled, pretending to protest as she felt him handcuffing her.

She was trembling with excitement now. She straightened up and looked at him, shoving her breasts out. “Are you going to gag me, too?”

Frank looked down at them for a second. They were already pretty well stuck out there because her arms were handcuffed behind her.

“No, I want to hear you scream. But, I am going to chain you,” he replied.

He pulled down her slacks and helped her step out of them, then tore her panties off.

Tanya grinned at him and moistened her lips. Béla had seen in Frank’s mind what he’d bought for her and she’d wanted to try it herself. Tanya now waited, impatient and naked, for Frank to open the door. She knew it would be some torturous device that she’d love.

Frank opened the door and motioned for her to go on in. Tanya stepped into her private little sanctuary and looked around. She didn’t see anything different. She turned back to Frank, confused.

“Where is it?” she asked.

Frank moved toward her and she backed up another step. She felt something on her ankle. She shook her foot.

A tripwire!

Tanya yelped as dark strands of something whipped around her. Then the strands tightened.

Her skin was being shredded! She was being hoisted into the air!

Yelling incoherently in pain and fear, Tanya swung back and forth five feet above the floor. After a moment, she stopped yelling and looked down at her self to see what had happened, only to discover…

‘I’m wrapped in barbwire!’

She twisted her head around, checking out the damage. Her breast, arms and torso, as well as her belly, rump and thighs were tightly wrapped, with at twenty barbs gouging into her. Each barb left a long, cruel, red streak in her flesh from when the wire had tightened itself around her and she was bleeding profusely from at least twenty cruel, shallow cuts

‘How’s he going to fuck me when I’m wrapped like this?’

Her body was trembling in pain and sexual stimulation. She looked around at Frank, causing her body to sway. Some of the barbs dug in a little deeper with her motion.

“It tightens every time you move, darling,” Frank said, smiling up at her.

Testing out what he’d said, Tanya twisted around as if she was trying to escape. The wire tightened, making her cry out as the cruel barbs dug deeper into her flesh.

Then she was trembling, unable to control her movement as she came. The barbed wire trap tightened even more, enhancing her orgasm as the barbs cut even deeper into her flesh. She couldn’t even take a breath without the wire cutting deeper.

She hung, gasping, moving as little as possible. Her quiet whimper with each expelled breath and the dripping of her blood onto the floor were the only sounds she could hear. The wire was so tight now that it was cutting into her skin, even where there weren’t any barbs.

“How’s it feel?” she heard Frank’s worried voice ask from far below. “That looks pretty wicked…”

She tried not to move as she answered him.

“Great…” she gasped, half-whimpering. “Now… get me down…”

“Okay, just a sec,” she heard him say.

Then she shrieked as she dropped a foot and was abruptly jarred to a stop, the barbs and the wires cutting all the way to the bone on her ribs, arms and hips. In addition, she was nearly cut in half as the barbed wire made sushi out of her soft midsection. She had an incredible orgasm.

She didn’t feel the next drop that landed her on the floor in the little lake of blood that had formed under her. She was already unconscious. Unable to breathe, and unable to stop coming, she’d simply passed out.

Frank, terrified that she might be dead, or damned close to it, began tearing the wire off her, ignoring the slashes he received in his own hands and arms. After a few seconds, he had pulled away what was loose enough to handle with his hands. Most of the wire was so tightly imbedded into her flesh that he couldn’t pull it loose.

As he sat, trying to figure out how to get her out, he gratefully noticed that some of the more shallow gouges in her flesh were healing. Then with growing horror, he noticed that as she was regenerating, her skin was growing over the wire!

Panicking, he backed away from the horror he had unwittingly created for his wife. Then he raced out to the work shed to get some wire cutters and pliers. In the minute and a half it took him to get back, Tanya had regenerated quite a bit. She looked much better. But he knew that most of the wire was under her skin, now, and he was going to have to pull it out.

Quickly cutting her out of the wire that he’d already loosened, he pulled it away from her to make a workspace. Then, grabbing the cut end of one of the wires with the pliers, he pulled on it, popping it out of her arm and shoulder. Taking another, closer grip, he pulled again, yanking it loose from her collarbone and all the way across to her other arm.

Every time he pulled a wire free, fresh blood spackled his face and clothes as the wire whipped free. After the second one, he had to let go of everything and turn away from her to throw up. After half a minute, he turned back and rolled her over so he could pull the strand of wire he’d been working on out of her back and shoulder blades. Shaking from his earlier sickness, he gripped the wire with the pliers again, and pulled, hard. The wire strand popped out from under her skin easier than he’d expected, and he let go. The suddenly released wire flipped around and cut her cheek as it wrapped around her face.

He pulled the wire back, cutting his hand, again, only to discover that the wire was now entangled in her thick, blond hair. He actually whimpered in frustration, then yanked it back anyway, pulling loose several tuffs of hair. Then, using the wire cutters, he cut loose the section of wire he’d pulled out of her and cast it across the room.

In the next half-hour, Frank pulled out and cut loose four more sections of wire that had been wrapped around her chest and arms. It had been torture for him pulling the deeply imbedded wire out of her breasts, tearing her soft, nearly healed tissue as the wire and the cruel barbs came loose.

Now, at least her chest and upper body was free of the barbed wire. The wire wrapped around and buried in her midsection was also holding her wrists, still handcuffed behind her. Exhausted, he sat back to rest for a moment.

Tanya’s body was, by now, almost completely regenerated. The barbed wire was still tightly wrapped around her midsection and legs, having cut into her body so deeply that her flesh had simply grown over it, surrounding it with a thick protective layer of scar tissue.

Not knowing what else to do, Frank rolled her over onto her side and cut the wires loose that were holding her handcuffed wrists. Yanking the wires out of the flesh on her arms and wrists, he threw each one to the side, then cut her handcuffs loose. With her rib cage freed from the constraining wire, she seemed to breathe more easily, sleeping now as she recovered.

He took hold of a piece of wire that was sticking out from her side and pulled on it. Her body moved with it. It was too deeply imbedded in scar tissue to pull out, her body having regenerated around the invasive wire as it healed. If he pulled hard enough to get the wire out, he would undoubtedly tear her apart.

With a sickening feeling, he realized that he wasn’t going to be able to pull the barbed wire out of her midsection. He had no idea what to do about it.

He crawled down to her legs and began snipping wire loose and yanking it out from the flesh of her legs. In another half-hour, he had her legs free. Now all that was left was the ten or fifteen feet of barbed wire wrapped around the inside of her midsection. He couldn’t see it under her freshly healed skin, but he knew it was there. He also knew that, as it rusted, the toxicity of the metal, so close to her liver and imbedded in her digestive tract, would eventually kill her if he didn’t get it out.

He looked down at himself and laughed half-hysterically. He had more of her blood on him than she had on her. Staggering to his feet, nearly exhausted from his efforts and his fight with the wire, he grabbed his wife’s limp arm and pulled her up into a sitting position, then hoisted her up over his shoulder. He could feel the barbed wire shift inside her belly as he lifted her.

Exhausted and staggering under her weight, he crossed the room and set her rump down on her massage table, then let her fall prone onto the table. Tanya’s midsection was all purple from newly torn blood vessels under her skin.

Frank remembered the last time, the only other time, when Tanya had looked like this. He had felt just as helpless then as he did now. Only then, he hadn’t been alone. Jake and Béla had been with him. And Béla had saved Tanya’s life with her vampiric blood. Now, he didn’t know what even Béla could do to save her. He doubted if anyone could do anything for her.

Despite himself, Frank put his hand on his wife’s stomach. He could feel the lumps where the barbs and the steel wire were buried just beneath her skin. He rested his head against her now-healed hipbone, wishing she were alive and well, but not wanting her to wake up and discover what he’d done to her…

He could almost hear her voice…

“…looks pretty serious. I can’t help but be a little worried.”

“Why didn’t you just teleport out of it?”

“What? Well… I just… I don’t… I forgot I could do that… I haven’t teleported since Katie…”

“Do you remember how?”

“Well, yeah, but, it’s a little late, now. Besides, as you can see, I’m not awake.”

“So?”

“You mean I can…”

“Watch. There’s an even easier way to do this. You don’t need to teleport your body…”

Beneath Frank’s arm, something moved in Tanya’s stomach, startling him out of his half-dream. He’d dreamed that he was listening to Tanya and Béla candidly discussing what had happened to her. But Béla wasn’t here, and Tanya was still unconscious, slowly dying.

He had just about decided that it had been his imagination when what sounded like a piece of wire dropped on the floor behind him. He turned around, almost falling, his eyes wildly searching the room. Beneath his hand, resting on his wife’s stomach, something moved.

Another wire dropped to the floor. The hairs on Frank’s neck stood straight up. But he wasn’t terrified. He was overjoyed.

‘Béla’s found a way to help!’

His eyes searched the empty air around him, not seeing anything. But he knew she was there. Another strand of wire fell unseen to the floor, somewhere in the room, then another.

“Thank you, Béla,” he sobbed, tears of joy freely running down his face.

Image of Béla kissing his cheek, then smiling at him and lovingly shaking her head like she had caught her child doing something naughty.

“What about me?” Tanya kissed him, too.

Her smile was impish. She didn’t seem at all angry about what had happened.

“That was a hell of an orgasm, darling.”

“Hey! Who’s doing this? You, or me! I’m not the one who needs to practice their mental abilities here…” That was Béla. Frank definitely heard her, this time.

Tanya’s presence faded from his mind. Several more pieces of barbed wire fell to the floor, then there was silence. After a moment, Tanya seemed to sigh, then her breathing indicated she was in a deep sleep.

Frank watched her sleep for a moment, feeling around her midsection for any pieces of wire that might still be there. He didn’t find any. The lumps of scar tissue seemed a little softer, too.

He got up, as he had on several occasions when their sexual excesses had left Tanya bloody and senseless, and got a bucket of warm water from her shower and lovingly washed her down from her head to her feet. Then he carried her out and put her to bed. Jumping in beside her, he curled up next to her and closed his eyes.

‘I wonder when she learned to teleport…’ he thought, almost asleep, now.

‘Do you have a question?’ the metallic mimicry of his voice sounded in his head.

Frank opened his eyes and sat up. ‘What?’

‘Do you have a question regarding teleportation?’

Frank looked around, wondering where the voice was coming from. Then he saw it, setting on the floor.

‘Beth’s old boom box! What’s that doing here?’

Chapter 15 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Where did you say they were?” Tanya asked, surprised.

They were supposed to be in New Mexico.

“Bolivia, of all places,” Frank replied. “Seems there’s a ski resort down there that’s one of, um, what’s ’er name… oh, Tabatha… her favorite spot. She won a car at some offshore casino in Miami on their honeymoon and she took it out for a test drive.”

Frank laughed, then continued. “When she landed they were in South America. She hijacked him all the way from Miami!” He laughed, again.

“So what happens to the plan?” Tanya asked. “They were going to spend a week with Jake and Béla and a week with us. Our grandson has to go back to work sometime, doesn’t he?”

“I don’t know,” Frank admitted. “If they have to squeeze their time, we could simply invite Jake and Béla up here. Then, we could all be… Oh, and Lisa, too.”

“Sounds like fun,” agreed Tanya. “When you built our little palace, you made it large enough to house our entire adult family each in a separate room all at the same time. What were you thinking, anyway? Do you want to raise another family?”

That question, right out of the blue, stopped Frank cold. He just stared at her. Finally, he spoke.

“Are you pregnant?” Frank’s voice was about two octaves higher than normal, making him sound squeaky.

“Of course not!” Tanya replied. “I keep up to date with my body monitor. The day it was implanted I told it I didn’t want any more kids. It’s kept me infertile for… a long time.”

Tanya looked a little depressed.

“Well, do you want more kids?” Frank asked, his voice more normal, now. “We have a couple hundred years left, I imagine – plenty of time to raise a dozen or so. Look at Alicia. She's on her third family and… what’s wrong?”

There were tears in Tanya’s eyes. “I don’t want more kids,” she explained, her voice unsteady with emotion. “I want Katie back!”

She turned and fled the room before she broke down and burst into tears. She hated crying in front of Frank. He always tried to hold her like she was some clingy, weepy female that couldn’t stand on her own two feet without a shoulder to cry on, and she hated that – almost as much as she loved him holding her.

She found herself standing outside the door of her sanctuary. She opened it and went in. She looked up at the broken barb wire trap hanging from the ceiling, wishing it still worked. Frank wasn’t about to repair it, because, according to him, it hadn’t performed properly. She disagreed. Although it nearly killed her, it did what it was supposed to do.

‘The victim isn’t supposed to survive it…’

She smiled as she remembered the exquisite torture of being squeezed to death and nearly cut in half at the same time by the barbed wire. She needed some violent pain right now to clear her mind of Katie’s ghost. She looked around the room.

Everything’s too damned familiar.

Her favorite toy was the giant magnifying glass - but it only worked when the sun was shining. She walked back out the door and went into the bedroom.

There were more portable torture devices there; the mangler Frank bought her earlier this year, the armored breast-plate and chastity-belt set that she’d worn one Halloween, a little metal skirt and belt that she’d purchased once at a Fetish Fair. The belt had inverted spikes that bit into her waist, guaranteeing that the skirt wouldn’t slip down. There were also chains, nipple clips, and two nasty little rods that pierced through the thickness of her breasts sideways to hold the chains up. There was also a little spiked cock ring that she’d given Frank to use on her.

She stood and looked at all the stuff she had. She loved what her toys did to her, but, she realized, she didn’t like using them by herself. She preferred a more passive role while someone else, preferably Frank, mutilated her. She remembered that when she’d had that strange middle-Eastern guy fit her with the nipple clamps and chains then pierced her breasts through with those rods, she’d gotten so aroused she’d fucked him on the spot.

That’s what she needed now; some serious, dangerous mutilation. And she knew just where to get it. She looked at herself in the mirror.

‘Dark blue shorts, low-heeled sandals, need a different top…’

She stripped off her loose fitting blouse and slid into a bright red tube top. She wriggled around, adjusting her breasts inside it. Then she added a simple white blouse over that. Instead of buttoning it, she tied it in front, making sure that plenty of cleavage and the red tube top were visible. Then she mussed up her hair and little and took another look.

‘Much better. It’s slumming time…’

Satisfied with how she looked, she headed for the door.

“I’m going out,” Tanya yelled. “Track me down in a couple hours, okay?”

“What?” she heard from the living room. “Oh, okay. Have fun.”

Frank was getting used to her night prowling. It was almost dark and he knew that ever since she learned to control her sensitivity to pain, she liked going out and getting into trouble. The last time she’d gone out, she’d been gang-raped and knifed.

When she didn’t come home, he’d traced her body monitor to a dark alley not far from where their old apartment had been – a bad neighborhood and getting worse. When he found her in that alley, lying in garbage, dirty, smelly, beaten, covered with cum and knifed in the belly, she was so horny she made him fuck her right there. It had been dangerous and thrilling. At times like that, he could get so aroused that he could come two or three times. He felt his cock jump as he remembered the slippery, used heat of her cunt that night. He looked forward to finding her tonight.

She didn’t want anyone to see her walking from where she lived, so Tanya simply teleported to an underground public parking facility. From there she walked, heading away from the bright lights and the night clubs where she might possibly be recognized (not very likely without her jazzy makeup and near-nude body costumes – Tootsie’s signature party attire), and into an older part of town.

She remembered when this older part was the newer part. That was a long time ago, but she still knew the streets and alleyways of the old section. The only thing that had changed since she lived there was what inhabited those streets and alleyways she remembered so well – jobless people, orphans, others who had fallen between the cracks of what was still called Corporate America.

She stopped at an intersection of what appeared to be a deserted street. She knew it wasn’t really deserted and that she was most likely being watched and evaluated as a potential threat or a likely victim. She took a deep breath. Ready to sacrifice herself to the ‘rage of the underdog’, she turned and walked up the street.

She hadn’t walked a half-block when she saw someone standing at the next intersection watching her. She stopped and looked back. There was someone standing at the intersection she just left. Her heart began to race with anticipation. She shook with the exciting rush of adrenaline in her system. Anyone watching would believe she was terrified.

She walked a few more steps up the block, then stopped again as more silhouettes appeared in doorways up and down the dark street. She gasped, making certain that it was loud enough for the ones nearest her to hear. Then, lifting each foot up behind her, one at a time, she took off her sandals. They were too loose and floppy for her to run in, and she was certain they knew that.

She was ready to make a run for it when something hit the pavement next to her. It bounced twice, then rolled around. She looked at it, seeming to be fascinated. She squatted down and picked it up.

‘It’s a silver dollar!’

She looked around to see who’d tossed it at her. Many years before, a silver dollar was a ‘safe passage’ marker. She didn’t know what it meant, now. What was a symbol for ‘safe’ twenty years ago might mean just the opposite now. Clasping the coin tightly in her hand, she swirled around and ran.

“Gnuufh!” Tanya grunted as she ran right into a huge, dark, muscular man.

She bounced back and landed on her butt with her legs splayed in front of her. The coin bounced out of her hand and rolled out into the street. She sat up and rubbed her elbow. It was bleeding.

Then she seemed to notice the man she ran into. Her eyes widened and she began to crawl backward, away from him. Then there was someone standing behind her! Startled, she looked up at him.

“Please! Don’t hurt me!” she begged them.

Tanya froze, acting frightened. Then she slammed her bare legs together as she noticed the first man starting at them. He laughed at her pitiful defense.

He pulled a silver dollar out of his pocket.

“Unless you have another one of these, missy, you belong to us…”

Tanya jumped at the rough sound of his voice, then scooted to one side so the man behind her wasn’t directly behind her. Then she stood up, standing unsteadily. She looked at herself and then at her scuffed and dirty hands.

‘Damn! I look hot! These boys’ll think they’ve really hit a jackpot!’

“I don’t have anything,” Tanya said, her voice shaking. “Nothing that you’d want. Please let me go.”

“Oh, you have what we want,” the first man replied. “And maybe even more… Daggert, escort the young lady…”

Tanya looked fearfully at the man standing next to her. Daggert, the other man called him, was of medium-built and olive skinned. There was a feral look in his eyes that said if he couldn’t enjoy fucking her, he would certainly enjoy killing her. She smiled nervously at him.

“Where… Where are we going?” she asked.

She didn’t need to fake her trembling. She wanted fucked so badly she couldn’t stop shaking.

“Don’t talk, Slut-bod!” Daggert commanded her.

Grabbing her roughly by her arm, he led her down the street.

“Hey!” Tanya replied, raising her voice. “I’m no slut…”

She stopped as Daggert rounded on her.

“I said,” he backhanded her, knocking her backward into the street. “Don’t talk!”

Tanya wiped blood off her lips, then glaring into his eyes, licked the blood off the back of her hand. Breathing hard, she staggered to her feet. As Daggart reached for her, she avoided his hand and slapped him viciously across the face. Her nails left red marks on his cheek.

“Nobody hits me!” Tanya snarled. “Got it?”

She yelped as her legs were kicked out from under her. She fell to the pavement again, then began hollering as she was dragged upright by her hair!

Her arms were tightly held behind her. She trembled with desire.

‘I hope they start on me soon – it’s not like I haven’t been provoking them…’

They dragged her into a nearby building and up a dimly lit stairwell. She was shoved into a room. Inside were seven or eight more men, some probably still in their teens – rejects incapable of working, or even of following the simplest instructions, most probably drug addicts. The larger corporations ran food kitchens and supplied discarded clothes for castoffs such as these as part of their Public Relations.

Tanya was thrown down in the middle of the room. She sat up and looked around. There were two mattresses on the floor, one against each inside corner of the room. The walls were water damaged near the window, so it made sense not to put your bed near there. The room stank of urine. She suspected that much of the water damage was because they used the outer wall as a urinal.

Looking around, she discovered that two of the people she thought were men were actually women. They were older than most of the men, but they dressed the same. They also had the same hard, mean look on their faces.

One of the men got up and unfastened the front of his pants. His clothes were filthy and stained with food and dirt – he also stank. His cock was hard and sticky. It hadn’t been washed for awhile either. Tanya pulled back as he approached her.

“What’re ya gonna do?” she asked, her voice high and trembling.

He didn’t say anything. He reached down, grabbed her by her hair and pulled her over by the broken window.

Tanya squealed in protest, then her mouth was full of smelly, skanky cock. He fucked her face for a moment, then, just as she was getting used to the smell and taste of him, her mouth, throat and nose were suddenly flooded with hot, steaming liquid. It was so salty and strong she couldn’t even tell what it was. It exploded out of her nose and mouth and flooded down her throat.

Tanya choked and violently jerked away, sacrificing the wad of hair that he’d been holding her with. She turned away, coughing, choking and half-vomiting, trying to clear out whatever was clogging her throat. As she drew a breath, she recognized the smell.

‘Urine! That fucker pissed in my mouth!’

Still choking, she snarled in rage and turned back around, ready to pounce on him. He was still pissing on her. Confused and blinded by the piss splashing on her face and in her eyes, she threw herself backward into the wall, trying to get away from the stuff.

Rolling to one side, she knocked against one of the younger guys who shoved her wet, stinking body away from him in disgust. Tanya cried out and tried to stand, wildly fending off anyone who tried to touch her. After a few seconds, she reached out, ready to tear the eyes out of the man who’d peed on her. There was no one there. His business completed, he’d gone back and sat down.

Tanya looked around, confused for a moment, so angry she could barely keep her balance.

“Anyone else tries that, I’ll bite his dick off!” she snarled at them.

“Ooo, listen to the rich girl,” one of the women said with bored sarcasm. “She wants to fight…”

There were several murmurs of amusement from some of the others.

“Who says I’m rich?” Tanya asked, looking at the woman.

I think she’s the den mother, here. The others seem to respect her…

“Your hair, your nails, that fresh complexion,” she said, looking Tanya in the eye. “All those things say you’re rich, and you’re young. You’re probably not even twenty! And with your bad habit of wandering down dark streets looking for adventure, dearie, you’ll never see twenty-one. What’s your name, honey?”

Tanya hesitated for a moment.

‘I suppose I should pick a name I like…’

“Jessie,” she told her. “And I’m older than I look. And if you want to fight… I know how.”

One of the younger guys sniggered, so stoned that he drooled on himself.

“What’s wrong with you?” Tanya said belligerently.

“Jessie,” he sneered, still spitting on himself.

Sneering, he pointed his finger around the room, his arm wavering unsteadily as he swayed forward.

“You don’ know who she is…” he sneered at them, wheezing a wide laughing grin at everyone in the room.

“Who is she, Dexter?” someone asked, pronouncing his words clearly so that Dexter would understand them. “You know something we don’t?”

Dexter laughed again, wheezing, his mouth wide.

‘He can’t control his facial muscles. I wonder what the fuck he’s high on…’

“Yeah, Dex,” someone else said. “Tell us.”

“Smatter, Tootsie?” Dexter wheezed. “Yer boyfriend get tired of ya fuckin’ ever body behind hi’ back? Three ya out, did ’e?”

He wheezed another laugh in her face, then fell back against the wall, coughing and wheezing.

“You’re nuts!” Tanya exclaimed angrily. “Nobody threw me out! And I fuck whoever I want!”

“Yeah,” someone else asked. “Then what’re ya doin’ here?”

Tanya didn’t answer.

‘I can’t very well tell them I deliberately came here to get gang-fucked and butchered…’

“She ain’t go no home,” Dexter said, suddenly more coherent. “Slut bod…”

‘He thinks I’m Tootsie. Well, he’s not wrong, but I’m not really ‘Tootsie’, either.’

“I know her!” another young man spoke up. “I seen ’er on the Tri-d! She's that party girl what’s always hangin’ on that rich kid’s arm. S’matter? He throw you out? Got nowhere to go?”

Tanya didn’t answer. She let them think what they would of her. It was better than any lie she could come up with.

She stood up, gaining everyone’s attention. She straightened out her tube top and noticed she was still soaked in urine; even her hair. She held her hands away from her sides like she couldn’t stand the thought of touching herself.

“Where you think you’re goin’?” the man who’d pissed on her asked.

“Home. Out. What do you care?” Tanya asked. “I’m leaving.”

‘That’s the best way to get raped that I know of – try to escape!’

Three guys got up and shuffled toward the only door in the room. Tanya looked at them with a worried look on her face. She kept looking at the door. They just waited. They knew she would try to bolt in a moment.

She pretended to begin to sit back down, then launched herself at the door. She knew that, no matter how fast she was, she wouldn’t be fast enough. The only way to escape now would be to teleport. She wasn’t really interested in leaving. She didn’t come to get pissed on; she came to get raped.

She snarled and kicked out as two of them caught her and threw her to the floor. Her pee-stained tube top was torn right off her back. She turned over on her back, kicking, scratching and snarling at them. In a moment, the three of them had her pinned to the floor.

Tanya could still move her head, so she shook it back and forth, demonstrating her fury at them and snarling her frustration. One of the men leaned forward and licked her face. She jerked her head sideways to get away from him and locked eyes with the woman she’d spoken to earlier.

They stared at each other for a second, then Tanya was yanked up off the floor.

‘She can tell I’m not really terrified! She knows I’m just playing a game with them!’

“What’r wanna do with ‘er?” one asked.

Tanya jerked backwards, testing their hold on her. She huffed at them, pretending frustration at being captured.

“Better ask Della,” another suggested.

Still holding Tanya tightly, they turned their attention to the woman sitting on the floor.

Tanya stared at the woman, too, her eyes wide with pretended fright.

‘I was right, she’s their leader or adviser or something. Will she give me away? Please don’t give me away – I just want to have some fun… a little rape, a little murder, nothing that will hurt anyone…’

The woman, Della, looked at the three men and the girl, thinking. Then she spoke.

“Take her in the other room and do what you will with her,” Della told them. “It’s what she came here for.”

“Yeah, like she wants what I’m gonna give ’er,” the large man on her right said, laughing cruelly.

He jerked her toward the doorway. Once in the hall, Tanya tried to escape again, earning a heavy slap on the side of her head.

“Slut! Do as yer told!”

Tanya’s ears rang from the slap. Her body was going into pain-separation mode. She could feel the energy from the slap buzzing between her legs.

‘Yes! This is going to be a good night!’

They dragged her into another room and threw her down on the hardwood floor. She felt her shorts being ripped off down her legs. She shrieked and grabbed for them. Someone knocked her back down and punched her in the face. Tanya lay still for a moment, unable to focus her eyes. Blood was running down and into her mouth.

Then someone’s rough hands were between her legs, forcing them apart. Her head was starting to clear. She looked around in the dim light. Several other people, all male, were in the room, sleeping (or trying to), or doped up and unconscious from their excess use.

Her hands were being tied to a heavy metal bed frame. She struggled, trying to pull her hands through the ropes around her wrist. They were too tight. She couldn’t escape. Then somebody shoved their hand back down between her legs. She tried to pull her legs together, but someone, maybe more than one, was holding them apart.

Then she felt fingers inside her pussy.

‘Damn! The secret’s out! They’ll know I like it!’

“Wet little cunt,” somebody said, then gave a cruel, short laugh. “Think yer have’n a good time?”

With one hand in her pussy, he punched her in her stomach with the other, hard. Tanya grunted from the impact. She felt her pussy flare with pleasure.

“Ha! She liked that!” the man exclaimed.

He hit her again, even harder. Tanya shook from the impact, then was gasping as her first orgasm of the night swept through her.

“She's a pain freak,” someone nearby said.

Then someone kicked her in the side. Tanya winced and tried to scoot away from the pointed boot.

“S’matter, slut,” the man standing beside her asked. “Too much pain?”

He kicked her again. Tanya cried, hoping they believed she was protesting as she came again. Then the man stomped on her stomach. She gasped, in real agony this time, and nearly passed out.

She lay gasping on the floor with the fight knocked out of her. No one was holding her legs open now. She was too weak to close them.

“Please,” she gasped, sounding much weaker than she felt.

‘That’s enough – don’t act like you have enough strength to talk.’

Then there was hot steamy liquid splashing on her face. She sputtered and tried to turn away. As she breathed, she recognized the stench.

‘He’s pissing on me! Again!’

As she tried to roll out of the way of his piss, he viciously kicked her in her back, numbing her legs.

‘God! That hurt! Fucker broke my back!’

Numbed by the kick and unable to control her body, she rolled back. Urine splashed over her face and breasts, then stopped. She felt someone messing around between her legs, but couldn’t raise her head to look at them. Then she was being fucked.

She could feel the pleasant sensation of someone’s cock ramming in and out of her. Then suddenly, she felt a warm sensation filling her pussy. It went up inside her, filling her womb, and began leaking down the crack of her ass.

‘Oh God! Now they’re pissing in my pussy!’

She decided to get even and cut loose with a stream, herself.

“God damn!” she heard her rapist cry.

He pulled out of her, suddenly releasing the pressure of all the liquid he’d pissed inside her. Tanya squeezed her pelvis, squirting his piss back out at him. That and her own hot, steamy stream soaked his legs and belly.

Several guys around her laughed at what she’d done to him. She knew what would happen next, but she couldn’t get out of the way. He stomped his boot down hard on her pelvic bone. She grunted with the impact as she felt it break.

“Hey, man, don’t ruin it,” someone suggested. “I wanna fuck ’er too.”

“Yeah,” someone else said.

‘Good,’ she thought, gasping in agony, ‘it’s nice to have someone on your side in a fight…’

Tanya lay on the floor in a lake of cooling, stinking piss, whimpering. Her pelvis bone was out of position. It wasn’t going to heal properly unless she pulled it back into place. She closed her eyes and concentrated on the ropes binding her hands. Béla had shown her how to concentrate on the pieces of wire that her body had grown around. It was a useful lesson, and Tanya used it now. As the ropes parted, her arms dropped to the floor in the darkness.

Slowly and painfully, she moved her right arm down over her crotch to feel the damage. It was definitely flatter than it should be, although she was always proud of how flat it was before.

She realized that she was going to have to curl up and pull the cartilage back into position. She was going to need both hands and it was going to hurt.

A lot!

She gasped with each breath as she forced herself to turn over on her side and put her hands together down between her legs. She cried out as she pulled on the cartilage that was growing back together incorrectly. An audible crunch sounded as it tore loose. She lay on the floor with tears streaming from her eyes, whimpering as she held her pelvis in position until it could start healing, trying to hold still as her body shook with another orgasm.

“Aw, man,” someone said to the man who’d stomped on her belly. “I think ya broke ’er…”

“She won be as much fun to fuck if she dead,” someone else complained.

“Somebody ought’ta check ’er out,” a new voice suggested.

Tanya weakly tried to turn her head in the direction of the voice.

Then someone kicked her in her rump.

“Get up! Turn back over here!” the man who’d stomped on her ordered.

“Fuck you…” she gasped.

Then angry hands were grabbing her and pulling her up by her arm and her hair. She wailed in protest as she was thrown out into the dimly lit hallway. She landed with a dull thump on the broken-tiled floor, unable to move her arms or roll to lessen the impact.

A boot pressed down on her rump and shoved her flat on her stomach. A few seconds later, someone grabbed her shoulder and pulled her over onto her back.

“Phfft! Not a mark on ’er!” the guy looking over her said, sounding surprised.

“Shit me!” another voice exclaimed. “I kicked ’er black ’n blue!”

She could hear their heavy boots as the walked around her. Her pelvis was almost healed, now. She decided she was feeling much better and was ready for another round.

“One of you shitheads help me up?” she asked, raising one arm.

She sounded like she was actually annoyed with them. They both laughed.

“Yer just havin’ fun with us, ain’t ’cha,” the one who didn’t kick her said. “Ya know, you really pissed off Roy, here. Ya just don’t piss on Roy, no matter how bad he’s treatin’ ya. I wouldn’t be surprised if he cut you into little pieces and put you in a garbage bag to go out with the rest of the trash.”

“That was a pretty long sentence,” she sneered, looking up at him from the floor. “You sound almost intelligent. What’re you doin’ here with him?”

He stood there looking down at her for a moment. She was filthy and smelled like piss. She looked stunning, like a slut mag centerfold. She pushed herself up and posed for him, breasts jutted forward and one leg folded with her foot next to her crotch.

‘Jeez! This gorgeous little slut is really good at it…’

“Della was right,” he said, “You probably won’t live to see your twenty-first birthday. Most likely you won’t live ’til morning.”

He looked at her for a moment longer, then made up his mind about something. He looked at Roy.

“Take her, use her, do whatever you want. Let the other guys have her, too,” he said. “But don’t kill ‘er! Not ’til I get back, anyway. Understand?”

“Sure! I’ll wait until you get back and use ’er,” Roy said, sullenly. “Then I’m gonna strangle her – real slow…”

He reached down and yanked Tanya to her feet.

“The last thing yer gonna feel, slut,” he sneered into her face, “is my piss in your hot slutty ass and my hands around your sweet slutty throat.”

“Your vocabulary is really limit…” she started to say.

She discovered that she was sliding down the wall, scraping old paint off with her teeth. Her head rang from where he’d backhanded her.

“Well,” the other guy said as he turned to leave, “you two have fun…”

‘Yeah, right! That’s what Frank said… But I’m not having quite as much fun as I expected to…’

Tanya lay against the wall, recovering. ‘It’s not time to leave, yet. I still need to beat the fuck out of this piss ant…’

She rolled along the wall, turning around so she could see her opponent. They weren’t alone in the hallway any longer. A least a dozen others had come out to watch Roy have his fun.

‘They’re probably all glad he’s not paying attention to them. I can just imagine the hell life must be, living around this guy.’

Roy reached forward to grab her by the throat, thinking to drag her down and rape her right there in front of everyone. She’d pissed on him and she’d called him stupid right in front of everyone.

‘I’m gonna break every bone in your body, bitch!’

As soon as he was close enough, Tanya curled her toes on her right foot and kicked him as hard as she could, right in the crotch. She cried out in agony as her toe knuckles broke against his metal codpiece. The pain was so intense that she could barely see him. He grinned evilly and reached for her again.

Her right leg was still in the air and Roy pushed right up against it as he grabbed her by the neck. Tanya pushed him away with her leg. His hand left dark bruises on her neck where he’d gripped her. She rubbed her neck as her bruises healed. Roy watched wide-eyed as the skin on her neck returned to its normal coloring.

“So, yer somethin’ special, huh?” he sneered. “Makes it more fun to take you down – cunt!”

He grinned evilly and snarled, then he launched himself at her. She could feel the fear in the others around her. Some of them had been on the wrong end of this bastard once or twice, and weren’t about to get in his way, now. They were hoping that Roy would work out all his rage on her, so he wouldn’t work it out on them, later.

As he launched himself at her, Tanya hopped up with her feet, and got both legs in front of her. She crossed her arms over her face as she started to slide down the wall. She couldn’t see him, now, but she knew where he was when he rammed into her feet. Her legs weren’t strong enough to stop his rush and her knees slammed back against her chest as he landed on her.

She grunted with the impact, but kept her arms tightly wrapped around her face. Then she felt her face being smashed in as his head impacted with her elbows. As soon as he landed on her, she pushed hard against him with her legs and lashed out with her arms. The back of her right fist found his lower jaw and her left fist, slightly higher and swinging the other way, broke his nose, turning it completely sideways. Then he was flying back across the room as she unfolded her legs, shoving him as hard as she could.

As soon as he hit the far wall and fell to the floor, she landed on top of him with one knee on his neck.

“Nobody pisses on me!” she snarled heatedly.

She hopped up slightly, and pressed her knee down on his neck with all her weight. She felt his neck crack. Everyone heard it break.

Breathing heavily, she stood up and looked around at the others watching. She was sweaty, filthy and smelled like piss. Her hair was filthy and matted down with urine. She stood naked and dirty in front of everyone. She felt… proud!

“Well! I feel much better now,” she sighed, looking at everyone. “But I expect better treatment next time…”

She walked out down the hallway, her naked butt swaying at them. Nobody tried to stop her. She turned the corner to go down the stairs. As soon as she was where no one could see her, she teleported home.

Frank jumped as she appeared in the living room.

“I was just monitoring your location.” He told her. “I wondered where you went when you disappeared off the scope. And here you are. I don’t have to go rescue you this time.”

“No, I don’t need rescued, this time,” Tanya agreed. “But I need something else.”

Her voice was sultry. She had that look on her face. She needed him and she needed him badly.

Frank sniffed the air. “You stink!”

“Well, I know just the thing for that,” she replied. “You almost drowned me with it, once.”

She was referring to the water barrel in her sanctuary. She’d discovered she couldn’t use it by herself. It required someone to strap her around its girth, and, once the bottom tray was filled, someone needed to keep it turning so she wouldn’t drown when her weight spun the barrel around until she was underwater.

Frank grinned. He quickly got out of his chair, leaving the console on and got to her room before she did. He opened the door and gestured for her to enter like a true gentleman. What he was going to do to her was not very gentlemanly. She looked forward to it.

Chapter 16 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“She's asleep,” Béla whispered, referring to their daughter, Lisa.

In all of Béla’s four thousand years, she’d never had a child before. She and Jake had, early in their relationship, realized that Béla was only half-human. Evidently, Lisa had taken on more traits of her alien half than her human half and was growing at an incredible rate. She was eleven months old now, and already had the appearance and vocabulary of a five-year-old.

Béla climbed into bed and gently raked her fingernails down Jake’s chest. He reached up under her teddy and pinched a nipple, then began squeezing her breasts. She pressed her tits harder into his hands and moaned softly.

“Don’t make too much noise, you’ll wake her,” Jake whispered.

He pulled her down against him and kissed her passionately. Béla loved to be kissed. It still excited her. When she and Jake were previously together, they hadn’t kissed each other very much – they were too much into physical mutilation to express much tenderness toward each other.

She smiled as she thought of her previous lover, Frank. Frank and Tanya had always been very tender and passionate. Now, they seemed to be swinging the other way, finally exploring the exciting realm of physical mutilation for sexual pleasure that she’d tried to interest him in more than a hundred years ago. Of course, it helped that her sister, Beth, had taught Tanya how to separate herself from her physical pain and to mentally spread it more evenly throughout her nervous system.

“What?” Jake asked, noticing Béla’s lips tighten into a smile.

“I was just thinking,” she said, talking quietly into his mouth.

“About what?” he inquired, hoping it was something sexy.

“Tanya,” Béla whispered, “and her ‘playroom’…”

“Yeah,” Jake said. “You mentioned that once before. What’s she got that excites you so?”

“Oh,” Béla sighed. “Well, you remember when we first met, and you just couldn’t get enough of tearing me apart?”

“Well, I seem to remember you enjoyed it as much as me,” Jake replied, becoming somewhat defensive. “You still enjoy it. And I do, too.”

‘With you, anyway…’ he added silently.

‘You’re sweet. But we shouldn’t think at each other. The walls can be very curious.’

‘The walls?’ Jake asked, not understanding.

‘Mommy?’

‘Those walls… What is it, sweetie?’

“She’s talking to me!” Béla squealed, out loud. “In my head!”

‘Mommy’s coming, sweetie…’

Béla hopped out of bed, completely naked, and pranced into the spare bedroom – now Lisa’s room.

It was the next evening. Jake was talking to Frank, working out plans for a visit.

“I know,” Jake said. “The girls usually work these things out and then tell us where we’re going and what we’re going to do. But planning a weekend together to surprise Béla shouldn’t be that difficult.”

“Yeah,” Frank admitted. “But, shouldn’t there be some sort of special occasion or something? A birthday, maybe?”

“Hmm, I like that idea,” Jake replied. “Do either of you have a birthday coming up?”

“No, not us?” Frank replied. “You?”

Jake was silent.

Jake was still silent.

“Hello?” Frank said sarcastically. “I see you. I don’t hear you. What is it?”

“Um,” Jake said. “Well… I don’t know. Yes. I do know. I know that I don’t know…”

“What is it you don’t know?” Frank asked, doing his best not to sound sarcastic.

‘Did your mind take a trip to Hawaii or something?’ he wondered privately.

“Um, when Béla’s birthday is,” Jake said, finally. “Do you know?”

Frank thought for a minute.

‘Béla’s birthday? Humph! In all the time I’ve known her, she’s never mentioned it… and I’ve known her longer than anyone alive.’

“Well, no,” Frank admitted. “I don’t know when it is. I don’t think she knows when it is. She was born thousands of years ago, and then she was reborn on that spaceship. I don’t know much about alien society, but I don’t think they pay any attention to stuff like that.”

“I think you may be right,” Jake agreed. “What can we do about that?”

“Do? Frank asked. “You’re the imaginative one that stole her away from me – can’t you think of something? Like, maybe, inventing a birth date for her?”

Jake laughed. “That’s a good idea. Since she doesn’t have a birth date, why don’t we just make it this weekend? That’s a good reason for us all to get together.”

“I like it,” Frank agreed. “So, I’ll tell Tanya and you tell Béla. But don’t tell her why! Let’s surprise her!”

“Knock, knock, Frank,” Jake replied sarcastically. “She's a telepath, remember? How will she not find out?”

“Well,” Frank mused. “If you don’t think about it, she won’t see it. Right?”

“Ha, ha. Right,” Jake replied. “Wish me luck. See you Saturday.”

‘Transmission terminated,’ read the display on the screen.

Frank realized he was hungry. After a hundred years, neither he nor Tanya kept regular meal times. They ate when they were hungry. Early in their marriage (once the kids were grown up and out of the house), they discovered they were becoming fat and lazy and realized the reason was…

Each one ate when the other was hungry!

Once they agreed that mealtime wasn’t family time anymore, it only took a few months to break the habit of always eating together. After that, it didn’t really matter what they ate, nutritionally; Béla’s blood kept them healthy, and each noticed the other beginning to lose weight. It wasn’t long after that until they were spending quality bonking time together.

Frank smiled at the thought. ‘And it’s been that way ever since…’

Sandwiches were the easiest things to fix, and since he didn’t consider food as a form of entertainment, that’s what he fixed. As he took his first bite, Tanya walked into the kitchen.

“Ready for this weekend?” she asked cheerfully.

Frank nearly choked. ‘How did she find out so fast?’

“What?” he managed to get back a mouthful of cold meat and mayonnaise. “You mean… Jake?”

“Uh-huh,” she replied cheerfully. “And Tabatha, of course!”

“That’s this weekend?” he choked.

‘Fuck! Wrong Jake!’

“Of course, silly, Béla and I decided that what you said about all of us getting together was a good idea. So we’re all going to be here!” She smiled and cocked her head as she watched Frank choke down his mouthful of sandwich.

“Good!” he squeaked. ‘Time to change the subject…’ he thought as he finished swallowing his bite of sandwich.

“You okay?” she asked. “You look a little… strange.”

She walked up and put her arms around his neck. Taking a finger, she cleaned some white goo from his sandwich off his face and sucked it off her finger. Then she finished cleaning the spot with her tongue.

Frank grinned. ‘She has that look. It’s playtime…’

“I need a place to put this sandwich if we’re going to continue…” he suggested.

Tanya lay back on the kitchen table and let her arms fall to her sides, jutting her breasts out and displaying the flat part of her stomach between her blouse and her shorts.

“Will this do?” she asked in a polite, little-girl voice.

“Well,” Frank said, frowning. “It needs… something.”

He looked at her critically, trying to decide what was wrong.

“Ah!” he said.

Laying the sandwich down on her lower belly, he began to unbutton her top. Tanya lay quietly and let him. Then he picked up the sandwich and laid it between her breasts. He pulled off her shorts, then stood back to admire his work – which was mostly her sexy, naked body.

“Hmm,” he grinned. “Much better.”

He picked up his sandwich and took another bite while he gazed at her.

“Still needs something, though,” he decided.

Then he opened up his sandwich and smeared its insides all over her stomach. Tanya shrieked, and sucked her tummy in, trying to get away from the cold, icky mess.

‘Who sez food can’t be entertaining?’

“You pervert!” Tanya yelled, giggling. “You are so predictable! I knew you were going to do that!”

“If you knew,” Frank responded, “why’d you lay down there?”

“Cause,” Tanya said in a sexy voice, “I knew you were going to do that…”

“Know what else I’m going to do?” Frank asked, grinning at her.

“If I say ‘yes’, will it ma… Yike!” she shrieked as Frank took a bite of his sandwich off her stomach.

“Hey! You got more than just sandwich, there, mister!” Tanya informed him. “Some of that was me!”

“Hold still while I get another bite!” Frank exclaimed around a mouthful of food.

Without waiting to swallow, he bent down, sucked a nipple into his mouth and swirled his tongue around it, his mouth still full of half-chewed food. The squishy feeling of his tongue and the food on her nipple made her shriek again.

Frank stood up and swallowed, letting Tanya fend him off, giggling.

“You sure are noisy!” he exclaimed, admiring her slimy tit.

He bent down again and sucked most of the goo back into his mouth. He looked at her again. She had mayonnaise and mashed bread all over her stomach and one really glossy nipple.

“It’s uneven,” Frank decided. “Hold still while I get the other one.”

Of course, ‘hold still and let him’ wasn’t ever part of the game. That wasn’t any fun. ‘Chase, conquer and subdue’ was the game they played the most.

Giggling, she slid off the far side of the table and landed on her feet. The last piece of meat from Frank's sandwich fell to the floor along with some of the breadcrumbs. Frank turned away from her, then suddenly rolled over the table and grabbed her. Tanya shrieked again and shook herself free of his grasp, then fled through the kitchen door.

Frank leaped up off the kitchen floor where he’d fallen and chased after her. He cornered her at the other end of the house in her private sanctuary.

Where else?

As she tried to dive past under his arm, Frank caught her and slammed her against the spike wall. Tanya gasped as the inch long spikes drove into her back. Then Frank manhandled her around and mashed her against the wall, face first. The spikes didn't come up to her face, but they gouged into her breasts, giving her lots of incentive to hold very still.

With one hand against her bloody back, he held her against the wall while he pulled off his clothes with his other hand. He then pulled her off the spikes and twirled her around, wrapping his arms tightly around her and squeezing her sticky torso and bloody breasts against him. She wailed in protest at his rough treatment of her tender, perforated boobies, then was silenced as his lips pressed against hers.

Tanya pushed away from the spike wall with one hand, not wanting to be stuck in the back with them again. Frank turned her around, still squeezing her sticky body against his, and backed her against the massage table in the middle of the room. She was moaning low in her throat with desire, now.

She could feel his hard cock trapped against her thigh, unable to stand straight up because of the tightness of Frank’s embrace. Finally, she was able to jut her hips back just enough so that his cock sprung straight out from its pleasant entrapment and jostled directly against her clitoris.

She sighed with new pleasure at the increased sensation and jutted her pelvis forward, trying to wrap her pussy lips around his cock head. Frank pulled back teasingly, causing a snarl of frustration in her throat.

“Ha! Not yet, darling,” Frank teased her.

As he embraced her again, his cock was pressed against her belly. As great as that felt, it wasn’t nearly as sensual as when it was rubbing between her legs. With her mouth still pressed against his, she moaned her protest and frustration at him. After another moment, she was able to break the long kiss.

“Why are you torturing me like this?” she whimpered. “Fuck me, damn you!”

“No,” Frank told her.

She whined in frustration like a small child. He grinned and chuckled at her. Then she brightened up as she realized…

“You bought me another present?” she asked, excitedly.

She tried to look around the room to see what was different. There was the torture wheel where he’d cleaned her off last week. She grinned as she remembered what he’d done to her on that wheel last weekend.

He strapped her up against the wheel. It was an actual wheel – the outside half of a rim from a strip mining truck with arm and leg restraints welded onto it. The hub bearing allowed it to turn with the slightest pressure. Even Tanya’s movements as she jerked her arms and legs against her restraints caused it to turn a little, creating a wild sensation similar to being strapped to the side of a Ferris wheel.

There were two hose feeds for the nozzle – one for hot and one for cold. Frank hooked up one hose to the hot water heater next to her shower and the other to the hot water heater feed. Now, she wouldn’t know if she would get blasted with hot or cold water. He could alternate at will by simply turning the feed lever one way or the other, or just leave it in the middle for ‘warm.’

He pulled the trigger of the nozzle, testing it out. A thin stream of water shot out the end and spattered up against the wall. He smiled, remembering some of the texts he’d read about water torture when he’d had this contraption built.

He aimed at Tanya and started spraying her. Tanya yelped at the sudden pressure of the water as he concentrated on blasting her left breast. The wheel started to turn slowly, causing Tanya’s balance to shift and increase the volume of her wail.

He stopped spraying as the wheel turned Tanya upside down and walked up to it. When she was completely vertical, head down, he reached out and stopped the wheel. Then using cold water, he sprayed her all over, soaking her thoroughly.

Then he gave the wheel a spin, and took several steps back. Tanya wailed as she spun around. Then he began shooting short bursts of water at her. Since he was still learning how to aim the hose, the first blast missed her completely. The second blast got her right in the face.

She choked as the water flooded into her throat and nose. She was glad she hadn’t eaten. Otherwise water wouldn’t be the only thing up her nose. Then Frank was shooting a steady stream of cold water at one specific point on the wheel while Tanya spun around, more slowly now. The cold water would spray on her breasts, then on her thighs, then on her breasts again as the wheel turned ’round and ’round.

Frank walked up to the wheel and stopped it. Tanya was relieved that she was upright again. Pressing the nozzle against her belly, Frank sprayed her with scalding hot water. She yelped at the sudden pain and the pressure of the water, then yelped again as he began to turn the wheel.

Carving a bright red streak along her belly with the hot water, Frank turned her so that she was sideways, then, adjusting the water to cold, pressed it up against her pussy lips and began filling her cunt and womb with cold water. Tanya screamed and cried out as he watched her belly become distended like she was pregnant. Then he stood back and let the water spray out of her.

Some of the last bit of water was a little pinkish in color and it occurred to him that he might have ruptured something inside her.

“How was that?” he asked her. “Everything okay in there?”

Tanya hung on the wheel, limp and exhausted. She turned her head toward him.

“Why don’t you… stick your hand… in… and find out?” she gasped at him.

Frank grinned, admiring her persistence. Despite the fact that she was weak and exhausted, she wasn’t ready to quit. She wanted more.

Frank sprayed his hand to moisten it a little, then just shoved it completely up her cunt. Tanya screamed in agony, then her pussy was contracting and she was coating his hand with her cunt juice. He was amazed that she had any left after that flooding he’d given her.

He fist-fucked her until she came again. Then she passed out.

“Well,” Frank asked, snapping Tanya out of her reverie. “What do you think?”

She looked around some more. ‘I don’t see it! What am I looking for?’

Then she saw it. It was made out of black iron and was, if it was the real thing, centuries old. It was closed right now so she couldn’t see inside, but she suspected that she already knew.

“Oh, my!” she exclaimed.

Smiling happily, she broke free from Frank’s embrace and went over to it. Bending over, she opened up the front. The entire inside was lined with iron spikes.

“It’s an iron maiden!” she exclaimed, happily. Then she noticed that it wasn’t original. Frank had modified it to separate in the middle.

‘I’ll be that’s so Frank can fuck me after he puts me in it!’

“It’s made to lie horizontal,” she noticed. “Is there something I can lie on so I won’t get spikes in my back?”

“Sure,” Frank replied. “I thought that might be a problem, so…”

He held up a contoured, padded mat.

“Just lay this on the back and slide in,” he said. “Here.”

He laid the pad in the iron maiden for her. She hopped up on it and felt it sink down as the spikes beneath her rump penetrated the bottom of the pad. She gave Frank a nervous look.

“Don’t worry,” he told her. “There’s a layer of aluminum right under the padding on top. The spikes won’t go through that unless you use a hammer.”

“Okay, here goes,” Tanya lay back in the coffin-like container.

Frank grinned as he watched her.

‘Here goes?’ I haven’t heard that for a long time…

“Ready?” he asked her.

“There’s spikes on the sides of this, too,” she told him.

“Well, it was originally meant to torture someone standing up,” he explained, certain that she already knew this.

“Are you going to close it, now?” Tanya asked, still nervous.

“Do you want me to get you in the mood first?” Frank asked.

‘It’s not like her to be so hesitant about getting perforated. Maybe she’s not wild about being completely enclosed…’

“I can close the middle part and leave your head free,” he suggested.

“That’d be okay,” she replied, sounding more satisfied.

Frank lifted the center part of the cabinet up on its hinges and unhooked the top, letting it fall back against the side of the cabinet. Tanya jumped at the loud metal clang it made when it fell.

“Ready?” Frank asked again.

Tanya arched her back, jutting her breasts up, and turned her head to the side. Frank closed the middle compartment. He didn’t feel any resistance because the lid was so heavy, but he knew Tanya’s breasts and torso were now perforated by the long, narrow spikes on the inside of the lid he’d just closed. He could hear her gasping, inside.

Tanya’s bare hips and legs were hanging out of the bottom. Small rivulets of blood began trickling down her torso. Her legs were trembling. Her breaths were short and rapid.

Frank put his hand between her legs and stroked up and down her pussy lips. He felt her tremble and heard her whimper. Then he put two fingers up inside her and stroked her clitoris with his thumb. She gripped his fingers tightly with her cunt muscles and squirted on them.

‘Good! She's having orgasms. That means she enjoying it!’

Positioning himself against the base of the iron maiden, he spread her legs wider and shoved his cock inside her. Tanya cried out at the sudden movement of her torso and breasts against the imbedded spikes. Frank began moving in and out of her more slowly.

After a moment, Tanya found a way she could work her hips without worsening the damage from the spikes. Gradually, their fucking became more energetic. Then Frank noticed an increase in the amount of blood flowing from the inside of the iron maiden and down Tanya’s hips. He heard Tanya whimper as he stopped his forward thrusting motion.

It was a whimper of frustration, not pain, so he began moving in and out of her, again. Unable to see through the thick iron cabinet, he could only imagine what she looked like under there. The continuous flow of blood down her hips gave him a good idea of what he could expect to find. It both worried him and made him hornier at the same time.

He increased the speed of his thrusting as he neared orgasm. He could tell Tanya was close, too. He could hear her crying out more loudly with each thrust. Finally, he thrust as hard as he could, pumping his cum deep into her cunt. Her cunt muscles tightened around him, holding him inside her as she coated his cock with her own cum. Then she relaxed completely.

‘She's passed out – sensory overload…’

He stood, panting for a moment until he caught his breath, then pulled the cabinet door open. He gasped, horrified, as he looked at her. There were at least twenty half-inch-wide holes in her breasts and torso – each one bleeding freely. She didn’t appear to be healing. She didn’t appear to be breathing, either.

‘Oh, God! I finally killed her!’

He quickly moved to the top of the cabinet where Tanya’s head was. Putting his hand down in front of her mouth and nose, he could tell that she was still breathing. It was slight, but that meant she was alive. If she was alive, then she’d heal. He breathed a sigh of relief.

‘She's going to be hungry when she wakes up. I should probably fix her something while she recovers.’

Frank looked down at Tanya’s breasts and torso again. She didn’t seem to be as badly mutilated as when he first saw her, but he realized that it was possible that he simply wasn’t as shocked to look at her a second time. If he waited ten more minutes, he’d probably see more difference in her appearance. He went out to see if she had any food in the fridge.

There were frozen dinners in the freezer, so Frank stuck one in the oven and went back to the other end of the house to see how she was progressing. The holes in her body were almost closed, now. The ones on her lower torso were healing faster. He didn’t know why. The scar tissue where the holes had been was slowly disappearing. He estimated that she would look as flawless and perfect as ever in another hour.

As soon as Tanya’s wounds were closed, Frank pulled her out and carried her over to the torture wheel. The hoses were still connected, so he laid her down and hosed the excess blood off her, then turned her over and did the same to her backside. Then he picked her up, like always, and carried her to bed. He lay down next to her and waited for the oven to ding.

A moment later, the air around him was thick and hard to breathe. A sharp piercing sound was drilling right through his eardrums into his head. He sat up and saw Tanya trotting the room, looking concerned.

Something’s on fire!

He suddenly realized what was burning. Feeling annoyed with himself for falling asleep, but no longer worried about the house burning down, Frank climbed out of bed and went into the kitchen. He didn’t see Tanya. He turned the oven off and flipped the switch to start the ventilators. After a moment, the air seemed to become clearer.

Tanya showed up in the kitchen and looked at him with her eyes squinted against the sting of the smoke, finally realizing what had happened.

“Did you have a good time?” she asked.

He couldn’t tell what her mood was. If she hadn’t enjoyed her torture, he’d never get her into the iron maiden again.

“Yeah,” he replied. “Just about anything I do with you is fun.”

“Including burning down the house?” Tanya joked.

Frank was relieved to see that she wasn’t upset about anything.

“Did I really bleed that much?” she asked. Frank looked at her. She was serious.

‘Fuck! I forgot to clean the machine!’ Frank realized.

“Yeah,” Frank said, trying to think of something to calm her concern. “But, you often bleed a lot. This wasn’t the worst one…”

“But there’s never any blood on the bed afterward,” Tanya said. She smiled and kissed him. “You take good care of me. I’m a totally selfish slut, indulging in my own pleasures, and you just follow along, cleaning up after me – cleaning up my messes like I’m some big, old, un-housebroken dog.”

“That’s an odd point of view,” he said. “I don’t think of it that way at all. And you’re definitely not a dog! You’ve gotten me involved in something that I wasn’t sure I wanted to get into – something that Béla tried for thirty years to get me involved in. And that’s physical mutilation for sexual pleasure.

“Béla failed,” he continued, “and you succeeded. You know why?”

Tanya shook her head.

“Because,” Frank said, solemnly, “I love you more. I want to see you happy. If that means I sometimes have to mop blood off the floor, then I will. I know you’re exploring new facets of living. I’m not going to hold you back by saying I don’t approve.

“Besides, the best way I know to lose someone is to try to control them. It can’t be done. So anything you want to try, you have my support.”

“You’re sweet when you lecture,” Tanya smiled. She kissed him. “Was this… um… for me?”

She indicated the burnt mess in the oven.

“Yeah,” he said. “I thought you might be hungry. You lost a lot of blood. It needs to be replaced.”

“So that’s why you always feed me breakfast in bed after our more serious sessions,” Tanya joked with him. “And I thought it was because you loved me!”

Frank sighed. “I made juice… Does that count?”

“Yes!” Tanya told him. “I’m dying of thirst!”

She drank half of it right out of the bottle. Then she got some ice cream out and mixed the two together in the blender.

“Guess where I’m going to pour this,” she taunted him as she pranced out of the kitchen, carrying the blender with her. Suddenly more interested, Frank quickly followed.

Chapter 17 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Hmm. Interesting,” Tabatha said, talking to herself.

She moved her fingers on the console and changed the display around.

“What?” Jake Hedron asked.

He was lying on the bed, spread-eagled, naked and sexually sated; at least for the moment. He’d never met anyone as sexy and as fascinating as Tabatha. Plus, the fact that she was an Empath intrigued him. His real parents and his grandparents were the only people he knew of that were special in any way, and they were more advanced on a physical level than on a mental one. He’d never met anyone who could read minds, before. Of course, he hadn’t met Béla, his real father’s girlfriend yet. That would be this weekend.

‘Gods! That’s tomorrow!’ he suddenly realized.

“Huh? Oh,” Tabatha replied, “there was some vigilante activity a couple of weeks ago in Bozeman. That’s where your grandparents live, right? Frank and Tanya?”

“Yeah,” Jake replied. “Mom used to tell me stories about when she was a kid. Her folks were bounty hunters. They still are, I guess. They had, make that have, their own private investigation company.

“In fact,” Jake continued, becoming more interested in telling his story, “the day after Béla came back from… wherever she’d been for the last hundred years, Gramps and Grams, along with Béla’s sister, cracked a case that I’d been working on and rescued some rich guy’s kidnapped daughter.

“I’d sure like to have them working at Tomlin,” he concluded. “But, they like the small town life.”

“Small town life?” Tabatha asked, half-laughing. “Would you like to see this video feed? I think it’s an image of your grandmother!”

Curious, Jake rolled off the bed and knelt down next to his bride. He stared at the console with her.

“Watch,” Tabatha said, then reached up and moved her fingers on the console, commanding it to replay a security tape from what was supposed to be an abandoned building.

“This is where it looks like she was kidnapped,” Tabatha narrated as the image on the console showed a sexy blonde being manhandled down a hallway.

“The building’s been being used by indigents and drug users,” she said as she fast-forwarded the image.

They watched as she was moved from the first room to a second room.

“It sure looks like her,” Jake admitted. “I hope she’s all right.”

The men in the image were slapping the girl around a lot. She looked nearly unconscious.

“Here,” she said. “Watch…”

The blonde suddenly reappeared, arms and legs flailing wildly as she flew across the hall and slid into the wall. She was naked, now, and didn’t seem to do anything to cushion her fall. Two men came out of the room and one shoved her flat on the floor with his boot. He said something; his voice too low for the monitor to pick up.

“Shit me! I kicked her black and blue!” the other, larger man said, much louder.

They walked around the blonde lying on the floor. She looked up and said something.

“Did she just call him a shithead?” Jake asked, incredulous. “Is she trying to get herself killed?”

Tabatha chuckled to herself and thought, ‘You have no idea! Just watch!’ into her husband’s mind.

Jake watched. Now the dumb blonde was posing! ‘She's definitely going to get herself killed! That couldn’t be Grams. She's not that stupid!’

One man turned and walked away. The other reached down, grabbed the blonde babe by her throat and hauled her upright. He backhanded her, slamming her face into the wall. He reached for her again as she slid down the wall.

“This isn’t going to take long, now,” Jake mused, feeling bad about the blonde.

He knew how animals like the one he was watching enjoyed terrorizing and slaughtering young girls. He felt an uncomfortable tightness in his stomach as he continued to watch.

‘Where’s the vigilante part?’ he wondered, not really wanting to continue this.

As the man reached for her, the blonde seemed to fall more quickly, rolling as she did so. Then she kicked him in the crotch. The thump of the impact registered on the security recorder.

‘He’s wearing protection,’ Jake realized. ‘Now she’s just dead meat…’

He felt genuinely sorry for the girl. She was a real scrapper. It wasn’t going to be much fun watching this brute rip her apart.

“Why are we watching…” Jake started to ask.

‘Just watch!’ Tabatha commanded in his mind.

‘Okay… You don’t need to shout…’

The brute reached forward and grabbed the girl by her throat again. Somehow, she’d managed to get a leg up between them and pushed him back.

What was that he said? ‘You think you’re something special?’ Why would he say that?

Now, there were about twenty others in the hallway, watching the one-sided fight. Jake looked at their faces as they watched the brute launch himself at the terrified, helpless girl.

‘They actually hope to see her get butchered! Fucking animals!’

The girl disappeared underneath the hulking mass of the man attacking her. Then the man flew clear back across the hallway and slammed into the wall. The blond girl was on top of him a second later.

‘Nobody pisses on me!’ Jake heard her snarl.

She sounded furious. She sounded familiar…

“My God! That is Grams!” Jake exclaimed.

He watched as she stood up, proud and defiant. Her naked body glistened and was streaked with dirt like her skin had been oiled. She walked away from her kill without looking back.

Tabatha paused the display.

“Well,” Jake said, dumbfounded by the realization of what his grandmother did for entertainment. “I see why you said that was interesting.”

“That is not what I thought was interesting,” Tabatha replied. “This is what was interesting…”

She reached out to the console and commanded it to resume the video.

The naked blonde walked away, her body glistening in the dim light of the hallway. She turned the corner and stopped. She looked around for a moment, then vanished!

“What?” Jake said. “Play it again!”

The same thing happened the second time.

“Is there something wrong with the recorder?” he asked.

Tabatha shook her head. She’d already made up her mind what had happened.

“I really look forward to meeting your dear old grandmother this weekend,” she said. “Do you suppose she’ll still have any bruises? This was two weeks ago…”

She could see in Jake’s mind that his grandmother’s healing capabilities surpassed even his own. His grandmother was the one, after all, that had received Béla’s blood. She, and, of course, his grandfather. They still healed the fastest, and would probably live the longest. Jake Hedron’s healing ability was hereditary. It came from his mother, Alicia, Frank and Tanya’s oldest daughter, and from Jake Pestova, his real father, to whom Béla was now married.

“You have a copy of that?” he asked. Tabatha nodded and smiled.

‘It’ll make interesting entertainment this weekend, don’t you think?’ she thought at him.

“How did you come by this, anyway?” Jake asked, ever conscious of security measures.

“My search found it,” she replied. “I have an ongoing search that finds bizarre and unusual stuff that’s reported and sends it to me.”

Jake looked at her. ‘Why?’

“It’s part of my job, okay?” she insisted. Jake smiled and put his hands in front of himself to fend off her ire. “Besides, it’s how I found you!”

“Me?” Jake asked, “You mean I’m bizarre and unusual?”

“Don’t be silly,” Tabatha explained. “You showed up on my radar because you were the new Chairman of Tomlin Security, following in your pappy’s footsteps. I was just doing a routine background check for OCI and retrieved your hospital records from an incident when you were twenty-three. It was a shoot-out, as I recall…”

“Yes,” Jake said. “I remember that. I was the team leader’s right flank… Just like you were…”

“If you knew about my fast healing abilities,” Jake asked, starting to get upset, “Why the hell did you put yourself in the line of fire to protect me? You could have been killed!”

Tabatha actually looked embarrassed. She leaned forward, resting her forehead against his. The contentment and love he felt for her was suddenly overwhelming.

‘Are you making me feel this way?’ he asked into her mind, sounding very suspiscious.

‘What? Don’t be silly! I’m just showing you how you really feel underneath all that useless anger that keeps coming between us. If that delightful pool of love wasn’t there underneath all your petty moral judgements, you’d be alone, and I’d be long gone…’

She opened her own mind to his and showed him the love she felt for him. Then they were lying on the floor in front of the console. He pulled Tabatha’s sweet, lithe body against his. As they rolled around, both trying to control their lovemaking, his grandmother, frozen on the console screen in the instant before she vanished, seemed to be watching them. There was an odd look of satisfaction on her face.

~~~~~

The strato-jet took sixty-six minutes to travel from Bolivia to Texas Saturday morning. Once Tabatha’s sweet, new Caddy was uncrated, it carried Jake and Tabatha from Dallas to Bozeman in less than an hour. The entire trip, once they’d reached the strato-port, took slightly more than two hours – three because of the delay in getting her Caddy uncrated.

It looked like everyone was there to greet the newlyweds. Frank and Tanya, Jake’s grandparents, stood off to one side with Lisa, Béla’s daughter.

‘That’s her daughter? I thought she was, like, a year old!’

‘You know as much as I do, sweetheart. You’re using both our minds to think with…’

Jake looked at his father, meeting him face-to-face for the first time.

“You look younger than I thought you’d look,” Jake Hedron admitted as they shook hands.

“My wife, Béla,” the younger looking, but older Jake announced.

Béla took his hand. ‘I am honored to meet you, son of Alicia and of my husband.’

Jake Hedron stopped, stunned by the feel of Béla’s fresh, but ancient mind as it brushed against his. For an instant, he saw memories that were thousands of years old. What he saw was a young girl of mixed middle-Eastern origin. What he felt in his mind was incredibly ancient. She was capable of having several points of view at the same time on any particular subject. What fascinated him the most was her love for everyone around her. That included him, now.

‘Introduce your wife, stepson,’ Béla whispered into Jake’s mind, helping him to recover from her accidental mental impact with him.

“This, um, yes. My wife – Tabatha,” Jake finally stammered out.

Tabatha reached out and took her husband’s father’s hand. ‘Pleased to meet you.’

Jake Pestova looked at Tabatha, eyes wide. ‘So, you really are an Empath!’

Tabatha smiled. Her husband’s father was a good soul. She could feel it in her mind. She would get along well with him.

“Now, I’d like you to meet my wife, Béla,” Jake Pestova announced.

Tabatha and Béla reached out and touched their hands together.

Everything was spinning around! She was standing on the side of a dirt road, looking down into Béla’s eyes. Béla? No! You are the Child of the Night! Maria I named you…

Then everything was spinning around again. When it stopped, Tabatha was looking at the sky. At the edge of her vision, she could see tall forms moving about. Some of them were making noises. Then she passed out.

Béla looked into the eyes of the young Australian girl she’d just been introduced to. Stunned by the sudden deluge of emotions and memory from the young girl, Béla staggered back, shielding her mind. She watched, gasping, unable to move, as Tabatha fainted and fell to the ground.

Both Jake, her husband, and Jake, her father-in-law, were bent over Tabatha in an instant, trying to determine what was wrong with her.

“Bisabuela?” they both heard Béla whisper.

‘Grandmother?’

They looked up at her. Béla was standing with her eyes wide, her hands over her mouth to keep from crying out. She was trembling uncontrollably.

Chapter 18 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The soldiers came riding into the gypsy camp at midnight wielding torches and swords. Whooping and yelling with battle fever, they cut down everyone who tried to escape. They set fire to the wagons. The old woman noticed that the soldiers were putting the sword to the men, but were running down the women with their horses. She knew that the women who survived the heavy hooves of the horses would later wish they had died here.

Katrina’s wagon was at the far end – nearest the trees. She and Maria, her adopted granddaughter, hid inside, whispering furtively at each other.

“You must go, quickly!” she told the young girl. In her mind, she showed Maria the quickest way to escape the besieged camp. “You go to the creek and travel up the creek until you can no longer hear what is occurring here!”

She cleared out the center of the wagon and pulled back the thick, warming carpet. Underneath was a trapdoor. Next to the trapdoor was a separate latch. The old woman pressed and pulled on it, trying to make it release.

Then Maria helped her, and they both heard a loud thump as the false flooring, hinged on one side beneath the wagon, fell away.. Now they could slip out through the trap door and not be noticed by the soldiers. All that could be seen was the false bottom hanging down, protecting anything behind it from being seen in the flickering light from the burning wagons.

Maria dropped down to the ground, then reached up for her grandmother.

“Presura, Bisabuela!” she whispered loudly. “They are right next to the wagon!”

“Vaya! Para me no espera!” her grandmother hissed back at her. ‘Go now! Don’t wait for me!’

Maria stood her ground, silently pleading with her eyes. There was a loud noise as someone crashed right into the side of their wagon. Men were shouting. There was a sickening sliding sound, like metal rubbing against bone. Maria realized that someone she knew had just been killed – not a body’s length away from her!

“D?me! Sea seguro!” Grandmother hissed. Leave me! Save yourself!

Maria looked around in terror, then disappeared from sight. The old woman could hear the young girl flee as her bare feet pounded away on the hard ground. Then she was alone.

Katrina could hear the cruel men outside, rounding up the women who had survived that assault. The men who weren’t dead were killed – run through by the swords of the butchers who wore the royal colors. They also killed the women who were not favored with youth or beauty. The men didn’t belong to the King of Spain – they belonged to the Church – they were…

Incuisitores!

The dungeon wagon arrived at the gypsy’s flaming campsite a few minutes later. The surviving women were loaded up or thrown into it, crying and wailing to no avail. Those who were injured too badly were cruelly cut down and left for dead. The soldiers set fire to the rest of the tents and wagons as they prepared to depart.

The wagon Katrina was hiding in caught fire quickly. As she watched the flames spring up around her, Katrina’s long and tortured life flowed through her mind one more time. She knew that death was near and that she had learned God’s lessons in humility well. Now she could die and return to her rightful place in heaven.

Welcoming the flames as they leaped up around her, she stood in the center of the wagon with her arms lifted to heaven and sang.

~~~~~

Katie looked down at the fiercely burning wagon. She felt confused.

‘Why am I always being burned to death?’ she thought to herself, then wondered why she thought that.

‘‘Man, I fucked up Royal, this time!’ Katie thought to herself. ‘I’d better get home. Mom’s gonna be worried sick about me!’

She concentrated on moving forward in time – to the twenty-second century and home!

The landscape beneath her changed rapidly. A small town grew up nearby, then was burnt to the ground. There was cannon fire, and several thousand soldiers fought and died nearby. She flashed past their souls as they floated over the battlefield, lamenting the loss of their bodies. A modern city grew up, then thousands of huge aircraft whipped by and blew it all up. Then the city grew up again.

Katie was suddenly surrounded by white fire – a solid wall of nuclear energy! It was scorching, burning. She leaped out of it and discovered that she was in normal time, again.

‘This is just like dream walking,’ she thought to herself. ‘I just don’t have a body to go back into so I can wake up. I wonder where I am. I wonder ‘when’ I am…’

There were some people walking by. They were wearing regular business suits. Katie stepped in front of them.

“Hello, can you help me?” she asked.

They walked right through her, scaring her half to death.

“Holy fuck!” she exclaimed. “I must be dead!”

‘Yes. Of course you are. It happens to everyone.’

Katie looked around. She didn’t see anything. Then she noticed something was watching her – A shadow?

“What are you?” she asked it.

‘I am your spirit guide. I will help you to acclimate to your current status and aid you in continuing your existence.’

“What?” she replied, totally confused now. “Just think at me. I’ll get it, okay?”

‘If you insist. You humans are not generally that evolved.’

“Humans?” Katie asked. “What are you?”

‘I am your guide. I believe I mentioned that before.’

“Alright, so, guide me,” she challenged.

Images of possible choices appeared in her mind.

She could stay as she was, and eventually become a guide, herself. She could return to her family, wait for the next child to be born, and reenter her family’s history. That was what most opted to do. Another choice was to pick out a pregnant woman, and then just wait for her new body to be born.

“That’s not my problem,” explained Katie. “I have a body – I just have to get back to it.”

‘All right, smarmy pants, where is your body?’

“Where is not the problem,” she told the guide. “It’s when! It’s in the year 2083.”

‘2083 hasn’t happened yet. This is 2067. You have sixteen years to go. Please explain how you lost your last body and where it is. I don’t see where you came from.’

“I think I was in the fifteen century,” Katie told it. “I was thrown back in time from 2083 to around three hundred – maybe four hundred a.d. by a nuclear explosion.”

‘You have a very inventive mind, human. However, you must understand that many of you often have incredible ‘explanations’ as to ‘why I’m not really dead,’ don’t you? You claim your body is in the future. Then how is it that you are where you are?’

“I told you!” Katie insisted. “There was a nuclear explosion in 2083. It threw me into the past. It’s also creating this big fireball in the teleportation zone that is preventing me from returning home!”

‘You know about ‘teleportation’?’

“Of course!” Katie exclaimed. “It’s how the aliens get around. One of them taught it to me.”

‘Before she blew herself up…’

‘You have an explanation for the energy that keeps us from moving from place to place?’

“You noticed it too?” Katie asked. “Is that how your… um… people gets around?”

‘Yes. It began some time ago – perhaps ten of your years. It wasn’t so bad, at first. Now, the energy is so intense that we are vaporized when we attempt to move. You say the source of this energy is a nuclear explosion that occurs sixteen years from now. Is the world destroyed then?’

“No,” Katie explained. “It was an accident. Beth teleported some guy into a wall. Two solids can’t occupy the same space and all that stuff, you know? So Albuquerque blew up.”

‘How do you know this?’

“Because it was me that took Beth back in time and made her fix it!” Katie told the wraith. “She pulled the guy out of the wall and put him into the teleportation dimension. I got trapped on the wrong side of the explosion and it threw me back in time.”

‘Your explanation actually sounds plausible. Most unusual for a human. Are you the only human in the future that can travel from one time to another?’

“Well, right now I am,” Katie admitted. “You’ve probably noticed that most people aren’t very fast learners. I was over eighty years old when I learned how to teleport.”

‘You were an old woman then?’

“No, actually, I wasn’t,” Katie said. ‘Jeez! How can I explain this?’

‘You could make an image, like you suggested to me. I would see it. Our minds are more evolved that you humans…’

“Okay.”

Katie called up the memories of her first eighty years and displayed them in her mind for the wraith to see.

It was silent for a short time. Then it commanded her attention, again.

‘I understand. Your entire family is long-lived because of the alien’s influence on your parents. You are also at least partially to blame for the energy barrier that prevents us from moving. What do you propose to do?’

“I want to go home,” she said, simply. “That’s what I want to do. I can’t do anything about the ‘energy barrier’, as you call it.”

‘The fact that you are here and now demonstrates your inability to return to your own time. If you attempt to move from here, your lifeforce will be vaporized and lost forever between the dimensions.’

“Oh,” Katie said. She thought for awhile. “Wait! My body’s alive now! I can just teleport into it from here!”

She made an image of herself and tried to jump into it.

White fire is everywhere! Scorching – Burning –

She popped back into the physical universe at almost the same point she was a moment earlier.

“Holy fuck!” Katie exclaimed. “That was awful!”

‘Yes. Dying can be very trauma… Oh! It’s you! I was hoping you weren’t disintegrated when you left. You lasted almost two hours in there!’

“Really?” Katie mused. “I was only in there a couple of seconds. I couldn’t stay. It was too hot. Why are you still here?”

‘I can’t travel. It’s too hot in there for me, also.’

“Teleportation is not the only way to get from place to place,” Katie explained. “Watch.”

She made an image of her parent’s apartment and walked into it. From inside the image, she could still see the streets of Madrid. She couldn’t see the wraith.

“Are you still there?” she called out.

‘Yes. I am here. That is a very interesting technique. However, we do not use imagery to travel. We simply know where we are going, and we go.’

“I don’t understand,” Katie told it. “If that were true, then you shouldn’t need the teleportation dimension. The energy in there shouldn’t matter to you.”

‘We are getting off the subject. My purpose is to help you to continue your existence. You failed to find your body in this time. Do you even know where it is?’

“Well, let’s see,” Katie thought. This is 2067 – I think I was working Kodak-Keelson in Knoxville.

She made an image of her office and stepped in.

There’s my body! Now, all I have to do…

She tried to merge with herself. Her body walked right through her.

‘What happened?’ Katie asked, feeling dizzy and disoriented.

‘The body you are attempting to occupy is already occupied. Do you remember merging with yourself at this point in time?’

“Well, no,” Katie admitted. “If I did that, I’d be changing my own past, wouldn’t I?”

‘That is likely. The universe would probably not permit it. If you wish to continue as a human, you must choose another body.’

“You mean like being born again?” Katie whined. “Ugh!”

‘Why does that sound so familiar?’ she wondered as she thought about it.

‘Yes, that is the most popular method. However, if you were to find a body that has been recently vacated…’

“You mean, like, somebody who just died?” Katie was aghast at the thought of it.

‘I’d be a fucking zombie!’

‘No. You would bring the body back to life, and you would be its new inhabitant. You would take on the identity of the life force that had the body before.’

“That would feel really weird,” Katie admitted. “I don’t think I could do that – pretend to be somebody else. How would I let my folks know who I really was? I bet my Mom’s a total whack job by now, anyway. She needs to know I’m okay.”

‘That is simply not going to happen. It doesn’t work that way. Wherever you left your body, it is dead and gone. It is time for you to move on. When you have a new body, she will not be your mother. You will have another identity.’

“But I’ll remember, won’t I?” Katie asked, beginning to get upset.

She watched herself at her desk, using her console to check her work for the day. ‘I don’t even remember doing that. Was my whole life here a waste? I look so lonely sitting there…’

‘That is your past,’ the wraith thought at her. ‘You are no longer that person. When you are born again, you will not remember her.’

“Then I won’t be Katie anymore?” Katie asked, trying not to be frightened.

Maybe that’s not so bad – I haven’t been Katie for the last thousand years. But I was still ‘me.’

‘You seem to have a good grasp of your circumstances, human. I applaud you. Most humans become very distraught at the thought of their own deaths. It is only an identity you are losing. You will still be you. You will simply identify yourself differently.

“All right. I’m ready,” Katie said, resigned to her fate. “At least, I guess I am…”

‘How do you wish to proceed?’ it asked.

“Oh! That’s right,” she realized. “I still have options, don’t I?”

‘I feel like I’m buying a house or something… This is the new ‘me!’ See my new shell?’

“I guess I’ll take the zombie approach,” she decided. “Then, at least, I won’t be spending the next two years peeing myself and learning to talk all over again.”

‘I suspected that you wouldn’t choose the easier course. We shall have to find you a suitable body. Would you prefer male, female? What is your choice of race? The form you showed me in your mind image was a white female.’

“Well, I like being a girl, and I can’t imagine being another race,” mused Katie. “You mean you can’t see me?”

‘You appear to me as a wraith, while I, of course, am quite solid,’ the wraith informed her.

Katie laughed. “You look a wraith to me! I look like a girl. At least, I did… What do you call yourself? Where did your… people… come from?”

‘I am a member of the Hurrah species. We are the dominant species of this planet, and many others.’

“Really? I thought humans were the dominant species,” Katie said, amused by his arrogance.

‘You humans only exist on the physical plain. We can travel to different places and times – even to other planets, at will. At least, we could until a few of your years ago. Those of us who are not in this immediate area of time and space can still do so.’

“Amazing,” she said, truly impressed, “and we never even suspected your existence.”

‘You humans are…’ the Hurrah began to think, then it appeared to be interrupted. ‘There has been an accident. It is time!’

“What’s happening?” Katie cried out, alarmed at the attitude of the wraith.

She felt the wraith grab her with its mind, then she was passed from it to another like it, somewhere else. Some distance below her, a cable car near a ski resort had come off the cable and fallen. As she looked, there were many wraiths around. Some were upset. Others were calming them.

‘This is so totally wild!’ Katie thought to herself. ‘I had no idea this was how it worked! I’ll bet even Béla doesn’t know about this…’

‘The lifeforce has fled from this body in terror. A guide is handling it. It has just been informed that it can return to its body if it wishes, but its parents are dead. She will be an orphan.’

A moment passed. Then the Hurrah spoke in her mind, again.

‘The human child does not wish to continue this life. She remembers her time from before and wishes to start again. You may occupy that body if you so desire.’

“Can I see it?” Katie asked, not certain she wanted to make such a permanent choice right this instant.

Then she was watching the young girl with her parents in the cable car. She was a very pretty girl – flaming red hair, blue eyes. She was very happy and excited to be visiting Spain, looking out at the magnificent mountains, so huge and far away, yet so near it seemed she could reach out and touch them.

“Well, at least my eyes will be the same color,” Katie murmured.

‘That is an interesting point,’ the Hurrah explained, sounding much more friendly now that it knew what to do with her. ‘If a life force inhabiting a human body identifies itself with its eye color, the eyes of the body it inhabits often take on that color. Sometimes, the hair color will change, too.’

“So I’ll still be me,” Katie said.

‘Except I’ll think I’m her…’

Katie screamed in horror as she watched the cable car fall.

‘My God! They’ll all be killed!’

‘Come! It is time!’

~~~~~

Katie was surrounded in blackness. Every part of her body hurt. She opened her eyes and looked around. She couldn’t tell what she was looking at. Heavy coats and bodies surrounded her. Both her legs and one arm felt like they were broken.

‘Why aren’t they healing?’ she wondered, feeling lost and confused. ‘I shouldn’t be able to be hurt this way…’

The hours passed. She was freezing cold and was also getting a fever.

‘Infection – shock – I’m going to die all over again if someone doesn’t rescue me soon…’

In another hour she was delirious with pain and fever.

She was at home, playing in the yard. She fell and broke her leg. Her mother ran out and took her inside. She set the leg herself and sang a song to her so she’d stop crying. Then her leg was all better.

Mom was here now. She was looking down at her – her beautiful blonde hair shining in the bright sunlight.

“Mom?” she whimpered, recognizing her face. “Mom? Who am I? Sing to me, Mom… Make it feel better…”

Then everything was black again. When she woke up, she was in a brightly lit room with white walls and silver edged tables and beds. She tried to move, but her body was encased in plaster. She knew, deep inside that something terrible had happened, but she couldn’t remember what it was.

Frustrated, Katie began to cry.

“There, there, child,” a strange, but nice-smelling man said, bending over her. “You’re going to be fine.”

A nurse came into the room, smiled brightly and said, “Oh, Tabatha. You’re awake! How wonderful!”


The End

This story continues in Book 4, ‘Timewalker’
22 comments

anonymous readerReport

2013-10-23 22:24:20
yF5z0n A round of applause for your blog post.Really looking forward to read more.

Anonymous readerReport

2009-06-15 00:07:38
I've read Béla, the Vampire Girl and Wrinkles in time, and both are truly amazing works of art. This is a true compliment because I HATE TO READ, due to the fact that most stories fail to keep my interest. Keep writing your truly talented.

READERReport

2005-07-28 11:57:09
I don't doubt that I left off an 'e'. I spend so much time on the computer that I get crosseyed sometimes. Seriously in need somebody to proof read this stuff.

LOL
Dan K

READERReport

2005-07-26 21:26:43
Hey, now that petty I am not either ...it was an "at" and a missing "e" in a word :) ...truly great ending for a great book in all seriousness. bela I'm coming ~and on to the next one~

READERReport

2005-07-25 18:45:30
You docked me for leaving out an 'at'?

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